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Hello, I'm Japanese student. I'm very interested in planning parks. I'm thinking to study abroad and searching the graduate school using internet. But there are too many school and it's too difficult to decide it. So any information is welcome, please tell me.
First of all, there are a bunch of park planning related programs. Each school provides defferent programs even under same name department.
They are mainly named below:
-City, Urban, and Regional Planning(CURP)
-Recreation, Park, and Tourism Science(RPTS)
In Texas A&M University, LA, LD, and CURP are in the same department, Landscape Arch. and Urban Planning (http://archone.tamu.edu/index.html). LA provides more hands-on experiences, so designing has big weight. LD provides private developer type study including finacial things. CURP provides public administration type study from policy making to subdivision design. On the other hand, RPTS in in Agriculture Department (http://wwwrpts.tamu.edu/rpts/RPTSHomePage.html).
Second of all, graduate schools provide two degree programs such as Ph.D and Master level degree. Some schools allow students who have only bachelor degree to enter Ph.D directly if the bachelor degree is related to the major.
There are two types of master degrees; Master of Science in something (e.g. M.S. in Urban Planning) and Master of something major (e.g. Master of Uarban Planning). The first one is generally called academic degree, of which program emphasizes more academic research and usually requires graduation thesis. The other is so called professional degree, of which program offers more practical studies. Those who take MUP usually don't go farther study like Ph.D.
Fifth of all, there is a very convenient off Web information souce available in Tokyo. It's the Japan-United States Educational Commission (Nichibei kyouiku iinkai). They have various kinds of rankings and guide books to help you to select schools.
Last of all, the most precise way to know which school is best for you is contacting to each school and gethering information who professors are and what specialities they have.
As an additonal idea, let me tell you my personal opinion.
1. Some graduate schools don't offer undergraduate particulary in LA, LD, CURP, and RPTS. The master level graduate program without the undergraduate one has many students who don't have bachelor degree in the field. This fact strongly affects the class atomsphere that is not professional, but more like amateur.
2. The master level graduate program without Ph.D program does not necessary offer additional seminars outside class. In some programs, Ph.D candidates have simple lectures to help undergraduate and master student to understand well outside class. But it doesn't mean all programs with Ph.D program have this kind of seminar.
3. Nowadays many urban planning programs do not offer real design course. Some schools still provide three year course including drawing course, but recently it's out of date.
4. If you are still thinking of urban planning program, you should be reminded of Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) as a guide line. Generally schools credited by PAB provide good programs.
5. A guide book about urban planning is available, which is called "The Guide to Graduate Education in Urban and Regional Planning, Eighth Edition, the Association of College Schools of Planning (ACSP), 9/1992, $19.95." This is available in the Japan-the United States Educational Commission, or orderd from American Planning Association, 1313 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637.
6. I have a bunch of planning schools addresses, which are about 80 schools. If you are interested in planning schools and wanna contact to them, I can email them to you.
If you have questions or want any further information, feel free to contact me.