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Thread: NYU vs. SUNY Buffalo MUP?

  1. #1
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    NYU vs. SUNY Buffalo MUP?

    I'm having some difficulty choosing between NYU's MUP program and SUNY Buffalo's MUP program. I've lived in New York City for about two years and love it. I think it would be an exciting place to study urban planning. However, I grew up in Buffalo, have a place for it in my heart, and the issues that Buffalo faces are what originally made me interested in the field (but I'm not sure if I want to move back). I'm torn between these two cities and am not even sure where I would like to end up when I'm done with school.

    If money were no object, I would likely continue living in New York and attend NYU. However, UB has offered me enough scholarships and stipends to cover my tuition, while NYU has offered only a quarter-tuition scholarship (and it is almost 4 times the cost of UB in addition to high New York living expenses). Here is my question: would going to school in Buffalo tie me to working in Buffalo at the completion of the program? Also, is there a vast disparity in reputation? Any feedback would be wonderful, thank you!
    Last edited by lindsay38; 31 Mar 2008 at 10:12 PM.

  2. #2
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    Wow, sounds familiar. As a Buffalonian and SUNY Buffalo MUP I went into the planning field because of the issues facing Buffalo, thinking I would get involved and make a difference. Wrong. This area is dying a quicker and quicker death. Opposing interests (mostly selfish) don't allow for much change and political leaders refuse to impart their will, which is why we elect them, only to have them fail us for their political cronies.

    I guess what I'm saying is, make your decision on what's the best education for you and what school best serves your interests.

    If I had to do it over again, I would have gone to a school offering more practical and hands-on skills, not an emphasis on egodemia, where professors work for grant dollars studying issues that are hardly relevant in most cases their students. UB is your typical "publish or persih" research university, which might be good if you're planning on a PhD and teaching but it doesn't necessarily make for a great practical planner's education.

    Depending on your interests, at UB you're required to take both research methods and quantititative methods (stats), which are largely academic aimed courses. I'm not saying their bad or useless, but it is urban and regional planning and the vast majority of planners do not need these courses. For example, the two UB grads I work with focus on urban design and never have nor will ever use those courses professionally. It's about a degree that gives you the most bang for your buck and the courses you want. Throw in a 1-credit colloquium every semester (I believe they still do that) and you're staring at 10 of 52 credits in courses that in 95% of cases students don't want or need. Why commit to 20% or courses you're disinterested in. If I understand about your interest in Buffalo, these aren't the course for you.

    Anything specialized interests you may have might not be attainable at UB. After I enrolled, the only prof who was interested in what I was left and they replaced the person with someone right out a PhD program who was and remains to this day focused on grant work and academia, not teaching professional planners. I had to basically teach my professors about my thesis topic.

    Forget about Buffalo, it's a lost cause and certainly with your career ahead of you, don't think about working here as communities spend less and less on planning. Don't let sentimental geography get you!

    I'll get slammed on this board I'm sure by some fellow UB grad or Buffalonian who'll cry "sour grapes" but the reality is, when people are honest these are the realities of UB and Buffalo. Those crying foul are the rosy colored glasses planners who have failed to see Buffalo and UB for what they are and are still. The realists have left, with me soon to follow.

    If it was me, I'd enroll at NYU, find a local planning firm there where you can intern (way more opportunties in NYC than Bflo) and get the most from the program and forget about Buffalo.

  3. #3
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    These responses are incredibly helpful. I still have some thinking to do, but thank you!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian njm's avatar
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    What bflo forgot to mention is that EVERY school will have you take some classes you don't think you need.
    What luck! A random assemblage of words never sounded less intelligent.

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