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Thread: Urban Affairs or City Planning?

  1. #1
         
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    Urban Affairs or City Planning?

    Right now I'm in a Master of City Planning program. Since I'm doing it part-time, it's taking pretty much forever. I've been at it for 2 years and don't expect to finish until at least January 2005. Content-wise, the program here isn't really at all different from the Master of Urban Affairs -- aside from the fact that 6 more courses are required for the MCP than the MUA. Since I work for the University, I get tuition remission; money is thus no object. I realize the job market is pretty much non-existent right now for entry-level planners, but I'm thinking that I'd like to finish this degree program ASAP and then just take further coursework for self-edification and resume. I'm interested in land-use planning and zoning, mainly, and know that I'll have to do some internships or community volunteering before getting a "real" planning job, in all likelihood.

    Does anyone think it matters either way whether one has a master's in City Planning or a master's in Urban Affairs? To me, City Planning sounds better, but....

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Im biased, but I think affairs gives you a broader career path should you decide that planning isnt your forte.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    Personaly I would go for a MPA but thats just me

    PG
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  4. #4
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Before I sound like a broken record, what is your under grad in, and what type of planning do you want to do?
    Also what are your career aspirations? Do you want to be a senior planner or do you hunger to be a director?

    If you want to be a director, I'd go MPA, if not depending on your planning interests the Planing degree might look better to a future employer.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  5. #5
         
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    If the MCP has six more classes than the MUA, couldn't you very easily get a master's in both? I don't know the technicalities of that at BU, but it just seems like you'd have both when it's all said and done.

  6. #6
         
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    answers

    1. There's not MPA program here.
    2. No, you can't do both. It's a one or the other type thing.
    3. Undergrad is in International Relations.
    4. Desired career path: starting out in land use planning / zoning / etc. Eventually, i'd like to segue experience planning in the US into jobs abroad in planning or development (or both). I really don't have a burning desire to be a town administrator or city manager.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    From your description, I'd stick with planning and look into how public admin courses would "fit" in as electives.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  8. #8
         
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    With the aspirations you have a MUA would be a better choice than the MCP. It will allow you you broader career choices. You might not think you are interested in a management position now but interests and goals change as you get older.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    I'd do the MPA personally. But it won't matter 5 years from now what your degree is in anyway, so I say go with what interests you and be happy.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    If planning and zoning are what you want to do, get the planning degree. If public administration and community development are more your thing, go with urban affairs. Ten years down the road, though, it really won't matter much what your degree is in.

  11. #11
    Hi. When I started planning in the dark Ages, I was in an interdisciplinary program training town managers, public managers and planners. I finally opted for the planning program because it had an internship requirement. I got my best training and practical experience during the internship and got my first job as a result.

    The City Planning and the Urban Affaires programs probably had different emphasis. City Planning wioth deal more with zoning and design and techinal issues, the traffic and land use things. The Urban Affaires approach probably addresses more sociological issues and neighborhoods, more residential and human isses.

    Well, Good luck.

  12. #12
         
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    Well, just to cap this off, I opted for the MUA. I'm now writing a "Planning Thesis" to finish the degree.

    We'll see what happens....

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