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Thread: Thinking about planning degree

  1. #1
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    Thinking about planning degree

    I am currently a student majoring in environmental studies. When I decided on this major I hoped that I could get into a career in what I would later find out was "planning". I am taking an urban planning course now and have some more planning classes I have to take for my undergrad. It has definitely sparked my interest in a possible career. Can anyone give me an idea if having a background/undergrad in environmental studies might help me in a planning career? I am “planning” (sorry, had to) on going to grad school for a masters in planning but would like to unlimitedly focus more on environmental impacts/aspects. Anyway, might this make me any more marketable or appealing to an organization? Or as I have read on here by some is "is really doesn't matter what your undergrad is when you get a masters in planning"

    Excited to be part of this message board and talk with so many of your with such a wealth of info on this topic. Thanks in advance for your input.

  2. #2
    My undergraduate degree was in environmental studies and then I went on to get a masters in planning. It all worked out great.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Environmental planning as an undergrad degree is definitely marketable in getting into grad school, doing well, and getting a job afterward. Generally it's good to have a different undergrad background than your graduate degree, preferably in a related field. There is a huge growing market for environmental planners and experts as there are more and more people competing for finite resources (i.e. thirsty Atlanta)

    If you go to grad school for planning and find something else that interests you, you won't be wed to your environmental background. Good luck!

  4. #4
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    I know I have asked this several times already (but I must keep plugging away tilll i get some advice and answers!):

    But do you think that a geology degree is also useful as the undergraduate degree before the planning masters?

  5. #5
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    What about a BA in political science with an emphasis in Public Policy?

    (At this point, maybe a thread with "useful" undergraduate degrees for the Master's in Planning should be started.)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plan 9's avatar
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    I've know a number of planners out in CA that have BS/BA environmental type degrees and were able to get entry level jobs without too much trouble. Its all those CEQA docs you have to do! Besides, at least in most of the western states (except CO maybe), there is a shortage of qualified (semi-qualified) planners, so makes it even easier. I imagine after this latest round of wild fires there will be a few more vacancies around the southern part of CA.
    "Future events such as these will affect you in the future."

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally posted by Tresmo View post
    Environmental planning as an undergrad degree is definitely marketable in getting into grad school, doing well, and getting a job afterward. Generally it's good to have a different undergrad background than your graduate degree, preferably in a related field. There is a huge growing market for environmental planners and experts as there are more and more people competing for finite resources (i.e. thirsty Atlanta)

    If you go to grad school for planning and find something else that interests you, you won't be wed to your environmental background. Good luck!
    Yeah, I feel if things fall through with focus on environmental aspect/focus of my undergrad the masters in planning should present more opportunities. And the environmental degree can just be a bonus, I guess. As far as staying in Atlanta, who knows. I was living in California the last few years and loved it, but am unsure if I can afford to live out there again. I am originally from Atlanta and came back to finish school and that might be it. I am open to moving a lot of places and I figure that planning jobs are everywhere.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    My undergraduate degree was in environmental studies and then I went on to get a masters in planning. It all worked out great.
    Sounds very encouraging. Thank you everyone for your replies.

  9. #9
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    This planner's degree is in environmental studies and planning. I'm doing ok for myself...or so they tell me.





    8877

  10. #10
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by UrbanAndrew View post
    I know I have asked this several times already (but I must keep plugging away tilll i get some advice and answers!):

    But do you think that a geology degree is also useful as the undergraduate degree before the planning masters?
    Sure. As someone mentioned below, schools often look for folks who have an undergrad degree not directly related to the graduate program (except perhaps in medicine - they like a biology major). This isn't to say that these degrees don't have a positive effect on your grad work. Having an English degree makes you a more skilled writer, for example. I think the reasoning here is that to keep the field fresh, they want people approaching the subject from a variety of angles.

    But, depending ont he kind of planning you are interested in, geology is very applicable. Out here in New Mexico, water issues are a huge part of environmental planning practice and geology is a very large part of that (many municipalities get there water from aquifers, or, in the case of Albuquerque, are switching to surface water in order to recharge the aquifer). An understanding of geology also impacts decisions about where people are allowed to build and how. I also expect geologists use a lot of physical mapping technologies that could be adapted to planning or float easily into GIS. And on and on.

    Which is to say, go for it...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Sure. As someone mentioned below, schools often look for folks who have an undergrad not directly related to the graduate program (except perhaps in medicine - they like a biology major). This isn't to say that these degrees don't have a positive effect on your grad work. Having an English degree makes you a more skilled writer, for example. I think the reasoning here is that to keep the field fresh, they want people approaching the subject from a variety of angles.

    But, depending ont he kind of planning you are interested in, geology is very applicable. Out here in New Mexico, water issues are a huge part of environmental planning practive and geology is a very large part of that (many municipalities get there water from aquifers, or, in the case of Albuquerque, are switching to surface water in order to recharge the aquifer). An understanding of geology also impacts decisions about where people are allowed to build and how. I also expect geologists use a lot of physical mapping technologies that could be adapted to planning or float easily into GIS. And on and on.

    Which is to say, go for it...
    Thank you so much for taking the time reply and telling me just what I wanted to hear!

    I am now feeling a lot more positive about my chances of beginning a career and have just applied for the masters. Thank you very much!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    Planning is not a specialist career. It is a study of numerous different phenomenon where you need to synthesize multiple pieces of information together to understand what is happening in the natural and built environments under the auspices of a political system. You can come from most any science field, engineering, poly sci, or other path and see that skills you had will translate in the planning realm. Take some classes, see if it appeals to you, and take it from there.
    Satellite City Enabler

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