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ESF Academic Catalog
Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.)

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The ESF Department of Landscape Architecture offers a range of degree options at the Masters and Ph.D. level.

The degree is accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB).

A three-year program for applicants who have no design or planning background leads to the fully accredited professional degree of master of landscape architecture (M.L.A.). This program is for students who intend to complete coursework full time. Applicants with a related design or planning degree may enter the three-year program with advanced standing.

The M.L.A. program, for the student seeking a first professional degree in landscape architecture, is a more tightly structured curriculum because it leads to the prerequisite work experience that qualifies the graduate for the Landscape Architecture Registration Examination (L.A.R.E.).

M.L.A. Program Requirements

Course Number Course Codes * Credits
LSA 500 Digital Methods & Graphics I 3
LSA 501 Landscape Representation II 3
LSA 552 Graphic Communication 3
LSA 600 Design Studio I 4
LSA 601 Design Studio II 4
LSA 606
LSA 611 Natural Factors Analysis 3
LSA 615 Site Construction 3
LSA 620 Design Studio III 4
LSA 632 Plants and Landscapes 2
LSA 633 Planting Design&Practice 3
LSA 640 Research Methods 3
LSA 645 Construct Document Studio 3
LSA 650 Behavr Factor/Comm Desgn 3
LSA 651 Comprehensive Land Plan 3
LSA 655 Prof Prac/Lndscpe Arch 3
LSA 670 Thematic Land Dsgn Studio 6
LSA 697 Topics+Issues/Land Arch 1
LSA 700 Design Studio V 4
LSA 799 Capstone/Thesis Prop Dev 3
LSA 800 Capstone Studio 6

Final Integrative Experience

M.L.A. students must complete an integrative experience. Students must participate in the capstone studio and complete a 6-credit independent design project during the final semester of the program. M.L.A. students must disseminate the results of their integrative studies through capstone seminars.

The M.L.A. program requires 70 credit hours.

Master of Science (M.S.)

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.

M.S. Program Requirements

Course Number Course Codes * Credits
LSA 640 Research Methods 3
LSA 697 Topics+Issues/Land Arch 1
LSA 799 Capstone/Thesis Prop Dev 3
LSA 899 Masters Thesis Research 1 - 12

Students may register for LSA 899 Master’s Thesis Research as necessary for completion up to the time limit of the M.S. program. Minimum of 6 credits required.

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.

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.

Community Design and Planning (M.L.A., M.S.)

The purpose of this area is to address design, planning and research with regard to human settlements including discrete traditional communities such as cities, towns, hamlets, and their hinterlands; regional and rural communities connected to agriculture, watersheds and forests; and specialized communities such as institutional and corporate campuses, co-housing and new towns.

Cultural Landscape Studies and Conservation (M.L.A., M.S.)

This area addresses a range of issues germane to the developmental and interpretive history of the cultural landscape. At its most fundamental level, the study area prepares students to address preservation planning and management for a range of cultural landscape types including historic sites and settlements, designed landscapes and vernacular landscapes.

There is also a growing set of interdisciplinary methods relevant to cultural landscape studies such as critical history, landscape representation, media, visual perception and reception of landscapes, interpretation, narrative and participatory design. Graduate students may explore and/or integrate these methods with design and preservation practices.

Landscape and Urban Ecology (M.L.A., M.S.)

The purpose of this area of study is to address a range of theoretical and practical applications in landscape and urban ecosystems as they relate to the practice of landscape architecture and community design.

In this contemporary interdisciplinary approach, students will learn about the structure, heterogeneity and ecological processes of a broad range of natural, modified and urban landscapes. People are recognized as an integral part of the landscape and are included as a major focus of research and practice.

Doctoral Level Studies

Doctoral level studies in landscape architecture may be tailored in connection with the interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in the Graduate Program in Environmental Science (GPES). Please see The Division of Environmental Science section of this catalog.

* Special Course Codes (Code indicates course meets certain program or accreditation requirements. Ignore if there is no relevance to this program of study.) G = General Education Course (GenEd), E = Engineering, ES = Engineering Sciences, M = Mathematic, NS = Natural Sciences, PE = Professional Education