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Thread: Masters in planning with international focus

  1. #1
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    Masters in planning with international focus

    I have a bachelors in political science with a focus on developing areas from a top university in Canada, and a few years experience teaching ESL in Korea, as well as some political campaigning in the States. Obviously, not a lot of direct planning experience. I'm interested in doing a masters in planning with an international focus, ideally with a fair bit of environmental planning in the mix. I was wondering if there are any schools in particular that fit what I'm looking for. I saw NYU's Wagner has something along these lines, but the price tag is prohibitive. I have great GRE scores and location isn't super important, fwiw. Feel free to tell me if what I'm thinking isn't really viable, as I'm a total newb and just trying to figure out what kind of options are out there. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by Northway View post
    I have a bachelors in political science with a focus on developing areas from a top university in Canada, and a few years experience teaching ESL in Korea, as well as some political campaigning in the States. Obviously, not a lot of direct planning experience. I'm interested in doing a masters in planning with an international focus, ideally with a fair bit of environmental planning in the mix. I was wondering if there are any schools in particular that fit what I'm looking for. I saw NYU's Wagner has something along these lines, but the price tag is prohibitive. I have great GRE scores and location isn't super important, fwiw. Feel free to tell me if what I'm thinking isn't really viable, as I'm a total newb and just trying to figure out what kind of options are out there. Thanks in advance.
    Rutgers has an international planning concentration. I was going to do it, but I opted for a concentration that was slightly less policy/theory based.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    I'm going to bump this because I'm interested in the topic. More specifically, what schools have the strongest programs in International planning? I'm especially interested in South and Southeast Asia.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    I've always assumed that "international planning" education is the term for "a program that doesn't require me to learn about the planning specifics of the state/region the program is in, so I'm not left with a locally-primed skill set." If this is true, a good program to consider in the northeast is Tufts. Check out their program and its curriculum at http://ase.tufts.edu/uep/Degrees/MA.aspx and see what you think. For example, there's no core course on the legal aspects of planning in Massachusetts, which is a required course here at UMass. My impression of the program is one focused on issues of Environmental Justice and International Policy. Depending on the sort of role you envision, Tufts could be a good match. You may see some of the same financial elements you saw with NYU, but I don't know how many students are in the respective programs, which obviously bears on the funding potential.

    For even broader academic applicability, another program to consider for international policy work is Yale's Master of Environmental Management, at http://environment.yale.edu/academics/degrees/mem/. I know that it isn't a planning degree program, but it is very geared towards international work, and - as you would expect - it has some excellent placement connections. While expensive, the program also works hard to give people the skills needed to fund their studies through outside sources. Many students take the first semester or two on the chin, and find some decent funding for their remaining time. (I think they landed four or five Switzer fellowships last year.) The school's environmental element might be a good match for your interests, and while it's selective, it's admissions aren't as forbidding as anything called "YALE" might initially seem. That said, if policy is close enough, you've got a whole bunch of other programs to consider.

  5. #5
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    I know this thread is years old, but thanks for your responses everyone! Reading this has helped me to think about my options. I'm also interested in graduate programs with an international focus. The first program to come up in my search was Cornell's Master of Regional Planning "International Studies in Planning" concentration. If I were to dream big and think of attempting to get into such prestigious, Ivy League school, this is a program I would love to study in. See the program description here: http://aap.cornell.edu/academics/crp.../international)

    Instead, I'll likely play it safe (and practical) by returning to the University of New Mexico, where I got a BA in Environment Planning & Design last December. Their Master's in Community & Regional Planning offers a concentration in Community Development, which I'm interested in, and there's also an exciting possibility of pursuing a dual Master's in Latin American Studies. Latin America is the global region where I imagine I would most like to work someday, so this combination may be a good fit.

    In the Coast Guard, I visited many countries throughout Central America, and as an undergrad, I got to spend a month traveling around Nicaragua as part of a study abroad course on sustainable development. While I was there, I kept wondering how a planner trained in America would be able to effectively work in a place with no GIS or census data, and with a government too poorly funded to provide adequate services (let alone to pay professional planners). Yet, these "developing nations" seem like the places that could benefit most from a planner's broad perspective and skills, and where planners could potentially have the best opportunity to positively influence future development. In any case, its an area of study and work that seems full of interesting challenges.

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