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Thread: Positives and negatives of dual degrees?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Positives and negatives of dual degrees?

    Hi everyone I'm entering my last year as an undergraduate in geography and planning at the University of Toledo. What I really want to do is design cities and create a better built environment. My dilema is choosing between Landscape architecture and Urban Planning with design emphasis. I've read previous posts on their differences and what careers each one leads to. I'm interested in the overall design of cities and not just single site plans so it seems UP would be the best route. However, I don't believe it would hurt to get a dual degree with LA. Has anyone gotten a dual degree or know if this kind of program is better than taking a more specialized approach with a single masters? Right now I'm looking at CU Denvers programs because they seem to fit me the best. Any feedback on that school either?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Go west.
    The One and I have a very bias opinion about UCD - we are both grads.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Read up on previous posts that I, CPSURaf, bdaleray, and others have written on LA and/or planning.

    I think Denver is a good school (I am considering going there myself for the dual program in a few years, and hopefully can apply to the separate urban design degree program later on). The Ohio State has a dual program which is very good.

    Are you working on a double-bachelors in planning at Toledo, or are you doing geogaphy or planning? I think if you have a degree in planning, work a few years as a planner, then go back to school you won't need the planning masters, and you can just work on the LA degree. If you are planning on going right to school, I think working on the dual/triple masters might be good. Personally, I am working a few more years as a planner, trying to learn as much as I can about LA on the job so I will be better prepared when I enter the program. I am debating right now as to get a masters in planning since I am ultimately going to do more LA type of work.

    If you are interested in the design of cities from the ground up, you might be interested in master planned communities (MPC) or PUD site design. Although these sound like planning types of work, I think they are really examples of site design and the nitty gritty parts of these designs are typically done by architects and landscape architects, not planners.

    Unfortuantely, most of the public equate MPC's as golf course communities, when it really is so much more than that. There is an article in the July 2007 edition of Planning Magazine entitled Across the Board: Master planned communities come in all shapes and sizes by Ann Forsyth and Katherine Crewe that talks about new trends in master planned communities. MPC's are not to be confused with master planning, which is a type of long range planning/comprehensive planning that outlines growth for a special district such as a park district or water district. Master planning is done by both planners and LA's.

    Keep in mind that if you plan on going to a design heavy school you will need a portfolio. Lucifer is working on one right now for admissions to grad school. If you apply to a dual program, you will more than likely need to apply to each school separately, in which case you have to prepare two application packets along with the required work/school samples for the planning degree and a separate design portfolio for the LA degree.

    Hope this helps-
    Last edited by nrschmid; 04 Jul 2007 at 4:54 PM.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks for the help and advice. The University of Toledo doesn't have a specific planning program. They combine geography and planning with the option of taking planning classes. (very few of them, which is why I think a Masters of planning would be needed) Which schools offer a MPC degree?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    MPC's are mostly designed by LA's and architects. Denver, Ohio State, and university of michigan have dual degrees in planning and LA.

    (I forgot this). You had mentioned you are working towards a geography bachelors with an empahsis in planning, so it really isn't a planning degree. I am not sure if the graduate admissions officer(s) for a planning masters program will look at this as more of a planning or as a geography background. Maybe someone on here will be able to chime in. When you visit the schools, schedule an appointment with the admissions officer(s) for both programs and bring up your situation.

    Are you working on a design portfolio? It doesnt necessarily need to be coursework or past job projects, but can include sketches, renderings, paintings, mixed media (possibly photography, but I think anyone can take a photo nowadays, few people can do other other media). I have met lucifer in person and he is working on a portfolio for admissions into planning and LA. Although I haven't seen his portfolio, he is taking classes in Adobe Illustrator (good) and Photoshop (VERY good). Take a course in AutoCAD if you can. These courses can be through the university or even a community college. Take a tree identification course or anything to broaden your knowledge about plant material.

    Hope this helps-
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 05 Jul 2007 at 10:36 AM. Reason: double reply

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Like nschmidt said, I am in same boat as you. I am considering doing the same and actually just like you I will have a BA in Geography. I think you should really consider taking some graphic design classes. I learned Photoshop, Illustrator, and Strata 3D, just through a basic intro graphic design, and only through one course (of course your school might differ) . I am trying to find where I would be able to fit in some classes for AUTO CAD, as my senior year will be packed, with classes and I will be studying abroad. I will also be taking a Plant Identificaton course, as well another class you should take is Micro and Macro Economics. I have realized that many grad schools require that you have taken those two courses, so take those two.

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