Q. After I apply, how will I know if I will be accepted into the Planning Program?
A. When you’re accepted into the MES Program, you are in the Planning Program. When you start your studies with us, in our online graduate student dossier system, you will identify your intent to pursue the Planning Program. Then, when you have completed all of the Planning Program requirements at the end of your sixth term (including the courses you need to take and your field experience), you will receive a certificate when you get your diploma. Then when you start to work and you apply to be a Candidate of the Canadian Institute of Planners you apply as a graduate from an accredited planning program.
Q. Can I decide at some point not to be in Planning and still stay?
A. Yes, absolutely: you will work with your faculty advisor to put together your Plan of Study—many students revise their goals as they learn and study and think. If you decide Planning is not for you, then you make the change in your online dossier.
Q. Do I need to have an undergrad in planning to apply? Is it better to have one?
A. No, you don’t. FES is an interdisciplinary faculty and we welcome applicants with all kinds of academic backgrounds. If you have a degree in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, etc. you will be able to take advantage of the big faculty we have to study planning the way you want to.
Q. But if I do have an undergrad in planning, should I do a graduate degree in planning?
A. My own view is that you don’t need to because you already have a degree from an accredited school. If you come to study with us and are interested in city planning, peri-urban or rural issues, you would still take planning courses but wouldn’t have to meet all the requirements needed to obtain a planning certificate—you would have more room in your program to take other courses. Having a Master in Environmental Studies is a great complement to an undergrad planning degree.
Q. Do I need to meet with a faculty member who will be an advisor before I apply?
A. No, but it’s a good idea to visit if you can, talk to faculty and students, and see if FES is a good fit for you. You will be assigned an advisor at the beginning of your program and will work with that person to put together your first Plan of Study.
Q. I’m also thinking about other schools…
A. Good idea. Make sure to do your research on the other graduate planning schools in Ontario. York is unique because planning is integrated into the larger MES program and planning students take courses with people who are studying all sorts of interesting things. Because it’s within Environmental Studies, though, our Planning Program is focused on environmental and social justice, activism, and critical thinking. We teach all of the technical skills needed to excel as a professional planner. At the graduate level, students are expected to be very curious and creative and passionate about their area of interest and to use their program to see how they can best intervene make great and positive transformations in the world.
Q. Ok, thanks! And if I have more questions?
A. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!