Urban Design / City Planning (GRAD SCHOOL!)

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 23, 2013 5:01 AM GMT
    Hey guys, sorry I had no idea what category to file this under for starters.

    Anyways, it's getting close to graduation and I have to decide what my next step is in life. I've been considering applications to grad school (I know its really late so Im looking at Spring Semester admissions or just take a year off) for Urban Design. I'm getting ready to graduate with a BA in Graphic Design, a BA in History, and a minor in GIS/Geography.

    Basically, are their any urban designers, city planners here and what has been your experience? Any tips on how to break into the field or grad school in general?

    Any advice is appreciated and thanks for letting me ramble, it was a nice break from Applied GIS and Statistics homework! lol

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  • pandx970

    Posts: 357

    Feb 13, 2013 7:05 AM GMT
    Am at the other end of the grad school experience from you -- I'm about to graduate with a Masters of Urban / Regional Planning. But, what kind of questions do you have?
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    Feb 13, 2013 7:43 AM GMT
    M.C.P. (Transportation Planning) / M.S. in Civil from UC-Berkeley here.

    I would recommend work experience before graduate school. It will make your application stronger and help you to refine your interests. And that second half is as important as the first. The most successful planning graduate students are those who have a burning question or research area that they are interested in and pursue at every opportunity. While an M.C.P. may feel like a credential, grad school culture pretty much requires you to have a "research interest". If you find it challenging to find positions in urban design, consider cashing in on GIS as there is generally high demand for low-level GIS work.

    Just to add another angle to the work experience recommendation, when I entered grad school at 24 I was easily one of the youngest people in the planning department (but one of the oldest in Civil Engineering, as most of them come straight from undergrad).

    Consider dual degrees. A combination with a related field, like Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, or Public Health can be powerful.

    Ask early and often about funding. I did not pursue funding in my final semester because I had a good internship that paid well, but in other semesters I had fee remissions.

    Learn everything that you possibly can in grad school. You will NEVER have this good an opportunity to learn so much, as you become more specialized and companies may perceive little value in your learning new skills that others have.