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Thread: Studied geography and environmental management in the UK; want to plan in the US

  1. #1
    Sep 2007
    Monterey Park

    Studied geography and environmental management in the UK; want to plan in the US


    I'm from the US and went abroad to the UK to study and graduated with a BS in Geography and Environmental Management (honors) from the University of Bradford. I went there because through research I found that they do environmental studies very well and I found out that I want to be an Urban/Environmental planner. However, I just graduated and find it difficult to get a position as a planner so far (in the US).

    My concentrations were in urban planning, regeneration, conservation, environmental impact assessment, planning policy guidance and human geography. Is there anything wrong with why I can't jump into a planning position? From what I understand there is are associate, assistant and senior level planners. Do I need an internship first? Is there anything wrong with a degree from the UK? I went because I thought it was better for the field. I used to be a computer programmer before for 7 years but I don't have relevant vocational experience. Is there any advice on how to get into the planning sector, it's my vocational focus (and i want to further my education in planning. should I focus on ACPI certification?). I thought bringing the environmental factor to planning, along with the architecture and engineering was the way forward. I can use any advice.

    Thanks in advance for your time,


  2. #2
    Oct 2007
    Washington, DC


    I'm in the same boat as CityBlue: I went to Europe to get a graduate degree in Environmental Management. Environmental issues are increasingly landing in the laps of planners, and, in many regards, European countries and cities are at the vanguard of urban planning and environmental management, so I thought: what better to do that study in Europe?
    Here are my stats:
    • B.A. in Politics & German from Princeton
    • M.A. in Public and Private Environmental Management from a leading German university (coursework in environmental/urban policy, policy analysis, planning, management, law)
    • Yearlong paid grant for comparative research on smart growth
    • Management internship at a state environmental agency

    Despite all this, I cannot seem to secure a job, let alone an interview for entry-level planning positions! (I have applied to 65 so far.)
    Any tips?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plan 9's avatar
    Jun 2007
    It sounds like you are looking for entry level jobs which is where you should be looking. Try California, lots of environmental related jobs (CEQA) there that you can transition into real urban planning from. Geography is a good base degree to get into planning from, while public/private environmental would likely be much more difficult in most communities. I've always felt/experienced that most communities (definitely some are not) are fairly pro-development and environmental anything would be considered obstructionist.

    Like everyone else, keep sending out those applications, make sure you proof read, and have someone else look them over. Tailor those cover letters to the job (and tweek your resume sometimes as well). Development is in a down turn right now, so it will be tougher to find something until things pick up again.

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