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Thread: MCP at Univ. of Maryland vs. MCRP at Morgan State Univ.

  1. #1
    Cyburbian DC Librarian's avatar
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    MCP at Univ. of Maryland vs. MCRP at Morgan State Univ.

    I have begun to look into urban/city planning master's programs with an eye on starting a program within the next 2 years. I'll most likely attend a program part time while I work full time, and due to family considerations, need to stay in the Maryland area.

    Both the Univ. of Maryland College Park and Morgan State University in Baltimore have accredited planning programs, so I was wondering if anyone was a student in either of these programs, a graduate, or had anything to say about the programs. Thanks in advance for any information.

    Matt

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    also interested in this.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Maryland is better respected for its Smart Growth Program and research efforts. Not much is known about Morgan State. Probably better off getting a Master in Geography from a Maryland Teachers College (Frostburg, Salisbury, Towson) than going to Morgan State for City Planning. It is a historically black school is a very rough neighborhood.

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    granted not much is known about morgan state and its program, but the fact that it's a "historically black university" should not equate it with an education of a lower caliber. If you feel that morgan state is a better fit, I would say go there; if you feel that university of maryland is a better fit I would say go there. I will, however, speak to the fact that morgan state's program is focused on grassroots development in the black community and it is completely understandable if this is not your thing. Also if you are one who is not comfortable finding yourself in the minority you maybe a bit uncomfortable at times. I can also say you will find resources and funding at maryland that you would not find at morgan state considering that maryland is a larger school with a more widely recognized name, but the faculty and staff at morgan considering the size of the program have alot of involvement with the students and form a small tight knit commmunity. Now if someone were to present valid reasons for not attending, that's understandable but to simply present the statement that "its a historically black school in a bad neighborhood ...don't go there" seems somewhat hazardous.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    The quality of the environment around one chooses to study will directly impact his/her next 2 years of graduate work. According to a quick web query, "According to our analysis of the government data, Morgan State University is a very dangerous place to study. American School Search gives this school grade "D-" on safety. From our perception of the data, there are some problems with robberies, aggravated assaults, and burglaries."

    It would be a hazardous decision to attend Morgan State University and then get robbed.

  6. #6
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    Someone from Merlin

    Honestly, Baltimore has a bad reputation, but it's not that bad. Urban planners have done a lot to turn the city around in the last 20 years.

    It depends on your goals. MSU is perfectly fine, accredited, and cheaper. If you want to stay in B'more, then it's a solid option. However, UM - College Park has a much better reputation, more resources (like the Smart Growth Center - look up Gerrit Knaap), and is on the DC metro. I would see UMCP as THE school for DC-area planning. I know there's a new planning program in DC (GW? American?) but it doesn't have any reputation yet. Be aware that the DC/Balt planning scene is inundated with aspiring planners fighting over entry level positions at the local, state, and fed level.

    Caveat - I got my planning degree in another state and am only in a planning-related profession in Maryland.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    The observation that Morgan is in a tough area is a point worth making, but colleges in tough areas work pretty hard to make sure that the immediately surrounding area is safe and pleasant. It's also worth making the point that almost everywhere is safe if you're smart about it, so safety issues are usually not relevant to the majority of people on a campus. The easiest example is Yale in New Haven: we hear all about how rough the town is, but it's really not that bad, and the university works overtime with real estate holdings and security personnel to mark their territory. (If you're going to commit a crime, doing so in an area with city AND campus police present is a pretty bad idea.)

    I don't know much about Morgan State, but I would bet a lot on the school having some tight connections to Baltimore city government. If you're going to get in on/buy a house in Charm City, I can definitely understand the interest. UMD would probably be the (no pun intended) safest bet for a Maryland/DC-area career, though, and the national center for smart growth is a real asset. The best thing to do at this point is vet the faculty/research/internships at MSU: where do grad students get experience while enrolled, and where do they go afterwards? What city/regional/state connections are there to the faculty?

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