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Thread: Post baccalaureate undergraduate degree; Ryerson University

  1. #1
    Dec 2006
    Brampton, On. Canada

    Post baccalaureate undergraduate degree; Ryerson University

    I will be applying soon to a planning degree, but I am not sure of the program's merit in the workforce. Ryerson University offers a program that I am interested in, but it is at undergraduate level. I personally prefer this program as opposed to any masters programs because it is more of a technical degree in planning. I already have an honours degree in Business and Society from York University, so i was thinking the Ryerson progam is all I need to gain the aditional educational skills I will need to begin work as a planner. I am not keen on the masters programs just because I have already done social theory for four years, and I want to change things up a bit. I also do not like the independent nature of the masters programs, because I have never studied planning and am not prepared to specialize in it yet.

    Can anybody give me advice on wether I should go into the Ryerson program (which I want to take) or a masters program (which i do not think is as well suited for me)?

    One source told me that the masters program will be better and that with a second undergraduate degree I will get stuck in a more technical area of planning that will not lead to promotions. Does anybody agree or disagree?

  2. #2
    Hi correia,
    the way I see it is that in both cases you are going to spend 2 years in the program, so why not make the most of those 2 years?

    My personal leaning is towards a Master's degree, because I feel it would have more to offer once you've completed the degree. There may be some circumstances where Ryerson's PLAB is appropriate, but if you can get into a decent Master's in Planning program that fits your objectives and interests I would think that is what would be preferred.

    To address your two points:
    a.) Technical nature of the program.
    Just make sure you work out your own curriculum that has a good number of practical-based courses. Make sure there are professors who are also practitioners and take a practical approach to planning.
    b.) Specialization.
    Master programs have a core set of courses that all students are required to take, this should help you get a broader view of the planning field. (Make sure you look at each programs own curriculum).

    Also, depending on the program, you may not need to specialize into a particular area until at least after the first or perhaps second term; or you can always change once you're in the program.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian andreplanner's avatar
    Apr 2005
    Edmonton via T-Dot & LA
    Well i am in Los Angeles now. So I think it must say something about urban planning.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally posted by andreplanner View post
    Well i am in Los Angeles now. So I think it must say something about urban planning.
    Don't leave us hanging here...

    Really though, I'm interested in what you have to say.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Sep 2001
    skating on thin ice
    working in the GTA, an undergrad will get you in the door, a masters will get you promotions.

    If the time to complete both are the same, I'd go the masters route.

    You can probably audit some undergrad applied courses if you ask real nice, or even TA them so you learn along with your students.

    As for ryerson, I work with a number of rye high grads and most seem competent. It mostly depends on the person and not the degree.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  6. #6
    Dec 2006
    toronto, ontario
    hey there

    i'm currently in the PLAB program (my first of two years). i previously have a bach. of commerce from u of t, and just from my experience so far, i really like the program. i find that i'm learning a lot for the most part (also b/c i'm really interested in the material). the program has some really good hands on work. i felt the same way coming into the program in that i didn't want another theory-heavy, "academic" type of education. from what i gather, much of the education here is comparable to any masters program. many of the prof's would actually argue that this program is not appropriate for a student coming straight out of high school.

    having said that, there are a number of drawbacks. in particular, you're mixed in with a number of undergraduates. my only issue is that many of these students do not really want to be in the program (just like in any undergraduate program). whereas in the group of other post-bach. grads in the program, we all REALLY want to be in the program. i would imagine thats what its like in a masters program as well...i guess thats where the 'experience' comes in.

    as for employment, i can't say, as i'm still in school. its impossible to get a job at toronto city hall, but that goes for any graduate (masters or not). but, the chief planner for Toronto is a graduate of the Ryerson program, and he does not have a masters... so you never know

  7. #7
    Cyburbian RubberStamp Man's avatar
    Aug 2006
    Wherever mediocore planning lurks
    Assuming the graduate program you are looking at is accreditted by the Canadian Institute of Planners, then the curriculum should be comparable with Ryerson as all accreditted schools need to meet minimum standards. Theory would be part of the curriculum but typically would be comparable with Ryerson (again, there are other parts of planning that need to be covered and you only have 4 semesters to cover all of them). Those who want to really specialize in planning do their research as a PhD, or at least an MA in Geography.

    Many graduate planning programs are well suited and are even DESIGNED for students from backgrounds OTHER THAN planning. In fact, you will likely find 4/5 of your peers will not have a planning background and will be very diverse. A masters in Planning is not necessarily equivalent to a masters in biology in terms of specialization. A masters in planning nowadays is like an MBA, most come into the program with a different background. Most grad programs offer an alternative option to a thesis in your second year if you are not thrilled with the more academic part of a grad program.

    In a grad program your peers will more likely be at a similar level of maturity and hence your discussions should be richer.

    Also, as a grad student your course selection may be more flexible. For example if you wanted to take a business course in real estate you may be able to select the regular undegrad business course or the MBA course.

    You may also get financial perks in a grad program. A masters is better for the workforce aspects too. In your situation I would recommend a grad program as to me it sounds better suited for you (contrary to your own conculsion).

  8. #8
    Dec 2009

    what did you decide and how did it go

    Hey C,

    as I am contemplating the exact same thing you did back then,
    how did it work out?
    Would you rec'd the undergrad or grad program?

  9. #9
    Dec 2009
    Charlotte, NC / Florence, Tuscany
    how do you delete a post/message on here???
    Last edited by christen.gandy; 13 Dec 2009 at 11:14 AM.

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