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Thread: Master's program without bachelor's degree?

  1. #1
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    Master's program without bachelor's degree?

    I'm currently in community college in Canada right now and I have 1 more year until I complete my 3-year program. I was wondering if applying for a Master's in urban planning without a bachelor's degree is a good idea.

    There are two schools I've seen so far that would accept me without the bachelors, depending on the application I submit. They are York University and Dalhousie University:

    http://www.yorku.ca/fes/students/fut...quirements.htm

    AND

    http://gr.cal.dal.ca/PLAN.htm#3

    I know I still have to fight the odds of getting accepted, but my question is if it's a good idea. Would these degrees considered a "degree mill", even though both of these programs are recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners.

    Or would it be better to start from the undergraduate level?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    I know a woman who got her masters in public health from the UW - a top public health school without finishing her bachelors

    but, she was a long time practitioner in the field.

    You may not need a bachelors to get in but unless you've got some serious experience or have done something so innovative in the field of planning they cannot help but let you in, you should probably take the time and get your undergrad degree.

    It'll go quick and afterwards you may decide planning is not for you, perhaps you decide you like public administration, geography, or economics. Maybe GIScience
    Master of Public Administration - 2012
    Concentration: Metropolitan and Regional Policy
    Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs
    University of Washington, Seattle, WA

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    Thanks for the reply, djad.

    That's what I'm worried about. In the special case of me getting into the Master's urban planning program, I'm wondering if you'll need 10+ years of experience to be the exception, or just being able to show your desire for planning and having some volunteer experience.

    Right now, my situation is tricky. I have one more year left of community college and I wonder if that will make a difference in helping me get accepted into that Master's program.

    Also, there's another undergraduate urban planning program I can still apply for this fall (I have until June to apply). So I can either:

    1) Finish my community college program, apply for the Master's program next year and hope I get in.

    OR

    2) Apply for the undergrad urban planning program for this fall 2010.

    OR

    3) Bite the bullet and take the undergrad program next year.

    If I'm able to get in the Master's program, I'll save 3-4 years of schooling. Decisions, decisions!

  4. #4
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    diety,

    You will not, with absolute certainty, get into an accredited masters program in planning without an undergraduate degree. Don't consider the possibility any further. The only people who could take this route would be those who have 5 + years of significant work experience in the field.

    Are you not able to use your credits gained at your community college towards an undergraduate degree? Why not pursue that avenue instead, then proceed to gaining admission into a graduate program.

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    Thanks for the reply, Goldeneye.

    You're right, I probably wouldn't get into the Master's program without significant experience in urban planning, which I do not have at the moment.

    There may be hope for me to get into a planning program this year. York University is still accepting applications for their urban studies program:

    http://www.arts.yorku.ca/sosc/urbanst/index.html

    http://www.futurestudents.yorku.ca/r...ts/application

    This would be perfect for me because I meet the requirements of a transfer student and have until June 15 to apply. However, I'm skeptical because I'm not sure if the undergraduate program at York is certified by the Canadian Institute of Planners:

    http://www.cip-icu.ca/web/la/en/pa/5...1/template.asp

    The CIP lists York University, but not the Undergrad program.

    I'll call York U tomorrow and ask if they are certified. That being said, it'll be nice to know that I won't have to wait an entire year to get into an urban planning program, if I choose this program.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    York's undergraduate program is not accredited by CIP. To the best of my knowledge, the only two undergraduate programs in Ontario accredited by CIP are at Waterloo and Ryerson. With that said, York does have an accredited MES degree. Go with an undergraduate program in your area of interest. When you start your fourth year, start applying for graduate programs in planning and you'll be on your way.

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    That sounds like a good idea. What I'll do is apply for this program at York and (probably) get in. If the program at York isn't doing justice to help me be an urban planner, then I'll just transfer my credits from first year and get advanced standing from a CIP accredited program like Ryerson and Waterloo. Either way, as long as I have a Bachelor's degree, I should be able to get in a Masters program later on for urban planning.

    Thanks for all your help, Goldeneye!

  8. #8
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    Another option is that you could apply to Ryerson's 2 year fast track undergrad PLAD program (Google it) - they MAY accept some students who don't have an undergrad but went to college instead. However, having said that, the competition for that program is steep so it'd be hard to compete with all the degree holders. I know they accept applicants from Fanshawe College, not sure about other colleges though.

    I'd recommend actually emailing the administrators of the program for their advice, they'd be better able to offer you advice than anyone else.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Regardless of which program you ultimately enroll in, how are you going to justify a missing undergraduate degree to an employer?

    ...and the cards come crashing down...
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

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    I highly doubt an employer would give two cents if an applicant didn't have a BA/BSc but held an MA/MSc. For one thing, I'm sure they'd be at least mildly impressed that someone would be successful in gaining admission into graduate school without undergraduate qualifications. That, in and of itself, speaks to the tenacity and aptitude of the person.

    With that said, good look gaining entry into a graduate program without an undergraduate degree!

  11. #11
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    Incidentally, have you considered applying for 4+1 programs? If you can finish your gen eds at the community college, you could have a master's in three years if you can get into the right program.

    UIUC has a 4+1 program, and I'm sure a couple of others do, as well.

    http://www.urban.illinois.edu/admiss..._admit_41.html

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Lux Lisbon View post
    I highly doubt an employer would give two cents if an applicant didn't have a BA/BSc but held an MA/MSc. For one thing, I'm sure they'd be at least mildly impressed that someone would be successful in gaining admission into graduate school without undergraduate qualifications. That, in and of itself, speaks to the tenacity and aptitude of the person.

    With that said, good look gaining entry into a graduate program without an undergraduate degree!
    I strongly disagree. A college diploma is proof that a job candidate completed one program from beginning to end. I have a cousin who finished his BAUP at my alma-mater but didn't graduate because he neglected his foreign-language requirement. What really ticks me off is that I helped him from day one, he told us he graduated *(and we even threw him a party). I haven't talked to him since Chirstmas but I doubt he could even get into law school or most graduate schools unless he had a waiver, which is still a piss poor excuse for bad career planning.

    An associates degree does not bear the same weight as a college diploma. I personally don't even consider an associates as an actual degree either. Stop trying to circumvent the system, get into a college, earn your diploma, and THEN go to graduate school like everyone else.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  13. #13
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    nrschmid provides good advice. Without researching the schools, my first opinion is that of a degree mill.

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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I strongly disagree. A college diploma is proof that a job candidate completed one program from beginning to end. I have a cousin who finished his BAUP at my alma-mater but didn't graduate because he neglected his foreign-language requirement. What really ticks me off is that I helped him from day one, he told us he graduated *(and we even threw him a party). I haven't talked to him since Chirstmas but I doubt he could even get into law school or most graduate schools unless he had a waiver, which is still a piss poor excuse for bad career planning.

    An associates degree does not bear the same weight as a college diploma. I personally don't even consider an associates as an actual degree either. Stop trying to circumvent the system, get into a college, earn your diploma, and THEN go to graduate school like everyone else.
    That about sums it up. If your cousin did get into law or grad school and completed them, passing the bar or any other certification program, then he would certainly be able to find work. While you may not like it, you certainly don't dictate the what is and isn't acceptable. Some employers would mind, others wouldn't.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Lux Lisbon View post
    While you may not like it, you certainly don't dictate the what is and isn't acceptable. Some employers would mind, others wouldn't.
    An an employer, yes I could require anything I wanted. MOST, if not ALL employers would require a bachelors BEFORE a masters. That IS the standard. PERIOD!

    If anyone ever bothered me with such trash, I would personally kick him/her out the back door with my foot!
    Last edited by nrschmid; 20 May 2010 at 5:49 PM.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    An an employer, yes I could require anything I wanted. MOST, if not ALL employers would require a bachelors BEFORE a masters. That IS the standard. PERIOD!

    If anyone ever bothered me with such trash, I would personally kick him/her out the back door with my foot!
    LOL, you're ridiculous. As if an employer would honestly trash a resume before interviewing an applicant because they had a MUP without a BA. Like having a BFA in Music somehow makes that applicant a more capable planner. Please.

    Life isn't black and white, and judging by your childish responses, you are currently in absolutely no position to be hiring prospective employees anyway.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I would interview a BFA in music with a master in planning. I would not interview a masters without a bachelors.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Any moderator want to chime in? I think we have another guy trying to shake things up.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

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    Shake things up? Is that what you call disagreeing with someone? Heaven forbid!

  20. #20
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    I am not a moderator, but there are others who pay close attention to each posting. They can suspend you and ultimately ban you from cyburbia by blocking your IP address. You also have a low posting count which doesn't lend much weight either.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I am not a moderator, but there are others who pay close attention to each posting. They can suspend you and ultimately ban you from cyburbia by blocking your IP address. You also have a low posting count which doesn't lend much weight either.
    LOL, what the hell are you talking about?! I feel like I'm having a discussion with a nine year old.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    "you're ridiculous.
    "your childish responses
    "you are currently in absolutely no position
    "I feel like I'm having a discussion with a nine year old."

    Uh, grow up. Deity307 had a legit concern that we addressed. That is, until you came along.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    "you're ridiculous.
    "your childish responses
    "you are currently in absolutely no position
    "I feel like I'm having a discussion with a nine year old."

    Uh, grow up. Deity307 had a legit concern that we addressed. That is, until you came along.
    You addressed with one side of the equation, I addressed it with the other. It is, in fact, ridiculous to imply that it is impossible to get a job with a Master's and no first degree, just as it is absurd to imply or suggest ALL employers would refuse to hire someone with such a background.

    As I said, life is not black and white, no matter how much the two of you would like to paint it as such.

    And based on his last post, I did feel like I was in a conversation with a nine year old. Few grown men would say/post such a bizarrely passive aggressive thing. "You're new here, so you don't have much leg to stand on. They might ban you for offering a different perspective and calling me out on my bullshit!"

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