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USC and Univ. of Michigan

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Hello. I am making a decision between the University of Michigan and USC graduate planning programs. I'm interested in international development and transportation. Both schools offer similar concentrations. I'd like some opinions about the general reputation of these programs. Is one program more highly regarded than the other? I know that they are both very good programs but I wanted some opinions from people in the profession or in graduate school now. Thank you very much. -Howard
P.S. If you would like to email me, please send a message to howiekarp at yahoo.com The system would only let me register my aol account, which I don't check. Also, I'm living in the San Francisco Bay Area and am looking for summer work/internship in planning before I head off to one of these schools.
 
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howiekarp said:
Hello. I am making a decision between the University of Michigan and USC graduate planning programs. I'm interested in international development and transportation. Both schools offer similar concentrations. I'd like some opinions about the general reputation of these programs. Is one program more highly regarded than the other? I know that they are both very good programs but I wanted some opinions from people in the profession or in graduate school now. Thank you very much. -Howard
P.S. If you would like to email me, please send a message to howiekarp at yahoo.com The system would only let me register my aol account, which I don't check. Also, I'm living in the San Francisco Bay Area and am looking for summer work/internship in planning before I head off to one of these schools.[/QUOTE]

Howard,
I went to U of M for undergrad and applied to USC for urban planning afterwards. I was seriously considering to apply to U of M's urban plannig, too, but I decided against last minute because after meeting with a former USC urban planning student, I was very impressed with what USC offered:

1. "Trojan family"-- that's what they call their alumni network. There are USC alumni EVERYWHERE in Southern California, and there are also many SPPD (that's the school that planning program falls under) alumni in prominent positions. The downside, in my opinion, is that this alumni network only seems to be extremely helpful within Southern California. But if So Cal is where you want to be, I think you should definitely consider becoming a trojan family member.

2. From my research of both U of M and USC programs, I think USC is a much better program. For one, USC offers these international labs that you can be part of during the summer time. I know that this years, students are going to China to be part of the planning of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Two, there are a number of professors who seemed to be doing some amazing work already in Asia, as some of them have worked extensively in the region doing consulting jobs for different governments and NGO's.

3. USC's urban planning program is housed in the School of Public Policy and Planning, and U of M's is under School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Because USC's is part of the policy schoo, as a planning student, you have the option to really get exposed to the policy aspect of urban planning. Your classmates will not only be just other planning students but students studying public policy and public administration.

4. A plug for U of M: Detroit (I am not sure how familiar you are with the city) is an AMAZINGLY interesting place for people with interest in urban development (was this a very obvious statement?) The city has SO much potential in development and there are already so many interesting things happening-- the downtown development, a lot of mass transit redevelopment, etc. Ann Arbor is also a beautiful city to be in for a couple of years.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,915
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57
I got my MUP from UM - TCAUP, and I would say that it is a great school/program to get your degree.

There is the opportunity to study in practically all disciplines within Planning - Transportation, General Planning, Urban Design, etc. Plus, the faculty is exceptional and includes many well-known planning reserachers. Also, you can do dual degrees with UM Law School, Architecture, Environmental Sciences, Landscape Architecture, Public Policy, etc.

Plus, Ann Arbor is a beautiful place to live and play. If I was to move back to Michigan, Ann Arbor would be one of the few places I would be willing to live.

Let us know which you choose

[subliminal]You want to become a Wolverine, You want to become a Wolverine[/subliminal] ;-)
 
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Thank You

I never expected to get such a well thought-out answer. I'm very appreciative. I do think I'm leaning more towards Michigan though because I don't think I want to spend my career in So Cal. But either way, I have a hard decision to make. I do know that I can still take Public Policy classes, etc. at Michigan and that it could be good to be exposed to the architecture side of things. I really do like both programs. We'll see...


chihwunk said:
Howard,
I went to U of M for undergrad and applied to USC for urban planning afterwards. I was seriously considering to apply to U of M's urban plannig, too, but I decided against last minute because after meeting with a former USC urban planning student, I was very impressed with what USC offered:

1. "Trojan family"-- that's what they call their alumni network. There are USC alumni EVERYWHERE in Southern California, and there are also many SPPD (that's the school that planning program falls under) alumni in prominent positions. The downside, in my opinion, is that this alumni network only seems to be extremely helpful within Southern California. But if So Cal is where you want to be, I think you should definitely consider becoming a trojan family member.

2. From my research of both U of M and USC programs, I think USC is a much better program. For one, USC offers these international labs that you can be part of during the summer time. I know that this years, students are going to China to be part of the planning of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Two, there are a number of professors who seemed to be doing some amazing work already in Asia, as some of them have worked extensively in the region doing consulting jobs for different governments and NGO's.

3. USC's urban planning program is housed in the School of Public Policy and Planning, and U of M's is under School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Because USC's is part of the policy schoo, as a planning student, you have the option to really get exposed to the policy aspect of urban planning. Your classmates will not only be just other planning students but students studying public policy and public administration.

4. A plug for U of M: Detroit (I am not sure how familiar you are with the city) is an AMAZINGLY interesting place for people with interest in urban development (was this a very obvious statement?) The city has SO much potential in development and there are already so many interesting things happening-- the downtown development, a lot of mass transit redevelopment, etc. Ann Arbor is also a beautiful city to be in for a couple of years.
 
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Thank you

Thanks, I will let you know. I think the dual degree aspect at Michigan is a real plus, especially since they are all top programs in the country. I like the subliminal message- quite funny.

mendelman said:
I got my MUP from UM - TCAUP, and I would say that it is a great school/program to get your degree.

There is the opportunity to study in practically all disciplines within Planning - Transportation, General Planning, Urban Design, etc. Plus, the faculty is exceptional and includes many well-known planning reserachers. Also, you can do dual degrees with UM Law School, Architecture, Environmental Sciences, Landscape Architecture, Public Policy, etc.

Plus, Ann Arbor is a beautiful place to live and play. If I was to move back to Michigan, Ann Arbor would be one of the few places I would be willing to live.

Let us know which you choose

[subliminal]You want to become a Wolverine, You want to become a Wolverine[/subliminal] ;-)
 

monkeyflower

Cyburbian
Messages
58
Points
4
Howard,

Did you come to UMich's open house back in March? I'm a current MUP at Michigan; wondering whether I met you.

I don't know anything about USC except that we (Michigan) just tried to hire away one of their professors for our real estate program. So they have at least one thing we envy. :)

Someone mentioned a policy bent in USC that Michigan doesn't have because of the school it's in; I think that's untrue. A few of UMich's professors are very physical planning-oriented, but some have very good policy backing. Plus you can dual-degree, as someone said, and many students do; everybody takes classes across college lines. Every planning class has policy, law, business, architecture, and natural resources/environment students; engineers and social work students show occasionally.

Careerwise, come to Michigan. A lot of the planning students here hit the coasts after graduation to look for jobs; from what I can tell, a Michigan planning student who stays in the Detroit area after graduation has no end of opportunity. That assumes you're willing to take up in Detroit, though.

-Murph.
 
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