In the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences .
Cornell University offers accredited, license-qualifying landscape architecture degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The undergraduate landscape architecture degree is the only one of its kind in the Ivy League. Both academic programs provide a sound grounding in theory and technology which is deployed through the design studio and supplemental courses that inform the design process.
Due to its unique position within the university, the Department of Landscape Architecture promotes interaction and collaboration with other academic fields, including horticulture, architecture, city and regional planning, fine arts, and the natural and social sciences.
In addition, an undergraduate minor in cultural landscape studies is available for nonmajors.
J. Cerra, chair (443 Kennedy Hall, 607-255-0572); V. Aymer, J. Birkeland, M. Glass, M. Goula, M. Hogue, Z. Hong, D. Santo, J. Vanucchi, A. Weber
- All coursework for this major is in person, in Ithaca, unless otherwise noted.
- No prerequisite courses are necessary before declaring the landscape architecture major.
- All major requirements must be taken for a letter grade.
- A grade of C- or better must be earned for all studio courses.
Major Learning Outcomes:
- Demonstrate knowledge of the histories of the discipline of landscape architecture internationally and a critical understanding of the breadth of theories that have shaped and currently frame design and practice.
- Integrate knowledge of living systems into designed projects [soils, plants, and animals], their physical and cultural characteristics, and their dynamic performances and adaptation capacity to today’s uncertainties induced by climate change.
- Demonstrate knowledge of analytical and descriptive approaches that engage deeply with contemporary site thinking methods to generate landscape designs at a variety of scales that address the complex cultural and natural systems at work on a given or proposed site.
- Become proficient in the required technical skills (engineering and construction) necessary for practice and licensure as a professional Landscape Architect and pursue deep knowledge on materials: their cultural histories, modes of production, technical specificities, and responsible, sustainable use.
- Develop excellent representation skills, both analog and digital, to engage with design thinking and effectively communicate innovative designs, while being aware of the ideological implications of all representations.
- Become prepared for both independent work of the highest standards and collaboratively driven pursuits, as well as for becoming a responsible leader in ecologically and socially transformative designs; prepare to engage responsibly with communities, especially the underserved, silenced, and with other species, to contribute to a just, inclusive, and diverse planet.
Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to study abroad, typically during the spring semester of their junior year. Most students start by browsing program options (see Discover Programs) or by attending a college info session or university-wide events like the International Fair. Learn more about CALS Study Abroad Policies, Credit transfer and program options by attending a CALS Study Abroad 101 Fair or by visiting the CALS International Opportunities website.
There are two approved avenues for studying abroad during the Fall, Spring, or the full Academic Year:
The department actively partners with the CALS Exchange Program to provide unique opportunities for students to study Landscape Architecture in another cultural context, at reputable partner institutions around the globe. Partner schools offer studios, enabling students to stay on track to graduate on time. Just some of the destinations include Denmark (Copenhagen University), Sweden (SLU), the Netherlands (Wageningen University) and Singapore (National University of Singapore). Previous foreign language experience is not required as most institutions teach in English.
Undergraduate Double Major Policy
Cornell students are not allowed to double major across different colleges.
Please be advised: It may prove difficult for students majoring in CALS Landscape Architecture to double major (within CALS). Due to the specific nature of Landscape Architecture coursework (studio based) we do not expect that more than 12 credits of coursework will overlap with any other CALS major and these 12 credits would likely be electives.
Bachelor of Science Landscape Architecture Degree Sequence:
In addition to the requirements of the major, students also need to complete the college graduation requirements .
(Note: Each semester, the studio classes require payment of a supply and field trip fee, and all landscape architecture majors are required to pay a technology fee.)
- LA 4010 - Urban Design Studio (5)*
- Concentration ** (3)
- Social sciences or humanities elective (3) †
- Free electives (2) ‡
- (Optional landscape architecture study abroad semester.)
Summary of credit requirements:
* Specialization requirements (55)
† Distribution electives (39)
‡ Free electives (10)
*** Historical Studies (6)
** Concentration (10)
Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.):
Master of Landscape Architecture Degree
Our Graduate School program in Landscape Architecture complies with the requirements of three governing bodies: the New York State Education Department (NYSED), the Council of Landscape Architecture Registration Boards (CLARB), and the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board. The degree programs are designed to accommodate a variety of academic backgrounds, both with and without design training in landscape architecture and architecture. Therefore, each student’s curriculum plan is tailored to the individual’s specific background and academic goals. We offer two possible paths toward the completion of the MLA degree.
The intent of the MLA degree is to provide the foundational, historical, theoretical, technical, and skills-based grounding of the field of landscape architecture. The core of the degree program is the design studio that introduces students to fundamental design methodologies and they are asked to pursue and develop their design process and learn about research methodologies. Supplemental courses in all other aspects of the field provide the information that will be synthesized in the studio to reinforce the design process and end result. The studio is project based and exposes students to a wide array of landscape scales, types, contexts, and topical issues. The studio format entails lectures, demonstrations, field trips, readings, guest presentations, precedent study, one-on-one instruction, and group discourse. Rather than espousing a singular design philosophy or style, the department offers multiple perspectives on design, imparted through the studio course sequence. The required sequential nature of the studios offered throughout the student’s academic career at Cornell allows for each studio to build on the previous one with an ever-increasing degree of complexity and attention to detail. Studio size is conducive to small group interaction among students and between students and faculty. A concentration focused on the student’s individual personal interests is also required. Both MLA paths allow the option of a design thesis, a capstone studio, or a written research thesis in the final semester of study.
First Professional MLA – 6 Semesters and 90 Credits
The First Professional 6 Semester MLA degree is accredited by NYSED and LAAB and is a first professional landscape architectural license qualifying degree intended for those students who do not hold a first professional degree in landscape architecture or architecture or pre-professional degree including, but not necessarily limited to, Bachelor of Landscape Studies, Bachelor of Environmental Design, Bachelor of Design, or Bachelor of Architectural Studies. This course of study requires a minimum of 90 credit hours and six semesters.
Post Professional MLA – 4 Semesters and 60 Credits
The Post Professional 4 Semester MLA degree is intended for those students who hold a United States or Canadian accredited first professional degree in landscape architecture or architecture including BLA, BSLA, or BArch degrees. This course of study requires a minimum of 60 credit hours and four semesters.
Master of Professional Studies in Landscape Architecture
The year-long Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) program in Landscape Architecture was created for individuals with an interest in advancing their career options by pursuing timely and innovative issues related to planning, designing, and/or managing natural and built environments.
Dual Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture and City and Regional Planning
The Department offers a Dual MLA. and MRP. Degree. For more information please visit City and Regional Planning.
Prospective students may receive an application by contacting the Graduate School.
(Note: Each semester, the studio classes require payment of a supply and field trip fee, and all landscape architecture majors are required to pay an annual technology fee.)
Sample Curriculum Plan for First-Professional MLA 6 Semesters and 90 Credits
This degree sequence is designed for undergraduate students who wish to undertake an immersive one year course of study to expand their career options and engage in a interdisciplinary design research project. Each year, the +1 MPS will be headed by a faculty member from the department of Landscape Architecture and will include coursework, lectures and a collaborative project based on a theme relevant to the most pressing issues in landscape architecture and its allied disciplines. Thirty (30) hours of coursework is required, including 12 credits of core courses and others suggested based on the year’s theme and major project. The +1 MPS allows students from a range of landscape backgrounds to both learn and apply skillsets including cartography and data visualization, fieldwork methods, digital and physical modeling and design. Direct inquiries to Jamie Vanucchi, Department of Landscape Architecture, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Undergraduate Minor for Nonmajors:
Students outside the professional program may choose to pursue the undergraduate minor in Cultural Landscape Studies as a complement to their major.
The minor requires 15 credits of any landscape architecture courses . Students must take these courses for a letter grade and earn a ”C” or higher for them to count towards the minor (landscape architecture courses that only offer the S/U grading option, such as the LA 4830 - Seminar in Landscape Studies , will still be accepted).
Direct minor inquiries to Professor Jamie Vanucchi, Department of Landscape Architecture, email@example.com.