The B.L.A. program is designed for those students desiring to enter the profession of landscape architecture either directly after completing the degree or after completing graduate school. This is a professional degree with an emphasis on the skills and knowledge required to qualify as a landscape architect.
The degree is accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB).
The B.L.A. degree is granted at the end of five years of study and requires the successful completion of 150 credit hours. Students are accepted into the lower-division landscape architecture program as freshmen or as sophomore transfers and into the upper-division program as junior transfers.
The undergraduate curriculum consists of two broad categories of courses. The first category, general education, provides students with knowledge and skills that are useful and important for all educated persons, regardless of their profession, as well as preparation for advanced courses leading to a specific profession. The second category, professional courses, provides students with direct preparation for a career through practice and application of the basic principles and skills of landscape architecture design, land manipulation and engineering, applied ecology, and communications. Studio instruction holds a special place within the program because it mimics the professional environment where students will integrate these principles and skills in order to solve landscape architectural problems. The number of students in a typical studio section is 10 to 15 because this type of problem-based learning requires intensive interaction and mentoring relationships with studio faculty. The quality of a student's professional development is monitored in part by a requirement that a grade of C or higher be earned to progress to the next studio.
The major objective of the B.L.A. program is to develop basic proficiency in design, engineering and communication skills necessary for formal admission into the profession of landscape architecture. When the prerequisite period of work experience has been completed, a person holding a B.L.A. degree may apply to take the examination leading to a license to practice landscape architecture. At present, the State of New York requires those holding a five-year B.L.A. degree to complete a three-year period of internship in the field prior to applying for the licensing examination. Other states have varying requirements for obtaining licensure (Refer to this ASLA page).
As in any area of professional study, students seeking the B.L.A. degree are expected to demonstrate a high level of commitment and scholarship in their studies. This professional commitment is demonstrated by a desire to serve society in an objective, rational and ethical manner.
Students receiving a B.L.A. degree have entered the profession as employees in public agencies, not-for-profits, or in private offices offering landscape architectural services. Also, B.L.A. graduates have entered graduate schools in landscape architecture, planning, urban design, regional design, and specialties including historic preservation, environmental policy, public administration, recreation, management, and research.
In addition to the normal college expenses, students must plan for special expenses such as studio equipment and materials, field trips, and the off-campus semester.
Each student in the B.L.A. program is required to participate in an off-campus experience and students must achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.000 or greater prior to participation. The off-campus program requires students to pay for tuition, books and materials, room and board, and travel costs to the location of study.
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 150 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.