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Thread: Questions about appropriate majors/minors from a prospective undergrad

  1. #1
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    Questions about appropriate majors/minors from a prospective undergrad

    Hello everyone,

    I recently decided to persure a career in urban planning with a focus on social/community development. I have a program in mind for my MA, but I'm curious about undergrad studies. I have a pretty generic AA and I'm trying to be wiser with my next two years.

    Of course I could go for a BA in planning, but I would prefer to induldge my interest in humanities for a while and focus more on history, art, philosophy, sociology, and sociol science. Again, thats mostly as a personal indulgence because ultimately planning is what I'm interested in career-wise.

    My question is, would I be shooting myself in the foot or basically just waisting time if I were to get a humanities degree? I know history, sociology and especially social sciences are useful in the type of planning career I'm after, so I think it could be very useful down the line.
    Or should I instead focus on the more obvious - Econ, PoliSci or Geography?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

    - A

  2. #2
    It may be my own personal bias, and I am just applying to a Masters program in planning, so I can't say how it will affect your professional degree/career plans, but in my experience, a degree in the humanities makes for a more well-rounded problem solver in any field.

    As well, a variety of college courses (since I imagine your core courses are mostly done and you are going to be taking a lot of hours towards a major and minor) will probably help you further conceptualize underlying issues of importance in social development. Also... it's college. One of its primary functions is to offer an avenue by which students can pursue their interests. You have to take x number of hours, anyway, why not take a course in philosophy or film or whatever it is that interests you? Those interests (via college courses and experience) will ultimately be what makes you stand out among graduate programs and potential employers.

    Also, check the school's graduation requirements. At my undergrad university, we had to take several credit hours in many different subjects (broken into categories like liberal arts, fine arts, hard sciences, applied sciences, government, and history), so I was able to take a wide variety of classes, which ultimately led me to the subject I got a Masters in. Provided, it was an enormous state school. Smaller colleges may not have the same structure. But if you are required to take samplings of many types of courses, I say go for a BA in whatever captivates you. Just take a couple classes in the fields you think will help you later, just so you have some general awareness of them. No one expects an undergrad to be totally well versed in what s/he ends up doing in grad school. That's why core courses are required.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    I'd just pick the undergrad degree that best compliments what direction you want to go in planning. Planning is an interdisciplinary field so you won't be shooting yourself in the foot with whatever degree you choose. The only way I can see you shooting yourself in the foot is if you go into the humanities but then find yourself not being able to pursue a masters for whatever reason.

    If you want to remain a generalist before grad school; geography, economics, or political science are probably your best bet. I personally think geography is the best option of the three in that it gives you experience with GIS plus you get a smattering of social and physical sciences.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    If you want to remain a generalist before grad school; geography, ... are probably your best bet. I personally think geography is the best option ... in that it gives you experience with GIS plus you get a smattering of social and physical sciences.
    I seconded that.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  5. #5
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    Great. That has helped.
    Considering I am going to be focusing on Social and Community Development in the future, I think studying humanities with a focus on Social Sciences in undergrad will be the way to go. I think I will minor in either Geography or Polital Science.

    Thank you both for your advice.

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