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Thread: Specializations in grad school?

  1. #1
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    Specializations in grad school?

    Looking at different grad schools has really opened my eyes to how many specializations there are in planning. I've got a pretty good idea of which ones I'd be interested in, but I would be interested to hear what specializations others chose in grad school and why.

    Was it all you hoped it to be? In hindsight (or maybe just through advances in planning), are there some you wish you would have looked at more closely?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Honestly I went with a generalist program. I got exposure to great many things but I was by no means an expert any one area. I figured it would be better to know a bit about everything out there than to focus on one particular thing. Also I picked up some stuff in undergrad such as GIS and environmental related stuff but in graduate school, I wanted to get exposure to some new things.

    Honestly I probably would have probably done the same thing again. I have a great many interests in the planning field but not a single passion that I wanted to direct my energy toward. Also I didn't want to push myself into one area of planning over an other but I ended up doing that inadvertently with GIS by being a geography major. I'm pretty good with GIS but I didn't want to make a career out of it, so that's the reason I went to graduate school in the first place. Though here I am working with GIS all day.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    I think anyone who wants to be gainfully employed in planning (in the US, at least) should be exposed to the basics of land-use planning, environmental planning, GIS, and community and economic development. Beyond that, I chose to specialize in environmental and disaster management, more from a research perspective than for the professional job market. I wish I had another year to take classes in preservation.

  4. #4
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Planning is a tough field right now. I am sure there is some argument that can be made about finding a niche, but truthfully you are more valuable to me if you can do lots of things not just ED or Transportation or GIS.

    I have never really understood why you would specialize in planning unless you know for sure you don't want to be in the public sector ever. If that is the case, find what you love to do and specialize in that. Find a private employer who is looking for a researcher or gis analyst or whatever and start applying.

    In this economy it would seem that you would want the biggest net possible. Jack of all trade mentality. Good luck.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  5. #5
    I have a similar question so I thought I add it here rather than starting a new thread.

    I will be pursuing MURP from the Fall but can't make up my mind about the specializations. Land Use? Comm. Dev? Environment? Transportation?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    You shouldn't have to choose your specialization first semester. Anyway, specializations are determined by what electives you have taken prior to graduation. There shouldn't be anything wrong with taking a random assortment of electives; you just won't be specialized in anything.

    I'd just take what classes interest you. If they lead to a specialization, great; if not, it's no big deal. It's the degree that ultimately matters. Specializations usually don't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, especially since many people don't even end up working in their specialized area.

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