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Thread: Upenn or Gatech

  1. #1
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    Upenn or Gatech

    Hi y'all

    First time post here

    I would like your opinions on these schools, and some suggestions about which one to pick:
    Upenn (MCP) and Gatech (MCRP)
    I have a B.S. in civil engineering and I plan to focus on transportation planning. Both of these schools offer a transportation concentration.


    Gatech:
    Gatech offers a dual program of MCP+MSCE (transportation engineering) in 2.5 years, which would fit my undergrad backgrounds. And since Gatech does have a civil engineering school (one of the best in the country, I believe), they offer a variety of transportation courses and resources, and a lot of CE courses can count as MCP requirements. In comparison, Upenn's transportation faculty is kind of small, and not that many transportation courses.


    Upenn:
    Great reputation (probably more well known the Gatech to the general public?!), great location (well since Philly is in the more populous northeast I assume more job opportunities there, than Atlanta?). And an a ivy school student is a huge recognition and honor, at least here in East Asia (where I'm from), so it's hard to let go of this "ivy label"...


    Lastly,
    1. How do the reputation of Upenn and Gatech compare in the planning industry?
    2. Would it significantly benefit my future career to have BOTH a master in planning AND a master in civil engineering (MCP+MSCE)? Say if I want to work in a infrastructure/transportation planning firm?


    Any advice would be nice~!
    Thx ^^

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Don't bother with the dual degree if you already have an undergrad in civil. Just take a couple of electives from transportation engineering to balance out your planning classes in grad school. It will not significantly benefit you to do a dual degree, unless you can swing a shortened degree due to your undergrad background.

    Georgia Tech is excellent for transportation (both the CEE and Planning department). But the bigger question is - where do you want to live and work after graduation? The east coast or the south? Both names are good, both programs are good. Compare the costs and decide.

  3. #3
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    Georgia Tech!!!!!!!! But I'm biased.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by gtpeach View post
    Georgia Tech!!!!!!!! But I'm biased.
    Does seeing "Gatech" bother you at all? Even as a UGA guy, that slightly bugs me (no offense to the original poster, of course). I'd just prefer to see Ga Tech, or GT, or GTU (god bless Stephon Marbury for that one), or the North Avenue Trade School...
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

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    Quote Originally posted by akshali2000 View post
    Don't bother with the dual degree if you already have an undergrad in civil. Just take a couple of electives from transportation engineering to balance out your planning classes in grad school. It will not significantly benefit you to do a dual degree, unless you can swing a shortened degree due to your undergrad background.

    Georgia Tech is excellent for transportation (both the CEE and Planning department). But the bigger question is - where do you want to live and work after graduation? The east coast or the south? Both names are good, both programs are good. Compare the costs and decide.
    Well actually I prefer to live and work on the east coast. I don't have much planning experience before and have not worked in the US, but do graduates tend to stay in the cities they studied in? Do planning graduates have more advantage looking for a job ONLY in the cities they graduated from?

    As for the names, do Upenn and GT have the same recognition in the planning industry? What about the alumni network?

    I heard rumors that many Americans don't know about GT except Georgia residents? But I suppose that's not true since I've long heard of it and I live halfway across the globe...

    Quote Originally posted by gtpeach View post
    Georgia Tech!!!!!!!! But I'm biased.
    lol. Ya I'm actually leaning toward Georgia Tech right now~

    Quote Originally posted by Bubba View post
    Off-topic:


    Does seeing "Gatech" bother you at all? Even as a UGA guy, that slightly bugs me (no offense to the original poster, of course). I'd just prefer to see Ga Tech, or GT, or GTU (god bless Stephon Marbury for that one), or the North Avenue Trade School...
    Really? Well since I'm not native I'm not really familiar with school abbreviations, but I'll start using GTU from now on. Haha

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chris101 View post
    Well actually I prefer to live and work on the east coast. I don't have much planning experience before and have not worked in the US, but do graduates tend to stay in the cities they studied in? Do planning graduates have more advantage looking for a job ONLY in the cities they graduated from?
    I try and stress geographic flexibility when looking for your first job out of grad school. Targeting a general area is fine (for you the east coast), and you'll have a better knowledge of the job market in the city you go to school in (networking, internships, etc.), but be willing to cast a wider net as far as the opportunities you consider applying for. Getting the first job can be the toughest; it's easier to narrow your search area for the second one.

    Quote Originally posted by chris101 View post
    I heard rumors that many Americans don't know about GT except Georgia residents? But I suppose that's not true since I've long heard of it and I live halfway across the globe...
    Hadn't heard that one...their athletic programs get them pretty good national exposure and name recognition, and their academic programs are pretty well thought of on a national basis.

    Quote Originally posted by chris101 View post
    Really? Well since I'm not native I'm not really familiar with school abbreviations, but I'll start using GTU from now on. Haha
    Definitely use GTU when discussing the school with gtpeach.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Penn will give you more a lot more job options on the east coast, but it's also an insanely expensive program so consider your costs/financial aid as well as courses and alumni and decide if it's worth it.

    Georgia Tech is a well known, well regarded university in the US, especially for engineering (I assume you're not a US citizen?). In the urban planning sphere, it's known but maybe not as much as Penn. Honestly success in job searching (at least in this field) is really more about your own networking skills than anything else. That being said, it is easier to network when you have a large pool of alumni in the area you want to live in, so consider that.

    Both are great schools where you'll get a great education and meet great people. Is there a substantial cost difference? Is that important to you? Keep in mind that planning salaries are pretty standard and depend more on geography than where you go to school. Going to Penn might help you get your foot in the door to X cool job in New York City or Boston, but it will not lend itself to a higher salary (other than east coast is a high cost of living area so you'd earn more than living in Georgia/Florida, for example. But that often doesn't matter for people starting out because the high cost of living negates any increase in salary anyway).

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Bubba View post
    Off-topic:


    Does seeing "Gatech" bother you at all? Even as a UGA guy, that slightly bugs me (no offense to the original poster, of course). I'd just prefer to see Ga Tech, or GT, or GTU (god bless Stephon Marbury for that one), or the North Avenue Trade School...
    Haha. Not really, but that's because it's our website address. www.gatech.edu. We also used to have stupid email addresses. Mine was something like gte431j@gatech.edu. It was a BIG DEAL when I got an assistantship and got an email address with my name in it!

    Also, DO NOT USE GTU!!!! They will not let you in if you do!

    Also, also, I got my entire MS paid for (in public policy) through assistantships. There are a LOT of opportunities to work with research institutes affiliated with the school, professors, and even outside organizations to get tuition assistance. I feel like it's safe to say that would be an option for you as well since so many of the courses I took overlapped with the City Planning classes. Of course, this was eons ago...

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