graduate - msMaster of Science

Graduate studies in landscape architecture attract a broad range of people. Those with undergraduate degrees in landscape architecture may seek specialization within the profession, advanced exploration or an academic career. Others, with degrees in related fields such as architecture, city and regional planning, and environmental design, enter the program to broaden or redirect their design and planning skills. Some students with degrees in fields less closely related (such as humanities or arts and sciences) seek new career options or to focus prior interests through a licensed design and planning profession.

Because the M.S. program serves the advanced professional, course requirements do not address foundation professional courses in landscape architecture. However, the student, in consultation with the major professor and steering committee, has great flexibility in developing a program of study suited to career goals in the chosen area of study.

Participating Faculty

Areas of Study

The landscape architecture graduate degree programs provide a well-balanced curriculum in landscape architectural design and planning, coupled with opportunities to pursue individualized advanced study in a broad range of topics. The diversity of faculty interests and expertise offer both M.L.A. and M.S. students opportunities for in-depth exploration in three areas of study: community design and planning, cultural landscape conservation, and landscape and urban ecology.

Final Integrative Experience

M.S. students must complete an integrative experience and must complete a thesis (6 credits). The thesis may be research in which new, original knowledge is generated, it may be a study that focuses on the application of existing knowledge to a new situation, or it may combine both elements. Students must disseminate the results of their integrative studies through capstone seminars.

The M.S. program requires between 30 and 42 credit hours (depending on background and experience), at least 30 of which must be at the graduate level.

pair workingPrerequisites and Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to the M.S. program must provide:

  • Transcripts from an accredited or recognized design or planning degree with a minimum 3.000 (4.000=A) cumulative grade point average. However, other circumstances may be considered (e.g., work experience) for those whose credentials are below this standard.
  • A portfolio of design work (strongly encouraged for M.S. applicants)

Applicants may be assessed as deficient in one or more areas deemed important to their admission to graduate study in the program. Courses taken to make up deficiencies (e.g., English for international students) may not count toward the credit hours required for the graduate degree.

Visits to the college are highly recommended.

B.L.A./M.S. Fast Track

This option is available to outstanding fourth-year bachelor of landscape architecture students and provides the opportunity to receive both the bachelor of landscape architecture and master of science degrees during a six-year period at the College. Students who apply must have a minimum 3.000 GPA and are accepted into the program during the fall semester of the fourth year of the bachelor of landscape architecture program. The transition between the bachelor of landscape architecture and master of science curriculum requirements begins in the fall of the fifth year. The B.L.A. degree is awarded on completion of all professional requirements and a minimum of 141 credit hours. The M.S. degree is awarded after the completion of 30 graduate credits and successful completion of a research thesis. Depending on the student’s needs and research interests, there are two options available for pursuing an off-campus semester or a field research component. The first option (option A) allows students to pursue the off-campus semester with their undergraduate peers. The second option (option B) links the off-campus semester to graduate field research for their theses.

Graduate Assistantships

Students with associated professional degrees may be considered for a graduate assistantship (stipend and tuition scholarship) upon admission, depending upon qualifications and portfolio. Other students may apply for landscape architecture graduate assistantships after the first year of the first professional degree track. Assistantships may also be available with community service or research projects, and are awarded by individual faculty to students with the necessary qualifications.

A limited number of teaching assistantships is awarded each year to highly qualified candidates seeking an academic career. Individuals with prior landscape architectural work experience who intend to pursue a career in teaching at the university level are encouraged to discuss their options with the graduate program coordinator in the Department of Landscape Architecture.

Research and Community Service

Research and community service are important aspects of the graduate experience in landscape architecture. Students may participate in the funded studies directed by individual faculty, or in unique studies of their own design. Furthermore, many community service projects are performed in the context of a design studio, thereby bringing real world problems into the studio as a learning experience. In this way, the on-going efforts of students and faculty help to further develop the body of knowledge of the field, while providing a challenging academic environment for the students.

Some of the vehicles currently available for research and com-munity service include Your Town—The Citizens Institute for Rural Design, an award-winning program that provides rural planning/design workshops and technical assistance to rural communities throughout the United States; the Center for Community Design Research, a research and public service presentationvehicle for in-depth explor-ation of community and place, and for imparting design literacy through community education; the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation, the technical center of the Northeast Region of the National Park Service, that provides assistance in cultural landscape research, planning, stewardship and education; and the Center for Brownfield Studies, an educational initiative focused on environ-mental management and the redevelopment of brownfield properties.

College and Regional Context

Students in the graduate program in landscape architecture have an excellent opportunity to draw upon the extensive college expertise in ecology, natural sciences, resources management, engineering, forestry, and many other environmental disciplines. Add to this the resources available through Syracuse University, such as architecture, geography, and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and the breadth of academic choices offered to a student at ESF becomes very significant.

The city of Syracuse has the largest concentration of professional landscape architectural offices in the Central New York region. This centralized location also provides easy access to major metropolitan centers such as Toronto, Montreal, New York, Boston, and Buffalo, and to unique rural and natural landscapes, such as Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, the Catskills, and the Adirondacks. Basic geography, therefore, provides the student with a wide diversity of natural and cultural contexts in which to pursue academic and career goals.


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