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Thread: Planning Programs (course work)

  1. #1
    Feb 2009

    Planning Programs (course work)

    Hi, I'm curious as to what the typical masters planning program entails. Specifically how courses are typically graded. Is it based on essays, presentations, tests, etc ? I assume it varries from school to school, but i'd like to get some feedback.


  2. #2
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    May 2005
    New Town
    As you said, each program will have a different set of requirements for evaluation. At my school, a lot of courses were project based and many classes were run like studios, engaging in both theory and application in real world settings. Often these were team projects - you get together with a few others in the class and develop, write and present a project. You are graded collectively.

    In other classes, each student had their own project. In both cases, grading was based on a combination of the deliverable (paper, report, etc.) and the presentation. I found this to be very helpful for after school work. In school or the real world, there will be others that are easy or hard to work with, some people may or may not pull their own weight and, as a team, you have to find ways to accentuate your strengths and bolster your weaknesses to create a sound product.

    I took only a few actual tests, one of which was the qualifying exam to continue in the Masters program. It was a combination of essays and oral responses. If you took more engineering, science (for natural resource management) or math related (stats, for example) courses, you may have more exams.
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  3. #3
    I took a lot of 400-level (which were also electives for grad students) classes when I did my UP bachelors degree...

    I went to Illinois, and it was a mix...

    there were a few classes that were more on the practical side (make a plan or study an issue... assignments walked you through the steps of the plan)... we had a couple classes where the entire semester was working in a particular neighborhood or district of town...

    there were also classes that were all classroom with discussions and a couple big tests and papers each semester.

    Grading really depended on the professor... some professors would grade you say 20-30% on attendance/participation during class, and the rest on a couple of tests or papers...

    others would have several smaller presentations/homework assignments throughout the semester.

    It probably depends a lot on what you concentrate in... if you go to a school that is more policy-oriented, you'll do a lot more standard "classroom work"... if you got to a school that is heavy into design, you'll do more studio-type classes.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
    Feb 2007
    Playing at a movie theater near you
    Agreed with previous posts. I had a good mix of policy and design as an undergrad. My policy classes had more tests and term papers. Generally these tests were based on law cases, environmental issues, state regs, etc. Stuff you memorize. My design courses were more studio based so we went from having projects turned in once a week (to get to know how to draft and design) to full blown master plan /neighborhood plan level projects that took over a year (3 quarters) to complete. Some of these projects did include presentations in front of the class and other observes. In one class project, we had to present a staff report to the planning commission that our school was located in.
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  5. #5
    Dan Staley's avatar
    Dec 2007
    Front Range, CO
    Quote Originally posted by Greener66 View post
    Hi, I'm curious as to what the typical masters planning program entails. Specifically how courses are typically graded. Is it based on essays, presentations, tests, etc ? I assume it varries from school to school, but i'd like to get some feedback.

    At UW (Seattle) MUP, we had a mix of lecture, studio and typical 8-10 student grad class. Every quarter - e-v-e-r-y - quarter there was group project, team work, group work, and essay writing. I rarely had a test, but every week there were papers due and presentations were common, and we hung our work for the college to see several times. You learn very quickly how to read a ton of material and get what you need out of it, and you learn very quickly how to size up individuals in groups and how to tell if they will pull their weight, slack, complain, etc (and you'll learn how to exclude the slackers from your group as well). Your self-discipline will not be in regurgitating for a test you crammed for, but rather your self-discipline will be in reading, synthesizing, arguing, reading, persuading, and making something out of your ideas.

    Good luck!

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