Master of Landscape Architecture
There are three paths for earning a Master of Landscape Architecture: Path A (a three-year program for a student with a non-design undergraduate degree); Path A Advanced (usually for a student with a B.S. in Architecture); and Path B (usually for a student with a B.S. in Landscape Architecture).
M.L.A. PATH A 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 called Summer Design Institute (or SDI). 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. Two of these electives must be taken within the Department of Landscape Architecture, once elective must be a construction elective, and the remaining elective credits may be taken in any program in 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 with accredited baccalaureate or masters degrees in architecture may receive up to one year in advanced standing in the Path A curriculum.
M.L.A. PATH A ADVANCED STANDING CURRICULUM
The Master of Landscape Architecture Path A Advanced program provides an intensive immersion in the core theory and practical knowledge of the profession of landscape architecture. This path of studies allows students with a previous accredited architecture undergraduate degree to earn a professional degree in landscape architecture in two years. Again, each semester’s work consists of a design studio with supporting history, theory, and ecology/technology (eco-tech) courses. Students are required to take two electives within the Department of Landscape Architecture. One elective may be an independent study advised by a member of the landscape architecture faculty. Other elective credits may be taken in any department in the University
M.L.A. PATH B CURRICULUM
The Master of Landscape Architecture Path B program allows students with a previous accredited landscape architecture undergraduate degree to earn a graduate degree in landscape architecture in two years. Again, 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, six electives afford students opportunity to pursue specialization and/or individual interests. Three electives out of six total electives must be taken within the Department of Landscape Architecture, one elective must be a construction elective, and the remaining elective credits may be taken in any program in the University. One elective may be an independent study advised by a member of the LAR program. Students in the Path B curriculum are encouraged to pursue advanced independent design research through seminars and studios, in close consultation with a faculty adviser and mentor.
Note: In all three degree programs, students may elect to undertake a thesis in their final year. If so, ALAR 8100 (Design Research Seminar) 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 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. .
See the 2012-13 Graduate Record.
Ecotech Curriculum Description
The Landscape Architecture faculty revised our curriculum in technology to re–center it around contemporary ecological knowledge and cutting–edge techniques. We wanted to eliminate the conceptual boundaries that too often prevent students and practitioners from seeing the processes of ecological flow as dynamics that can be integrated with the processes of making and building. Now, we teach about relevant ecological processes at the same time as we help students gain skills in creating, detailing, and constructing landscapes. This seemed especially important given changing scientific conceptions of ecology–from theories of equilibrium and climax to an emphasis on dynamics and regime shifts — as well as emerging technologies related to climate change, stormwater management and brownfield remediation.
We begin this sequence with a course in plants that is ecosystem–centered and introduces landscape ecological concepts; earthwork (grading) that emphasizes soil conservation and an understanding of soil as a living medium that supports plant growth and rainwater infiltration; and site assembly (materials and construction techniques) that introduces water–related innovations in materials, as well as green roofs and green walls. In the second year, students take an urban hydrology course that focuses on the latest innovations in design (LAR 7350), as well as the performance and cost issues that drive strategic innovations. They also take a brownfield remediation and design course (LAR 7320), to prepare themselves for urban infill challenges as well as addressing coastal and rural sites that have a previous industrial use. Spring of second year includes a new blended course in which we teach planted form alongside urban ecology, to make sure our students learn to achieve both ecological and aesthetic performance goals at the same time. The third year offers students a course in professional practice that ties previous coursework together using the documents used to build landscapes, as well as an understanding of the strategic envelope created by municipal codes. The sequence ends with an advanced course on urban water and transportation infrastructure that introduces the language of asset management and public finance as well as an intensive focus on design innovations that support multi–functionality and quality of life (LAR 5330).
The ecotech courses are taught by our full–time faculty members as well as lecturers with special expertise. In addition to lectures and field trips, these courses continue to include guest speakers who are experts in emerging sustainable and green technologies. The faculty encourages students to consider elective courses taught by faculty across the School of Architecture that build on this eco–tech foundation. We also direct students to courses in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Environmental Sciences to gain specialized skills in ecosystem, infrastructure, and hydrological analysis.
Ecology and Technology courses
- LAR 5330 Sites and Systems: Infrastructure
- LAR 5370 Natural Systems and Plant Ecology
- LAR 5380 Planted Form and Function
- LAR 5340 Earthwork
- LAR 7340 Site Assembly
- LAR 7350 Water Works
- LAR 7320 Regenerative Technologies
- LAR 8320 Professional Practice
INDEPENDENT STUDIO AND INTERDISCIPLINARY OPTIONS
The final semester of design course work provides the student with the opportunity to investigate an area of special interest through an independent studio, an interdisciplinary studio, or an advanced landscape architecture studio. If the student undertakes an independent studio in the spring term, it must be preceded by L AR 8210 (Design Research Seminar). Students work closely with a faculty advisor in the development of a thesis and the exploration of its design implications.
The Graduate Program in Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) is accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board.
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 background study, who constitute the majority of the student body, follow the Path A curriculum. 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.
Students with degrees in architecture and landscape architecture can be granted advanced standing and may complete the degree requirements in four semesters. Applicants with undergraduate degrees in architecture undertake the Path A advanced standing program. Applicants with professional undergraduate degrees in landscape architecture (B.L.A. or B.S.L.A.) follow the Path B program.
The Certificate Program in Historic Preservation are open to all graduate students.. Admission is subject to the approval of the Chair of the Department of Architecture and the Program Director. Students must also meet all requirements for admission to, and completion of, the Master of Landscape Architecture Program. Students are expected to meet the program requirements within the normal curricula of each path. Please see Historic Preservation for more information.