This seems like the right place to post this, since I'm facing the same dilemma as kitchener-lrt...only 3 years later!
I know that I want to study (and actually do!) Urban Planning starting next year. I've gone to the program information sessions at both Waterloo and Ryerson, seen the classrooms, read about the faculty, and figured out the differences between the two. Until recently I felt that Waterloo had the better program, but now I'm not so sure.
I like how Waterloo's program has a focus on the Environmental aspect of planning, and their new building, studios and classrooms look fantastic! I also got an outline of the courses I'll be taking, and a tour from an enthusiastic student which was nice. Unfortunately their presentation was as dull as can be. A long powerpoint from a soft-spoken professor had me a little dissapointed. I know that not all professors will be like this, and I'm sure he was a very intelligent man, but I just didn't feel...inspired, if you know what I mean. Initially I really liked the idea of it being a co-op course. Paid work experience that will help me find jobs after graduation sounds great, but I've realized that there is no way they have enough placements for all 110 students in K-W. Does this mean the extra stress stress of having to find an apartment, and move to a new city just for one term? I'm not afraid of moving around to gain experience, but I mean one term isn't a very long time. I also wonder, are the courses more theory-based at Waterloo?
Despite some uncertainties, while heading to Ryerson I still felt strongly that Waterloo was the place for me. The emphasis on co-op, better reputation, and bigger focus on academics at Waterloo were the main factors that lead me to assume that Ryerson's program would be dramatically inferior. However, that was clearly not the case! Their presentation was the complete
opposite of Waterloo's. The passionate, enthusiastic associate director just spoke the whole time, and I was really captivated by them. There was no boring powerpoint or handouts. Apparently the reason that they don't have co-op at Ryerson is because the classes integrate that sort of practical stuff into them by doing mock proposals and projects for the city. Is this not as good, or better than doing a seperate co-op term in another city? It honestly sounds better to me. I liked the "hands on" approach of the classes, because I don't just want to learn the theory seperate of its practical uses. Another thing that Ryerson's program has going for it is that all of the faculty appear to be practicing Urban Planners themselves. All this was very convincing to me, not to mention that the campus is actually located in, well a real urban environment! Waterloo's campus is open and nice, but it is a bubble located in a suburb.
Anyways, sorry about the long post, but do you think I am correct in thinking that Ryerson is in fact the better program? Should I take up the Ryerson professor's offer, and ask to sit in on a class?
Some of the previous posts have been helpful, and I know it all comes down to my own personal preference, but it would be fantastic if anyone had any thoughts or advice for me!