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Thread: Engineering or Urban Planning

  1. #1

    Engineering or Urban Planning

    I am currently an Electrical Engineering student at the University of Saskatchewan and I am torn between three different degrees. I was planning on "majoring" in communications, but I am having second thoughts.

    My other options, as I see it, are Civil Engineering (mainly transportation) or Regional and Urban Development, which is offered through Arts & Science.

    If I were to choose between Civil Engineering and Urban Development, what would the differences be regarding career paths? I am thinking that engineers would be more involved in the technical details, while planners would decide where the structure would be placed. I know there can be a lot of crossover between the two, but this is my general assumption.

  2. #2
    Member Mary's avatar
    Aug 2001
    Rather than respond directly I'd like to recommend that you get as much dirrect info on each field as you can. Talk to the professor, find some profesionals stop by offices that do both kinds of work ask questions and get a feel for what feels right for you. Planning offices and jobs can be drastically different from one another and I'm sure the same is true for other fields so check a few places and talk with people. If you can find a conference in your area there are frequently student discounts, and I suspect many students crash the party, go to one and you can get lots of planners and probably also some engineers cornered in one place.

  3. #3
    maudit anglais
    May 1997
    If you are interested in transportation planning - either as a civil engineer or as a planner, I can offer you some advice.

    I'm a transportation planner, with an urban planning background. I work with other planners, and engineers. In my experience, it is much easier for an engineer to move into a "Planner's" job than the other way round (something about that little iron ring). Transportation Planning has traditionally been the domain of engineers, but that is changing.

    You can get into the profession either way, but what you need to decide on is what aspect of transportation planning it is that appeals to you. Keep in mind that most planning schools in Canada do not have a strong transportation component - you'll either have to end up taking civil engineering courses as electives, or do a lot of your own education (e.g. involve transportation in a lot of your term papers, and especially in your thesis). It can be harder as a "straight" planner to get full-time work in the transportation field, but if you're really into transportation though, that shouldn't dissaude you - there are a lot of planners doing transportation work.

  4. #4

    Sep 2001
    somewhere cold
    I agree with transplanner. Engineers in transportation planning are quite common, but I have not seen many engineers in other areas of planning, so it really depends on what you want to go into. I think that somebody in current planning, zoning, historic preservation, community development, etc.. would be better off with a planning degree.

  5. #5
    Thanks guys.

    I will be contacting profs and professionals after February Break. Right now my schedule is a little crazy. I have five 2-hour long midterms in four days next week!

    I actually talked to a civil engineer a few days ago at my local mall. He was from NDLEA, a transportation engineering company in western Canada. They are building a new freeway interchange near our hockey arena and they had a small presentation about it. He said most of the people that work there are engineers.

    I enjoy the design aspect of engineering probably more than I care about zoning and historic preservation. That is probably why I chose engineering in the first place (plus I didn't want to take English, Philosophy, etc. )

  6. #6
    Cyburbian prudence's avatar
    Nov 2001
    Purgatory (Mad-town)


    Go into engineering.

    Any Idiot Can Plan.
    "Dear Prudence...won't you open up your eyes? "

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