Well, as you've seen from my other posts, I had originally planned on going to graduate school at the University of Texas for a Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning. After talking with the department, though, I realized it will not happen. They flat out told me that it is not possible to work full-time and complete their degree program (most core classes are only offered during the daytime, you must register for a minimum of 9 hours per semester, etc.) Since I absolutely cannot quit my job to go to graduate school, this put me back at the drawing board.
Fortunately, there is an MPA program at Texas State University that lets you have a concentration in Urban Planning (among many others). Texas State is located in another city about 30 miles away, but they actually offer courses for their MPA program right here in downtown Austin (which is where I work anyway). From what I'm told by the department director (as well as Suburb Repairman who is in the same program), the majority of the students are working adults in their late 20's, early 30's. All the courses are offered in the evenings so it's perfect for full-time workers. Another benefit, which I had not considered before, is that it will be good exposure to be in classes with people who are public administrators/planners in the "real-world". Given that UT's program does not allow for the schedule of working folks, I imagine it is mainly composed of younger people who have no real-world experience.
So, while I would get 48 hours of planning courses at UT, and only 9 hours at Texas State (plus 30 hours of Public Admin. courses), I would be in class with other adults and many of them may be able to share their experiences of the application of the concepts... not just the theories.
Is this more valuable in the end? It seems like it would be.