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Thread: Best Graduate Programs?

  1. #1
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    Best Graduate Programs?

    My husband is looking into urban and planning programs all over the U.S., but we can't come to a conclusion about which cities/programs would be best. This will be the first move for both of us since college and marriage, so it's a pretty important one.

    Can anyone recommend a stellar graduate program for either urban planning or architecture?

    We are hoping to find a program from Colorado to the west. Any help is greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    MOD: please move this thread to student lounge.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally posted by mapgirl
    My husband is looking into urban and planning programs all over the U.S., but we can't come to a conclusion about which cities/programs would be best. This will be the first move for both of us since college and marriage, so it's a pretty important one.

    Can anyone recommend a stellar graduate program for either urban planning or architecture?

    We are hoping to find a program from Colorado to the west. Any help is greatly appreciated!
    If you're interested in the Northwest, you should look into the University of Washington. They have an excellent planning program which focuses its program on urban design (as far as I have heard and read).

    Portland State University (my school, so I'm biased) is also very good, but is not associated with an architecture school. PSU is much more policy-oriented.

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mapgirl
    My husband is looking into urban and planning programs all over the U.S., but we can't come to a conclusion about which cities/programs would be best. This will be the first move for both of us since college and marriage, so it's a pretty important one.

    Can anyone recommend a stellar graduate program for either urban planning or architecture?

    We are hoping to find a program from Colorado to the west. Any help is greatly appreciated!
    Stellar is in the eye of the beholder. Ultimately it is about what specifically interests you about urban planning. Policy, design, economics, development, social issues? My advice is to visit the American Planning Association website and look under the education link and get a list of all the accredited programs in the states you would like to live in. Then look at all the websites of the schools and the programs and start narrowing it down from there. Call the programs and ask for the prospectus or viewbooks and read them thoroughly as you will get a good sense of what and how they teach.
    Last edited by kjel; 15 Mar 2006 at 11:51 AM.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmm....

    Stellar is what you make of the program you enter and how much effort you put into graduate work. This will be true at least until nobel prizes are handed out for Urban Planning and schools start to identify their worth by the number of nobel prize winners on faculty

    I got a lot out of and enjoyed my time at the University of Colorado (Denver Campus) and yes, there are what I would consider "stellar" faculty and adjunct faculty there. There are programs out there that sell themselves through those graduates that sing the loudest about specific programs (UNC and K-State are two that come to mind) You just can't get those types to shut up about how wonderful their schools are.....jeesh..... So look for what you want out of a program and beware the proselytism, because sometimes the words don't match the actions
    Skilled Adoxographer

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    Cyburbian Plus
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    I like kjelsadek suggested approach.

    Quote Originally posted by The One
    I got a lot out of and enjoyed my time at the University of Colorado (Denver Campus) and yes, there are what I would consider "stellar" faculty and adjunct faculty there.
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mapgirl
    graduate program for either urban planning or architecture?
    Why not just go to UT right here in Austin? Their planning program is part of the architecture school, so he could take some urban design, etc.
    "I don't suffer from insanity... I enjoy every single minute of it!"

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    I agree, he should explore what area of planning he's most intersted in: policy, design, public administration, teaching, economic developmentl?
    Then look at schools with that strength.
    I also agree that the majority of what you get out of school will be based on what you put into it, not where you go. Being from a 'top' school may help you get your first job, but after that, it's all based on your work performance, and if you're dedicated, you can do just as well if you go to ole public U as if you go to a 'top' school.
    Schools with famous professors may seem attractive, but realized, that famous professor will not give you as much time as an unknown professor. One of my friends went to a top school, and his advisor was a very well known author. But he NEVER met his own advisor! The advisor was way too busy and important to meet with a student!
    Compared to my school where I could walk into any professor's office and get all the help, talk, advice, friendship, support I wanted. It's more steak and less sizzle.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally posted by mapgirl
    My husband is looking into urban and planning programs all over the U.S., but we can't come to a conclusion about which cities/programs would be best. This will be the first move for both of us since college and marriage, so it's a pretty important one.

    Can anyone recommend a stellar graduate program for either urban planning or architecture?

    We are hoping to find a program from Colorado to the west. Any help is greatly appreciated!
    Mapgirl, have your husband seriously look into:

    U.C. Berkeley
    U of Washington
    U.C.L.A.

    The three best architecture + planning graduate programs west of the Rockies....

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jbr's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by vtboy99
    Mapgirl, have your husband seriously look into:

    U.C. Berkeley
    U of Washington
    U.C.L.A.

    The three best architecture + planning graduate programs west of the Rockies....
    is washington's program really that spectacular, or does everyone who applies just want to live/work in seattle?

  11. #11
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jbr
    is washington's program really that spectacular, or does everyone who applies just want to live/work in seattle?
    Seattle is a nice place to visit but not to live, that is unless you like incessant rain, constant gridlock, and over priced housing. It does have a lot of cool things to do and see though.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jbr's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek
    Seattle is a nice place to visit but not to live, that is unless you like incessant rain, constant gridlock, and over priced housing. It does have a lot of cool things to do and see though.
    a lot of the seattleites i know have cheap rent and ride bicycles!

    i wasn't bothered by the rain in portland when i lived there -- but all the pollen in the air did kick up my asthma and allergies.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian fructa's avatar
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    You can rent housing in seattle pretty cheap, especially in the U district -- although it's a bit -- well, overpopulated with university students. The Wallingford neighborhood is just up the hill, though, an easy 10-15 minute walk from the U (also along a useful bus line) -- it's low-key, lots of families, nice amenities, quiet, and pretty darn cheap. It doesn't really rain that much -- there aren't any thunderstorms or downpours, just a sort of light rain every morning. It does suck that the city is run through with highways -- stupid planning in action! -- but it *is* fun to drive 70 mph in the rain on rte 5 when it goes UNDER A BUILDING (not underground, just sort of inside a building) downtown... which you can only do around midnight, when the traffic lets up. Yeah, the highway traffic sucks...

  14. #14
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by fructa
    You can rent housing in seattle pretty cheap, especially in the U district -- although it's a bit -- well, overpopulated with university students. The Wallingford neighborhood is just up the hill, though, an easy 10-15 minute walk from the U (also along a useful bus line) -- it's low-key, lots of families, nice amenities, quiet, and pretty darn cheap. It doesn't really rain that much -- there aren't any thunderstorms or downpours, just a sort of light rain every morning. It does suck that the city is run through with highways -- stupid planning in action! -- but it *is* fun to drive 70 mph in the rain on rte 5 when it goes UNDER A BUILDING (not underground, just sort of inside a building) downtown... which you can only do around midnight, when the traffic lets up. Yeah, the highway traffic sucks...
    It alway creeped me out to drive under that building downtown and why do they hang the traffic lights diagonally downtown! Rain doesn't bother me being from Portland, but it bothers a lot of people. It rains alot in the PNW but it's of the drizzle type not the torrential downpour kind.

  15. #15

    I'm the guy you're talking about.

    My wife, mapgirl, referred me to this site and I stumbled across the thread talking about my grad school questions.
    I know that UT has a great program here in Austin, but I would like to use this opportunity to move out of TX and see some more of the US. I've lived here for 26 years.
    A big criteria for where I go to school is not only the quality of the education, but also the quality of life while living there. My interests are mountain biking and other outdoor activities. We also enjoy going out to local restaurants, vegeterian food, and gardening. Living in Austin we are already used to traffic, but not rain or cloudy weather.
    I'm not terribly worried about getting that "first job," b/c I'm already a transportation planner at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. I'm just looking to get a masters degree (probably in Urban and Regional Planning) to advance my career.
    We will be traveling to Seattle thus summer to check out the campus and city.

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