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Career Development

Whether you are a current student, a graduate, or a prospective employer, URPL is your key resource for information and assistance to connect with other planners both in the Madison-area and around the world.

URPL Students work with their advisors to ensure success in today's employment market.  In addition to their academic programs, students complete a mandatory internship, which is usually completed between the first and second year.

Alumni have a variety of rewarding opportunities to stay connected with the URPL and current students. URPL graduates hold important positions in international organizations; federal, state, and local government agencies; private industry; and nonprofit and community organizations. They are an invaluable resource for students in the development of their careers.

Prospective employers regularly contact the URPL faculty because they know that URPL graduates take initiative, work responsibly, and expertly apply a wide range of skills and practices in policy analysis and public management.

Contact Emily Reynolds by e-mail at emreynolds2@wisc.edu or telephone at 608.262.1004.

For Students

Advisors and faculty help students transform the knowledge and skills gained through a rigorous program of advanced professional training into success in a competitive employment market. Here are a few of the ways this is done:

  • Professional Development Lecture Series and Workshops

    Each semester URPL faculty members coordinate a Faculty Lecture Series, which is a brownbag forum to foster cross-campus research and collaboration.  The lectures are open to the public and students have the opportunity to learn how distinguished faculty from all over the world are studying and addressing contemporary planning issues. 

    In addition, URPL offers students a series of workshops through classes through the Wisconsin Student Planning Association that cover essential skills they must have to be successful in graduate school and in their careers. Topics may include Geographic Information Systems (GIS), professional networking, presentations skills, résumé writing and interviewing tips.

  • Alumni Connections

    Students have the opportunity to meet and work with URPL alumni, many of whom hold important positions in international organizations; federal, state, and local government agencies; private business; and nonprofit and community development organizations. Our alumni are an invaluable resource for students in their career development. One way students and alumni connect is through local planning conferences such as the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association’s annual spring conference. For many students, a huge task is gaining an understanding of the possibilities to guide their job-search process. Many URPL alumni share with students with information about their jobs and workplaces, participate in professional development functions that highlight their knowledge and experience, and provide informational interviews for students. Students interested in contacting alumni should contact his or her advisor.

  • Internships

    URPL strongly believes that hands-on professional work experience is an invaluable learning experience for students and requires an internship with a planning-related organization (with the exception of students in the Peace Corps Master’s International Program). The internship is normally for 10 weeks of full-time work (400 hours) and no formal course credit is given.  The objectives of internships are: (1) To give the student a sense of the operation of planning-related organizations, including:

    • The organization’s relationship with the community and other organizations;
    • Alternative styles of management;
    • Planning approaches and methods used; and
    • Effective strategies for influencing public debate and policy.

    (2) To give students one (or more) experience(s) in analyzing and preparing recommendations on planning problems and issues within the constraints imposed by working for a government, private, or nonprofit planning or planning-related agency.

  • Employment Information

    URPL grads have successful careers in the federal government, state and local governments, nonprofit arena, and private sector.  The key to securing a job after graduation lies in the networks formed while in school through the internship experience, conferences, and other URPL events.  In addition, current students can read an evaluation of past student internship experiences in the URPL Library to generate ideas of where to look for an internship and the duties of each position.  Also, student advisors, who cultivate close relationships with professional planners both in locally in the Madison-area and around the world, are another potential resource for employment information.

For Employers

URPL graduates planning professionals who are the best of the best. URPL faculty and the Wisconsin Student Planning Association work closely with employers to identify suitable job candidates among recent graduates or students graduating soon. They arrange networking opportunities and job shadowing programs to put employers in direct contact with outstanding students, offering employers the opportunity to interview students and offering students the opportunity to learn more about recruiting organizations.  URPL faculty members also work with government, private and nonprofit agencies to establish project assistantships and internships for current students.  We welcome employer's internship and job announcements. Please e-mail the descriptions, including contact and deadline information, to emreynolds2@wisc.edu.