UNSW Built Environment Planning: Laura Goh

6 04 2009

Hi Everyone!  My name is Laura, and I am a 22-year-old student in the Bachelor of Planning program at UNSW in my fifth and final year.

Why did I choose Planning?  In high school, I really enjoyed geography, especially learning about the city and the way that urban dwellers interact with each other. When I read about the BPlan degree it seemed like the perfect fit to continue my interest. I looked into other planning degrees in NSW but decided on the UNSW because the program was well established (the Planning degree at UNSW celebrated its 40th Birthday in 2006!) and is accredited by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA), which was important to me as I want to work overseas in the future.

The BPlan degree contains subjects that look at traditional environmental and transport planning, as well as subjects with a more modern focus, such as urban design, and social and heritage planning.  Apart from the ‘core subjects’ I have taken electives from many other faculties at UNSW.  I have taken geography, law and arts electives and I even learnt Japanese for a year!

What’s happening this year?  At the moment everyone in my year is deciding on the topic for their thesis – yes it is all a little bit scary but I had a chat to one of my lecturers earlier this week and I am happy to say that I HAVE A THESIS TOPIC!  Hurrah!

Apart from uni this year, I am working part time for the same government agency that I did my work experience year with (they must have liked me!).  In the BPlan degree, each student is required to do one year of practical work experience (so really in a five year degree, you are only studying for four years…phew!) The mandatory work experience year sets the degree apart from other undergraduate planning degrees and having a year of work experience on your CV will give you an edge over the graduates of other planning degrees who have not yet worked in the industry.  By the time most of the BPlan students graduate from UNSW, they have almost 2.5 years of practical planning experience already!  Don’t worry – the degree is flexible enough for you to balance both study and work.

If you are interested in the environment in which you live, then planning is for you!  Even if you don’t really know what you want to be when you ‘grow up’, the BPlan degree will give you a range of skills that could be transferred into a wide range of jobs – both in Australia and overseas!

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