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Thread: Pre-MURP job options?

  1. #1
    Mar 2013
    washington, d.c.

    Pre-MURP job options?

    Dear Cyburbians,

    I've been a follower of this forum for a while now and have finally gotten up the courage to ask a question of my own. I am applying for MURP programs this fall but would like to get a new job in the meantime that is urban-planning related. I know, mostly from reading posts here, that urban planning jobs almost always require a masters (hence why I'm going back to school). But still I am wondering whether anyone has any advice about other ways to get involved in the field without a masters. Some background: I started working as a paralegal at the DOJ immediately after graduating with a B.A. from a small liberal arts college in American Studies (1.5 years ago). I wrote my thesis about residential segregation in Baltimore City and have always had a passion for planning/low income housing/urban redevelopment/decaying cities. I am hoping to find some way to start building my career in the field before going back to school (if possible).

    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
    Anything that makes it look like you have insight into how development and communities work. That includes a broad range of jobs that aren't necessarily urban planning. Government administration, conservation work, real estate, etc. Or just being an artsy street grub sporting tweed coats and thick rimmed glasses taking shitty overwrought pictures of the urban landscape. But seriously, my suggestions are broad because your possibilities are endless if you want to busy yourself in some kind of work that would inform your planning interests. My specific suggestion would be to look into government or non-profit work. It is likelier that you will have something more substantive to work on than if you sign up as some low level corporate drone making copies for junior planners. Probably the most important thing for you to do is find what you really care about, and explore every aspect of it. Then look for occupations that pay you to be involved in that.

  3. #3
    Jun 2009
    There are definitely a lot of opportunities out there that don't require a Master's Degree that will help you along the way.

    I only have some graduate work completed and have my bachelors degree in only a related field, but I haven't had too much of a problem along the way.

    Some types of companies you may want to look into working with, some may have paid internships, contract work (maybe write/administer a grant) or part time work that you may be able to help with...

    Obviously you can try to find work through a planning agency or firm. In my opinion there is a lot more competition here but obviously it is a direct correlation to the work you want to do...

    Environmental firms...many to choose from, many do planning, development, analysis, studies, etc. My first real job after undergrad was working with an environmental science firm, assisting with impact statements and analysis on development projects such as wind farms. There is a lot that you can learn here and a lot you can offer. Will look good on a resume. You may get to do some fieldwork as well,

    Archaeology firms...some of these may be associated with some of the environmental firms listed above. They have a lot of report writing and research to be done, you may even be able to partake in some archaeology field work, which is always fun.

    Housing or Development Agencies or other organizations that work with housing rehabilitation. There are a lot of these organizations in the area around here that work with low and moderate income individuals to assist with the housing stock. Lots of opportunities here.

    Engineering firms...again, many types to choose from and lots of different types of work that can be done. During college I did some GIS locating work with a firm. Later on I worked for a large firm that managed the underground resources throughout much of Appalachia, again a lot of GIS work. There are a lot of different types of projects you may be able to assist with.

    School Districts/Non Profits...may have a need for grant writing or administration assistance. They may also have general planning or consensus building that they could use help with.

    Title/Abstract company...lots of research to be done and will help you learn the ins and outs of your County Courthouse and real estate documents.

    Land Surveying/Development firm...research work, helping with the coordination with local governments, filing/documentation requirements.

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