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Thread: MURP after BArch?

  1. #1

    MURP after BArch?

    Hi Everyone,

    This is my first post here. I have asked this question of several professors but wanted to get a broader opinion on the subject. I am in my fourth year of architecture school and have decided that I have very little desire to work in an architecture office following graduation. Most of our recent projects have been at the urban scale and I have realized that my passion lies in urban planning and design.

    My current university offers a MURP and will even allow me to start the degree during my 5th year of my BArch. However, after the intensity of architecture school I feel I may be taking on too much by diving right into the MURP program.

    How difficult would it be to break into the planning field with only a BArch? Generally, how intense are MURP programs in relation to architecture? Is there another degree (Public Administration, Urban Design, etc) that may be more applicable or diverse when applying for a planning position?

  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by n_freijomel View post
    How difficult would it be to break into the planning field with only a BArch? Generally, how intense are MURP programs in relation to architecture? Is there another degree (Public Administration, Urban Design, etc) that may be more applicable or diverse when applying for a planning position?
    Firstly, welcome! Now to the bad news... check out the career and student forums and you will see that even people who have planning degrees are having a hard time in the planning field right now. People with experience and master's are having a difficult time. That is not to say that you should be down or not follow what you want to do, just be aware of the situation we are in right now. With the anti-government sentiment, and the private sector on hold until the public sector can hire them again - we are somewhat in limbo.

    I would say get the degree that you find interesting and you feel will be suit you for whatever is ahead. If you look to get into the design side - go with UD; if you want more policy, go with planning. Do what you think will make you happy and you will eventually (with a lot of effort) find a position that suits 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
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by n_freijomel View post
    Hi Everyone,

    This is my first post here. I have asked this question of several professors but wanted to get a broader opinion on the subject. I am in my fourth year of architecture school and have decided that I have very little desire to work in an architecture office following graduation. Most of our recent projects have been at the urban scale and I have realized that my passion lies in urban planning and ...
    Welcome. I know several planners that have gone this route. However, this was before the Great Recession. Either way, when you get out you will be in the same boat, so you might want to think about the added debt and limited job prospects and make your choice from there. Speaking as a member of the generation that made it difficult for all succeeding generations, I apologize for your prospects; I argued against our course but few would listen. Now you must find happiness where you can and hope you can make a living wage.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    As you know architecture took a big hit during the recession. It's hard to say which suffered more: there are 250,000 to 300,000 architects in the US versus 40,000-45,000 planners. There are also MANY different types of projects that require architects: houses, drug stores, prisons, campus planning, lighthouses, chemical plants, churches, prefabricated housing, commercial, naval architecture, etc. Then you have related jobs such as construction observation, contract administration, architectural illustration, drafting, building materials, etc. The demand for these types of services will vary by geographic region.

    Even with a ton of competition with architects, I think you have far more options to consider out of school. True, it may be unglamorous work but it's a foot in the door. Even with the MUP, I think you would have more luck looking for an architecture job that has some planning tasks on the side than a planning job with architectural tasks on the side.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  5. #5
    Thank you everyone for your input. It really is a sad thing that some of the important fields in the development of society have taken perhaps the largest hits from the recession. As I only have one year left, I still have every intention of finishing my BArch degree. This leaves me the option to go in to a more traditional architectural profession.

    There is a close relationship between the architecture and urban planning programs at my unversity and our fifth year of architecture school is spent in urban design. This would give me some related projects and experience to put in my portfolio. However, I know that design is only a very small par and I would have limited knowledge in the legal and administrative aspect of the field.

    I guess the big question is since I have decided I want to go in to either urban planning or design, is it worth the time and money to go after the Masters degree or will prospective employers still see me as qualified with only the BArch?

    Nelo

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by n_freijomel View post
    I guess the big question is since I have decided I want to go in to either urban planning or design, is it worth the time and money to go after the Masters degree or will prospective employers still see me as qualified with only the BArch?

    Nelo
    I'd get my hands dirty first and then make a decision. You may not like the task of paying 20k more in loans for maybe a raise.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    We in the profession have been so devastated by the ongoing and continuing recession that its hard to be objective and long term anymore. I believe that the BArch and MUP is the best combination you can have. Most planners don't come out of college with enough practical design education. Most planning programs have too much social theory and not enough this is actually how things that get built fit together. As a urban design consultant, I won't even look at recent graduates who don't have a degree from a school that teaches practical design. The BArch programs that I am familiar with in the West emphasize design over theory. The MUP would round things out with advanced theory with enough additional design to make yourself more marketable.

    Realize of course, that no one is hiring right now and probably won't for another two years easily. Being in school for another three would be a great place to ride out the rest of the recession and get a practical undergraduate and graduate degree.

    More than anything else, get as much internship experience as you can while your going to school. You will probably have to do it for free, but in the long term, it will pay off in greater rewards.

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