Hello to the folks of Skyscraper Page's forum,
I'm trying to make a decision between Ryerson and McGill for their Urban Planning Masters program and I was wondering if anyone here is a current or former student in their program and would be willing to provide some thoughts and feedback.
I've been going through old posts on Urban Toronto, Reddit, and Skyscraper Page's forum looking for discussion. It's there, but some is old and/or discussing Ryerson's undergrad program, so I thought I'd start a new topic.
I've heard good things about both programs and I'm trying to figure out which one fits best with my own personal and professional goals.
I'm interested in urban design, community building, bike shares, and people-based spaces.
Ryerson has a lot of things going for it -- it's centrally-located, downtown, and has a well-reputed program. They also have a few urban design courses and a strong studio focus. The school and the program is a little less well-known than McGill's, but the tradeoff is that there would be a better opportunity for me to find an internship in Toronto and maybe even develop some connections. I'm interested in working for NGOs since that's where my previous and current experience lays and I really enjoy it. I suspect I'll have an easier time making those connections in Toronto.
McGill is a well-known school and has a very well-reputed program. As with Ryerson, I'll be able to network with my classmates and they'll be a valuable resource. Rent and metro pass is cheaper (metro until I'm 25 at least). Unfortunately, the chance of finding an internship in Montreal is basically zilch for me (my French is okay, but not at a working level in Montreal, I suspect) and I would have to move to find work. McGill doesn't have any urban design courses, but one professor has said that it's integrated into the coursework.
Some feedback would be great, especially if some of the pros/cons I've outlined are a bit off. This is just based on what I've researched and people have told me.
Toronto is a good option for networking and job hunting, I think, but a bit more expensive.
Montreal has a well-known school and program, but poor networking and job hunting. French language is a bonus (improve my French!) but also poses a problem (no job opportunities).
Current/ recent grads,
- What did you study? (University, program name, any other details)
- When did you study at the school?
- What was your best experience studying Urban Planning? What really made you enjoy the program?
- Was there anything that really bugged you? Anything you wish you'd known before you started?
- What were the courses like? A lot of readings in the first year and then more projects, or was it balanced? A lot of small assignments vs larger ones?
- Were you able to find work in the field or somewhat related? (Would you mind sharing your position/ positions following the completion of your degree?)
- Follow-up: are there any skills/ tasks/ programs you learned on the job that would have helped you when you were job hunting? Anything I should tackle? I keep hearing that I should dig in to GIS - this may be a good way to get my foot in the door, from what I understand.
- What kind of positions were your classmates able to find?
- Did any of your classmates find positions abroad?
- Did you establish any networks that you rely on/ relied on? Any groups you stay in contact with? (Your graduating class counts - I'm just curious!)
- Was there an opportunity to attend events and get to know people in the field? (I.e., network?) This could include your own personal interests, e.g., Montreal cyclists group
Thanks in advance to anyone who took the time to read this long post and especially thank you to anyone who replies!
Also, feel free to add comments not asked... I just tried to put some things down that I think most folks might be able to answer!
Edit: I'm specifically looking into Ryerson and McGill, but please feel free to comment on any University in Canada. We can start a thread to discuss all of Canada's Urban Planning programs. Please see the Professional Standard Boards' Accredited University Planning Programs in Canada webpage for which schools and programs are accredited in Canada.