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Thread: Advice

  1. #1
    Aug 2012
    Tuscaloosa, AL


    Hello all!
    I'm a second-year civil engineering major at the University of Alabama, aspiring to attend graduate school for planning. I'm searching for clarification and articulation of the planning profession from a professional, rather than an academic; we have a wealth of the latter whom are rather poor in planning expertise. Among my anxieties in pursuit of the career are:
    1) Is Civil Engineering a conducive undergraduate path toward planning? Does the major opens doors, or constrain someone to strictly transit design, etc.? I seek an undergraduate degree that will open opportunities in graduate studies and the career, not become a limiting factor. Not to insinuate any disdain for transit design, I use it only as a case example.
    2) As an undergraduate, what work experience would be of the greatest asset before graduate school? The engineering department pushes Co-op diligently, but I worry the associated employment has little to do with planning. What could I do to obtain pertinent work experience?
    3) Aside from engineering coursework, what classes ought I take while an undergraduate? I greatly enjoy microeconomics and geography, but because of my altogether different major, I could never attain the more in-depth upper-level courses.

    All thoughts and advice are welcome, and for your time I thank you dearly.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
    Dec 2008
    Northern Utah
    Hey, welcome. There are lots of better places than the intro threads to get advice, but for what it's worth I don't think that your civil engineering undergrad degree is a problem moving into planning at all. The city engineer I work with currently has a great head for planning. Your interests in microeconomics and geography are right-on, so in my humble opinion you seem to be headed the right direction.

    You could really play up your engineering background as you get into planning. Obvious connection in the urban design fields, and you could be very interesting/useful to a municipality like mine, where everyone wears a lot of hats. I am frequently part of committees where a civil engineering background would allow me to contribute in many more ways than I do.

    Welcome again, check out the career forums for some really good discussions about this kind of stuff and good luck! It sounds like you're really on your way! - ursus
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

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