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Thread: Portland State Masters in Urban Planning vs. Urban Studies

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Peter Bratt's avatar
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    Portland State Masters in Urban Planning vs. Urban Studies

    Any Portland State grads/attendees/incoming students,

    I am getting my application together, and trying to figure out whether to apply to PSU for an Urban Planning degree or a Urban Studies degree. It appears, to me at least, that the Urban Planning degree is more for hands on work, while the Urban Studies degree is more for those interested in research work on urban communities. Does anyone care to add an opinion? I still have some time to make up my mind before applying, but I would like some advice from the people on these boards.

  2. #2
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    I graduated from the PSU MURP program in 2003. Your assessment of the differences is accuarate, I would say. If you have a more academic bent, you might lean towards the MUS program. If you are interested in being a planner, or you aren't quite sure yet, I would suggest the MURP program, for these reasons:
    -Classes in the MUS program are available as elective courses in the MURP program
    -the MURP program is an accredited planning program, for what that's worth, while the MUS program is not
    -there are more students, faculty, and alumni for the MURP program, so you have more resources available to you
    -the MUS program is more of a "stepping stone" to a PhD. If you are looking to work after grad school, the MURP degree would make you more employable.
    -you will get more practical skills out of the MURP program
    -you can switch programs midstream if you discover the MUS program is better for you

    Good luck!

    Quote Originally posted by Peter Bratt
    Any Portland State grads/attendees/incoming students,

    I am getting my application together, and trying to figure out whether to apply to PSU for an Urban Planning degree or a Urban Studies degree. It appears, to me at least, that the Urban Planning degree is more for hands on work, while the Urban Studies degree is more for those interested in research work on urban communities. Does anyone care to add an opinion? I still have some time to make up my mind before applying, but I would like some advice from the people on these boards.

  3. #3
    Also, from what I've heard, there are a lot fewer students in the MUS program than the MURP program (although MURP is limited to fewer than 40, MUS is usually less than 10). That may give you some kind of indication as to where the focus of the department really is.

    As kind of a side note, when I was talking to the admissions person before I applied, she told me that if I didn't get into the MURP program, that I could consider applying for the MUS...which led me to believe that the MURP was more competitive. I've definitely been told that a MURP will make you more employable.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Peter Bratt's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2005
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    Ann Arbor, MI
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    Thanks for the advice. From what it sounds like, the Masters in Urban Planning might be a better degree to apply for. That is good, finally narrowing down an option, for once in life

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