Degree

MLA
Master of Landscape Architecture

MLA I 2017 Cohort
MLA I 2017 Cohort

Overview

The Department of Landscape Architecture welcomes graduate students from a variety of academic disciplines who are concerned with designing a sustainable future through shaping our physical environment and engaging the general public, especially those from disadvantaged communities. Students learn current and advanced methods for establishing strong, well-defined, and mutually life-sustaining and enhancing relationships between people and the land. The curriculum, leading to a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) degree, emphasizes case study projects at scales varying from the small sites to large regions.  Courses include frequent review, discussion, field trips, and seminar sessions. In addition, the John T. Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies, located on the Cal Poly Pomona campus, is a tremendous resource for students in the program.

We invite you to learn more about our program, the faculty, and the capstone of our curriculum, the award-winning Advanced Studios, and the admission process through studying the GRADUATE PROGRAM GUIDE FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS. You will also find a list of FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS in the GUIDE. Check out this document before contacting us as it will answer most of your questions.

For the admission process, please click the ADMISSION tab to the left of this page. 

For tuition and fees, please check out the university's website on tuition information

Graduate Program Options

Currently, the MLA program offers two different options, the General Standing option (expected to be finished in three years at minimum) and the Advanced Standing Program (expected to be finished in two years at minimum). Based on the applicant's previous education and experience, applicants will be assigned to one of the options and an advising contract will be developed to guide each student through the program. 

General Standing Program:  Applicants with undergraduate degrees in non-design disciplines take a series of introductory courses designed specifically to meet their needs before taking intermediate and advanced courses. These introductory courses, which begin in the Fall semester, will normally require one year of study before the student proceeds with more advanced coursework.

Advanced Standing Program:  Applicants with previous degrees in landscape architecture and aligned disciplines such as architecture may apply to complete the program in 2 years (6 quarters/4 semesters), joining students with non-design degrees during their second and third years of the program.

Other applicants who have not completed any previous landscape architecture or architecture degree but have completed coursework similar to those offered by the MLA program may apply to get certain courses waived to reduce the over course load toward the MLA degree. For these students, the total required units and required courses are to be determined by the MLA program.  

Culminating Experience: During the culminating (final) year of both program options, students will participate as part of a team in their cumulating experience, addressing the challenge of fitting people and natural systems together to create functioning ecosystems in collaboration with a team of faculty. 

Italy Study Abroad Program: Graduate students may participate in the popular Italy Study Abroad Program during the fall quarter of their second year of study.

Program and Student Learning Outcomes

Program Learning outcome (PLO)

PLO1 Graduates show critical knowledge of landscape architecture. 

PLO2 Graduates can apply landscape architecture knowledge and techniques to solve complex environmental and social problems and challenges through landscape planning and design practice in multiple scales. 

PLO3 Graduates can communicate and work effectively with integrity and ethics in individual and group settings. 

PLO4 Graduates will advocate the value of sustainability, environmental conscience, land stewardship, and social justice in diverse and multicultural contexts. 

 

Student Learning Outcome (SLO)

SLO1 Critical Thinking - Demonstrate critical thinking skills and creatively apply them to resolve ecological, social, and spatial problems, while advancing current disciplinary concerns within the context of environmental design.

SLO2 Design Foundation - Demonstrate a strong understanding of design theory, history, and methods of communication-based on the principles of sustainability, regeneration, and ecosystemic design.

SLO3 Ecological Processes - Identify and interpret ecological patterns and processes at multiple scales and relate them to the development of design, planning, and vegetative strategies to address ecological problems, including, preservation, restoration, regenerative design, and sustainable use of resources.

SLO4 Cultural Processes - Identify and interpret cultural and historical patterns and processes at multiple scales as needed for designing for a diverse society.

SLO5 Disciplinary Knowledge - Creatively apply theories, techniques, skills, and tools necessary for landscape architecture, with explicit regards to ecological sustainability, resiliency, and the protection of public health, safety, and welfare.

SLO6 Digital Skills - Apply hands-on computer skills and information technologies in the planning and design process and products. 

SLO7 Professional Responsibility - Show a sense of responsibility, integrity, and ethical concern as related to ecological, social, and cultural issues related to the professional practice of landscape architecture.

SLO8 Professional Development - Demonstrate teamwork and leadership skills in a variety of professional roles and contexts, including individual and team projects, as well as interdisciplinary collaboration and participatory settings.

SLO9 Communication - Effectively express and deliver design ideas, information, and solutions visually, verbally, and in writing to a variety of audiences.

SLO10 Multi-cultural Perspectives - Pursue challenging educational and service opportunities to the public within the diverse and evolving multicultural regional context of southern California.

SLO11 Research - Pursue scholarly or practical research with appropriately developed research questions, qualitative or quantitative methods, and documentation in the context of environmental design. 

Admissions

We invite you to learn more about our program, the faculty, and the capstone of our curriculum, the award-winning 606 Studio and thesis option, and the admission process through studying the GRADUATE PROGRAM GUIDE FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS. You will also find a list of FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS in the GUIDE. Check out this document before contacting us as it will answer most of your questions. 

Application procedures require you to submit materials to both the University Admissions Office and directly to the Department of Landscape Architecture. Attention to the procedures and timely submission of all required materials will enhance your chances of acceptance to the program. Incomplete applications cannot be considered.

Applicants without undergraduate degrees in Landscape Architecture or aligned design disciplines such as Architecture should apply to the General Standing (3-year) MLA program. Applicants with undergraduate degrees in Landscape Architecture or Architecture may apply to the Advanced Standing (2-year) MLA program. Other applicants who have not completed any previous landscape architecture or architecture degree but have completed coursework similar to those offered by the MLA program may apply to get certain courses waived to reduce the over course load toward the MLA degree. For these students, the total required units and required courses are to be determined by the MLA program upon admission. Classes are taught in sequence and students begin the MLA program in the fall semester.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: PLEASE GO THROUGH THE ENTIRE INFORMATION PRESENTED ON THIS PAGE WITH ALL TABS UNFOLDED. YOU NEED TO SUBMIT APPLICATION PACKAGES TO BOTH THE UNIVERSITY ADMISSION OFFICE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE. MISSING ANY PART OF THE APPLICATION PACKAGE WILL LEAD THE SIGNIFICANT DELAY OF THE APPLICATION PROCESS. IN ADDITION TO THE FOLLOWING ADMISSION PROCESS ON THE WEBPAGE, YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE APPLICATION CHECKLIST FOR YOUR OWN REFERENCE. 

Deadlines

Due to COVID19, the CSU system extends the application deadline to the graduate program to July 1st, 2020. Applicants who are interested in joining the MLA program in Fall 2020 please email the graduate coordinator for more information. 

Applications are available beginning October 1 of each year. The deadline for submitting the online application via CAL STATE APPLY and accompanying fees is February 1 and the deadline to submit supplementary application materials is March 1st for admissions the following Fall term. A review of all applications starts on March 1 every year. All supporting materials (transcripts, TOEFL scores, GRE scores (optional), statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation) must be received by March 1 for application consideration. Prospective students are encouraged to apply early in the application period to ensure that all documents are received prior to review.  Please use the tracking service while you mail your document to either the admission office or the department of landscape architecture to allow timely follow-up through the application process. Incomplete applications cannot be considered.

For additional information on the Admission Requirements and Deadlines, please refer to https://www.cpp.edu/~admissions/graduate/masters-requirements.shtml

 

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Materials submitted to the University (See also below list of materials to be submitted to the Department)

The Office of Admissions and Outreach requires the following material sent directly to them:

  • The CSU application

Graduate admissions are handled on-line via Cal State Apply. When you apply on-line, be sure to download a copy of your application after you submitted the application as you will need to send a copy of the application to the Department of Landscape Architecture. For any other questions regarding application procedures, please contact the Office of Admissions and Outreach (909 869-3210).

  • Transcripts

Official copies of your transcripts from EACH college and universities attended should be sent directly from the schools to the Office of Admissions and Outreach. Failing to submit OFFICIAL (SEALED OR SENT DIRECTLY VIA EMAIL) will delay the application process. 

           In light of the COVID19 pandemic, we are requesting that applicants send their Final official Transcripts electronically. If their sending institution does not offer electronic transcripts, we recommend that applicants use the following service: National Student Clearinghouse and Credential Solutions. If sending PDF transcripts, please indicate the recipient email is verify@cpp.edu. Should these services not be available for your sending institution, please mail to: 

                  Cal Poly Pomona
                  Attn: Admissions & Enrollment Planning
                  3801 W. Temple Avenue. 
                  Pomona, CA 91768

  • English Test Score

Official copies of your TOEFL/IELTS score sent directly to the University (ETS Code: 4082) for international applicants. Cal Poly Pomona now accepts Duolingo Test Results in substitution to TOEFL and IELTS. Check out the Duolingo Test information via their website https://englishtest.duolingo.com/applicants. For admission to any graduate program at Cal Poly Pomona, you would need to have a minimum TOEFL score of 80, IELTS score of 6.5, and Duolingo score of 105.

  • Two Letters of Recommendation. 

We require that at least one of your reference letters be from a faculty member at a university or college program. One of your reference letters can be from a job, volunteer position, or other individuals familiar with your work. It is the applicant's responsibility to contact the references for letters of recommendation, which should be sent by the references directly using the reference collection link through CALSTATE APPLY. 

  • Portfolio

    The portfolio package should be a maximum of 8.5x11 size paper (letter size paper) and minimum 10 and no more than 40 sides (5 to 20 pages if double‐sided). Where possible, please print on both sides of the page (double-sided). Include a cover on your package ‐ it should include your name, contact information, address, phone number, email, and the program to which you are applying (MLA 1 or MLA 2). Portfolios should be easily opened/accessed and easy to leaf through. A digital copy of your portfolio is preferred. It can be available via a URL or sent via email. If you only have a hard copy, you can mail it to the Department address below. 

    The portfolio does not need to be design work or landscape architecture‐related. We recognize that many candidates come from academic backgrounds with little to no art or design experience. Feel free to include work that you think provides evidence that you are a creative thinker and problem solver. If your work is non‐traditional, ensure that you annotate it or explain it in some way so that faculty can interpret your process and the significance of your accomplishment. For example, past students have submitted knitting patterns, dance routines, cake decorating, original recipes, musical scores, and computer programs that illustrate their problem-solving capacity and their ability to be creative in an attempt to find a range of solutions to a given problem. Please provide a sufficient explanation for faculty interpretation. We strongly encourage you to include a sample of your writing in the portfolio: this could be a few pages from a report, a chapter out of a thesis, article, etc. The sample of writing included in your portfolio should not exceed 10 pages in length.

    If you include group projects, please be sure to specify the role you played in the project.

  • Statement of Intent

    The Statement of Intent should be a maximum of 600 words long and should include:

    1. Relevant experience. What interests or experiences make you a great candidate for a career in landscape architecture? Highlight interests or experiences that might otherwise be missed in your resume or package.

    2. Fit to the program - What experiences, interests, or aptitudes make you a good "fit" for Cal Poly Pomona's landscape architecture program? Why do you want to come to Cal Poly Pomona's Masters in Landscape Architecture program in particular?

    In order for us to assess your scholarly potential for the MLA degree, please also write, on a separate sheet appended to the Statement of Intent, a short 400-word statement answering the following question: "What are the top three challenges facing our society today? Why do you consider those the top three challenges? What can landscape architecture do to address these challenges?" Include references to the work of others in an appropriate format.

 

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Materials submitted to the Department of Landscape Architecture

Besides your application via CSUAPPLY, all applicants should send a digital copy of the following materials to the Department of Landscape Architecture via mla@cpp.edu. Use the title "MLA Application - Current YEAR (e.g., 2020)".

Copy of your Application to the University

Include a copy of the application you submitted to CAL STATE APPLY in pdf format. You can download it from your CAL STATE APPLY account after you submit your application online. 

Transcripts

Copy of Transcripts for all the colleges and universities that you have attended (does not have to be official)

Statement of Intent

The Statement of Intent should be a maximum of 600 words long and should include:

1. Relevant experience. What interests or experiences make you a great candidate for a career in landscape architecture? Highlight interests or experiences that might otherwise be missed in your resume or package.

2. Fit to the program What experiences, interests, or aptitudes make you a good "fit" for Cal Poly Pomona's landscape architecture program? Why do you want to come to Cal Poly Pomona's Masters in Landscape Architecture program in particular?

In order for us to assess your scholarly potential for the MLA degree, please also write, on a separate sheet appended to the Statement of Intent, a short 400-word statement answering the following question: "What are the top three challenges facing our society today? Why do you consider those the top three challenges? What can landscape architecture do to address these challenges?" Include references to the work of others in an appropriate format.

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation. If you have your referees submit their letter via CSU Apply, this part can be skipped. If your referees don’t submit their letter via CSU Apply, they have to either mail or email them to the department of landscape architecture. We require that at least one of your reference letters be from a faculty member at a university or college program for applicants who are recent college graduates. One of your reference letters can be from a job, volunteer position, or other individuals familiar with your work. For applicants who graduated more than five years with their Bachelor's degree, they may have all of their letters of recommendation from non-academic referees.  It is the applicant's responsibility to contact the references for letters of recommendation, which should be sent by the references either via CSU Apply or directly to the Department of Landscape Architecture via email or mail. 

GRE Scores

Graduate Record Examination scores are optional. Applicants who have taken the GRE score in the past five years are encouraged to submit their scores for review. Submit a copy of your notice of the scores to the Department of Landscape Architecture. For more information, visit:
http://www.ets.org/gre

English Test Scores (For Applicants with Bachelor Degree from an International University that are not instructing with English)

International applicants whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Include a copy of the notice of your TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo scores if you are an international applicant. Cal Poly Pomona now accepts Duolingo Test Results in substitution to TOEFL and IELTS. Check out the Duolingo Test information via their website https://englishtest.duolingo.com/applicants. For admission to any graduate program at Cal Poly Pomona, you would need to have a minimum TOEFL score of 80, IELTS score of 6.5, and Duolingo score of 105.

Portfolio

The portfolio package should be a maximum of 8.5x11 size paper (letter size paper) and minimum 10 and no more than 40 sides (5 to 20 pages if double‐sided). Where possible, please print on both sides of the page (double-sided). Include a cover on your package ‐ it should include your name, contact information, address, phone number, email, and the program to which you are applying (MLA 1 or MLA 2). Portfolios should be easily opened/accessed and easy to leaf through. A digital copy of your portfolio is preferred. It can be available via a URL or sent via email. If you only have a hard copy, you can mail it to the Department address below. 

The portfolio does not need to be design work or landscape architecture‐related. We recognize that many candidates come from academic backgrounds with little to no art or design experience. Feel free to include work that you think provides evidence that you are a creative thinker and problem solver. If your work is non‐traditional, ensure that you annotate it or explain it in some way so that faculty is able to interpret your process and the significance of your accomplishment. For example, past students have submitted knitting patterns, dance routines, cake decorating, original recipes, musical scores, and computer programs that illustrate their problem-solving capacity and their ability to be creative in an attempt to find a range of solutions to a given problem. Please provide a sufficient explanation for faculty interpretation. We strongly encourage you to include a sample of your writing in the portfolio: this could be a few pages from a report, a chapter out of a thesis, article, etc. The sample of writing included in your portfolio should not exceed 10 pages in length.

If you include group projects, please be sure to specify the role you played in the project.

Submission

We prefer all the above materials sent to mla@cpp.edu, titled "MLA Application - Current YEAR (e.g., 2020)". If any documents are in hard copy format, they should be sent to the following address in addition to the online submission via CSUAPPLY. Our review and decision process may be delayed without having a separate copy of all the application materials sent to the department. 

Address

Please mail hardcopy required material to:

Kris Penrose
ATTN: MLA Application 

Department of Landscape Architecture
Cal Poly Pomona
3801 West Temple Avenue
Pomona, CA 91768

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International Applicants

Known for its outstanding academic programs, Cal Poly Pomona offers an excellent education for international students who wish to pursue a degree in the United States. International students who have a Bachelor's degree in landscape architecture or architecture can apply to the Advanced Standing program and those without design background can apply to the General Standing Program. International applicants who completed their undergraduate in an international university, whose instruction is done in a language other than English must take TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo exams in addition to all requirements listed above. 

English Test Scores

International applicants whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Include a copy of the notice of your TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo scores. For admission to any graduate program at Cal Poly Pomona, you would need to have a minimum TOEFL score of 80, IELTS score of 6.5, and Duolingo score of 105.

ETS Code for Cal Poly Pomona: 4082

You can use either code for the official score submission. 

Current and future International Students in Cal Poly academic programs must contact the International Center for information regarding visas, guidelines for maintaining academic progress, and procedures for internships and post-graduation work.

For additional information on Incoming International Students and requirements, please refer to:
http://www.cpp.edu/~international/students/incoming-students/index.shtml

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Contact

For more information on admissions to the Master of Landscape Architecture, contact the Graduate Coordinator:

Weimin Li, Ph.D., ASLA
Office Phone: (909) 869-2715
Email: mla@cpp.edu

or Administrative Coordinator: 

Kristopher Penrose
Office Phone: (909) 869-2673
Email: kapenrose@cpp.edu

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Curriculum

To prepare students with comprehensive knowledge, advanced skills and rich practical experience to solve ecological, environmental and social issues of the 21st century through landscape design and planning, the MLA program is currently employing a curriculum that covers a wide variety of learning subjects pertinent to landscape architecture. The curriculum is a three-year sequence consisting of a 2-semesters preparatory year (required for students with non-design backgrounds) and two years of professional study of Landscape Architecture with an emphasis on human ecosystematic design and planning. 

The M.L.A. curriculum at Cal Poly Pomona covers a wide variety of subjects relevant to

contemporary landscape architecture and meet the requirements of LAAB.

• Landscape Architecture history, theory and criticism.

• Natural, social, and cultural processes including principles of sustainability.

• Environmental and public policy and regulation.

• Design, planning and management at various scales from large regional landscape systems to human scale and applications including but not limited to pedestrian and vehicular circulation, grading, drainage, and stormwater management.

• Site design and implementation: materials, methods, technologies, application.

• Construction documentation and administration.

• Written, verbal and visual communication and documentation.

• Professional values, ethics, and practices.

• Plant ecology and ecosystems.

• Computer applications and advanced information technology.

• Research methodologies, projects, thesis and degree.

Foundation: Human Eco-Systematic Landscape Design

Since 1972, the M.L.A. program at Cal Poly Pomona has built a 45year legacy of human eco-systematic landscape design as initiated by the late professor John T. Lyle (1934-1998) and contributed by generations of faculty and students. The human eco-systematic focus is featured with extensive research into the bio-physical and socio-cultural inventory of the landscape system and the interplay among them; in-depth analysis on the patterns, trends, and relations of highly relevant natural and social processes and other playing factors; considerate programming based on client, stakeholder, and community input collected via social surveys, public meetings, focused groups, and activities; rational systematic planning to create strong sustainability and connectivity; and creative site design solutions to construct vibrant, safe, and cultural friendly places. It serves as the major studio approach in projects ranging from watershed master planning, urban park plan design, open space and habitat management, greenways and trail system planning, stormwater infrastructure planning and design, multi-functional landscape systems, community landscape stewardship, brown and gray field revitalization, etc.

While its foundation on human eco-systematic landscape design continues, the program embraces new directions reflecting the ever-changing issues and needs of the landscape and human society that calls for new theories, principles and methods. These new directions in the curriculum include but not limited to:

1. Climate change adaption design, which address knowledge on landscape mitigation strategies that if employed at mass scale, can help reduce GHG emissions (ASLA, 2016), adjust global and micro-climate, protect natural resources and wildlife habitats, promote local agriculture, and foster community resiliency against climate change;

2. Participatory design and social practice, which seeks to create places that reflect and serve diverse cultural, racial and economic communities by involving users in the entire process of creating and improving their own landscape.

3. Geodesign, which embraces and utilizes big data and the latest geospatial technologies to empower human capability in scientific rationalization to address complex and systematic landscape design challenges that are otherwise difficult to address; and

4. Urban sustainable landscape design that brings in creative landscape strategies to sequester carbon, clean the air and water, increase energy efficiency, restore habitats, and create value through significant economic, social and, environmental benefits (ASLA, 2016).

Curricula Documents

One can download the Course Flow Chart, Curricula Sheet and Curricula Flow Chart for reference. 

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MLA Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the degree requirements the graduate should achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • SLO1 Critical Thinking - Demonstrate critical thinking skills and creatively apply them to resolve ecological, social and spatial problems, while advancing current disciplinary concerns within the context of environmental design.
  • SLO2 Design Foundation - Demonstrate a strong understanding of design theory, history and methods of communication based on the principles of sustainability, regeneration, and ecosystematic design.
  • SLO3 Ecological Processes - Identify and interpret ecological patterns and processes at multiple scales and relate them to the develop design, planning and vegetative strategies to address ecological problems, including, preservation, restoration, regenerative design and sustainable use of resources.
  • SLO4 Cultural Processes - Identify and interpret cultural and historical patterns and processes at multiple scales as needed for designing for a diverse society.
  • SLO5 Disciplinary Knowledge - Creatively apply theories, techniques, skills and tools necessary for landscape architecture, with explicit regards to ecological sustainability, resiliency, and the protection of public health, safety and welfare.
  • SLO6 Digital Skills - Apply hands-on computer skills and information technologies in planning and design process and products.
  • SLO7 Professional Responsibility - Show a sense of responsibility, integrity and ethical concern as related to ecological, social, and cultural issues related to the professional practice of landscape architecture.
  • SLO8 Professional Development - Demonstrate teamwork and leadership skills in a variety of professional roles and contexts, including individual and team projects, as well as interdisciplinary collaboration and participatory settings.
  • SLO9 Communication - Effectively express and deliver design ideas, information and solutions visually, verbally, and in writing to a variety of audiences.
  • SLO10 Multi-cultural Perspectives - Pursue challenging educational and service opportunities to the public within the diverse and evolving multicultural regional context of southern California.
  • SLO11 Research - Pursue scholarly or practical research with appropriately developed research questions, qualitative or quantitative methods, and documentation in the context of environmental design.
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Course Catalog Description - Core Courses

(Please refer to University Catalog for most updated information)

  • LA5261 History I: History of Landscape Design

An overview of historic developments and foundations of landscape design and the profession of Landscape Architecture from prehistory to the 20th century. Students will understand the role of biophysical and socio-cultural contexts in design development, and the connections between past landscape design and present practice. Students will develop skills in analysis of landscapes, library research, and written communication of ideas.

  • LA5271 History II: Modern Landscape History

Analysis of significant landscapes in the 20th and 21st Centuries in urban, suburban and rural contexts. Focuses on a range of landscape typologies that include parks, plazas, streetscapes, and notable residential projects. Addresses the emergence of landscape architecture as a profession; and the design concepts, firms and significant personalities who shaped the American landscape. Instruction emphasizes the historical, social, political, economic, and philosophical forces that influenced the profession's modern era.    

  • LA3581 Geodesign Fundamentals for Environmental Designers

Study of fundamental knowledge, principles, processes, models, and skills of geodesign in the context of environmental design with a focus in landscape architecture. Application of geospatial thinking, geospatial data, geo-processing and other contents of contemporary Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to solve sustainable planning and design problems defined by a wide range of ecological, environmental and social conditions at different scales.

  • LA3611 Construction I: Site Engineering and Landscape Construction

Explores fundamental technical theories, concepts, methods and processes associated with primary categories of constructing the built environment as associated with landscape architecture. Emphasis is placed on site engineering, water management, tectonic structure and project construction workflow. Additional content may include general survey and technical soils.

  • LA3621 Construction II: Methods + Materials + Measuring

Introduction to the technical processes, concepts, methods and performance metrics associated with materials and the making/building of the urban landscape.  Focuses on the structure and attachment of built elements with an emphasis on both the cultural and ecological performance measures of built landscapes.

  • LA5772 Graduate Environmental Design Theory

An exploration of design, urban, aesthetic, evolutionary, behavioral, and ecosystem theory to explain human landscape preference, perception, and ecological functioning within a context of design problem-solving in urban and non-urban environments at a range of scales.  Landscape as a lens to understand civilization.

  • LA4782 Evolving Issues in Environmental Design

Focuses on new and changing topics and methods in environmental design aimed at improving social, environmental and economic conditions.  Principles will be learned through case studies, field trips, readings, and design exercises as appropriate to the topic. Historical basis of the issue, scope of the problem, impacts, and possible solutions will be examined.

  • LA4771 Professional Practice

The practice of landscape architecture, covering professional responsibilities and ethics, client and contractor relationships. Analysis and discussion of the structure and organization of the profession of landscape architecture; its history and future. Case studies of professional firms and organizations in the Los Angeles region.

  • LA4781 Urban Green Infrastructure

Explores problems related to stormwater management, climate adaptation, urban heat island effect (etc.).  Provides the tools required to optimize the design of natural and technical resource flows in the landscape from a systems perspective. Introduces design practices that reduce human impacts and optimize the built environment to restore degraded ecosystem services. Flows of water and human movement across the landscape are the primary focus.

  • LA5111L Design Studio I: The Individual, The Self

This course is an introduction to the discipline of landscape architecture and design foundations as a result of personal awareness.  This course will specifically challenge students to understand the relationships of the body in space including the presence and reflection of the self and others in space.  Multiple methods of personal and public recording and engagement will be utilized to reveal the latent potential and issues of space and site.

  • LA5121L Design Studio II: The Group, the Public, the Community

This course is an introduction to the discipline of landscape architecture and design foundations as a result of a public awareness and public space.  This course will specifically challenge students to understand the relationships of the public or a community to designed public space.   Multiple methods of information collection, comparative study and measurement of capacity will be utilized to reveal the latent potential and issues of space and site beyond current conditions.

  • LA5581 Visual Communication for Design

Introduction to visual communication for landscape architecture.  Addresses the basic theory and intent of visual communication as applied to environmental design.  Focuses on the exploration of what designers draw, why, and how, and the concepts of notation, observation, diagramming, measuring, and communicating.  Uses problem-based learning to critically evaluate audience, tools, venue, and mechanics of visual communication.  Integration of manual and digital tools.

  • LA5771 Landscape Awareness and Assessment

Focuses on the development of awareness and skills related to reading the landscape around us:  what is under, on and above the ground, and its implications for design.  Introduction to methods of landscape documentation, inventory, analysis and assessment, including traditional site inventory and analysis, McHargian analysis, SWOT analysis, natural resources inventories, phenomenological approaches, behavioral observation, natural areas inventories, environmental impact analysis, archival research, still and motion picture photography as documentation, among others.  Students will evaluate the appropriateness of various inventory, analysis and assessment tools and their connection to design. A series of field trips is required to provide opportunities to critically assess the California landscape as a product of human intervention and natural resilience.

  • LA6071L Integrative Design and Planning

Group project related to large scale regional planning and design.  Adopts an integrative issue-based approach to problem solving and documentation that is directed at identifying the problem, developing mapping tools to assist with problem-solving, and visual communication. Involves advanced application of geodesign technology, interaction with the public or other stakeholders, and other forms of primary data collection as required to solve the problem.  Total credit limited to 6 units.  Prerequisite: LA 6771, LA 6772, LA 3581, LA 6451, and LA 6121L.

  • LA6081L Design and Planning Project Documentation

Requires preparation of an extensive professional report documenting data collection, analysis, results, and recommendations related to a large scale integrative design and planning project.

  • LA6111L Design for Change

Examination of concerns underlying landscape design and planning and processes for dealing with them at all scales from the small project to the regional. Emphasis on applied ecology, systems techniques, and environmental policy and management as well as design and planning techniques. Techniques for predictions of alterations in social and natural processes brought about by human use of the land and the application of such assessments to environmental management.

  • LA6121L Design of Complex Systems

Explores energy, food, water, land, air, habitat, fire, and other key landscape systems as core design requirements for ecological and human health and maximizing natural capital.  Site typologies under study will include marginal agricultural land/rangeland, mine/quarries/landfills, power lines and transportation corridors (including highways and railroads), flood control (spreading grounds, debris basins, or floodways) and water supply infrastructure (aqueduct right-of-way, reservoirs or treatment plants), energy and resource landscapes, and logistic hubs or data centers.

  • LA6441 Plants and Ecology

An introduction to plant ecology and design issues relevant to the profession of landscape architecture. Special emphasis is placed upon plant communities and association of plants most appropriate to the Southern California region and the environmental factors that control these communities as related to planting design theory and application. Identification of native and adapted species; introduction to cultural, functional, and aesthetic criteria in the organization of design associations of plants. Special emphasis is placed upon the study and application of plant ecology and design in urban ecosystems. Introduction to the challenges encountered in urban ecosystems with a focus on sustainable and resource-efficient planting design. Identification of plant species adapted to urban conditions.

  • LA6451 Coupled Human and Natural Systems

Studies the interface and reciprocal interactions that link human (e.g., economic, social) and natural (e.g., hydrologic, atmospheric, biological) systems.  Addresses the complex nature of reciprocating interactions and feedbacks between humans on the environment, the effect of the environment on humans, and tools to anticipate impacts of design decisions on coupled human and natural systems.

  • LA6771 Research Methods

Introduction to the development and assessment of research questions, preparation and writing of literature reviews, matching of research questions to methods, strengths and weaknesses of methods, qualitative and quantitative data and their analysis, critique of existing research, and preparation of research reports.  Also addresses research accessibility, quality of research, venues for communication, and common standards of rigor.  Addresses data mining; visualization of data; experiments. Total credit limited to 3 units.  Prerequisite: LA 5121L and LA 5271, LA 5771, and LA 3281.

  • LA6772 Finding Problems

Leadership in professional practice requires more than ethics and liability for ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of the public.  LA6772 explores how projects are realized from the perspective of public practice, an emerging mode of professional activism that is entrepreneurial and proactively engaged in defining issues and projects that address them, then seeking funding for design and implementation.  LA6772 also covers academic practice: from research and writing, through publication.

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Electives/Oversea Program Courses

  • LA4811L Design VII: International Static and Evolving Infrastructure

Features the development of studio projects that focus on cultural and environmental issues within Italy and Western Europe developed within a context of critical dialogue about current cultural values, the role of leisure and pleasure in the landscape, the sacred and profane, the influence on religion on physical form and relationships, and evidence of past cultures and their impact on design thinking.

  • LA4872 International Urban Landscape

Investigation of a selected urban site within the European region, with a focus on the contemporary function of the site’s urban landscape elements. Focuses on both the historic and contemporary contributions of selected urban center. Emphasis on transportation, pedestrian accommodation, and open space structure.   

  • LA4873 International Professional Practice

Exploration of the scope and nature of professional practice in Europe, including presentations by regional professionals.  Addresses the practice of landscape architecture, covering professional responsibilities and ethics, client and contractor relationships. Analysis and discussion of the structure and organization of the profession of landscape architecture; its history and future. Case studies of professional firms and organizations in the European region.  Addresses standards of practice in Europe, and compares European practice with practice in California.

  • LA5782 Landscape Architecture Teaching Practicum

Designed to give students actual teaching experience and developmental feedback. Practicum students are involved in course planning and implementation as well as assessment of students and of the course throughout the semester. Practicum students perform a variety of instructional roles, including, at a minimum, the independent teaching of a subject unit in the course and regular classroom attendance for a semester. Practicum students prepare an assessment instrument for the course, assist with lecture preparation and assignment design, as well as work in class with students.

  • Other courses (please consult graduate coordinator for complete list of electives)
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