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Anyone with an undergrad in planning on here?

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
408
Points
11
I know most people only discover planning at the Master's level, but there are also a number of PAB accredited undergrad programs. Did anyone graduate from an accredited planning UNDERGRAD program (Bachelor's)? What did you think of it? I did both undergrad (in Iowa) and grad planning school somewhere else (in NY) and didn't feel the undergrad one was that beneficial other than getting a leg up to apply to graduate school. But I also wasn't looking to stay in the state or the region, which was probably a factor in that feeling.

If I could go back, I'd definitely have majored in something more technical (like civil engineering or landscape architecture) in undergrad instead and added a planning minor, worked for a year or two in that field, and then gone to graduate school in planning rather than getting the same degree twice.

Curious to know about others who did planning undergrad and what your experience was both in school and job-searching after? I know on the coasts, an undergrad planning will only land you a 1 year internship and/or planning technician position, then you work your way to Planner 1 and later Planner 2 after that. If you do "urban studies" or something non-accredited in undergrad, that usually leads to an entry level gig at a non-profit or something that is planning allied but not actually planning. With a PAB-accredited master's, my experience was that you can jump straight into a Planner 2 at a municipality or consulting firm.
 
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DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
13,537
Points
36
I did undergrad planning at Arizona State. I got me my first job so I can't complain, but it was a lot of theoretical stuff. My masters is public admin and that was a lot more hands on situational education. I think I was lucky, it was a good market back in 2006 and planners were in demand.
 

Hink

OH....IO
Moderator
Messages
14,678
Points
38
Undergrad at Ball State in planning. I went straight to grad school though, so it is tough to say whether or not my job prospects were impacted or not. My grad program was much, much easier than my undergrad program.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,427
Points
53
When I was going to school, it seemed like most undergraduate planning programs were partnered with a geography program. I went to Buffalo State College (SUNY), and got a BS in Urban and Regional Planning. The program wasn't accredited. The University at Buffalo (also SUNY) offered a graduate planning program, but not a BS/BA. They did offer an undergraduate program in urban and environmental design, though. If I had to do things over, I probably would have gone to UB for urban/environmental design, with a minor in architecture or geography.

I worked a few years before going back to grad school . In that short time, the job market changed dramatically, and most of the planning job openings I saw now asked for an MUP. A BS plus experience wouldn't cut it anymore. (Seems like a lot of older planners I've worked with don't have planning degrees. They somehow migrated to planning or just found themselves doing more planning-related work.)
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,868
Points
38
Undergrad (BUPD and BD degrees from Ball State). 22 years in the profession (progressing from entry level to department head in 3 different communities), not having a masters has never been an obstacle for me.
 

RandomPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
1,547
Points
22
When I was going to school, it seemed like most undergraduate planning programs were partnered with a geography program. I went to Buffalo State College (SUNY), and got a BS in Urban and Regional Planning. The program wasn't accredited. The University at Buffalo (also SUNY) offered a graduate planning program, but not a BS/BA. They did offer an undergraduate program in urban and environmental design, though. If I had to do things over, I probably would have gone to UB for urban/environmental design, with a minor in architecture or geography.

I worked a few years before going back to grad school . In that short time, the job market changed dramatically, and most of the planning job openings I saw now asked for an MUP. A BS plus experience wouldn't cut it anymore. (Seems like a lot of older planners I've worked with don't have planning degrees. They somehow migrated to planning or just found themselves doing more planning-related work.)
I did the Environmental Design/ Architecture undergrad at UB. Worked for 8 years in planning and went back to grad school. I've been in planning now about 17 years.
 
Messages
1
Points
0
I am in Washington State and am currently getting my direct transfer from a community college and am hoping to get into a bachelors PAB program at Western Washington University. I’m going into Architecture (M.Arch) for grad school. I figured Urban Planning will give me a good perspective about architectural needs. I would have done Architecure first as a B.Arch, but the university closest to me doesn’t have that. (I’m 33 and have a fiancé and his 2 kids so we are where we are for right now.)

The program at WWU is in the Huxley School of the Environment and so it has a big emphasis on that, or at least I hope.

Technically, no, I don’t have an undergrad Urban Planning degree. But I am one of the few that is going that route. I probably wouldn’t though if it wasn’t accredited through the PAB, because I plan to be licensed before doing Architecture school. But we’ll see how it works out.
 

nrschmid

Cyburbian
Messages
2,857
Points
20
BA in Urban Planning. I've been working 14 years now as a planner, the last 7 have been designing subdivisions and town centers as a physical land planner. It's such a specialized area of site design that a very strong design portfolio is required. Most designers have had a background in landscape architecture. It's been an uphill battle moving up the corporate ladder without a Masters in Urban Planning. It became easier after I earned my PMP (Project Management Professional) credential, in addition to AICP.

I'm planning on going back to school part time next year to pursue a Masters in Real Estate Development (MSRED) or a Masters in Finance with a Real Estate Specialization. I will probably also do a certification in construction management sometime down the road. I want to move entirely into the developer side of the business and take on a project manager role (not just planning but the whole thing) including calling the shots for home builders, architects, engineers, etc. If I'm lucky I can complete a 2 year graduate program in 4 to 5 years while working full time as a planning manager.
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
408
Points
11
Undergrad at Ball State in planning. I went straight to grad school though, so it is tough to say whether or not my job prospects were impacted or not. My grad program was much, much easier than my undergrad program.
Interesting, how come it was easier? Was it because you took an accelerated path (5 year program)?
 

Hink

OH....IO
Moderator
Messages
14,678
Points
38
Interesting, how come it was easier? Was it because you took an accelerated path (5 year program)?
My undergrad was 4 years and my master's was 2 years. Everything I "learned" in my master's program I already learned in my undergrad. Turns out planning history is the same. ;) Lots of overlap really. My master's program is now better (from what I understand), but when I was there, it was really a pretty basic, less than unique program. I would suggest to any master's program that they should focus more on "real life" planning, and less on planning history and planning theory. Adjunct professors who live and work in the real world are WAY more valuable than someone who has worked in an academic setting for the last 20 years.
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
11,588
Points
35
Undergrad was 4.5 years but with 2 degrees, one in geography and the other in planning. Worked for 10 years and then did grad school (while continuing to work) in 2.5 years with a degree in architecture/urban design.

Undergrad was standard theory, history, etc. Grad work was very project based along with the few core theory requirements. I actually got credit for one independent study class for a project I was doing at work (sweet!).
 
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