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Thread: Planning or Policy graduate degree?

  1. #1
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    Planning or Policy graduate degree?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm applying to four New York City planning/policy programs and having a major moment of confusion. I'm not sure which type of degree would be more strategic for me to get -- an MUP or a policy degree?

    I want to focus on redevelopment and housing issues, specifically working to involve low-income communities in the redevelopment of their neighborhoods. I am also interested in developing low-income housing and improving current public housing. I have several years of nonprofit experience working with low income communities to develop programs and I am interested in focusing on the community development concentration in grad school.

    I am applying to Pratt, NYU, Columbia and the New School. I visited New York last month and these programs all stood out as places I could see myself thriving in. However, I'm not really sure which skill set will do the most for me -- the policy, management and finance angle of the policy programs or the more traditional and design-oriented planning degree.

    Anyone in this boat? Thoughts?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

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    About Pratt...

    Quote Originally posted by Rachel View post
    Hi everyone,

    I'm applying to four New York City planning/policy programs and having a major moment of confusion. I'm not sure which type of degree would be more strategic for me to get -- an MUP or a policy degree?

    I want to focus on redevelopment and housing issues, specifically working to involve low-income communities in the redevelopment of their neighborhoods. I am also interested in developing low-income housing and improving current public housing. I have several years of nonprofit experience working with low income communities to develop programs and I am interested in focusing on the community development concentration in grad school.

    I am applying to Pratt, NYU, Columbia and the New School. I visited New York last month and these programs all stood out as places I could see myself thriving in. However, I'm not really sure which skill set will do the most for me -- the policy, management and finance angle of the policy programs or the more traditional and design-oriented planning degree.

    Anyone in this boat? Thoughts?

    Thanks.
    Hi... I'm not sure what your preference is, but Pratt has a distinct community development focus, and it's a programme geared towards people who are working and studying. Their classes are evening classes and most people come after work and have families so there isn't much student interaction bec they have other responsibilities, live away from campus, etc.

    Pratt is in Brooklyn so community development is definitely their thing but if you're looking for a traditionally structured full-time programme then you might be a bit surprised by Pratt.

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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Magnetica View post
    Hi... I'm not sure what your preference is, but Pratt has a distinct community development focus, and it's a programme geared towards people who are working and studying. Their classes are evening classes and most people come after work and have families so there isn't much student interaction bec they have other responsibilities, live away from campus, etc.

    Pratt is in Brooklyn so community development is definitely their thing but if you're looking for a traditionally structured full-time programme then you might be a bit surprised by Pratt.
    I'll echo the comments on Pratt. Though I haven't attended that school, I have heard a fair bit about it and it seems to have a pretty good reputation. Another one worth looking at is Rutgers if you don't mind going outside of NYC.

    "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 Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Planning or policy....well it depends on what you want to ultimately do. I couldn't decide so now I am pursuing both in a dual program at Rutgers. Even if you don't want to do both you have the option of majoring in Policy and taking a Planning certificate or majoring in Planning and taking a Policy certificate. It seems that the two fields are moving closer together these days...at least in NJ.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    Planning or policy....well it depends on what you want to ultimately do. I couldn't decide so now I am pursuing both in a dual program at Rutgers. Even if you don't want to do both you have the option of majoring in Policy and taking a Planning certificate or majoring in Planning and taking a Policy certificate. It seems that the two fields are moving closer together these days...at least in NJ.
    Good. I was hoping you would chime in! I knew there was someone with a familiar name parading around here with a Rutgers avatar!

    "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 Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    skills needed?

    I'm curious as to the skill set that one gets out of these types of programs though.. is it more important to fully understand the zoning/design/(micro?) aspects (planning degree) or have the macro understanding and management skills (policy degree)?

    I'm looking at jobs I would want after graduation (director of housing development at a cdc for example) and they require a masters in planning or policy. Perhaps it doesn't matter?

  7. #7
    Does anybody happen to know how competitive it is to get into a Policy graduate program in North America (Canada + U.S.) these days?

    It's slightly easier to figure this out for Planning with ACSP's Guide, but I doubt they have something similar for Public Administration and Policy programs.

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rachel View post
    I'm curious as to the skill set that one gets out of these types of programs though.. is it more important to fully understand the zoning/design/(micro?) aspects (planning degree) or have the macro understanding and management skills (policy degree)?

    I'm looking at jobs I would want after graduation (director of housing development at a cdc for example) and they require a masters in planning or policy. Perhaps it doesn't matter?
    You need to narrow down what it is that you want to do, but not necessarily a specific position. What interests you most? Why? These are good starting points that perhaps might hone your desire a little more. Also the catalogs from the various schools are a wealth of information and you should easily be able to figure out what a program's strengths and focus are without much trouble. Order or look at catalogs for schools that you might not even be considering because they are still full of ideas and might present something in a different way that piques your interest.

    If you think however that you would like to be in a more managerial/supervisory role and do not come from that background or studied it as an undergrad I suggest you consider taking coursework in the following, even if you don't have aspirations to direct anyone or anything they are still good things to know.

    Microeconomics/Macroeconomics
    Public Budgeting/Finance
    Conflict Resolution
    Accounting
    Public Administration
    Organization Management
    Leadership/Management

    Just my $.02
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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