ESF's Landscape Architecture Programs Rank Among the Best!

DesignIntelligence ranks ESF's LA undergraduate program at #13 in the U.S. and #3 in the east. The grad program also comes in at #13 nationally.


About Landscape Architecture at ESF

Degree Programs & Faculty Contacts

Portfolio Day Presentation

What is Landscape Architecture?

Landscape architecture is a profession that ties together built, human-made structures and the natural environment. A landscape architect must consider not only what is best for the clients and users of a site, but also what is best for nature. Humanity has had a large impact on the earth, and in many cases, this impact has been negative. Good design tries to consider what is good for the environment, in many ways trying to preserve and in some cases heal it, while creating visually interesting and meaningful designs that also provide for the public's health, safety and welfare.

At ESF, we combine the issues of nature, craft, art, technology, science, and professionalism into a program that is designed to help prepare you for a career in the field of landscape architecture. The fact that these issues are broad in scope mirrors the profession of landscape architecture. We give you the framework which allows you to discover your own unique interest within the field, and will guide you to help you achieve your goals.

  • Nature
    The practice of Landscape Architecture is deeply dependent upon both an understanding of, and sensitivity for nature and ecology. Landscape architects today are poised as leaders in a world faced with environmental challenges of great complexity and scope, locally, nationally, and internationally.
  • Craft
    Landscape Architecture is a profession that is, even in a modern world, dedicated to the preservation and promotion of a tradition of craftsmanship. As a discipline engaged in creating the built environment, this craft is embodied in the process of envisioning new forms and places, and skillfully communicating these ideas to client, public, and builder.
  • Art
    Landscape Architecture is one of the oldest of the visual arts, with its roots nearly as old as human nature. It is based upon the fundamental human desire to shape the environments we inhabit -- from gardens to parks, to homes or the places we work, or even to the grander scale of the communities and regions we live in.
  • Technology
    Computer technology provides a growing number of landscape architects with new tools for understanding, visualizing, and predicting change in complex natural and built environments. Landscape Architects are leaders in the application of a variety of related emerging technologies, including Geographic Information Systems, Computer Aided Design, Digital Photography and Visual Simulation.
  • Culture
    Just as an understanding of nature is important to the landscape architect, understanding the people for which designed environments are intended is every bit as critical. In a world which is rapidly evolving toward a global economy, cultural awareness is even more significant as a factor in successful design.
  • Science
    Landscape Architecture, in practice, is based largely upon the creative application of the scientific principles of ecology. Understanding the physical nature of our environment, and the ways in which humans interact within it, is fundamental to modern landscape architectural theory.
  • Professionalism
    Landscape Architecture is a licensed profession serving the public in a variety of roles, including services such as site design and planning, urban design, community design, city planning, environmental planning and restoration, historic preservation planning, and a multitude of specialty services in both private firms and public agencies.

Why ESF?

Since 1911 the Landscape Architecture program at SUNY-ESF has been educating practitioners and teachers, designers and planners, advocates and policy makers, who have contributed their careers to a viable, sustainable integration of natural and cultural communities. Today the program is stronger than ever. The reasons listed below are just a few of the many examples that show how ESF's program in Landscape Architecture offers many unique opportunities to its students.

  • Size and Diversity of Faculty
    The SUNY-ESF program is the second largest in the United States, with 15 full-time faculty supported by several adjunct professors and visiting instructors. Faculty interests range from materials and construction to regional planning, from ecological planning to urban design, from theoretical landscapes to historic preservation.
  • Areas of Study
    The large and diverse faculty offer not only a wide range of foundation courses necessary for professional preparation, but also four strong areas of study that encourage in-depth exploration in ecological design and planning, community design and planning, and cultural landscape conservation.
  • Relationship to Syracuse University
    SUNY-ESF and Syracuse University reside on the same campus together. Students at SUNY-ESF may take courses from Syracuse University at no additional cost. This allows each institution to contribute to the programs of the other. As a result, students in landscape architecture not only benefit from the broad range of environmental science programs at SUNY-ESF, but also from the architecture, interior design, visual and performing arts, geography, anthropology, art history, foreign languages, and other programs at Syracuse University.
  • International Connections
    Since 1970 the Landscape Architecture program has required a semester of off campus study for BLA candidates, and graduate students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this program as well. The Department of Landscape Architecture is well traveled and has developed long-term contacts throughout Europe, Latin America, East Asia, and elsewhere. In recent years, graduate students have conducted independent research in Switzerland, Russia, Italy, Mexico, Czechoslovakia, Wales, Northern Ireland, Indonesia, Spain, and Canada.

Support Facilities

Department of Landscape Architecture members believe that computer and video technologies are very important to the future of the profession. They are committed to exploring the application of digital technologies to the practice of landscape architecture and encourage the use of these technologies by the students. Advanced students may choose to specialize in the application and integration of computer technologies.

Support facilities within landscape architecture include access to a wide variety of computing equipment and applications for graphics, image processing, AutoCAD, GIS, 3-D modeling, desktop publishing, presentations, and other Internet and professional applications. Advanced computing is supported through the Computer Aided Visualization Laboratory (CAV Lab).

The program also provides individual studio workspace for each student, and office space for special research and public service projects. In addition, the Department of Landscape Architecture maintains an extensive collection of more than 40 years of student projects completed abroad for the LA Off-Campus Program, as well as other archival materials dating from 1913.


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