The NZPI recognises a number of planning degrees that provide the basis for a career in planning, see Accredited Degrees for full details
When you are considering study or are currently studying a planning degree there are many routes for attaining financial assistance if needed. Options exist for both financial bursaries and scholarships at the following links:
When studying planning away from home there are many choices for accommodation. Each university with recognised planning courses has a number of options listed on their websites:
By Wendy Robinson, Massey University
As a fourth year NZPI Student Planner at Massey University I assure you that understanding the planning profession takes more than just a few lectures. Personally I did not grasp this until well into my second year. A planning degree allows you to gain a broad awareness of many topics, ranging from geography, to ecology, or economics. Opportunities exist for what interests you to shape the planning degree you undertake. I personally have a science background and have a second specialisation in ecology. This has provided me an understanding of the resources we plan for and our effects on them.
Over the four year Massey Bachelor of Resource and Environmental Planning degree I have had the opportunity to learn many aspects of the profession from quite differing positions. From dispute management on the site of a proposed wind farm, heritage planning on archaeological locations, the public submissions process at council hearings, appeals in the Environment Court, to planning enquiries at council offices. The practical knowledge has helped the lectured theory take shape and will hopefully assist me when I enter the 'real world'.
On top of the education received from university, myself and a number of my class have had the opportunity to work as student planners over summer breaks. The extension to the taught knowledge I have received has helped tremendously, all simply from seeing and doing alongside 'real' planners. I recommend you seek the same opportunities.
While every degree, paper, lecturer and student provides a different experience of university there are many tips and tricks to help your studies. Check if there are study guides, web components, or lecture notes available for your paper. The information your lecturer provides you is usually quite important. Lecturers like to help - you just need to ask! For example, when you need guidance for your assignment or you can't make your lectures. Universities have many facilities for assisting your learning. For example, tips for studying, exams, and assignment writing. Help such as going through your finished work to improve the technical points like grammar is a big help! Get to know your classmates and the other levels of your degree. They have been /are in your situation and can often help with assignments or lecture notes etc. These people will also be planners like you, so start networking now.
"Being a student member of the NZPI has formalised for me the link with the professional planning body. Having access to information about training opportunities, conferences, and newsletter updates has furthered my comprehension of a 'real world' planning career. Regular emails about situations vacant will hopefully enable students like me to find a job following the conclusion of study. Being a student member will hopefully show potential employees that I am serious about the profession. It is also recognition of the education I have undertaken as student membership is only for fully accepted degrees. I have also found there are many social networking benefits of being involved."
Wendy Robinson, Bachelor of Resource and Environmental Planning, Massey University
I have been a student member of the NZPI throughout the duration of my MPlanPrac degree at Auckland. Student membership has been really beneficial; I receive regular updates about jobs, events and current issues that face planners. The events that are held, especially through the young planner's branch, give opportunities to network and socialise with other young planners. This aspect is particularly valuable as I have met many planners in different stages of their working life who are able to offer advice and helpful information. I also believe that it is an important that planners are a part of their professional institute throughout the length of their career, from student to senior members.
Jennifer Chivers, Masters of Planning Practice, University of Auckland
For me, joining NZPI as a student was about recognising the important support role the Institute plays in the day-to-day lives of its members. The planning profession plays such a vital role in the development and ongoing maintenance of communities that the ability to share ideas is critical, and NZPI provides exactly that. As a student, this is invaluable. The opportunities to network with contemporaries and potential employees and colleagues are endless and there's the added benefit of making lasting friendships. Being able to see the practical application of the theoretical concepts I learnt at university was another advantage of membership with the Institute. Suddenly, at the coalface, the concepts became real and lasting. The young planners branch of the NZPI is a great advocate for young planners in New Zealand and can help graduates find work, build experience and demonstrates a level of commitment I think employers look for.
Jennifer Parlane, Bachelor of Planning, University of Auckland
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