Students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, both with and without prior study in landscape architecture, are admitted to this graduate degree program.
Students without design backgrounds constitute the majority of the student body. Normally, they complete the degree requirements in six semesters, plus a prerequisite summer session studio taken before the first fall semester. Prior to enrollment, students are encouraged to become familiar with the discipline through reading and/or coursework in the history of landscape architecture, drawing or ecology.
This graduate-level professional degree program prepares graduates for professional work in private offices, teaching, and public service. At the core of the curriculum is the design studio. The studio sequence is structured to expose students to the range of scales and issues in landscape architecture, along with opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary and independent studios. Design intervention is grounded in the language of the discipline through an understanding of its relationship to building architecture and urban design, and through study of landscape history, theory, technologies, and ecology. The design of the landscape embodies a vision of public life and an attitude towards the natural world. It brings together the study of natural systems with the exploration of social, ethical, and cultural issues. It is also, fundamentally, about making and building, grounded in an understanding of materials and processes. Essential to the design process is the ability to read and interpret a site within its context and shape its future. Understanding sites and systems is developed through the “ecology and technology” sequence of courses in plants, landform, detailing, site engineering, and regenerative technologies, all of which stress the importance of giving form to conceptual ideas and values investigated in history and theory courses, and synthesized through projects in design studios. Elective seminars address special topics in landscape architecture, along with offerings to explore issues in the related disciplines.
Master of Landscape Architecture Curriculum
The Master of Landscape Architecture Path A program allows students with undergraduate arts degrees in other fields to obtain a professional degree in landscape architecture. This requires three years plus an introductory summer session. Each semester’s work consists of a design studio with supporting history, theory, and ecology/technology (eco-tech) courses.
In addition to the required courses, five electives afford students opportunity to pursue specialization and/or individual interests. The two remaining elective credits may be taken in any program of the University. Since students come from different backgrounds and experiences, electives can be distributed either to give students exposure to the different fields related to landscape architecture, or to develop an area of expertise, such as design theory, historic preservation, ecological design or sustainable urbanism. Students may undertake an independent study with a faculty member as one of their electives, but those wishing to take more than one independent study must petition the faculty to do so.
In the final year, students may elect to undertake an independent studio. If so, ALAR 8100 (Research) must be taken in the fall semester in order to develop a thesis, identify a faculty advisor(s), and prepare a theoretical basis for the spring term independent studio. ALAR 8100 counts as one of the four elective courses.
Students with accredited baccalaureate or masters degrees in architecture may receive up to one year in advanced standing in the Path A curriculum.
Students with accredited undergraduate degrees in landscape architecture are eligible for the Path B curriculum, and are encouraged to pursue advanced independent design research through seminars and studios, in close consultation with a faculty adviser and mentor.