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Thread: What are (we) the students specializing in?

  1. #1

    What are (we) the students specializing in?

    Just a simple question, really: what are you specializing in and why? What have you heard about the job prospects for your chosen specialization? Additionally, if you've chosen not to specialize and are going for a comprehensive education, tell us why! I'll happily start: I chose to specialize in economic development (and I mean heavily) because of a chronic passion for economics and geography. My course load for the specialization looks something like:
    • Economic Geography Seminar
    • Real Estate Development
    • Rural and Regional Economic Development
    • Urban Economic Development
    • Urban/Regional Analysis (an econ/stats class devoted to methodology and theory)

  2. #2
    Jun 2007
    Cambridge, MA
    Iím not sure if my situation is unique or not. I stated out senior year of my undergrad, where I was fortunate enough to intern at an economic modeling/consulting firm. Later I went full time and really liked the work. After getting a few years experience, I chose a Grad program in applied economics. Which basically is a few theory classes, econometrics, a transportation class, and a couple applied electives. Iím focusing on a mix of transportation economics and to a lesser degree econometrics. Before my first internship (undergraduate) I had no clue if I would even use my economics degree. I think work experience is what really pushed me in this direction because it was mostly interesting and positive.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
    Mar 2007
    Lowering the PCI in the Hills
    My concentration is in Economic Development as well. I didn't really take future job prospects into account when picking my specialization, it just seemed the most interesting of the the three concentrations at my university and they are all very heavily policy focused.

    Once I was in the program for a bit and got to work on the job search, I discovered that there were a lot more opportunities for people with an economics background in the planning world than I originally thought... especially in local government.

    Since starting on my masters, I've been lucky enough to find a job in the economic development division of the planning department with the county that I live in.

  4. #4
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Jun 2003
    at the neighboring pub
    Just for a different perspective from someone polishing off a Masters in Public Administration...

    My stated emphasis for the MPA is "urban planning and environmental law". My research focus is sustainability in affordable housing. On my elective portion of class selection, I've gone with classes relating to feasibility, green design, housing policy, etc.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman GŲring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  5. #5
    Dec 2006
    Grad school is still a few years off. I am planning on either a dual masters in urban planning and landscape architecture, or a triple masters in urban planning, urban design, and landscape architecture (depending on the school I am enrolled in). My foci are the following:

    1. Site design (residential subdivision design and trail design are at the top of my list. However, I am also interested in other types of site design including urban design (streetscapes, plazas, squares), commercial site design, mixed use site design, open space/park site design, coastal site design, etc.).
    2. Planting designs (for parks, residential and commercial bufferyard landscaping, wetland plantings with native plants, streetscape plantings, etc.).
    3. Long-range planning (comprehensive and neightborhood planning, master plans, etc.).
    4. Ordinance and Guideline Creations (zoning ordinances, subdivision ordinances, design guidelines, anti-monotony standards, form based code, performance zoning, etc.).
    5. Planning law (specially advanced coursework in local laws and state compiled statutes).
    6. Code enforcement (if they even teach this at all in grad school).
    7. Advanced statistics for planners.
    8. Advanced coursework in economics/economic development.
    9. Civil engineering elective coursework in grading, stormwater design, street design, photometrics, to name a few.
    10. Wetland science elective coursework in stormwater design, wetlands, grasses and native plantings, etc.

    I have experience in #1-6, and #2 is at the very conceptual level. I want to go back to school to learn more about all 10 of these areas (especially #7-10, which I really dont have too much experience of). Grad school with a double masters will take a minimum of 4 years to complete (3 years of landscape archicture with electives in planning and the fourth year with urban planning/urban design coursework). Depending on how many courses I take it might extend into 4.5 to 5 years.

    I have researched this very thoroughly and have worked alongside landscape architects for a few years now, and have also lectured about the relationship between the two professions, so I am not just doing this to make myself more marketable. I still hope to wear a bunch of hats working in these related fields when i am done putting myself through all of this hell

    I am already putting together a list of potential theses for each degree, and I hope to enroll in a landscape architecture where a thesis is required for graduation (in the event that i decide to teach LA at the university level much later in my career).

    I am sure I left out a ton of other areas I am interested, but those are the 10 top areas I would like more school work and experience in.
    Last edited by nrschmid; 14 Jun 2007 at 12:43 PM.

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