• Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no echo chambers. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! You can also register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

MIT vs UW

seaplan

Member
Messages
1
Points
0
I am considering two Masters in Urban Planning programs for this coming fall: MIT and University of Washington. I am primarily interested in urban redevelopment, infill housing, and real estate issues. I live in Seattle and probably want to practice here, but MIT does have a certain allure.

I have seen lots of back and forth on this board about whether or not the planning school you go to matters. But I wonder if there is anyone out there who knows enough about these programs to provide some comparisons. Or totally unsolicited advice would be fine too. Any thoughts?
 

EX-planner

Member
Messages
17
Points
1
If you read the "The planning school you go to DOES NOT MATTER" thread, that should answer your question, especially since someone near the end of the thread was also considering MIT. The lowdown: Save your money.

BTW, I went to the UW planning school (graduated 1991). My review: Eh, so-so I guess, but probably little different from other planning schools. Lots of faculty there have little practical planning experience, but again, probably most planning schools are like that. What's your undergraduate major? If you've already majored in geography or planning or urban studies or something like that, I personally wouldn't recommend going to graduate planning school at all. I did that with the UW after having a BA in geography at UNCC, and it added very little to my overall knowledge.
 

planasaurus

Cyburbian
Messages
215
Points
9
seaplan wrote:
...Or totally unsolicited advice would be fine too. Any thoughts?
It probably depends on what sort of planning you are interested in. Different planning schools seem to have very different focuses, so if you are into something specific, it could help to look at schools with many classes on what you are interested in.

I don't know anything about MIT or UW, but I think they both have good reputations. My (unsolicited) guess would be that UW would interest the creative-land use-visioning-tree hugging planner types, and MIT would interest the transportation - technical-engineering planner types. Just a guess, you would have to look more into it.
 

Dharmster

Cyburbian
Messages
440
Points
13
planasaurus is right, but then consider this:

1) MIT has unparraleled links to the development community including WB, IDB, UNDP, etc.. The faculty and student body are probably the most international of any planning department.
2) MIT is the largest and widely acknowledged as the BEST overall planning program in the United States.
3) It offer access to other related disciplines like architecture, civil engineering, and technology policy which are like the planning department some of the best in the country.

Having said that:
1) Cambridge is outside Boston and Boston is COLD much of the time
2) MIT is a place for people who like to work, and they probably work too hard
3) Unles they've offered you a fellowship or you are independtly weatlhy count on spending close to $90K in living expenses and tuition.
 
Top