The following excerpt was taken from the article “10 Best Landscape Architecture Programs for 2019” by thebestcolleges.org. To read the full article, click here.
Landscape architecture has become one of the premier occupations of today; ranking among the best professions to enter. Providing the opportunity to contribute to the protection of the environment and natural resources while performing an essential service, the field is both challenging and fulfilling. The profession requires individuals with skills in creativity, science, problem solving, collaboration and an aptitude for technology. Individuals entering the profession will require knowledge and training in a vast array of disciplines and subject areas. Practical experience is essential to developing an inherent understanding of the various aspects of the field. The landscape architecture profession is competitive, with most employers and clients seeking individuals with industry experience, even for entry level positions. It is exceedingly important to obtain an education in landscape architecture from a college or university with a comprehensive degree program which incorporates experiential training with academic studies. Selecting an institution with accreditation through the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board will ensure the quality of the program.
What Are the Best Landscaping Programs?
#1 University of Florida - Gainesville
The Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Florida offers the only professionally accredited bachelor of landscape architecture program in Florida and is considered to be one of the best landscape architecture schools in the United States. The department was established in 1933, and its mission is to conduct research to enhance the understanding and practice of the profession of landscape architecture, and address societal challenges. Their faculty research interests are diverse and cover a wide spectrum of practice and theory. Students in the programs are provided opportunities to study in summer programs abroad in places like Nantucket, Mexico, Prague, and China. There are also longer study abroad programs that take place over the course of an entire semester. The degree programs are fully accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board.
The University of Florida offers a five-year bachelor of landscape architecture program that combines classroom instruction and studio work. Fifth-year students are required to complete an independent capstone project that will showcase the culmination of their academic work. Internships are also encouraged after students’ third year of study. At the graduate level, the university offers a first professional master of landscape architecture program, a post-professional master of landscape architecture program, and an interdisciplinary program leading to the doctor of philosophy degree in design, construction, and planning. Master’s students may either produce a thesis or a terminal project, which allows for greater flexibility in formatting.
#2 University of Massachusetts Amherst
The Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst was first founded in 1903 by Frank A. Waugh as an undergraduate program in landscape gardening. The department has evolved and now offers several distinct programs. The department is excited about continuing changes and recently moved into a brand-new sustainable building in January 2017. The department has six different areas of specific research and teaching, including community engagement, technological innovation and regional economy, culture, heritage and society, design exploration, regenerative urbanism, and regional and greenway planning. These areas make up different graduate certificates. All of the degree programs are professionally accredited.
The Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning department has a number of degree options compared to other landscape architecture schools, including two different bachelor of science degrees and a two-year associate degree. On the graduate level, there is a master of landscape architecture program, a master of regional planning program, and a Ph.D. in regional planning. Dual degrees and various certificate programs are offered, and students have several options to study abroad.
#3 North Carolina State University at Raleigh
The Department of Landscape Architecture at North Carolina State University at Raleigh is a part of the university’s College of Design. The department’s mission is to teach, learn, research, and apply state-of-the-art practices that create innovative and resilient landscape solutions focused on human and ecosystem health, social equity, and the quality of life. The landscape architecture programs focus on strategic design thinking and encourage students to engage with the discipline as it evolves with ever-changing environments. Students have access to more local “laboratories” of the Mountain, Piedmont, and Coastal Plains regions of North Carolina, and are also encouraged to pursue their studies abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. The landscape architecture programs are fully accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board.
North Carolina State University at Raleigh no longer offers a bachelor of landscape architecture program, but it continues to offer its graduate programs, including the first professional master’s of landscape architecture, the post-professional 48-credit-hour master’s of landscape architecture, and the post-professional 30-credit-hour master’s of landscape architecture degree programs. The first half of all degree programs will provide core knowledge and tools, and the second half will allow students to engage in the profession and discipline through individual research and study.
#4 Cornell University
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University is regarded as one of the best landscape architecture schools and an international leader in education and research. The pioneering research performed at Cornell University has resulted in substantial contributions in the advancement of knowledge regarding plant and animal health. The Department of Landscape Architecture, established in 1904, endeavors to produce socially responsible and creative graduates. The flexible curriculum permits students to tailor the program to their individual interests. Students are encouraged to explore innovative and functional solutions for the challenging problems associated with the profession. Emphasis is placed on the importance of conservation. The courses are taught by world-renowned experts and educators. Students are afforded the benefit of the extensive resources associated with the college and the cutting-edge facilities, which include state-of-the-art technology and tools.
The Department of Landscape Architecture offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the field. Students enrolled in the undergraduate program complete coursework in both theory and practice. Required courses include integrating theory and practice, medium of the landscape, grounding in landscape architecture, photography and the American landscape, site construction, site engineering, urban design, and computer applications in landscape architecture. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to participate in research or teaching for academic credits, complete studio courses, and attend field trips. General core curriculum includes courses in written and oral expression, social sciences, humanities, physical sciences, or biological sciences. Concentration areas are developed by students and include fine arts, design studios, urban remediation, green architecture, landscape art, landscape history, landscape preservation, and historic preservation.
#5 Clemson University
The Department of Landscape Architecture at Clemson University, established in 1987, is a part of the university’s College of Architecture Arts and Humanities, whose mission focuses on transformative education, knowledge development, and creative expression in rapidly changing environments locally and around the world. The department values the art and science of design, engagement, innovation, ethical environmental and social justice, responsible land stewardship, the power of place, and international education. Students in the department are encouraged to pursue interdisciplinary studies in subjects such as forestry, sociology, historic preservation, engineering, and tourism, to name a few. Students are provided the option of pursuing their studies off-campus in Charleston, South Carolina, Genoa, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain. All three degree programs are accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board.
Clemson University offers both a bachelor of landscape architecture (BLA) and a master of landscape architecture (MLA). The MLA includes a first professional degree for students pursuing an MLA degree with no design background and a second professional degree for students seeking an advanced degree in landscape architecture. Students working toward the BLA will be required to present a landscape architecture portfolio that will display the culmination of their work over the course of the five-year program. An exit project will include a design-build project or a substantive research project. The exit studio synthesizes and builds on skills developed throughout the program. The first professional MLA program is a three-year program designed to give students a professional education but is also an opportunity for extensive research or project work. Students may be admitted to this program with a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from an accredited university. The second professional MLA requires that incoming students have a five-year bachelor of landscape architecture degree.