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Thread: BA in UP or Environmental Studies to get MLA

  1. #1
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    BA in UP or Environmental Studies to get MLA

    I just transferred to SFSU and am deciding between a BA in their Urban Studies (w/ emphasis on Urban Planning) or Environmental Studies (w/ emphasis on Urban Environment) program. I eventually want to go into Landscape Architecture because I am in love with designing yet want to have the option of doing urban planning as well. I was wondering which BA would be my best route for my goals and would also give me flexibility in the planning arena.

    In addition, I already have taken my sciences and labs but was wondering if a Chemistry and Biology courses would be required when the time comes for my MLA and how design oriented an MLA is. Thanks in advance!

    ~m

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Why don't you just enroll in a BLA?
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  3. #3
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    Living and financial circumstances keep me in the area and at SFSU. I initially wanted to go into urban planning, but it would be ideal to become a landscape architect with a planning background.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    SFSU is neither accredited by the Association for Collegiate Schools in Planning (ACSP) nor the Landscape Architecture Accrediation Board (LAAB). That means you need to practice planning, and planning only, for 4 years before you can take the AICP exam. Where do you want to go to school for your MLA? SFSU does not have a program.

    You want to throw money in a program that can't design a simple website?
    http://bss.sfsu.edu/urbs/courses.html

    That is plain garbage.

    Urban studies is traditionally a branch of sociology that deals with urban issues. It is not the same thing as urban planning, although there is a little overlap.

    The environmental studies program also has a piss-poor website (a 1 paragraph description isn't enough). It sounds like it is an environmental studies major that focuses in the urban environment, but doesn't have much to do with environmental planning.

    After looking at their website and ACSP, SFSU is not a planning program. I think you might need to take out some loans and go somewhere else if you really want to do planning/LA. You can practice some types of planning with just a BLA. UC-Davis might be the closest BLA program near you. I think you're just going to have to cough up the extra money and relocate.

    http://www.planningaccreditationboar...ndex.php?id=30
    http://www.asla.org/schools.aspx#288

    Hope this helps-
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  5. #5
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    ...[snip].... SFSU is not a planning program....[snip]....
    You beat me to the punch. The SF State program is not a highly regarded in California. You're right, it's simply not a planning program. Plenty of other options in the Bay Area....including Sonoma State (a shameless plug for my school).
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    i'm only going from my experience, but if you want to be landscape architect who can do planning, i would suggest doing a bachelors in landscape architecture and a masters in planning, the BLA is much more technical than the MLA

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by HRose View post
    i'm only going from my experience, but if you want to be landscape architect who can do planning, i would suggest doing a bachelors in landscape architecture and a masters in planning, the BLA is much more technical than the MLA
    I partly agree with that argument. Yes, the degree of choice for LA's is a BLA, and the degree of choice for planners is a MUP. I know several RLA's who practice planning with no planning degree. Granted, most of them are not adept in planning areas such as economic development, environmental justice/advocacy, housing, or statistics. However, they do have some experience in current and long-range planning, environmental planning, and transportation planning (to a certain level). I am going the opposite route: I earned my BUP, work as a planner/designer, and going back for an MLA down the road.

    Having worked with LAs for 6 years, firms consider BLA programs to be more "technical" by virtue of devoting more years of studio time than MLA programs (hence some firms' bias towards BLAs). However, there are several tech-heavy MLA programs (K-State, the Ohio State, Louisiana State, etc.) that have grueling projects in a shorter time frame. Both BLAs and MLAs are still intense programs, and many are on par with each other. The MLA student might have a leg up if they have a degree + experience in another field because they bring more to the table. Workers with an MLA can also teach landscape architecture.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the feedback. Would 3 years work experience with a Landscape Architecture Company and a ba in urban studies (although it is not an accredited school) be substantial enough to get my foot in the door before going for an MLA. I would want to go to San Jose State if I were to go for an MUP. Berkeley would be ideal but it is definitely a long shot.

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