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Thread: Cal Poly SLO v. UC-Irvine

  1. #1
    May 2008
    Los Angeles

    Cal Poly SLO v. UC-Irvine

    I am deciding between Cal Poly SLO and UC-Irvine for a MUP. I am interested in urban design, and want to work for an urban design and planning firm, particularly EDAW after graduation. Cal Poly SLO would be about $18K less overall than UCI. Does anyone know if either school is more reputable among prestigious private sector urban planning and design firms?


  2. #2
    May 2008
    California Central Coast
    Hi! I'm actually headed to Cal Poly SLO in the fall to pursue my masters! I can't exactly speak specifically for either one in terms of urban design (I enjoy that area but it's not my main focus) but I thought I would chime in anyways.

    Cal Poly is very practical and hands-on. I believe I read somewhere that the graduates come out of that schools knowing HOW to do things in regards to planning. Also, one of their tracks in urban development and design. Just by seeing that, I believe you would gain a great deal in the urban design realm. While there is the option for a thesis, you can also do a professional project, or, as I understand it, a third studio. Your professional project could be something urban design oriented and I think would be a great piece to show potential employers (i.e., EDAW).

    Okay, sorry this is really brief and probably somewhat redundant to you. But, I know for myself, sometimes it's just nice to hear from someone else.

    But let me know where you ultimately decide to attend... esp. if it's Cal Poly! I know absolutely no one in the area so it'd be nice to talk to someone attending before I make the big move!

    Good luck on your decision... I'll be check back on this thread just to see others opinions

  3. #3
    Apr 2009
    Missoula, MT
    I believe that CalPoly SLO was in the top 25 graduate planning programs (Planetizen) although, as everyone will tell you, ratings don't really matter. I would look at the firm you're interested in and where they got their degrees. Maybe call the director and ask him directly if he finds graduates to be better suited from one program or another. Oftentimes (if they LIKED their grad schools) firms will hire very heavily from that school.
    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian kalimotxo's avatar
    Feb 2009
    The Old Dominion
    While I don't know anything about these schools firsthand, the company I work for has an office in Oakland and I've heard a lot from my west coast colleagues about planning programs out there. My impression is that UC-Irvine is very theory-based, almost to the point of being esoteric. It seems that UCLA and UC-Berkeley are the two UCs that are properly balancing theory with practical knowledge, hence their reputations are much stronger than Irvine. Also, UC-I doesn't seem to have a very strong design component, if they have one at all...

    I have heard nothing but great things about Cal Poly SLO - from colleagues, professors, and on Cyburbia. I'd repeat everything cindyg86 said and add that they do have a reputable design component. Based on the cost differences, your own interests, and what little knowledge I have of the programs, I'd choose Cal Poly in a heartbeat.

    FWIW, I've heard that San Luis Obispo is a really great little city.
    Process and dismissal. Shelter and location. Everybody wants somewhere.

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