Wherever on the globe there are cities, there are also urban planners who work to optimize their outlay. As demographics shift and populations around the world continue to steadily urbanize, urban planning has become a vital field to ensure efficient development within cities of any diverse origin. Earning your urban planning degree abroad is a great way to explore an array of new challenges in policy, design, and sustainability which different cities around the world face.
Why Earn Your Degree Abroad
Urban planning is a broad, diverse knowledge-base which students with global ambitions can carry forward to find work anywhere in the world. If you fit this bill, why not launch your global career even one step earlier with an urban planning degree abroad? Not only will earning your degree abroad challenge you to think about urban and regional planning within an entirely new political, economic, and geographical context; it will also give you the opportunity to establish an international network in the field, which you can continue to build upon after graduation.
As the global population swells, cities new and old continue to grow at unprecedented rates across the planet. The work of urban planners – whether focused in policy, architecture, research, design or any combination thereof – is crucially important to overseeing infrastructural development efforts anywhere and everywhere that is feeling the effects of this phenomenon. Put simply, the opportunities for where to earn your urban planning degree abroad are vast.
Many of the most highly touted urban planning degree programs are to be found in the English-speaking world, which can be a stroke of luck for students who are not adept in a second language. England, Australia, and the United States are in themselves home to a sizeable majority of the most prestigious universities in the world, and are popular destinations for international students from everywhere to study urban planning abroad.
On the other hand, the benefits of pursuing your urban planning degree abroad outside the Western world cannot be overstated. Bringing yourself to learn a new language and adapt to entirely new contextual circumstances as an urban planner can truly push the envelope on your professional development by teaching you to think outside the box. Emerging powers such as China and India can therein be equally enriching destinations where to study urban and regional planning abroad.
Academics & Degrees
Urban planning is an interdisciplinary field which takes into account many different levels of infrastructural development, architectural design, and stakeholder analysis. At the undergraduate level you will likely take classes in a variety of related disciplines such as civil engineering, communications, environmental science, and public administration, which will all help establish a solid fundamental framework to move forward with in the field.
At the graduate level, you will then typically have the opportunity to specialize in a subfield of urban planning which is most oriented towards the ensuing career path you wish to take. Focuses within the discipline for which it is possible to earn a Master’s or PhD include public housing, transportation planning, community development, and geographical information systems.
Undergraduate degrees abroad in urban planning generally require three to four years of study, while a Master’s degree will require one to two years and a PhD can requires several additional years on top of this. Countries around the world will structure urban and regional planning degree programs in different ways depending on national norms and requirements, so research a wide variety of programs in a wider variety of places to get a sense of which feels like the best all-around fit!
Benefits & Challenges
Exposure. Studying urban planning abroad in a country drastically different from your own can introduce you to an entirely new manifestation of the field. Cities around the world are as diverse as the countries which contain them; now is the time to start exploring!
Context. Learning to think about urban planning within a new geographical, cultural, and political context can offer invaluable insight into the nuances of the field within your own home country. You will begin to make connections you otherwise would have remained totally blind to.
Friction. Adapting to another country’s cultural norms and education system can be difficult, and there are always likely to be some bumps in the road. By placing yourself in that situation, however, you are only setting yourself up to grow.
Earning your urban planning degree abroad is the opportunity to uproot from the familiar and begin to explore new cultures, cities, and architectural styles ranging all across the planet. As an individual and as a professional, it can be one of the most important formative experiences you will have!