Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 25 of 25

Thread: MPA in urban policy and planning

  1. #1

    MPA in urban policy and planning

    Was accepted into another program, but this time in Public Administration/ It offers a specialization in Urban Policy and Planning where you take courses in GIS, land use, etc.

    Is this a good route to take if one wants to jump into planning?

  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hang on Sloopy...land
    Posts
    9,721
    Quote Originally posted by manoverde84 View post
    Was accepted into another program, but this time in Public Administration/ It offers a specialization in Urban Policy and Planning where you take courses in GIS, land use, etc.

    Is this a good route to take if one wants to jump into planning?
    It depends on what you hope to accomplish with your degree. If you hope to get into administration, then you are on the right path. If you just want to be a planner or dept. head, it might not be.

    I have many collegues who have MPA degrees. I don't think many people consider it as a negative. But again, in this climate, it might make you less desirable to potential employers. It depends on what they are looking for.

    Do it for you. If you enjoy the course material and professors, then do it. If you don't, then save your money and find the right fit for you. Good luck.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  3. #3

    Administration?

    What do you mean by administration in the planning sense?

    If the specialization is in Urban Policy and Planning, would could be done with an MPA as far as in the field?

    What do your colleagues with MPA's do?

    I wouldn't mind doing anything involved in City Planning.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian cng's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Greater Los Angeles
    Posts
    207
    Quote Originally posted by manoverde84 View post
    What do you mean by administration in the planning sense?

    If the specialization is in Urban Policy and Planning, would could be done with an MPA as far as in the field?

    What do your colleagues with MPA's do?

    I wouldn't mind doing anything involved in City Planning.
    Even with a planning emphasis/specialization, it's still an MPA, and would be viewed differently than an MUP. I assume the program include classes teaching broader land use topics, as opposed to intense design labs and site planning. The latter is still preferred for entry into the planning field. Within a municipality, the ones with the MPAs are typically your management analysts, finance analysts, human resources personnel, assistant city managers, and city manager. The MUP is strictly geared towards planning. This doesn't mean you can't break into the planning field with an MPA with a planning emphasis, but I would think that someone with a straight MUP would have an edge over you, as far as education is concerned. However, you would have an edge over that person in other management analyst positions. In some sense, the MPA is a little more generalist and practical. And of course, it also depends on where you intern and have on-the-ground experience in.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,391
    Quote Originally posted by manoverde84 View post
    What do you mean by administration in the planning sense?

    If the specialization is in Urban Policy and Planning, would could be done with an MPA as far as in the field?

    What do your colleagues with MPA's do?

    I wouldn't mind doing anything involved in City Planning.
    Its going to be very competitive (notice how I didn't say 'bleak' like I normally do!!) in planning for the foreseeable future. If you actually think you want to get into planning, you want a planning degree. If you want to get into administration, you want an administration degree. In good times, things are loosey-goosey, In these times, you have to deal with HR first, and who knows what they think when they sort thru resumes.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    America's Happiest City
    Posts
    4,903
    I find the MPA very appropriate for someone like myself with just simply an BSCRP (bachelor of City Planning) degree.

    As CoolGI mention for now and foreseeable future, i think grads without the right degrees (geographers, MPA, etc.) will be passed over on degree alone for what little jobs are out there unless they have stellar internship or portfolio work.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  7. #7

    frightening....

    I had no idea it was that grim for planners.

    The only other options I have are dropping the MPA at Northwestern all together and signing up for the Environmental Geology and GIS degree at UPenn that is still available to me.

    OR

    I can just opt for in the Health Care Policy and Administration concentration with the MPA.

    Which one sounds like the better deal at this point in the economy?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,789
    The latter.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  9. #9

    really?

    What are the reasons for the latter and not the former, nrschmid?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by manoverde84 View post
    What are the reasons for the latter and not the former, nrschmid?
    Have you not read any other threads in this entire forum? What the do you think is more appropriate for today's economy? Healthcare is only going to get bigger and bigger, while planning isn't even on the same level.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    America's Happiest City
    Posts
    4,903
    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Have you not read any other threads in this entire forum? What the do you think is more appropriate for today's economy? Healthcare is only going to get bigger and bigger, while planning isn't even on the same level.
    Agreed. My wife is in school to get her degree in nutrition and healthcare policy. We both agreed, she pretty much would become the bread winner over time and simply our family can't take the "up and down" rollercoaster that is the development world. Stick with Health Care Policy, more doors open that away.

    As always with people contemplating planning... why do you want to become a planner?
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,391
    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    and simply our family can't take the "up and down" rollercoaster that is the development world. Stick with Health Care Policy, more doors open that away.

    As always with people contemplating planning... why do you want to become a planner?

    Mee three. Lots of aging, poorly-fed obese people that will need lots of care. If we can keep their care in our current political economy, that is, which is no guarantee.

    Nevertheless, after you get the answer to your question, simply point them to that XtraNormal video here.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,789
    Over the past few years the same question comes up time and time again "which pays more" in planning. Some would-be planners try to concoct the right mixture of classes, professors, and internships, in the misguided belief that what is printed on paper will equate to what is printed on the pay stub.

    Planning jobs are often a lopsided grouping of 1-4 year spurts. It is boom and bust, feast and famine. What people are forgetting is the downtime: the time and money spent earning MORE credentials, the time spent brushing up the resume when your current planning job starts slowing down, the time AND money spent relocating for the next big thing. Unfortunately, peace of mind is hard to measure in a 30k,50, 75k, or 150k planning job.

    As for me I have moved further south to Houston, TX to begin a new career. I have several ideas but I'm not going to share them at this time. It was a very very big wake-up call that after 6 years of busting my but and moving across the country that I had to end up starting all the way at the beginning again, but that's life. Planning can be a very rewarding career but it fails at building equity and respect from the general public over the long haul. I knew this going in and I was okay with it, but now I am wrapping up my "fun" career and focusing on something more serious and hopefully more stable. I will continue to do planning/design work on the side probably as a volunteer or pro-bono. Just yesterday we had Better Blocks Houston which I did some volunteer site design work. It was a networking thing but really at this point I do it for fun as a hobby.

    Bottom line look at how much you are willing to pay (in time and money) to GET that 50k, 75k, or 100k. It's not just tuition but an opportunity cost and plenty of bumpy rides along the way.

    Hope this helps-
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    Posts
    401
    Dude,

    What do YOU want to do?

    Sit down and write on a piece of paper what you want to be doing ten years from now. Describe the ideal job. Explain in detail what you would be doing in that job.

    As it is, you just have a general concept of something that appeals to you and you've found two degree programs that could help you - sort of, or as others have pointed out, not help you at all. The dangers of MPA and planning degrees is that they are very vaguely defined degrees and depending on how you utilize, it, mean everything or mean absolutely nothing. Too many people float into a MPA or planning program because they didn't know what else to do and afterwards float down the career path wherever it takes them without much focus because they still don't know what else to do. The happiest planners I've met are those who've always wanted to be a public sector planning working in a public planning department and are quite happy at the medicore salaries offered - and they're happy because they are realistic about what the field offers and where it will take them.


    Quote Originally posted by manoverde84 View post
    Was accepted into another program, but this time in Public Administration/ It offers a specialization in Urban Policy and Planning where you take courses in GIS, land use, etc.

    Is this a good route to take if one wants to jump into planning?

  15. #15

    PennPlanner....

    What do I want to do?

    I majored in Econ and worked mostly for professors as a RA after graduating.

    I really don't know much else outside of public policy. Worked two and half years for a public policy tank at a University doing stats for their survey/polling department. That is the extent of my post grad work. Crunching numbers for the TX Lottery Commission or Dow Chemicals (PR for the papers) who wanted public opinion numbers on a recent chemical spill in KY.

    I am in desperate need of a graduate degree to get me out of the field I am in and into something more lucrative. I am almost going to be 26 for crying out loud and I have NO public (agency) or private sector experience!

    I figured an MPA would help or the most technical degree I could think of; Applied Geoscience.

    So now it's down to MPA, Health Care Policy and Administration

    or

    MS Applied Geoscience

  16. #16
    This thread, like so many other on here, support my opinion that a lot of recent graduates simply don't have enough general work experience to know where their genuine interests are.

    You don't always have to get a degree to do something, and even if you have a degree, there's no guarantee, especially in these kinds of professional services, that your degree will get you into the market.

    I am in desperate need of a graduate degree to get me out of the field I am in and into something more lucrative. I am almost going to be 26 for crying out loud and I have NO public (agency) or private sector experience!
    Do not make choices out of desperation. That's how life is wasted. You do not need a graduate degree to get experience. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that the problem is not having enough education. There are too many people out there looking for work who are overeducated and underexperienced. Don't be one of them. Get more experience and then you can think about more education down the road.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Island-State Republic of Singapore
    Posts
    162
    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    This thread, like so many other on here, support my opinion that a lot of recent graduates simply don't have enough general work experience to know where their genuine interests are.

    You don't always have to get a degree to do something, and even if you have a degree, there's no guarantee, especially in these kinds of professional services, that your degree will get you into the market.



    Do not make choices out of desperation. That's how life is wasted. You do not need a graduate degree to get experience. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that the problem is not having enough education. There are too many people out there looking for work who are overeducated and underexperienced. Don't be one of them. Get more experience and then you can think about more education down the road.
    I would so like to echo this together with what many of the posters have mentioned.

    I'm doing my masters now and most of my coursemates have jumped into the postgraduate bandwagon because it's hip or because it'd land them some prestigious job (or because it's seen as a quick route to gain permanent residency in another country ).

    Most have came straight after undergraduate studies and have no idea what they want to achieve in their careers or even have an idea on what the course entails. I'm concerned that they may regret after working in the field for a few years that this is not where they want to be in.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,789
    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    This thread, like so many other on here, support my opinion that a lot of recent graduates simply don't have enough general work experience to know where their genuine interests are.

    You don't always have to get a degree to do something, and even if you have a degree, there's no guarantee, especially in these kinds of professional services, that your degree will get you into the market.



    Do not make choices out of desperation. That's how life is wasted. You do not need a graduate degree to get experience. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that the problem is not having enough education. There are too many people out there looking for work who are overeducated and underexperienced. Don't be one of them. Get more experience and then you can think about more education down the road.
    I agree. I've worked on many different projects with just my planning bachelors and I'm planning on going into a different career short of going back to school. Show how your transferable skills relate to other fields. This will take quite a bit of self-reflection and brainstorming. It won't happen overnight but if you are persistent and diligent and organized you will see some light at the end of the tunnel.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  19. #19
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2010
    Location
    I'm gettin' there
    Posts
    925
    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I agree. I've worked on many different projects with just my planning bachelors and I'm planning on going into a different career short of going back to school. Show how your transferable skills relate to other fields. This will take quite a bit of self-reflection and brainstorming. It won't happen overnight but if you are persistent and diligent and organized you will see some light at the end of the tunnel.
    I'm glad to hear many others saying this is a good approach. When I was just leaving undergrad, things were looking pretty bleak, and there was definitely temptation to go the grad school route and continue to avoid the professional world.

    Getting the professional experience was a really good idea for me, despite all the struggle. This way I can wait as long as I need to, pay back my loans, and make a much more informed decision when I eventually do go back to school.
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    America's Happiest City
    Posts
    4,903
    Quote Originally posted by HomerJ9139 View post

    Getting the professional experience was a really good idea for me, despite all the struggle. This way I can wait as long as I need to, pay back my loans, and make a much more informed decision when I eventually do go back to school.
    I faced this same thing back when i graduated. I decided it was best to work for a while (a few years). Well a few years has turned into almost 8 years but at least with grad school back on the radar, I know exactly what I want out of grad school and what my goals are for after grad and how this will "enhance" my career. Had i gone to grad school strait out of undergrad, I would have been just a clueless as most people here begging for advice.

    Penn Planner said it best, Sit down and write on a piece of paper what you want to be doing ten years from now. Describe the ideal job. Explain in detail what you would be doing in that job. That right there, is what most people should do in general before embarking in such an investment.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2006
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,789
    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    Penn Planner said it best, Sit down and write on a piece of paper what you want to be doing ten years from now. Describe the ideal job. Explain in detail what you would be doing in that job. That right there, is what most people should do in general before embarking in such an investment.
    That is a good start. I would also spend just as much if not longer planning on a Plan B in case things don't work out at all.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  22. #22
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,278
    Quote Originally posted by manoverde84 View post
    What do I want to do?

    I majored in Econ and worked mostly for professors as a RA after graduating.

    I really don't know much else outside of public policy. Worked two and half years for a public policy tank at a University doing stats for their survey/polling department. That is the extent of my post grad work. Crunching numbers for the TX Lottery Commission or Dow Chemicals (PR for the papers) who wanted public opinion numbers on a recent chemical spill in KY.

    I am in desperate need of a graduate degree to get me out of the field I am in and into something more lucrative. I am almost going to be 26 for crying out loud and I have NO public (agency) or private sector experience!

    I figured an MPA would help or the most technical degree I could think of; Applied Geoscience.

    So now it's down to MPA, Health Care Policy and Administration

    or

    MS Applied Geoscience
    Just curious... based on your location in Texas and the description of the MPA in Health Care Policy and Administration, are you applying to Texas State University?

    I'll echo what others have said: look for experience opportunities and do a little thinking about where you want to be in 10 years. That said, the Texas State MPA is very flexible with its emphasis and has a strong record of internship and job placements. I graduated from the Texas State MPA program, so feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions about it.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  23. #23

    thanks, Suburb, I will pm you....

    But before I rule out planning all together, is Environmental Planning still a relatively good field?

    If I have the science background and GIS, would it be worthwhile?

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    America's Happiest City
    Posts
    4,903
    Quote Originally posted by manoverde84 View post
    But before I rule out planning all together, is Environmental Planning still a relatively good field?

    If I have the science background and GIS, would it be worthwhile?
    What do you intend to do with this degree after graduation? What's you end game?
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Promoting synergies...
    Posts
    3,558
    A masters degree is little more than a union card. You need it to apply for certain jobs but your experience and expertise in the field will land you the job.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 13
    Last post: 28 Oct 2012, 1:42 PM
  2. Postgraduate/PhD PhD in urban policy
    Student Commons
    Replies: 1
    Last post: 21 May 2012, 9:18 AM
  3. Replies: 1
    Last post: 13 Jun 2005, 2:10 PM
  4. Replies: 7
    Last post: 19 Apr 2005, 6:45 PM
  5. Replies: 8
    Last post: 25 Apr 2004, 9:44 PM