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Thread: Thinking of a PhD

  1. #1

    Thinking of a PhD


    I'm currently an economics MA student in Ontario. I like econ, and I'm thinking of applying for a PhD in the subject. However I've also been thinking it might be more fun to do something a bit more applied with my life, such as do a Phd in urban planning. But what I'm curious about is how useful this degree would be. Obviously it is more applicable material, but I have no experience in planning, and I don't really know what I would do with the degree once finished. Still, it really does sound like more fun than economics.

    So what do the planning PhD's do? Is this something people usually only get after several years of actual planning work? Sorry for the noob q's, and any advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Feb 1998
    Greensburg, Kansas
    A PhD in planning will give you a leg up for federal government and think tank positions. Consulting firms most likely would take experience over a higher degree. It would not help with planning jobs for local governments, and may be considered a negative. Have you thought of a PhD in economics where your research could focus on planning issues? The market would be similar with the federal government and think tanks.

  3. #3
    Thanks, that is good advice. One issue I could see is that econ programs probably wouldn't be recognized by the local planning certification groups here. This is likely a path I will explore though since I don't necessarily want to leave academia anyways.

    Urban economics is certainly a relevant area of economic research, I guess maybe I should read up on it more to see what the actual difference is from urban planning. Then again, this would mean I'd have to write the economics comprehensives

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