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Thread: Good economic development grad schools?

  1. #1

    Good economic development grad schools?

    I am about to graduate with a 3.5 from Arizona State University and plan on having sufficient GRE scores to get into a decent grad school. As of right now, the only really direction I have is my common sense. For example, I am thinking that Portland State is my ideal school because it is in a city that has been so successful in that field.

    Other school I am looking at are Wisconsin in Milwaukee, U of Washington, and maybe U of Michigan. Does anybody know more about choosing a school or have a connection to a person that knows allot about this process?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    What is your focus going to be? Milwaukee and Portland are both very good for design and redevelopment. Don't be too sold on the idea of ANY place being "successful". Most simply have good PR. They may do things differently, but that tends to breed an entirely different set of problems, rather than make a place "perfect".
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    When I was going there in the mid-1990s, the University at Buffalo's graduate planning program had a strong economic development focus. There was another post where a recent grad wrote that many UB planning alumni land jobs with state and regional ED agencies.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  4. #4
    Sep 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm in my second year at U of Michigan's MUP program, and while I'm in the physical planning and design concentration, I know people in economic development who seem to really like it. I spent a LOT of time trying to chose the right school- had a list of 45 total planning schools and narrowed it down to the 8 I applied to. I'd say take out anywhere you definitely aren't willing to live for 2+years, think about the potential concentrations you'd like to focus in, and consider the balance you want between theory-based and practice-based courses/experiences. It also doesn't hurt to look at specific professors if there is someone you really want to work with.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
    Apr 2006
    Promoting synergies...
    IMO the best grad schools for ED are Clevand State and Georgia Tech. Penn state also has an online cert that I have heard was good. I have done economic development in three states and have only met one person with a degree in it. My point is you are better off actually working in ED rather than getting another degree. Both Denver and SF had internships recently posted. The big cities are always looking for entry level people with little experience that work cheap. Since you are in Phoenix check with GPEC. They often does internships as well. Everyone wants experience and most places would rather hire someone with a few interships than a masters degree.
    "You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it,..." -Bane

  6. #6
    Dec 2010
    Portland, Or
    Economic Development is not the PSU MURP program's strong suit - though they did hire a new econ professor, and they are looking to hire people to bolster their international planning focus. Things should be looking up for the program.

    They do have a "regional economic development" specialization, but land use planning, environmental planning, and transportation are the key strengths.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
    Jun 2009
    Where the Wild Things Are
    What field is your undergrad degree in? If it is something planning related, I would check into applying for the Masters of Real Estate Development (MRED) program there at ASU. That would give you a good practical background of the development process that would be looked favorably upon by many employers in the ED field.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  8. #8



    Portland is a special place. Someone once referred to it as "The People's Socialist Republic of Portland", and it's not inaccurate. The people there prioritize public goods over private wealth in a way I've never seen in America.

    There are MANY schools offering masters in urban planning. Each tends to specialize in concerns relevant to its particular region. Do you want to do economic development for rust-belt cities? For growing sun-belt metropoli? Once your graduate, who are you going to work for? Economic development specialist for a city? For a national consulting firm?

  9. #9

    MURP with ED or Economics with ED

    If y'all don't mind, I'd like to add to Phx' questions. I'm curious about this area as well. Is it better to look at Economics degrees or Planning/Urban studies degrees with a concentration in Economic Development. I would like to work for a city planning commission or something closer to the implementation side rather than broad policies (I think). I'm still debating Int'l vs. Domestic planning.

    I'm interested in neighborhood and community development, particularly with regards to schools and child services. I don't know how broad a Econ degree with a concentration in ED would be, and I don't know if I have much of a shot at the econ route. Thoughts?

    I really enjoy economics but only have a minor in econ with a B avg, so not too strong when looking at

    Background on me: graduated from Georgetown w 3.6, GRE 1420, 3 years work experience, no planning experience, 4 mo internship in small business development NGO in Chile, and currently I run a fairly comprehensive kids-to-college program for low-income students in a particular area of town. Looking to apply for fall 2012.

  10. #10
    Feb 2010
    Philadelphia, PA

    Yes to this

    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    My point is you are better off actually working in ED rather than getting another degree.
    This strikes me as very true. If what you are interested in is economic development in a general sense, get a job/internship with an EDC of some sort and then apply to business school in a couple of years. It'll make you a much stronger candidate for ED positions down the road.

  11. #11
    Apr 2008
    Near Saturn
    Quote Originally posted by rubyshoes View post
    Is it better to look at Economics degrees or Planning/Urban studies degrees with a concentration in Economic Development.
    Why either? I would look at a program in either community or economic development. I know of several. In fact, I have an MS in Community and Economic Development. Also, if this is your area of interest there are several professional development programs of worth. You could attend a Community Development Institute or Economic Development Institute. This would be a way to gain some practical knowledge. Some of these institutes will also allow you to apply your attendance toward a graduate degree. This would allow you to "test the waters."

  12. #12
    Dec 2010
    What area of economic development? For example, I'd like to focus on economic development from an infrastructure and energy policy perspective, the platforms on which all productive activity takes place. The more you narrow your focus, the better placed you'll be to locate the ideal program.

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