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Landscape Architecture

Department Overview

348 Gould

Landscape architecture is a professional design discipline that addresses both the built and natural environments. It focuses on the design, analysis, and planning of outdoor spaces across a wide range of scales, with the intent of creating places that are both meaningful and functional. Landscape architects design everything from infrastructure elements, such as roadways, drainage systems, and parks, to prominent cultural monuments and gardens for public and private housing units. The education of a landscape architect includes aesthetic design skills, the development of social and environmental ethics, technical design skills, knowledge of a wide range of natural processes, an awareness of design history, and skills for working with other people. At the University of Washington, the focus is on urban ecological design education, which allows students to make a difference in the future of cities and urban regions all over the world.

Undergraduate Program

Adviser
348 Gould, Box 355734
(206) 543-9240, (206) 685-4486
belarc@uw.edu

The Department of Landscape Architecture offers the following programs of study:

  • The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) degree
  • A minor in urban ecological design
  • Certificates in Urban Design and Historic Preservation (see College of Built Environments)

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture

Department Admission Requirements

Core courses within the department form a seven-quarter curriculum designed to start autumn quarter of the junior year. Students take a sequence of seven studios, other sequential skills-based courses, theory courses, and directed electives. Admission is competitive. Completion of the requirements listed below does not guarantee admission. Admission is based on academic record, a portfolio of creative work, three letters of recommendation, and other application materials. Refer to the department’s website, http://larchwp.be.washington.edu/ to select “undergraduate program” link from the “admissions” bar for application materials and detailed information on admission, prerequisites, and required coursework.

  1. Minimum 70 credits to include:
    • Departmental Pre-professional Requirements (16 credits): L ARCH 300* (usually offered autumn and summer quarters), L ARCH 352 (autumn quarter), L ARCH 353 (winter quarter)

      *Transfer students: These three courses are availalbe and may be taken through the University's Professional and Continuing Education unit prior to admission to the UW.

    • General Education Coursework: minimum 60 credits to include 5 credits of English composition; 4-5 credits of Quanitative and Symbolic Reasoning; and 50-51 credits slected within the following Areas of Knowledge: Visual, Literary, & Performing Arts (20 credits); Individuals & Societies (20 credits); Natural World (20 credits), of which one course must fulfil prerequisite requirement for ESS 315/ENVIR 313 or ESS 301; plant biology class recommended.

    *L ARCH 300 can be counted toward General Education requirements. Other L ARCH courses which are not required within the BLA program or as admission requirements also may be counted for General Education requirements. Students planning to complete the degree in seven quarters should complete all departmental General Education requirements prior to starting the degree.

  2. Application Deadline: Complete applications are due by 5 p.m. on the first day of spring quarter for the following autumn quarter. Students are not admitted at other times. Applications must include the BLA application materials. Students should apply during their second year to make satisfactory progress toward the degree.

Program Requirements

Minimum 182-183 credits, to include:

General Education Requirements (69-70 credits): L ARCH 300 and other L ARCH courses which are not requirements either within the BLA program or as prerequisites may count toward I&S/NW/VLPA requirements.

  1. Written and Oral Communication (5 credits): one 5-credit English composition course from the University list. 10 additional writing credits are required, but can be met by major core courses.
  2. Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA) (20 credits): L ARCH 300; 14 additional VLPA credits; drawing class recommended
  3. Individuals & Societies (I&S) (20 credits)
  4. Natural World (20 credits): one course listed as prerequisite requirement for either ESS315/ENVIR 313 or ESS 301; additional NW credits to total 20 credits; plant biology class recommended
  5. Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (4-5 credits)

Major requirements (minimum 113 credits)

  1. Studio Classes: L ARCH 301, L ARCH 302, L ARCH 303, L ARCH 402, L ARCH 403, L ARCH 474, L ARCH 475
  2. Planting Design: L ARCH 424
  3. History: L ARCH 352 and L ARCH 353
  4. Theory: L ARCH 341, L ARCH 361, L ARCH 363
  5. Graphics: L ARCH 411, L ARCH 440, L ARCH 441
  6. Professional Practice: L ARCH 473
  7. Construction: L ARCH 331, L ARCH 332, L ARCH 433
  8. Soils: L ARCH 432 or other course chosen form approved list maintained by department
  9. Plant Identification: either BIOL 331/ESRM 331, BIOL 317, or equivalent course approved by department
  10. Managing Plants: either ESRM 473, ESRM 479, or ESRM 480
  11. Geology: Either ESS 301 or ESS 315/ENVIR 313
  12. Directed Electives to bring major total to 113 credits, chosen from approved lists maintained by the department in the following areas: 3-5 credit course in environmental history; two 3-5 credit courses in ecology and forestry; 3-5 credit course in legislation; 3-5 credit course in soils; 3-5 credit course in urban design and planning

Minor

Minor Requirements: Minimum 25 credits, consisting of 20 credits of L ARCH courses open to non-majors; 5 credits of courses 200 level and above from within the College of Built Environments or from ESRM or GEOG courses; 2.0 minimum grade in all courses counted toward the minor

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: The BLA program provides a professional, accredited degree which enables graduates to practice successfully in design firms, nonprofit organizations, and public agencies. Building from a liberal arts foundation, the program focuses on developing design knowledge, skills, and abilities through a sequence of nine environmental- and community-based design studios.

    The goals of the program are to provide students with a broad academic and professional exposure to landscape architecture and design so their creative potential and professional growth are realized, and so they may become leaders in the field. The education includes learning to conceptualize and design through practice on studio projects; fostering creativity; developing graphic, written, and verbal communication skills; facilitating cognitive abilities; and developing applicable computer skills in the design process. Studios use individual, team-oriented, and interdisciplinary projects to develop strong interactive and evaluative skills. Studio education applies knowledge gained in lecture courses which include historic and contemporary concepts in landscape architecture, design theory, site planning, construction, and communications, as well as elective courses in allied disciplines. The studio sequence addresses projects from detailed to neighborhood scales, varied contexts, and with diverse cultures. Overall, the program focuses on the application of ecological design strategies to urban and urbanizing areas, which characterizes the department's focus on urban ecological design.

  • Instructional and Research Facilities: The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree is structured around studio classes augmented by lecture and skills-oriented courses. The program affords some opportunities for independent studies and work in professional settings, beyond the minimum requirements for the major. Departmental courses are complemented by elective courses from other areas, including urban horticulture, soils, geology, urban design and planning, botany, and ecology.

    Landscape architecture studio classes are led by departmental faculty or members of the professional community. Studio classes may be taught jointly with faculty from other disciplines. Studio classes address specific areas of inquiry including basic design principles and processes, planting design, materials and craftsmanship, landscape planning for parks or natural areas, neighborhood and civic-space design, urban landscape design, ecological restoration, and culturally-based design. A capstone studio requires students to integrate their knowledge of design theory, practice, and construction in a design-build project for a local community. The department regularly offers Study Abroad programs as well as opportunities to work with local communities and public agencies.

  • Honors Options Available: For Interdisciplinary Honors, see University Honors Program.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: Departmental lecture courses address the functioning of natural systems, site planning issues, computer applications, and cultural and sociological forces that influence the profession's work. Advanced studio courses, including the capstone studio, typically provide service learning experiences in a particular community context. In addition to required coursework, the program encourages students to pursue personal interests through directed and independent study within and beyond the department. Students are encouraged to gain real-world experience through a practicum with professional firms, organizations, or agencies.
  • Department Scholarships: Limited availability.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: Student chapter, Washington Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
348 Gould Hall, Box 355734
(206) 543-9420
cauplarc@uw.edu

Master of Landscape Architecture

The Master of Landscape Architecture program, accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects, is a professional program that offers training in design and inquiry. The design studios form the core of this program, which is supported by rigorous independent investigation in seminars and in a thesis project. Students are expected to develop a specialty within the discipline, under the professional guidance of the faculty. The curriculum emphasizes the following:

Urban Ecological Design. The rapidly changing environment of the Pacific Northwest offers an excellent opportunity for courses and thesis projects to explore the connections between culture and nature and to test ideas for how social and spatial conflicts between development and conservation might be addressed. Faculty are particularly interested in the changing roles of familiar urban and suburban landscapes, as these areas are increasingly expected to function as part of an ecological infrastructure. At the same time, diverse human cultural communities have developed with differing perceptions of and values for these changing landscapes. The department offers students the opportunity to study the rich cultural resources of these human communities as they develop new relationships to their environments, and to participate in this overlap between natural and cultural processes. The department currently offers study abroad programs in Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Europe, and East Asia as well as opportunities to work with local communities and public agencies.

Design Leadership. The faculty is committed to training students to be leaders in design practice and education. This includes the education of both children and adults to understand the consequences of human transactions with the natural environment. Courses are offered and research is being conducted on designing outdoor educational environments. Graduate students are also encouraged to develop independent leadership skills which provide them with self-confidence and adaptability in a rapidly changing professional world. The primary areas in which students are encouraged to develop leadership abilities are in the definition and practice of design as a basis for interdisciplinary work, environmental education and the application of ecological concepts to urban design, the use of communication technology to develop creative solutions to cultural and environmental conflicts, and international design-build projects in which students confront the global nature of contemporary development issues.

The graduate program considers applicants with and without previous design education, and encourages applications from persons with diverse academic and professional backgrounds. The faculty is experienced in teaching mature students and seeks to admit those with a range of ages, backgrounds, and interests. Students are encouraged to benefit from the location of the department within a broad and excellent research university by adding elective courses in other disciplines to their core curriculum. In addition, graduate students may elect to participate in College-wide certificate programs in Urban Design, and Preservation Planning and Design. See program descriptions in the College of Built Environments section.

Admission Requirements

  1. Candidates applying to the Master of Landscape Architecture program must apply both to the Graduate Admissions Office and to the Department of Landscape Architecture by January 15 to be considered for admission the following autumn quarter.
  2. Admission to the Graduate School requires (1) a baccalaureate degree from an accredited U.S. college or university, or the equivalent from a foreign institution, (2) a GPA of 3.00 or higher in the last 90 graded quarter hours or the last 60 graded semester hours, and (3) a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score taken within the past three years.
  3. Admission is competitive and priority is given to applicants whose abilities, as determined by the department's admissions committee, enable them to complete the program expeditiously and with a high level of achievement. Contact the department for additional information.

Program Requirements

Minimum 72 credits

Specific program requirements are arranged to fit each student's background. Seminar and field courses help students achieve their educational goals and develop a credible specialty area within landscape architecture. Students with a previous degree in landscape architecture begin coursework with the required graduate curriculum studios, while students from other educational backgrounds begin with the basic core design studios. The required graduate curriculum includes 72 approved credits. In addition, a specialization is developed in the area of a student's individual interests (12 credits), thus encouraging students to deepen their knowledge in a particular area, while maintaining substantial flexibility for each individual.

A thesis is required. This independent project is advised by a committee of faculty, but allows the student to develop greater intellectual maturity and satisfaction by pursuing a topic she or he has selected out of personal interest. The thesis also allows students to demonstrate a professional level of mastery of a specialized subject area. Students complete either a written and graphic product or a purely written product for the thesis, depending on the thesis model they choose to follow. Four models are available: the professional project thesis, the design critique thesis, the research thesis, and the design thesis. Students make choices about the type of thesis and the methods they will use in conjunction with their faculty adviser and committee members.