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Thread: Northeastern University MURP: no accreditation

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Northeastern University MURP: no accreditation

    Northeastern University appears to have a great MURP degree but it is not accredited with PAB. I called the school and they said that the only reason it is not accredited is because it is a public policy and planning program, and there is no accrediting body for this type of school. Is this a cop-out? Many planning programs are in public policy schools and are accredited with PAB.

    Anyone familiar with the program and does not matter that it's not accredited?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Cop out. Tufts is accredited. Rutgers is accredited. Minnesota is accredited. Northeastern is a good school but that is a lame answer. I've never heard of their planning program- I thought they had an MPA program.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks again Masswich. That's the feeling I got when I called the school. If you are interested, here's the link to Northeastern's program:

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Accreditation by the PAB doesn't matter to anyone but the APA. Employers don't care, provided the university itself is "respectable."

    If you get a masters from a non-accredited university, it just means you need more work experience (2 years more?) to go for your AICP.
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

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    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    I believe the big issue for accreditiation is that as a program you have to show a minimum number of full time faculity devoted to <b> planning </b>. The last time I checked the number was I believe four or five and you can't get to it by counting joint appointments and adjuncts. Thus many smaller programs have issues with accreditation because they can't get to that level of dedicated faculty. The other thing is no new program will ever be accredited off the bat. If a program has been around for a while and hasn't yet been accredited it is likely due to resources issues. Since most planning programs don't offer undergraduate degrees and many don't offer doctoral degrees faculty productivity as measured by the number of students graduated is often kiw compared to other academic departments which makes it hard to justify expanding a planning program and easy to kill one.



    As for AICP, if you have a non accredited masters degree in planning you only have to obtain one additional year (three verus two) of experience.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dharmster View post
    As for AICP, if you have a non accredited masters degree in planning you only have to obtain one additional year (three verus two) of experience.

    ...meaning you save something like $400 by going to a non-accredited school (since that's one less year of AICP extorti...er ... fees).
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    How is this a cop-out? What you'll get is an MS in Urban and Regional Policy from Northeastern University, and most job applications are seeking candidates with a degree in planning "or a closely related field." As an applicant, you could make the claim that your education is "closely related." Having looked at the program, though, I dunno. There's not much room for a student to make an individual mark.

    To be honest, you'd really be competing with NU's NASPAA-accredited Master of Public Administration program. For the sake of comparison, check out the core curriculum of that program. That might be the question to ask whoever you called.

  8. #8
    I also look at Northeastern's program and actually applied, but the core curriculum has few planning courses, and seems more like an MPA to me.

  9. #9
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    This thread is of particular interest to me. I am very fond of Northeastern's School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs, which is headed by Barry Bluestone, a very well respected academic. And I also struggled with the same issues/concerns outlined here.

    As a young professional interested in local government I am very sensitive to employers preferring/seeking someone with the "AICP designation", which is their way of screening out/down applicants. Dharmster's comments sums up some of the issues and Tarf's comments put a lighthearted spin on the matter....

    8hesaid - my suggestion is to really research what it is you want or are looking for in a degree. Do you want a planning degree or a blended degree that has planning elements to it, but also has regional and urban economic policy dispersed within it. There are settle nuances to it, such as the differences between obtaining an "MA" Master of Arts and an "MSc." Master of Science..... In academia the difference in an MA and an MSc are large, but to the general population it may not matter. I respectfully, suggest you do your research on what it is you want, because if you are looking for solely an "urban planning" degree then NEU's MSc in Urban & Regional Policy may not be for you, but if you are more like me and interested more in Economic Development, this degree may be more appropriate. Are there elements of economic development in a planning degree, of course and that may satisfy your goals, but should you be interested in more of a science based approach to solving urban development problems -- using economic development theories, then maybe NEU's MURP degree is better.

    By way of background, I am an alum of Northeastern's MPA program and have been accepted into "Urban Planning" degree programs at Tufts & Cornell (PAB accredited) and the London School of Economics "LSE" (PAB non-accredited)..... And to Northeastern's MSc URP (PAB non-accredited). I took all of the articulated issues into consideration, but I also looked at a couple of other issues.
    -- How does the university support the school and what are their resources
    -- What type of practical experience beyond classroom knowledge will I gain; because employers don't want to train people... you need to hit the ground running.

    I ultimately decided to pursue my MSc in Urban & Regional Policy at Northeastern, because of the two additional factors, which I just mentioned.... I have 3 or 4 friends who graduated from Harvard/Tufts "Urban Planning Degree Programs" (PAB accredited) who have not been able to find an urban planning job.... The market is really tough they have graduate degrees and they work as interns in planning offices in suburban communities outside of Boston in an effort to build a portfolio of experience.

    I found that the Public Policy & Urban Affairs (PPUA) School understands this and works hard to give you the practical skills & techniques to be marketable beyond also learning the proper theory within the classroom. I have found -- that -- they taught me, how to think, frame and approach an urban problem within the classroom, and then they gave me the skills/techniques (and confidence) to back it up..... Most of my friends are looking to work for (Large, Medium and Small) Redevelopment Authorities. At the end of the day, I knew my personality would not fit in well with strict "Urban Planners" -- I lack the basic personality requirements, which would ironically also make me a poor academic/professor. I'm very fast paced and have little patience for slowly moving through "the process" of which good "urban planners" can do -- I'm working on it. At any rate, I'm willing to forgo the AICP designation by a year or two, because I'll be happier.

    *As an aside, the MPA and MURP degree program(s) are two distinct programs. There is overlap to be expected, but “public administration” is different.

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Tim, welcome to Cyburbia, and thanks for a thorough first post!
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Agreed, nice post Tim! Thanks for the perspective of Northeastern.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Why worry about accreditation? AICP sure don't!
    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...a-pass-on-AICP

    If my logic is correct its now better to go to a non-accreditited school with lots of AICP or actively employed planners on staff than it is to go to an Ivory Tower.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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