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Thread: How hard it is to apply a PhD in urban planning?

  1. #1
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    How hard it is to apply a PhD in urban planning?

    How hard it is to apply a PhD in urban planning?
    I am graduating from a master program in urban planning. I am not sure if I can get a job due to the bad economy. I am thinking if I should apply for a PhD in urban planning to make sure that I can have something to do after my graduation.
    I do not begin to prepare for application so far. I prefer schools in California, such as UCB, UCLA, or USC. Are they very hard? I am in NY now.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Unless you want to go into academia or a think-tank, a PhD in planning won't be much use. Many communities discourage it because a doctorate sounds like you are not well-grounded in the day to day job of a planner.

    Unfortunately you are finishing school in a terrible economy. If you absolutely don't want to go look for a job and stay in school (I don't blame you), earn a second masters in a related field (architecture, engineering, environmental sciences, landscape architecture, etc.). It will make you a more well-rounded job candidate when you finish.

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    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    ...but conslulting firms relish credentials.

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    Master degree is too expensive! I do not want to pay for the intuition any more. I think the PhD programs always have fellowships.

    What is the consulting firms? I always heard about it, but I am not very clear what consulting firms are. Could you please give me some examples?

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Cherry View post
    Master degree is too expensive! I do not want to pay for the intuition any more. I think the PhD programs always have fellowships.

    What is the consulting firms? I always heard about it, but I am not very clear what consulting firms are. Could you please give me some examples?

    Thanks!
    In a nutshell, consulting firms are private companies that specialize in performing technical work for public entities or other private firms on a contractual basis. In the world of planning consulting this can mean updating a municipality's general plan, conducting environmental studies, creating urban design plans/guidelines, developing site plans and other design documents for private real estate developers, or even providing staff extension to municipal planning departments. Firms that engage in planning consulting range from the huge A/CE firms like URS and Parsons Brinkerhoff, to international architecture and design consulting firms like EDAW, Gensler, and HOK, to smaller "boutique" planning and design firms like Calthorpe and DPZ. I would recommend checking out websites for various firms and looking through their project portfolio's to get a feel for what they do.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    ...but conslulting firms relish credentials.
    Some credentials. It is nice to have a professional license, or a certfication, and certainly a masters, but I do not think a PhD carries much weight unless it is a technical field. If you are an environmental scientist, then great. If you are planner, then many people would tend to think of a PhD as an academic and not really an applied professional.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Unless you want to go into academia or a think-tank, a PhD in planning won't be much use.
    Exactly. In fact, Berkeley's PhD program specifically discourages people from applying if they don't want to do those things:

    If you do not want to teach in planning or a related field, or to do advanced research, please reconsider applying to this program.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    What about the other type of consulting...the kind that Booz Allen, McKinsey, etc do? I've heard they love Ph.D's...it's not exactly planning, but maybe you could look at that route.

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