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Thread: School decisions advice- transportation planning concentrations

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    School decisions advice- transportation planning concentrations

    I'm applying to urban planning programs that have a transportation policy/planning focus. Right now, I am definitely applying to UNC- Chapel Hill, USC, UCLA, Tufts, and University of Maryland. I want a policy-focused program rather than design/architecture centric.

    Can anyone recommend other top planning programs with a transportation focus? I am using the 2012 Planetizen Guide (I know, I saw the thread on why not to get the Guide only recently) as a starting point. I currently live in DC and prefer east coast schools, but I am willing to go anywhere to get a degree from a top school and eventually relocate to New England (hence the two Cali schools).

    Also, how important is the name of a school in the planning field? Right now, I am leaning towards U MD because relocation costs will be minimal and I can get in-state tuition for a year.


    About me: Recent grad from top liberal arts school with Government major and Econ minor
    GRE verbal: 650, quant: 690
    Undergrad GPA: 3.76
    I've been working for the federal government for the past two years but not in a transport/planning related position.

    Thanks for any advice!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    I applied to a few policy based schools on the east(ish) coast. The two that stood out to me were Michigan and Rutgers. Both are well regarded for transportation, too.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Also, don't discount the Planetizen guide. I found it rather helpful. I think the point is more that the actual rankings (if a school is 4 instead of 5, for example) is not worth taking too seriously.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks manonthemoon. Michigan was too quant for me but I'm going to apply to Rutgers. I'm also not completely discounting the Planetizen rankings; as a general guide it's been useful.

    Someone posted about the benefits of in-state tuition but unfortunately I don't qualify for residency anywhere since I live in Washington, DC. Even if I move to Maryland now to get residency, I won't qualify for in-state tuition at UMD for at least a semester.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    As I understand it, DC residents are eligible for a $10,000 dollar grant every year to try to offset not being eligible for in-state tuition anywhere. Of course I'm not sure of the particulars of that program though. It definitely leaves you with more options though.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    As I understand it, DC residents are eligible for a $10,000 dollar grant every year to try to offset not being eligible for in-state tuition anywhere. Of course I'm not sure of the particulars of that program though. It definitely leaves you with more options though.
    I looked into it and undergrad only

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    That's pretty disappointing. Anyway I'd suggest looking into Georgia Tech as well for transportation. They also have pretty generous financial aid from what I understand.

  8. #8
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    USC's transportation program is pretty good, although there weren't that many trans classes to take when I was there. That may change since I heard more students are concentrating on trans, compared to a couple years ago when there were maybe 3 or 4 out of all grad students. You can also take some trans engineering classes that provide a different viewpoint.

    I heard UCLA's program is also good, with an overall emphasis on policy.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    I know you mentioned a disinterest in programs tied to design, but I think it might make sense to look at Virginia Tech. VT's Alexandria annex would get you involved with issues in northern Virginia, where the history of transportation planning is legible and more than a little contentious, as you know. It might not be the best fit, but it's worth considering; you could develop a lot of good contacts there.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by csld09 View post
    I know you mentioned a disinterest in programs tied to design, but I think it might make sense to look at Virginia Tech. VT's Alexandria annex would get you involved with issues in northern Virginia, where the history of transportation planning is legible and more than a little contentious, as you know. It might not be the best fit, but it's worth considering; you could develop a lot of good contacts there.
    Interesting program- I did not find it too design-based and I liked the courses offered as part of its transportation focus, assuming all of the courses are offered at the Alexandria campus. And of course the location. Thanks!

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