Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Hunter, Columbia or NYU?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Honolulu
    Posts
    34

    Hunter, Columbia or NYU?

    Well it looks like I'm going to have my pick of schools...

    Don't know where the bad rap is coming from on Columbia; I've always had fondness for the school, and they seem to be offering a decent financial aid package.... but it seems like a lot of the talk about the school on the board here is just hearsay

    NYU and Hunter both seem to have popular programs, and are much more affordable — even before any financial package.

    Any suggestion one way or the other? I'm heavily intereseted in architecture, and so I think Columbia is well suited to that (Hunter and NYU seem more policy-oriented). Plus, I think I will be signing up for their intro to arch summer program.

    In the long term though, I want to eventually get a degree in arch as well, and so i'm trying to consider my finances long-term (I'm not sure about swinging 5 years of tuition at columbia between 2 programs over 10 years). perhaps I should take Hunter's offer on the cheap now, and down the road go for the arch program with a slightly heftier price tag at columbia?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian shishi's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2005
    Location
    brooklyn NY
    Posts
    120
    Quote Originally posted by aesculanus
    Well it looks like I'm going to have my pick of schools...

    Don't know where the bad rap is coming from on Columbia; I've always had fondness for the school, and they seem to be offering a decent financial aid package.... but it seems like a lot of the talk about the school on the board here is just hearsay

    NYU and Hunter both seem to have popular programs, and are much more affordable — even before any financial package.

    Any suggestion one way or the other? I'm heavily intereseted in architecture, and so I think Columbia is well suited to that (Hunter and NYU seem more policy-oriented). Plus, I think I will be signing up for their intro to arch summer program.

    In the long term though, I want to eventually get a degree in arch as well, and so i'm trying to consider my finances long-term (I'm not sure about swinging 5 years of tuition at columbia between 2 programs over 10 years). perhaps I should take Hunter's offer on the cheap now, and down the road go for the arch program with a slightly heftier price tag at columbia?
    Honestly, I would email at least 5-10 students from each progam and then try and visit all three. In the past getting students responses via email, and then talking to them at the school made all the difference in the world.

    Plus, don't forget the cost of living in NYC is crazy. Just ask a few of the other board members.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian supergeek1313's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2005
    Location
    City of Angels
    Posts
    107
    Quote Originally posted by aesculanus
    Well it looks like I'm going to have my pick of schools...

    Don't know where the bad rap is coming from on Columbia; I've always had fondness for the school, and they seem to be offering a decent financial aid package.... but it seems like a lot of the talk about the school on the board here is just hearsay

    NYU and Hunter both seem to have popular programs, and are much more affordable — even before any financial package.

    Any suggestion one way or the other? I'm heavily intereseted in architecture, and so I think Columbia is well suited to that (Hunter and NYU seem more policy-oriented). Plus, I think I will be signing up for their intro to arch summer program.

    In the long term though, I want to eventually get a degree in arch as well, and so i'm trying to consider my finances long-term (I'm not sure about swinging 5 years of tuition at columbia between 2 programs over 10 years). perhaps I should take Hunter's offer on the cheap now, and down the road go for the arch program with a slightly heftier price tag at columbia?
    I go to CU now as an undergrad (though I didn't apply there for grad school b/c of affordability)... the MUP program is more academic than at Hunter/NYU but if you're interested in both planning & arch I'd highly recommend it - Avery (where the library is) is amazing and they have so many site plans, etc. I definitely think that its great for people like you because Arch & Planning are in the same department and even in classes there's some overlap.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    3

    Living in NYC

    True in Manhattan and A-list Brooklyn, but Queens is very reasonable. Jackson Heights, where I've lived, is one of the best neighborhoods in the country (Jane Jacobs principles come alive, 21st century style).

    Go to villagevoice.com and plunk "neighborhoods" into their search box to learn about less-known neighborhoods, and then look at Craigslist NYC to get a sense of going rates.

    Plus, don't forget the cost of living in NYC is crazy. Just ask a few of the other board members.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian supergeek1313's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2005
    Location
    City of Angels
    Posts
    107
    Quote Originally posted by majorlance
    True in Manhattan and A-list Brooklyn, but Queens is very reasonable. Jackson Heights, where I've lived, is one of the best neighborhoods in the country (Jane Jacobs principles come alive, 21st century style).

    Go to villagevoice.com and plunk "neighborhoods" into their search box to learn about less-known neighborhoods, and then look at Craigslist NYC to get a sense of going rates.
    Agreed... my friends graduated last year and got very affordable & spacious apartments in Astoria which really isn't far from CU (via M60), NYU (NQRW) or Hunter (don't go enough to know which line to take)

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Honolulu
    Posts
    34
    Quote Originally posted by supergeek1313
    I go to CU now as an undergrad (though I didn't apply there for grad school b/c of affordability)... the MUP program is more academic than at Hunter/NYU but if you're interested in both planning & arch I'd highly recommend it - Avery (where the library is) is amazing and they have so many site plans, etc. I definitely think that its great for people like you because Arch & Planning are in the same department and even in classes there's some overlap.

    Are you planning on going to Columbia for your UP work too?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian supergeek1313's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2005
    Location
    City of Angels
    Posts
    107
    Quote Originally posted by aesculanus
    Are you planning on going to Columbia for your UP work too?
    No... I actually didn't even apply there. I think the program is good and I had a TA who was in the MUP program and is now going for his PhD... after being here for 4 years I really just can't afford that burden in grad school and I'm worn out from being in New York... I'll be at University of Toronto next year so I'm happy. The one thing that I would say about CU is that the bureaucracy SUCKS but all of the professors that I've had (some of whom teach at the grad school) are awesome and go out of their way to help you out. So I'd be optimistic about the program. But if I could swing the tuition/rent/etc. and wasn't sick of rush hour subways I would have considered Columbia.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered
    Apr 2006
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    21
    I'm in NYU's planning program now. As with all things, it has its strengths and weaknesses. As others have said, Columbia's program is more academically-oriented, with many people going on to doctoral studies in the field. At the other end of the spectrum, Hunter's program is much more pragmatic and has many courses that teach actual skills (e.g., GIS). NYU's program is in the middle. The Wagner School does have a doctoral program (although not specifically in planning), and has a mix of adjuncts who are professionals in the field and full-time faculty, many of whom are well-known in the planning/policy field. As others have said, Wagner is a policy school, but if you're interested in economic development or affordable housing, this is a good place to be. The school is extremely well-connected and most students get great internships because of that. The transportation concentration has also improved in recent years and students in that track are able to cross-register for classes at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn (which has a transportation engineering program).

    That said, it is not an urban design heavy program. (Although the administration has listened to students in recent years and has added a studio design course.) Most of the classes you'll take are policy, economics, finance, management, etc. This is good for people who want to work in government or consulting, but not for people who want to be designers. Pratt, in Brooklyn, has a good planning program with an emphasis in urban design (they also have an urban design program).

    The program is relatively small and the student body is very active. There are numerous events every year, including speakers, panels, discussions, and social gatherings involving students and faculty. Also, while here, I've had the opportunity to take courses at the law school, the business school, and the real estate school, which was an important consideration for me (Columbia's program allows it to some extent, Hunter doesn't have a law, business, or real estate school), and I also wanted to be in New York.

    There are some weaknesses to the program though. It is very New York specific, which was fine for me because I want to live here, but you don't get a lot of exposure to planning outside of NYC. (There is an international planning specialization, but having never taken courses in it, I don't know about their coverage of non-NYC planning.) Second, many of the courses are in policy and finance, which is fine but it would have been nice to have gotten a broader planning education. Third, the administration can be a little frustrating at times but I'm the kind of person that consistently calls/e-mails/visits/whatever until I am heard, and that approach has helped me get what I want out of the school. Fourth, the school doesn't allow you to take courses outside of NYU for credit which was disappointing (I wanted to take some courses at Pratt).

    I would be happy to speak candidly and answer any questions about the program to anyone who is considering the school.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered
    Jun 2006
    Location
    New York, New York
    Posts
    12
    It seems from what I've read that Columbia specializes in 'International Planning' and 'Social Justice' planning. Could someone clear up for me what that means and how it differs from traditional planning?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian njm's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Highlight of the lowland
    Posts
    322
    Just an observation here... but who has gone to a medium-to-large school of moderate to high prestige and not complained about bureaucracy?

    And aesculanus, I'm in the same boat as you. I'm personally weighing Hunter and NYU along with Rutgers... I'll be visiting NYU and Rutgers in a couple of weeks, with follow-ups planned later...
    What luck! A random assemblage of words never sounded less intelligent.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Freehold, NJ
    Posts
    5
    Does anyone have advice/info about NYU for someone looking to focus on land use/environmental topics? I don't see these subjects mentioned with NYU anywhere, which is probably a bad sign.

  12. #12

    Recent NYU MUP Grad

    I just graduated from Wagner in May with the MUP. The program is great, with good professors, resources, connections, and interesting fellow students. However, if you want an "Urban Planner" job title, it is NOT the right place. It is a policy school, and the MUP is more like an MPA with some transportation/ legal (zoning, environmental law)/ design courses for good measure. That said, most students know this going in, and the types of jobs they get are more policy, non-profit, economic development, or government oriented rather than "Planning." Also, the International concentration is awesome and very well regarded. Before the economic crisis, almost everyone graduating Wagner with the MUP could go work at any NYC agency in an entry-level ($45-50K analyst or program manager) capacity pretty easily (I'm talking HPD, SBS, OMB, Parks, Bldgs, etc.). Now hiring is pretty much frozen at these places.

    Personally, I focused on economic development and international, and have had good experiences. I did a consulting gig with UNDP in Latin America and currently work in community economic development at a non-profit.

    To sum up, Wagner is a great school, but if you have visions of "Urban Planner" as a kind of architect/ civil engineer working designing plazas and such, it is not for you. If you want an MUP that's really an MPA with an urban policy and city management focus, then it is one of the best.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Queens, NY
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally posted by rkrublit View post
    Does anyone have advice/info about NYU for someone looking to focus on land use/environmental topics? I don't see these subjects mentioned with NYU anywhere, which is probably a bad sign.
    I'm probably a bit late with this, but I'm an NYU Wagner student myself and the school does offer classes in those areas. In fact, land use law is a required course for all Wagner students and environment is one of the specialty elective clusters you can take. Personally, I'm taking environmental economics this coming semester and the land use law class.

    Plus, you pick up a lot of knowledge about these things on the way to getting your master's anyway—you're required to do a "professional experience requirement" with an organization of your choice (I did this through the NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation), so you should be able to get hands-on with whatever your major interest is.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 17
    Last post: 18 Apr 2011, 10:49 AM
  2. Replies: 1
    Last post: 03 Feb 2010, 11:47 AM
  3. Replies: 11
    Last post: 25 Sep 2009, 1:31 AM
  4. Hunter for Planning NYC
    Student Commons
    Replies: 26
    Last post: 06 May 2009, 2:28 PM
  5. Replies: 2
    Last post: 25 Jan 2009, 9:31 PM