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Thread: Academic reputation of Boston University's MCP program

  1. #1

    Academic reputation of Boston University's MCP program

    What is the skinny on Boston University's MCP program? I hear good things about it and especially the faculty.

    But how is seen by employers and other city planners?

    Does the lack accreditation hurt it?

    Has anyone in here graduated from the program?

  2. #2
    ?? Anyone?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    I think its a fine place to go if you stay focused and don't rely on the program to get you your next job. The program is fairly pragmatic and locally focused, so if you want to work in the Boston area its fine. If you want to go elsewhere it won't mean as much.

    On a side note, I always have felt that BU is missing out on a real market niche for the local planners in the region. MIT and Harvard will always attract nationally and internationally, and Tufts is getting there as well. But there isn't a good local program equivalent to a lot of the midwestern state universities. If they ramped it up a bit and got accredited I think they'd really be able to make a run at it. But they are currently somewhat missing a critical mass.

  4. #4
    Why is it that a degree in City Planning outside of a certain area won't mean much, especially from a good school?

    Is the BU program well perceived among planners and planning students in the Boston area, especially at Harvard and MIT?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Its just more of a regional school than a national one- the connections are local and the name doesn't carry over long distances. I'd have to say I think its not as comprehensive a program as Harvard, MIT or Tufts. On the other hand its a good place to go at night while you are working.

  6. #6
    Would it's local reputation stretch to NYC or just the NE area?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Honestly, I don't know whether New York would be in its "sphere," Any New Yorkers know?

  8. #8
    well based on what you know about the program is it strong enough to aquire the right tools to be able to land a decent job?

    You said not to rely on the program to land your first job. Is that because it lacks the networking or because it's a more hands on program that doesn't place anyone directly, you have to do the work yourself?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    I think you can land a decent job from BU, but its not a full-service program with a huge network that is going to help you a great deal. I guess I am not sure what else to say about it.

  10. #10
    Thanks Masswich.

    Anyone else?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Frankly, as a student in the Boston/Cambridge area, I don't think of BU as being all that great when it comes to urban planning. I would guess you can get the appropriate skills but the network doesn't seem very established which is key to landing a job. Harvard/MIT are much better options, including for getting local jobs. I'd also look to Northeastern and Tufts before BU. Northeastern has a very good co-op program which assists with establishing your network in the local market.

    Also, the cost at BU is more than the Cambridge schools when you factor in grants/financial aid, of which my understanding is BU provides very little if any non-loan aid.

  12. #12
    Wow is it that bad? So there is no networking between the students it the various Cambridge/Boston programs?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    I'd imagine Harvard and MIT are in a completely different league than Boston University, so there wouldn't be much interaction between the programs. They may be close to each other geographically but probably not academically.

  14. #14
    Well I wasn't naive to think they BU was in the same league as Harvard and MIT but I never figured there was a huge canyon size gap between the schools.

    I just kept hearing good things about the professors there and the growing nature of the program.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    I think the other problem is that Massachusetts is a small state but has 4 accredited planning programs (3 in the Boston area) so an unaccredited program at a lesser known school would have problems standing out.

  16. #16
    But do you think that the BU program would at least provide the right tools to make the most of the program? Get all the courses I need, assistanships and internships, etc? From what the advisor told me, I would have to be really motivated because it's a not a hold your hand type of program, but the opportunities are available to make what you want out of the program.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    To be honest, that sounds like what almost any other graduate program would say as well. Graduate school is frankly what you make of it. If you're driven enough, you can probably make BU work for you but that's not to say that you probably can't get more out of another program.
    Last edited by Blide; 28 Oct 2011 at 4:00 PM.

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