Dual, articulated degree plans offered by college expedite earning of multiple degrees

Geoffrey Booth

Geoffrey Booth

Cecilia Giusti Cecilia Giusti

Graduate and undergraduate students can maximize their career options by combining degrees in accelerated programs offered at the Texas A&M College of Architecture.

The three-year graduate dual degree programs, offered by the departments of landscape architecture and urban planning, architecture and construction science, provide students an opportunity to combine a Master of Land and Property Development degree with graduate degrees in architecture, construction management or urban planning; earning two such degrees separately would take at least four years.

LAUP has also partnered with the Mays Business School to offer a three-year dual degree combining MLPD and Master of Real Estate degrees.

“The Master of Land and Property Development degree is richer when it has a high interdisciplinary component,” said Geoffrey Booth, MLPD coordinator.

Booth said Will Paton, who earned master’s degrees in land development and architecture in 2011, is using knowledge from both disciplines as a financial analyst at Transwestern, a commercial real estate services, investment and development company.

“With his background in both degrees, he knows how to look behind a project’s numbers and understand what it is about a building’s design that's likely to enhance its performance,” said Booth. “His design background enables him to look at a real estate asset and know whether it's likely to perform well.”

“With a graduate construction management degree,” said Booth, “one knows how to build a building and how to put together a construction and/or project management team, but not a development team. With a dual degree, if you went to work for a builder, you’d have the skills to do land subdivision as well as the management side of constructing strip malls, shopping centers, multifamily housing and industrial buildings and office buildings.”

A former student with a dual degree, working at a construction organization that chooses to move into development would have the qualifications to assist in the transition, he said.

Students graduating with MPLD and planning degrees will know how to combine today’s planning initiatives, said Booth.

“A lot of urban planning is now done in public/private partnerships,” he said. “It's moved beyond land use regulation, so if you understand how real estate development occurs you can produce planning schemes with the private sector using public assets to create the urban outcome you’re looking for.”

The MLPD and Master of Real Estate degree offered by Texas A&M’s Mays Business School combines the MLPD’s development component with the MRE’s finance and investment emphasis.

“With an MRE, you could get a job in the financial sector, but with the MLPD degree, the additional understanding of how development actually comes together strengthens your professional prospects,” said Booth.

To begin a dual degree program, students apply to both programs in their fields of study. Students pursuing dual degrees write professional papers relevant to both programs.

There aren’t a lot of institutions in the U.S. that offer these options, said Booth.

“The dual degree options receive a lot of interest from students once they’re in the MLPD program and I think it’s going to be a very strong recruiting tool once prospective students learn about them,” he said.

Undergraduate students in the Texas A&M’s urban and regional planning program can simultaneously pursue master's degrees in urban planning or land and property development through the five-year articulated degree programs offered by LAUP.

Additionally, new articulated 4+2 degree programs offered by the department combine the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, a five-year professional degree, with either an MLPD or MUP degree. "The offerings," said Forster Ndubisi, head of the LAUP department, "enable high-achieving students to complete both degrees in 6 years."

“These options are very attractive for our undergraduate planning students,” said Cecilia Giusti, coordinator of the Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning program.

“Instead of taking four years to earn a bachelor’s degree then two more to earn a master’s degree, students can work with an academic advisor and carefully select a program that lets them do both in 5 years,” she said.

These are very attractive options offered by the department, and they are key in recruiting efforts, said Giusti.

“The articulated degree programs require highly qualified and motivated students and a lot of work by advisers and coordinators to ensure students comply with requirements for both degrees,” she said.

posted July 10, 2012