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Thread: Good hands-on grad programs?

  1. #1
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    Good hands-on grad programs?

    Hello! I've browsed through the Student Lounge but haven't found anything that's quite what I'm looking for...

    I recently graduated from UNC with a BA unrelated to planning but with minors in planning & sustainability. I've done a couple internships (one public- and one private-sector) and am now deciding what to do with my life post-college. I was hoping to get work experience before going to grad school, but it's looking less and less possible, mostly because I lack a Masters and GIS skills to compete with all the qualified candidates out there in this economy. I've recently decided to apply for grad school for Fall 2012, and would love some help narrowing down my options.

    I know I want a hands-on, real world experience-oriented program, but I'm having trouble figuring out which those are. From what I can tell, Cal Poly SLO has that reputation....are there any others? I saw one mention of U of Memphis, but I hadn't heard of their planning program before. I'm open to any area of the country but would prefer nothing terribly expensive.

    Any and all input would be appreciated! Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Look into Rutgers, especially if you are interested in policy/community development.

  3. #3

    UIC

    ...that's University of Illinois at Chicago. I was very happy with the program. Hands-on and in a great location for it.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    I can second Rutgers. As a grad from years back the program requires two studio classes which are group projects that typically involve working with communities or organizations. In my two studios I worked with a small town in NJ on built their comp plan from the ground up and the other was working with a development corp. to prepare a study on payment in lieu of fees options in NJ.

  5. #5
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    I hold a graduate degree from Cal Poly - SLO. A simple search will provide you with numerous postings on the many merits of the program... as I'm sure you've read.

    Feel free to message me if you have specific questions or want additional insight on the program beyond what is expressed on this forum.

    All the best.

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    Quote Originally posted by P1nr_Bill View post
    ...that's University of Illinois at Chicago. I was very happy with the program. Hands-on and in a great location for it.
    Can you elaborate more on your experience here? What did you like about it, specifically? Was the program design-oriented at all, or mostly policy?

    I am strongly considering going here and would like to know more about their program. Thanks

  7. #7
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I got my MCRP from the University of New Mexico in Albuqueruque. The program was very "hands-on" in the sense that we had many studios that engaged with different NM communities around different issues. All students take certain studio classes,a nd then as you progress and choose an emphasis, studios focus on your area (physical planning, community development, natural resource planning). The program is very heavy on community process and I felt I came out with a very good set of skills for working directly with communities in a range of subject areas (beyond my physical planning emphasis).

    The caveat I will give is that I went back to school for this degree when I was in my late 30s. It was a different view than when I was in college - I was much more self-directed and knew more or less what I wanted out of the program. My experiecne was that for folks who came more or less straight from undergrad, they were hoping for more direction and structure. I don't know the degree to which that is a factor of all grad programs or just this one, but there it is.

    For community based planning hands-on experience, I was very happy with my grad experience. FWIW.

    Good luck with your decision making...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally posted by FullCollapse747 View post
    Can you elaborate more on your experience here? What did you like about it, specifically? Was the program design-oriented at all, or mostly policy?

    I am strongly considering going here and would like to know more about their program. Thanks

    I am also considering UIC, and would love to hear more about the "hands-on-ness" of the program. and also, I know it is policy focused as a whole, but what about the urban design track of the Urban Design and Spatial Planning Concentration?

    Would UIC just be the wrong place for someone interested in urban design in a practical-want to work for an urban design firm and not gov't-kind of way?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally posted by Bezerkeley View post
    I am also considering UIC, and would love to hear more about the "hands-on-ness" of the program. and also, I know it is policy focused as a whole, but what about the urban design track of the Urban Design and Spatial Planning Concentration?

    Would UIC just be the wrong place for someone interested in urban design in a practical-want to work for an urban design firm and not gov't-kind of way?
    I read and immediately thought at first that Chicago would be a great place to study urban planning, given the large urban environment.

  10. #10
    hi,

    I'm looking for an article about urban planning theories , can you help me?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Bezerkeley View post
    I am also considering UIC, and would love to hear more about the "hands-on-ness" of the program. and also, I know it is policy focused as a whole, but what about the urban design track of the Urban Design and Spatial Planning Concentration?

    Would UIC just be the wrong place for someone interested in urban design in a practical-want to work for an urban design firm and not gov't-kind of way?
    Look into previous posts on MUD (Masters in Urban Design). If you want to do design work focus on architecture or landscape architecture. UIC has a decent architecture school, but I would strongly consider UIUC down in Urbana-Champaign. If you are interested in landscape architecture I would consider Ball State or Iowa State.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

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  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    I think that some Canadian planning schools have co-op programs with governments and industry.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    I think that some Canadian planning schools have co-op programs with governments and industry.
    When I was at UW, we worked with UBC and I thought their program looked good. At UW I went to Alaska and Montana, couldn't swing going to Russia, lots of hands-on neighborhood stuff and working with other cities. You must be prepared for Seattle weather, but the city and environment are fantastic.
    -------
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