Jun 18, 2018  
Graduate Record 2015-2016 
    
Graduate Record 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Master of Landscape Architecture


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Mission

We seek to foster the next generation of design leaders in practice and academia who will envision a more just and sustainable world. We challenge students to envision landscapes that simultaneously contribute to public life and embody an ethic towards the bio-physical world. Our projects confront the most pressing environmental and social issues of our day – social justice for marginalized communities, livable green infrastructural cities and their waterways, renewal strategies for shrinking post-industrial cities, and urban adaptation to global climate change. We believe responding to these tough challenges requires new thinking that links landscape form and dynamic processes at the widest variety of scales, from extensive infrastructural armatures down to the site of intervention. Our design approach rests on the principle that one must physically occupy a site, work with its landscape medium, and understand its complex layered histories of biophysical processes and human activity in order to create meaningful proposals for that site. Our students are encouraged to shape their own individual educational trajectories by integrating their design or non-design undergraduate backgrounds, intellectual interests, and skills into their studies in landscape architecture. This fosters a rich and diverse thinking community united around a common interest to create yet-unimagined and powerful propositions for a better built environment.

Admission

 

Our graduate program is comprised of students coming from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, both with and without prior studies in landscape architecture. Applicants are required to submit an application that includes a series of essays plus a digital portfolio of their creative work. The portfolio work can range widely from personal design explorations to professional work to creative work carried out in work, art and drawing classes, or school. Prior to enrollment, students are encouraged to become familiar with the discipline through work experience, and reading and/or coursework in the history of landscape architecture, drawing and ecology.

Curriculum

 

Our curriculum is a structured series of semesters that build incrementally from a core base of knowledge and skills laid out in the first year. While the first year is fully prescribed in its course requirements, later semesters leave elective options that allow students to pursue their own individual interests that lead to a final independent design research studio.

The core of each semester is the design studio (6 credit hours) that meets three afternoons per week. The studio sequence exposes students to the range of scales and topical issues in landscape architecture. In emphasizing the ability to read and interpret a site within its context and shape its future based on those findings, the initial studios are based locally and emphasize on-site experience and documentation of place. Studios in the second and third years offer students opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary and independent studios in cities and locations around the country and internationally. These advanced studios are research based, which encourages students to investigate the broader issues beyond a specific design problem and arrive at innovative and bold proposals.

Supporting our studio work, we have developed three curricula in related technical and material areas. Our eco-tech curriculum or the “ecology and technology” sequence integrates the content of landform, site detailing, storm water engineering, and regenerative technologies. Focused on making and building at the scale of the body and site, the contents of these courses are grounded in a technical understanding of materials and processes. Our plants curriculum investigates the form and functional aspects of plants in both native and urban applications, while our visual studies curriculum presents a broad range of design tools from hand drawing and modeling to digital drawing and 3D printing. These practical curricula, along with the conceptual ideas and values investigated in history and theory courses, are integrated with and synthesized through projects carried out in studio. Finally, students have a range of open electives that can be taken in the department, school-wide, and the university to explore special topics in landscape architecture and issues in the related disciplines.

Courses taken at other institutions are normally not accepted. Under exceptional circumstances a petition along with supporting materials (i.e. syllabus and work samples) may be submitted to receive an exemption from taking a required course. Candidates are required to fulfill the total degree credit requirement regardless of course exemptions granted.  Petitions are to be submitted to the department chair or graduate program director for consideration and final decision.

Students without landscape architecture design backgrounds constitute the majority of our student body and complete our Path 3.0 program in six semesters plus a prerequisite introductory summer session. There are also shorter intensive paths of study for students with degree backgrounds in landscape architecture, and architecture. Please refer to our four curricular paths below.

Accreditation

 

The Master in Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) prgram is accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board. The program received its last six-year term of accreditation in October 2011 and will undergo review again in the fall of 2017.

Master of Landscape Architecture Curricula


There are four paths for earning a Master of Landscape Architecture at U.Va.:

MLA Path 3.0 (a three-year/six-semester program for a student with a non-design undergraduate degree) (former Path A Degree)

The Master of Landscape Architecture Path 3.0 program allows students with non-design undergraduate degrees to obtain a professional degree in landscape architecture. This requires 94 hours of course credits carried out in three years (6 semesters), plus our 3-credit introductory 5-week summer session called Summer Design Institute (or SDI). Each semester’s work consists of a design studio with supporting history, theory, plants, and ecology/technology (eco-tech) courses. In addition to the required courses, five electives afford students opportunity to pursue specialization and/or individual interests. Three of these electives must be taken within the Department of Landscape Architecture, two of which must be history/theory electives. Up to one elective may be an independent study elective advised by a member of the LAR program. Other elective credits may be taken in any program in the University. Since students come from different backgrounds and experiences, electives can be chosen 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.

MLA Path 2.5 (a two-and-one-half-year/five-semester program for students with previous degrees in landscape architecture from non-U.S. professional accredited programs.) (new)

The MLA Path 2.5 program is a two-and-one-half-year program (78 credits in five semesters). It is designed for students coming with a previous landscape architecture undergraduate design degrees from non-U.S. professionally-accredited schools. To meet the final requirements, Path 2.5 students must matriculate in the fall semester (i.e. cannot begin studies in the spring semester). As with the Path 3.0 Curriculum, each semester’s work consists of a design studio with supporting history, theory, plants, and ecology/technology (eco-tech) courses. Four electives afford students opportunity to pursue specialization and individual interests. One should be an English language elective, if determined needed. Two out of the four electives must be taken within the Department of Landscape Architecture. One elective may be an independent study advised by a member of the LAR program. Other elective credits may be taken from any department in the University. Path 2.5 students are highly encouraged to pursue advanced independent design research in close consultation with a faculty advisor and mentor.

MLA Path 2.0 Advanced (a two-year/four-semester path for students with a B.S. in Landscape Architecture or a B.L.A.) (former Path B Degree)

The Master of Landscape Architecture Path 2.0 Advanced program allows students with an accredited landscape architecture undergraduate degree to earn a graduate degree in landscape architecture in two years (62 credits in four semesters). Because of a previous undergraduate education that likely included courses in landscape architectural history and technologies, Path 2.0 Advanced students enjoy the opportunity to pursue their individual interests and specialization in the field through seven electives. Four of these electives must be taken within the Department of Landscape Architecture, two of which must be history/theory electives. Another elective must be in the form of a teaching assistanceship for credit. Up to one elective may be an independent study elective advised by a member of the LAR program. The remaining three electives are open and may be taken at the graduate level in any department in the University. Students in the Path 2.0 Advanced curriculum are encouraged to pursue advanced independent design research in close consultation with a faculty adviser and mentor.

MLA Path 2.0 (a two-year/four-semester path for students with an accredited B.S. in Architecture degree) (former Path A-Advanced Degree)

The MLA Path 2.0 program is an intensive two-year/four-semester/61-credit immersion in the core theory and practical knowledge of the landscape architecture profession designed for students with an accredited architecture undergraduate degree. Each semester’s work consists of a design studio with supporting history, theory, plants, and ecology/technology (eco-tech) courses. The curriculum allows students only one elective, which can be taken at the graduate level within any department in the University and may be an independent study advised by a member of the landscape architecture faculty. Additional elective credits however are possible and may be taken at the graduate level within any department in the University.

Note: In all four degree programs, students are encouraged to undertake an independent thesis in their final semester. If so, ALAR 8102 and ALAR 8100 (Design Research Seminar) must be taken in the spring and fall previous to the last semester in order to develop a thesis, identify a faculty advisor(s), and prepare a theoretical basis for the spring term thesis.

All students may also 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 Chair to do so.

MLA Path 3.0 Curriculum


(a three-year/six-semester program for a student with a non-design undergraduate degree)

Summer Design Institute/SDI Session - Credits 3


The Summer Design Institute prepares graduate students admitted to the Master of Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture Programs for rigorous professional study in these design disciplines. Three courses comprise the full-time course of study over a four week period during the University of Virginia’s Summer Session.

Second Year


Fall Semester - Credits: 15 Spring Semester- Credits: 16

*Required only for students who want to pursue “ALAR 8995- Independent Design Research Studio”

Third Year


Fall Semester - Credits: 15 Spring Semester - Credits: 15

*Required only for students who want to pursue “ALAR 8995- Independent Design Research Studio”.

Path 3.0 Degree Total - Credits: 93


Note: Path 3.0 students are required to take five electives. Three of these electives must be taken within the Department of Landscape Architecture, two electives must be history/theory electives, and up to one elective may be an independent study elective advised by a member of the LAR program. Remaining elective credits may be taken in any program in the University.

MLA Path 2.5 Curriculum


 (a two-and-one-half-year/five-semester program for students with previous degrees in landscape architecture from non-U.S. professional accredited programs)

Third Year


Fall Semester - Credits: 15  
 

*Required only for students who want to pursue “ALAR 8995- Independent Design Research Studio”.

Path 2.5 Degree Total - Credits: 77


NOTE: Students are required to take four electives. One should be an English language elective, if determined needed. Two out of the four electives must be taken within the Department of Landscape Architecture. One elective may be an independent study advised by a member of the LAR program. Other elective credits may be taken at the graduate level within any department in the University.

MLA Path 2.0 Advanced Curriculum


(a two-year/four-semester path for students with a B.S. in Landscape Architecture or a B.L.A.)

First Year


Fall Semester - Credits: 15 Spring Semester - Credits: 16

*Required only for students who want to pursue “ALAR 8995- Independent Design Research Studio”.

Second Year


Fall Semester - Credits: 15 Spring Semester - Credits: 15

or

  • Elective, Credits: 3
  • Elective, Credits: 3

or

 *Required only for students who want to pursue “ALAR 8995- Independent Design Research Studio”.

Path 2.0 Advanced Degree Total - Credits: 61


NOTE: Path 2.0 Advanced students are required to take a minimum of seven electives. Four of these electives must be taken within the Department of Landscape Architecture, two of which must be history/theory electives. Another elective must be in the form of a teaching assistanceship for credit. Up to one elective may be an independent study elective advised by a member of the LAR program. The remaining three electives are open and may be taken at the graduate level within any department in the University.

MLA Path 2.0 Curriculum


(a two-year/four-semester path for students with an accredited B.S. Architecture degree)

Path 2.0 Degree Total - Credits: 60


NOTE: The curriculum allows students only one elective, which can be taken at the graduate level within any department in the University and may be an independent study advised by a member of the landscape architecture faculty. Additional elective credits however are possible and may be taken at the graduate level in any department in the University.

Landscape Architecture Course Descriptions


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