I'll be applying to graduate schools in the fall. At that time I'll have a BA in Urban Studies and Stats.
Let me give you a scenario: if I were a physics student, and got a Ph.D. in physics, I would cover all the material I would have learned if I just got an M.S. in physics. But the same isn't the case for Urban Planning. You don't get the MUP skillset -- a somewhat technical skillset -- if you go for a Ph.D. (in either urban planning or some related field, because I know very few urban studies Ph.D. programs take you without the MUP).
I don't know what to make of that. First off, I'm not sure quite what I want to do with my life. For the longest time, I thought I wanted to just get a MUP, but lately I'm not sure I want to resolve my life to this semi-technical path, since I'm really into policy. I could be stuck at a DOB or DCP (pardon my NYC parlance) job the rest of my life, not doing anything to match my ambitions.
I've been working in policy in a political office the last few months, and I would certainly love to be the guy "on top" who makes high-level policy decision, but the odds of actually getting there are low for anyone, and I'm not in love with politics. In fact, working in a political office the past few months has made me incredibly jaded. (For example, everything we do must pass the muster of our commucations department, which stifles all our ideas. If you can't market it to some news network in under two sentences, you can basically shoot it down.)
So, basically, I like policy but I hate working in a political office. At the same time, I find it hard to abandon the MUP path entirely -- I think the MUP skillset is invaluable for someone working in urban policy. How can I make policy if I don't understand the physical/spacial means by which it is enabled?
(Additionally, I've thought about getting a masters of public policy, but I don't think that's the right degree for me. I already have a good backing in statistics and quantitative methods in the social science, which seems to be the biggest "practical" skill from a MPP.)
Someone suggested to me once that I may end up working for an urban policy think tank. What do you guys think of that?
I'm mostly asking for life advice here. I've been lurking here for over two years, and I trust you guys a lot. Last week at work someone mentioned Cyburbia and I got super giddy. I know this was very rambly, but I appreciate anyone who was willing to sit through my stream of consciousness here. Thanks to anyone willing to chip in.