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Thread: UIC vs. UIUC

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    UIC vs. UIUC

    I'll be applying to graduate schools in the fall.

    I live and go to school in New York City right now, as I have for my entire life. I have visited Chicago a few times, and have friends who have hailed from there and like it. I would like to live there someday.

    Everyone seems to say UIUC is better than UIC, but is the gap really that big? I find it a little hard to believe that it is. I also, admittedly, want to believe they are basically equal, because I'd rather be in the more urban area.

    What do you guys think?

    (Also, I have a question about in-state/out-of-state tuition: how does it work?! I mean, if I go to graduate school in another state, I will have an apartment there. Does that mean I can get in-state tuition? Sorry that this is a such a stupid question, but it's something I've never understood.)

  2. #2
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    Josh,

    UIUC I think has a better reputation, but it's hard to pass up the chance to live in Chicago and have access to all the internship opportunities it offers.

    As for your residency question, I'm afraid it doesn't quite work that way. I was hoping for the same thing myself, but here is the U of I residency policy in detail:

    http://www.usp.uillinois.edu/residency/residentreg.cfm

  3. #3
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    As a UIUC grad, I would say there's a big difference between the two colleges. It depends on what you want out of them.

    UIUC is a comprehensive, challenging academic program with students from BA to PhD. There are many opportunities to work across disciplines, from architecture to the law. Any student should come out of UIUC ready to be a practicing planner on day 1.

    UIC is an urban campus, coming out of more of a social services & administration tradition.

    Oskee wa wa, go Illini.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by jcshepard View post

    UIUC is a comprehensive, challenging academic program with students from BA to PhD. There are many opportunities to work across disciplines, from architecture to the law. Any student should come out of UIUC ready to be a practicing planner on day 1.
    UIUC alum here. Urbana-Champaign is a Big Ten university and is the top public school in Illinois. I agree UIUC provides a much more hollistic approach to planning, with coursework in environmental, transportation, current, long range, community development, economic development, statistics, and international planning. I do design and non-design planning, started in architecture before switching to planning at UIUC and neither schools are design-heavy schools. There is little to NO overlap between the planning, LA, or architecture departments at UIUC, at least in terms of intense studio work. There are dual programs with law and architecture at UIUC. UIC is much more policy based.

    PLENTY of students at UIUC come from the suburbs of Chicago, including myself, and compete for internships and planning jobs in Chicagoland. UIC students also compete against geography students from NIU and planning students from Ball State and Wisconsin.

    Finally, UIUC undergraduates and graduates are NOT prepared for planning jobs on day one. DURP did a terrible job at preparing me for a career in planning, especially since I wanted to work right after school and refused to attend grad school there. I had to figure out my career on my own with little to no help from anyone. DURP repeatedly asks me for alumni contributions and I flat out refuse until they get their act together.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

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  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by jcshepard View post
    As a UIUC grad, I would say there's a big difference between the two colleges. It depends on what you want out of them.

    UIUC is a comprehensive, challenging academic program with students from BA to PhD. There are many opportunities to work across disciplines, from architecture to the law. Any student should come out of UIUC ready to be a practicing planner on day 1.

    UIC is an urban campus, coming out of more of a social services & administration tradition.
    I'm not sure you've distinguished UIUC from UIC. UIC: BA-PhD check, cross-discipline work check (architecture, engineering).

    I understand there's a bigger difference at the undergrad level (UIUC being the flagship campus), and UIC suffers at the undergrad level of being an institution most students don't aspire to.

    At the graduate level for planning reputation and student quality are similar. Furthermore, assuming that "comprehensive, challenging academic program" meant UIC is neither, can't be substantiated. I think the planetizen UIUC placement is one of the many "huhs?" of that list (to be fair I think that Bloustein is ranked higher than it should be, and I have been semi-feral in my support/defense of them here). I think each school attracts different types of students. UIUC is similar to UNC, and they have a larger focus on design, physical planning, environmental planning/sustainability. UIC is not a good choice for students interested in design IMO. But for students coming from a policy perspective it's an excellent choice. There's some good options for transportation too.One of the attractive things about the UIC/UIUC(downstate) programs is that because there is a difference in program direction you get a larger concentration of students with similar interests at each, and get focused faculty and research (instead of trying to appeal to all planning interests, and having nominal representation in faculty/research).
    Last edited by jersbanks; 10 May 2010 at 12:31 PM.

  6. #6
    UIC has always been the "red-headed-step-child" to the University of Illinois system (no offense to you gingers out there...)
    Having a historically rough time both in establishing its physical campus and academic prowess, UIC is often looked at a "lesser" option. On the contrary the school has improved over the last decade+ much faster than its reputation. That being said, I was quite happy with my education there.

    I found the coursework to be quite diverse with classes in all aspects of urban planning from community development, economics, sustainability planning, site planning, GIS, and more. You can really design your curriculum to focus on what you want. While I didn't have a design focus, I did get the opportunity in one course to work with the
    The UIC City Design Center on a real-world project. The MUPP program at UIC had started with more of a policy focus but it has expanded a lot recently.

    Also Chicago itself is a great learning tool and the city is full of resources (and MANY more internship opportunities, which are key - no school program alone will fully prepare you for a job in the field- you NEED experience!) and many organizations (i.e. APA headquarters) are located downtown as well.

    Both are accredited programs so in the end it's all about what you want to get out of it. If you want to be in - and study - a more urban environment, I'd vote UIC, but I'm biased.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Do any of you UIC experts know about its doctoral program? Upsides, downsides? Is it possible to take classes while working full time?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    First off, thanks to everyone who's replied already.

    Quote Originally posted by jersbanks View post
    I understand there's a bigger difference at the undergrad level (UIUC being the flagship campus), and UIC suffers at the undergrad level of being an institution most students don't aspire to.e for students interested in design IMO. But for students coming from a policy perspective it's an excellent choice.
    This is how I thought it to be/am inclined to see it. I know there's a gap at the undergraduate level, but I think at the graduate level these differences might be seriously diluted.

    (And if UIC is better for policy I'm more than fine with that, since that's what I'm interested in.)

    Quote Originally posted by P1nr_Bill View post
    UIC has always been the "red-headed-step-child" to the
    Both are accredited programs so in the end it's all about what you want to get out of it. If you want to be in - and study - a more urban environment, I'd vote UIC, but I'm biased.
    I do too, I just didn't want to make a decision from the gut that I might regret.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Ah this thread is a godsend!

    I've been struggling with the same question myself.

    I think I'll be applying to UIC, however, since I definitely want to be in an urban area and am more interested in policy than anything. I also feel that not only would there be more internship opportunities in Chicago, but they'd be more fulfilling for the type of career that I want to pursue.

    My two cents.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Tresmo View post
    Do any of you UIC experts know about its doctoral program? Upsides, downsides? Is it possible to take classes while working full time?
    It depends on what your focus is/ who you want to work with. I would think having a fulltime job and working on your PhD would be tricky (most of your time isn't going to be taking classes).

    Quote Originally posted by Josh View post
    (And if UIC is better for policy I'm more than fine with that, since that's what I'm interested in.)
    What policy area are you interested in?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by jersbanks View post
    What policy area are you interested in?
    Probably land use/planning law, but maybe transportation.

  12. #12
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    ED and International at UIC or UIUC

    So I'm bringing this one up from the dead. Can anyone comment on the Economic Development programs or International opportunities at either University?

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