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Thread: Graduate school and career advice (was: Advice?)

  1. #1

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    Graduate school and career advice (was: Advice?)

    I am currently in my senior year of undergraduate study and am considering a drastic change from my previous plans. My current academic training is in the field of Theology. However, I have been increasingly drawn to Planning. This, of course, leads to a few questions.

    1) Is it common for people with little or no background in Planning on the undergraduate level to enter a graduate school? If so, would the graduate school fill in the gaps/prepare a person adequately without that undergraduate study? (Currently i'm looking at UIC's CUPPA program. Any suggestions for other programs?)

    2) I'm curious what elements of Planning are fulfilling to those of you already in the field. What makes your job the most satsifactory? The most dreadful?

    3) What qualities do you feel are the most beneficial for this field? The APA website has a decent list but I was curious if anything essential or more practical was missing from their list.

    I don't expect long responses or anything, just some general advice if you find the time. I plan on talking with the director of our Urban Studies program at my school and to enroll in some basic courses before I graduate. Hopefully this turns out to be a good thing

    Thanks a billion.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Welcome to Cyburbia!

    To answer your first question, yes, I think it's very common for people with little background and/or an undergraduate degree in Planning to enter into graduate school. I'm proof of that. I can't comment on whether graduate school would fill in any gaps from undergrad; however, I do feel like I was adequately prepared when I got my first real planning job. Granted, no level of school is not going to teach you everything you need to know for the real world.

    My job has exposed me to different aspects of planning (comprehensive, environmental, transportation, etc.), which is fulfilling to me. However, I cannot stand doing any kind of statistical analysis. I equally despise doing anything Census-related like demographics, population projections, etc.

    Qualities most beneficial to this field? I think it really depends on the type of planning that you'll do. The ones most beneficial to me are being a good listener and a people person.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  3. #3
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Just to echo what Planderella said... I got my B.S. from an accredited school and took some upper level classes that were dual listed as graduate courses. I think nearly all of the graduate students in these had bachelor's degrees in something else. Some had even been working in a different field for a few years before realizing that planning was what they really wanted to do. When I went to a different school to get a M.A. in Geography with an emphasis on planning, I was the only one in there with Planning education and work experience. We had everything from english to engineering to environmental science majors in there. And, I have a co-worker now that got a B.S. in Sociology before going back to get her master's in Planning.

    As for beneficial qualities... Being able to think quickly on your feet seems important. Being polite and a good listener, and being very thorough (something I need to work on).

  4. #4
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    Apr 2007
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    Auckland, New Zealand
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    Career Advice

    I have recently had a flash (brain shut-down?) of inspiration that I wish to change careers dramatically from wine marketing to community planning. The role I envisage is one between architects, landscape architects, developers, regional and local goverment to ensure that planning is done in a long-term sustainable manner. i.e. creating long-term thriving healthy communities.

    I am in the research phase and wish to know what I should be studying? Urban Planning together with a people-related field? Then who the leading universities are and planned communities that I can visit - failed or not. I am currently in Europe and can travel anywhere.

    HELP!

    And thanks
    nelsonx

  5. #5

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    Apr 2007
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    Chicago, Illinois
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    THanks for the welcome and the responses, it is much appreciated!

    I found some additional resources that have also been quite helpful and I plan on submitting a few admission packet requests this week. It is rather exciting!

    I'm considering ordering "the green book" from the APA website since Borders seems to lack any resources on Planning. Know of any other books that are useful?

    Adios and thanks again!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    I definitely recommend the Green Book. The Book Club Forum has plenty of threads with recommendations about planning books and the like.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

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