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Thread: Anyone graduate from a "small school" with their masters in planning?

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    Anyone graduate from a "small school" with their masters in planning?

    After a long hiatus I am back on the forums.....

    FYI: I finally graduated this summer with my B.S. in Environmental Studies. I have a big decision to make on graduate school and wanted some of your insight. I graduated from a small school (albeit a state university) and as long as things go well am planning on going to grad school for planning. I was considering FAU and USF in Florida, but I would have to work for a year to get in state tuition so I can afford to go. However, my school does have a Masters program in "Rural and Small Town Planning" and I have read on here that the "title" of the program shouldn't restrict me from getting an opportunity/job in a "large town" but that is only half of the story. I wonder if I should stick around, save time and money and go to the "local" school or likely get a more diverse and potentially better education at the bigger schools with a more established program. Tuition is around the same but the cost of living would be a huge increase along with moving expenses. I guess that brings me back to the title of the thread. Has anyone graduated from a school that is not a "major university"? BTW, the program is not on the accreditation list either, at least not at this time. Advice? Thoughts? Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I would be cautious of a "Rural and Small Town Planning" program. I have devoted my career to small towns. It is not for everybody. The title of the program sounds more limiting to career choices than other titles.

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    I would try to find out more about the program's reputation. Where are its graduates working? What were their experiences? Most likely, with a program like the one you described, you're going to find it has more of a local or perhaps regional appeal than the better known programs. If you're looking to work locally, that program might be just the thing for you. You might visit the school, talk to the program director, and ask where its graduates are now; further, you might call a couple of those graduates and talk to them about their careers, how easy/difficult it was to find a job, starting position and salary, etc.

    Like the previous poster, though, I would be concerned with the degree name (rural and small town) and how that might be perceived in other places, particularly bigger cities if that's the kind of environment in which you would ultimately like to work.

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    Cyburbian kalimotxo's avatar
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    I've consistently heard that going to a different school for your Master's is advantageous, especially if your BS is in a somewhat related field. Expand your horizons by experiencing different perspectives, different teaching styles, etc. Is your current school ACSP accredited? That is probably more important overall than the title of your program.

    Also, just curious... why the focus on Florida schools? If you plan on living and working in Florida after you receive your MUP, going that route could certainly help. However, if you don't want to move out of state, there are good options in GA. G-Tech's planning program is very well regarded and has the name recognition to land you a job many places across the country. Just something to think about...
    Process and dismissal. Shelter and location. Everybody wants somewhere.

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    Quote Originally posted by kalimotxo View post
    I've consistently heard that going to a different school for your Master's is advantageous, especially if your BS is in a somewhat related field. Expand your horizons by experiencing different perspectives, different teaching styles, etc.

    Also, just curious... why the focus on Florida schools? If you plan on living and working in Florida after you receive your MUP, going that route could certainly help. However, if you don't want to move out of state, there are good options in GA. G-Tech's planning program is very well regarded and has the name recognition to land you a job many places across the country. Just something to think about...
    I am not trying to be a "homebody" by graduating from the same school twice I just wanted to have a fall back plan. I want to live and work in Florida, at least that is the plan. I likely cant get into Tech, my first year of college was terrible (over 10 years ago) even though I went back and have done well. I was in the military and have done a lot of traveling so I know I do not want to stay in Georgia to work if possible. I do know a few people that graduated from my school with a Masters Degree but they both were MPA, I believe. They work the same county the school is in which is Carroll County, GA. It is not "Mayberry" by any means the county population is about 114,000. One of the guys I kinda know (friend of a friend stuff) got a MPA from there and he is the Zoning Administrator for the county. Another lady I know is a planner, because she was a guest speaker in one of my planning classes. I made an effort to take as many as I could knowing thats what I wanted. I am working to have lunch with the zoning guy and discuss the same thing I am asking you guys. I know he would give me his honest opinion.


    Here is a link to the website of anyone is interested or if it will be beneficial. Thanks so much for your ideas/insight/opinions.

    http://www.westga.edu/assetsDept/index_5738.php

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    I took a quick glance at the page you linked.

    Brutal honesty here: The program looks weak. It's a 36-hour program (most are 48 hours) with no land use or comp planning component. I think you would have a hard time selling that program outside of your own region. That's just my take on it.

    Best wishes.

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    I appreciate your honestly. One last question if you dont mind. I noticed a thread about this but it didn't get any comments from the original poster. I noticed UGA has a Environmental Planning and Design Masters degree coming up soon and wonder what your guys thought of it. I already have a Environmental Studies undergrad degree so I worry about possibly being too redundant, but it is another planning school in state for me to consider...

    http://www.uga.edu/gradschool/programs/epd.html


    I have no idea what the design parts refers too... maybe someone can enlighten me.

    should have posted this too...

    http://www.ced.uga.edu/index.php/deg...gram_of_study/

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    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by danthonyjr View post
    Brutal honesty here: The program looks weak. It's a 36-hour program (most are 48 hours) with no land use or comp planning component. I think you would have a hard time selling that program outside of your own region. That's just my take on it.
    Seamill might have a hard time selling it in their own region...Plan-it would have a better feel for that, though.

    If you end up hanging around the extended metro Atlanta area, I'd look at Ga Tech, Ga State, and possibly the new UGA program first. Tech would be a very portable degree.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

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    Quote Originally posted by Bubba View post
    Seamill might have a hard time selling it in their own region...Plan-it would have a better feel for that, though.

    If you end up hanging around the extended metro Atlanta area, I'd look at Ga Tech, Ga State, and possibly the new UGA program first. Tech would be a very portable degree.
    Thanks for everyone's input. You guys are the best.

    I am very interested in the UGA program and am trying to find out more and will likely visit with them in the near future. I was unaware that Georgia State had a planning program. I saw they had a Graduate Certificate in Planning and Economic Development but I might have missed anything else. I also received an email from my friend about the West Georgia "small town" planning degree, and said one of his friends got a job in suburban Toronto with it, and I hope to get in touch with him. He also mentioned that the program was working to change their name to Community Planning or something of the sort, but the department head left so it may or may not happen. They are in a transition phase from what I have gathered.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    From what I have seen in the Atlanta Metro area, the people that graduate from West GA College tend to work in the rural areas around the northwest and southwest areas of GA. Many have gone on the have great careers working with the Regional Development Centers and for the small cities from around the state. I have not seen many in the core metropolitan Atlanta counties. These tend to be people from Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and from schools outside of GA.

    I concur with what others have said, I would not get a degree from the same school where you received your undergraduate degree. You really need instructors/professors with a fresh perspective that can make you think about other critical issues you have not considered before.

    I do not know much about the new UGA program. I have never interviewed nor do I personally know of anyone who is in the program, so I have no base of knowledge concerning that school. Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
    Satellite City Enabler

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