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Thread: What degree to pursue

  1. #1
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    What degree to pursue

    If I want to pursue sustainable urban development, to promote all of its different forms (social, political, ecological).......should I get a masters in Environmental science, policy and management or urban development?

    I am getting pretty scared by all the unemployed planning threads....would I be more employable with a more science based background?

  2. #2

    Dear pretty scared... AKA GigiGold

    If you really want to focus on urban development tying in all those different forms, I would say stick with a Masters in Urban Planning despite the bad job market... that will change in time - it's a great time to be in school
    (Alternatively you could approach it from the private sector and go into real estate or development construction management... but that'll be much more driven by the money. You may be able to find an in-between with architecture if you have the skill.)

    Experience is #1 so get an internship or job as quick as you can. Get one with an MPO if you can. Yes. this is hard and it is very competitive. Join planning groups, school associations, volunteer groups etc. to make yourself more attractive to internship hiring bodies.

    Listen, the science based background MAY be more employable, but very rarely in urban development jobs, as I've seen. If you get a degree in science, I would expect you would find a job in science... a job working in sustainable development is possible, sure but it would probably be much more specified with the science background - i.e. calculating the exact rate of rainwater recharge vs. runoff on a site... not so much the real holistic approach to development you are talking about.

    The job market right now is due to economics, not change in approach to the field:
    1. the hiring entities have less money; lay-offs/hiring freezes ensue.
    2. people are working longer into their retirement age
    3. everyone shifts down a notch; mid-level people take lower jobs, entry level people are screwed.

    I believe this trend of funding cuts and lay-offs will change as the economy crawls out of this ditch... if it doesn't we're all screwed anyway.

    Don't worry. I'm underemployed myself, but I've stopped worrying - takes too much time from applying for jobs and trying to make the best of the part time one I have...

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