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Thread: Urban planning programmes in Australia

  1. #1

    Urban planning programmes in Australia

    I'm thinking of applying for the Master of Urban Planning degrees in UNSW, University of Melbourne and University of Sydney. But I seem to have trouble in deciding which school would be better suited for me. University of Melbourne seems to have a better reputation overall, but some people say the Urban Planning program in UNSW is more practical.

    So could anyone give me useful advice of which school is better in terms of its relative strengths, internship opportunities (very important!) and teaching quality? Many thanks!

  2. #2
    Member
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    In my experience over in WA, it doesn't matter who you get a degree with. The industry is so desperate that they don't really care about what Uni or even your marks.

    My partner did a post graduate diploma at Melbourne and thought it was a good course and better than the ones in WA. But she chose it mainly because Melbourne is a great city to study in (hope I didn't just start one of those Sydney v Melb arguments).

  3. #3
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    Just throwing it out there, but Bond Uni in Queensland has a great urban planning and sustainable development program. It's fairly new, but the faculty I know of came from QUT, Cornell and Cal-Berkeley, which are some of the best planning and design schools.
    Also, Bond just built Austraila's first 6 Green Star academic building specifically for the School of Sustainable Development.
    http://www.bond.edu.au/about/faculti...ory_index.html

    Man I kind of sound like a Bond Uni spokesperson. Anyways it's an up-and-coming program. Any questions let me know.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    So there are lots of jobs in Australia? What about for foreign (ie: American) planners? Is it difficult to work in the country?

  5. #5
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    I am ant UniMelb at the moment, it's strength is that it's an integrated degree with architects, valuers and landscape designers - it's got a subtheme of urban design. The breadth is good, and I have found interaction with architects to be very valuable.

    Is it a good faculty, it's not the best for practical all round experience, the planning qualifications do, where planning needs to be applied, have a thread of how Victoria's government has set up the planning framework (ghastly, like most of Australia's states) but the issues shine through well. IMO big picture stuff is done well. Urban Design can be done well. Some lecturers are flaky, some are inspiring, worth asking around. I think the ratio of good lecturer to bad is no different to any other university, the strength is interaction with architects and built form people.

    If you are going to argue planning matters with architects, it helps to know the language they speak in.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Victory View post
    So there are lots of jobs in Australia? What about for foreign (ie: American) planners? Is it difficult to work in the country?
    There's a separate thread to this question:

    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=34008

    Generally, Australia has a shortfall in terms of planners, but I'm not sure how's the outlook now with the global economic uncertainties.

    As to universities I concur with Thomas_of_Australia, having gone through UniMelb's planning degree myself. The degree is definitely more theoretical and philosophical than practical, but it helps you to look at the larger strategic picture than be bogged down by place-specific regulations. There's no internship required for the course, hence if you're intention is to stay on in Vic and you want a degree with internship, you might be better off with RMIT's degree.

  7. #7
    Thanks for all the comments so far. I've asked particularly about practicality and internships because I'm applying straight out of school, and will only have 6 months of work experience as a Research Assistant at the time of enrollment. I'm concerned that after I graduate, whether I will have enough hard skills such as AutoCAD and knowledge of GIS which seems so important to find a job.

    I didn't apply to RMIT because I'm applying with an overseas tertiary qualification (but as a citizen), and RMIT has pretty awkward and expensive procedures in dealing with my case.

    No one here have any comments to offer on SydU or UNSW?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by PeripheryPro View post
    Thanks for all the comments so far. I've asked particularly about practicality and internships because I'm applying straight out of school, and will only have 6 months of work experience as a Research Assistant at the time of enrollment. I'm concerned that after I graduate, whether I will have enough hard skills such as AutoCAD and knowledge of GIS which seems so important to find a job.
    Hi PeripheryPro,

    Planners in Oz are typically either statutory planners (dealing with law and regulations) or strategic urban planners (dealing with policy), rather than urban designers, masterplanners or landscape planners (the realm of architects and landscape architects). Hence planners typically do not operate AutoCAD or GIS (or even have these skills to begin with!), even though having them would be great assets to your resume.

    For instance, in my previous job, all my maps were prepared by a separate GIS team. It was only while working in regional Oz where I learned a bit of Microstation on the job to help double-up with the Landscape Architect to prepare subdivision plans. None of the hardskills were required by my course structure - you had to choose to do them as electives.

    Hope this helps.

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