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Graduate Degree Programs
M.S. in Landscape Architecture

The M.S. program serves the advanced professional. 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.

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.

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.

Why ESF?

The Department of Landscape Architecture at ESF is uniquely situated within a leading college of environmental science. While there are many fundamental questions of the natural sciences needing answers for knowledge toward sustainability, sustainability is also a cultural problem involving actions by society influenced by cultural, political, economic and other forces. We believe that a comprehensive, systemic approach is needed. As a graduate student in the department of Landscape Architecture at ESF you will be challenged to help solve a number of pressing problems including:

  • the transformation of communities in rural and urban areas in New York State and globally to become ecologically functional, socially strong, and culturally authentic, balancing health for the environment and residents’ quality of life and livelihood;
  • making commonplace among the public knowledge of the ecological and cultural values of landscape;
  • empowering urban and rural communities, especially those of historical or current disadvantage, to shape the policies and environments that govern their quality of life;
  • engaging in transdisciplinary collaboration – complex problems are demanding the attention of multiple disciplines and sectors that need to know how to work together to create solutions that are transformational and which would not have been conceptualized otherwise.

Students in the graduate program in landscape architecture at ESF 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 Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, 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.

Prerequisites 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.