Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Planning or geography?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Baltimore
    Posts
    2

    Planning or geography?

    I'm deciding between a geography and an urban planning program that have both offered me full assistantships. Of course the programs are fundamentally different and I have no idea what to do!!!!!! The Geography research assistantship will be in conjunction with a government agency and I'd be working on a specific land use/socioeconomic impact/GIS project. It is year round and will likely lead to a full position after I graduate. The project is new so publishing is a definite possibility. Also, I'd be exposed to other disciplines, i.e. environmental sciences and get to use my background in economics

    For the Urban Planning program I have the option of a full time or part time teaching assistantship in a graduate class I loved in undergrad. I'd get the experience of teaching and working closely with a professor. And this is a more prestigious school.

    I could be wrong but I feel torn because I think the Geography degree will be too technical and GIS/spatial analysis-focused and I feel the Urban Planning program with a specialization in economic development is more broad and not technical enough to warrant me a decent salary after graduation.

    Ultimately I want to go back into policy reasearch/consulting and don't really have any desire to work for a municipality/CDC or the like. They are both good opportunities but I just need some objective opinions. Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Aug 2006
    Location
    NHK
    Posts
    85
    First, congratulations and hello from a fellow Baltimorean! Which programs are they, if you don't mind my asking? (I got accepted to University of Maryland, but have yet to hear about financial aid.)

    Second, have you researched the placement records for both of the programs to see where graduates typically go? That would probably give you the most useful information.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,820
    take up the planning one

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    10,055
    I've said many times before that the school you go to does not matter. What you learn and do is what is important. Some will dispute this, but I will stick with it.

    If your long-term goal is to consult, then you will probably be better off with some public sector experience. Teaching assistanceships don't mean much to me when I look at a resume. I suspect most other consultants (and public sector employers) feel the same. I want to see that you have worked on real-world projects, interacting with the general public rather than students and teachers.

    Maybe I have a bias since I have a geography degree, but I think the geography education is broader. The down side is that you won't get much of the specifics of planning, but that can be learned on the job.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #5
    Like you said, both sound like excellent opportunities.

    Might be a good idea to write down your own interests and priorities first, then do some good research on both programs, and ask around. If you're only deciding between two programs, it may be a relatively easier task to simply chart out what you find about them in a table, and hopefully you can make a better informed decision.

    It seems like both programs can lead to policy research and consulting; which one would serve you better and you think you would get the most out of? Most interested in? Cost an issue? etc...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by nicholes21 View post
    I could be wrong but I feel torn because I think the Geography degree will be too technical and GIS/spatial analysis-focused and I feel the Urban Planning program with a specialization in economic development is more broad and not technical enough to warrant me a decent salary after graduation.
    Hmm... I'd say as disciplines I feel that the two are opposite to the way you're describing them.

    Geography is a much broader, more academic study whereas planning is geared toward actual application and putting things into practice. A Masters in Planning is the recognized degree that makes you a "planner."

    A Masters in Geography doesn't necessarily make you a "geographer," does it? And that's not a job that every local, county, and state government is constantly hiring.

    I'm probably more interested in geography and urban studies than I am in planning, but the latter is the one that I've always thought had better job prospects outside of academia and limited government research jobs.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    105

    Okay, need help, would like some advice.

    If anyone else can help me too. I posted another thread.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 5
    Last post: 16 Nov 2010, 11:35 AM
  2. MA in geography or planning tech job?
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 10 May 2008, 6:51 PM
  3. Replies: 27
    Last post: 11 Jul 2005, 11:50 AM
  4. Replies: 10
    Last post: 03 Mar 2005, 10:28 AM
  5. Replies: 0
    Last post: 01 Mar 2005, 8:20 PM