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Thread: What are all you MA grads doing?

  1. #1

    What are all you MA grads doing?

    Just found this site in my seemingly endless search for planning schools. I'm seriously considering getting a MA in planning, but am having difficulties gathering info on career options for graduates OTHER than becoming a city planner (not that I'm ruling that option out, but i want to have a more complete picture of career paths).

    I'd love to hear from anyone with info on job opps. for MA grads with concentrations in econ. dev. or environmental management, both nationally & internationally (latin america). What are all you M.U.P. and M.C.R.P grads doing?!? How important was the name of the school you went to in landing your job? Glad you chose the career you did? any thoughts on this are very appreciated.

  2. #2

    May 1997
    Williston, VT
    I work for a nonprofit conservation organization and that's great (and we are hiring another planner right now …). There are lots of opportunities for idealistic people with a planning background in the nonprofit sector.
    The name of the school is relevant only in certain circles in certain places. Find a place where you can learn from people you respect. That is all that counts in the long run.

  3. #3
    I have to agree with Lee about the importance of the name. As I was told when I was applying and deciding between an ivy league and a state school, it depends on what you are looking on getting into. If you want to work internationally or go into teaching, the name counts. If you just want to make a difference in a region, it really doesn't matter. I thought about cost and no tuition won out.

    Personally, I opted for the being a planner with my MRP. But I do know that there is a whole range of options including working with architecture firms to add a grander view, working with non-profits to aid in developing plans and how to go about them. Environmental firms, economic agencies, and development companies are also a possibility. It depends on your main interest. If you can afford to, I strongly recommend you find an internship for a semester/summer in a city or firm that you think might be interesting. This will help you decide which area you would like to specialize in, if at all.

  4. #4
    As for the "right" university for a Master's degree in planning, I would recommend confining the search to programs that have been approved by the APA/AICP Planning Accrediation Board (PAB). You could probably get a list of such schools at the APA website.

  5. #5
    I recieved a BA in Urban and Regional planning from an accredited program and then proceeded to obtain a Masters in Regional planning from a non accredited progam. What I liked about the Regional planning program was the fact that I could take a very interdiciplinary program and form it and create an emphasis that I believed would assist me in what I wanted for my future career. So I guess to answer you question, it doesnt have to be to generalized as long as you understand what you want to gain from the degree and put a focus toward that emphasis. Just one opinion but I think your on the right track. Good Luck!

  6. #6
    One thing to consider about school name is if you plan on being mobile throughout the rest of your life. If you expect your first job to be short-term (either by choice or by the fact that your first job doesn't turn out the way you expected it to be), then the combination of your experience and institution can matter a great deal if you are looking to get into a more senior or higher-paying position.

    Also, if you believe that you may be returning to school sometime down the line (or you unexpectedly decide to get an MPA, or get an MBA with a real estate focus, or get a law degree in zoning & land use, or etc.), then your institution name can matter a great deal when trying to juggle financial aid offers. All else being equal, the resume with the prestigious university will tend to be placed in the "call and interview" pile.

    Choosing a university with a "good name" can be a way to hedge your bets on long-term employability & viability. It may cost more, but in the long-term, you may find that you have more options and opportunities.

    And finally, always be sure to keep in mind the type of students and intensity of the program in mind. An Ivy League school or high-powered public university will tend to have more rigorous academic expectations from their students. From that stand-point, you may have an edge over the rest of the applicant pool who may have gone to "average" universities (though, of course, not always true) and may have a pick of job offers after you graduate.

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