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Thread: How much does where you get your masters matter?

  1. #1
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    How much does where you get your masters matter?

    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?

    Or should I just try to get into UCLA next year? I want to work in Los Angeles.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Cal Poly SLO Grad

    I graduated from Cal Poly SLO in the mid-70's. It has never ceased to amaze me the continuous respect that the planning industry in California has for SLO grads. The curriculum there is very hands on and more design oriented than any other institution in the state. Its also a great place to live and go to school, a classic college town in a beautiful environment on the central coast. My impression of both UCLA and UCI from the people I have known who have gone there is that they are principally policy schools. I would not be the planner / designer I am today without my Cal Poly SLO experience.

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    I definitely want a design-focused education, so this is good news! Thanks.

    Do you think SLO is well-respected across both the public and private sectors?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Respected on Both Sides

    Cal Poly SLO is respected by both the public and private sectors. I have lived and worked in Salt Lake City for the past 15 years and Cal Poly SLO is even respected here by planners in the know. I still maintain close ties with professional friends in California. Its been a while since I checked, but ten to fifteen years ago, many of the principals of design-oriented firms in California were SLO grads. I suggest you visit the campus today and talk to the faculty and see what they are emphasizing these days. I know that in the past, design has been the most important emphasis, but things change over time as faculty change.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    My 2 cents, if you are design focused and your "market" looks to that, then do it regardless of up-front cost. If your "market" is more policy driven I think the emphasis is less.

    Not to be condescending, I went to a policy emphasis school in a market that looked for that.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Nicolenow View post
    I definitely want a design-focused education, so this is good news! Thanks.

    Do you think SLO is well-respected across both the public and private sectors?
    SLO hands down. I know a lot of us grads from both public and private (i work in the private sector on the design side) and we are pretty well respected and well rounded. Is there a specific reason why EDAW? just curious.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  7. #7
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    SLO hands down. I know a lot of us grads from both public and private (i work in the private sector on the design side) and we are pretty well respected and well rounded. Is there a specific reason why EDAW? just curious.
    SLO is well-respected outside of California as well, for what it is worth. I know most are familiar with it in Texas.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    a note on UCLA

    I'm a grad of urban design at UCLA, which is an architectural degree. I also took planning courses. It would be difficult to do the opposite --i.e., take UD studios in the architecture department while enrolled in the MA in planning, unless you already have an architecture degree. (The arch dept is happy to enroll non-architects in electives, but studios are typically in-house only.) And UCLA's master's in planning is definitely policy-based, though there are a small number of design-oriented courses.

    In your situation, I'd pick Poly!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    SLO is well-respected outside of California as well, for what it is worth. I know most are familiar with it in Texas.
    What does SLO stand for? School of Landscape ___________?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello View post
    What does SLO stand for? School of Landscape ___________?
    San Luis Opsipo...right?
    (I know I didn't spell it right, but I don't live in Cali)
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planit View post
    San Luis Opsipo...right?
    (I know I didn't spell it right, but I don't live in Cali)
    Close enough. SLO=San Luis Obispo and the school is actually California Polytechnic State University.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

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