Landscape Architecture

http://landarch.uoregon.edu

Bart Johnson, Department Head
541-346-3634
254 Lawrence Hall
landarch@uoregon.edu

Landscape architecture is an environmental planning and design profession of broad scope concerned with the creation, protection, restoration, and management of landscapes. Landscape architecture is founded on an awareness of our deep connections to the natural world and how people and their work are part of the web of life. The profession is also very attentive to how places serve human needs and enable the sustainable social and economic life of cities and other landscapes. A healthy society rests on a commitment to sound landscape design, planning, and conservation that respects the land, its processes, its integrity—and that of human-ecological processes, helping to fulfill human potential.

Both a science and an art, landscape architecture involves creative decision-making based on scientific knowledge of natural processes coupled with awareness of historical, cultural, and social dynamics. The profession also makes intensive use of technologies for landscape construction and environmental management—digital graphics, geographic information systems, and computer-aided design. These are applied to making richly supportive places for people and ecosystems that are beautiful and healthy, responding to human needs and local natural and social systems.

The Department of Landscape Architecture is built on the 19th-century legacy that landscape architecture is a design and planning profession with responsibilities to ourselves, society, the past, and the future. The program combines professional understanding and skills with a liberal-arts education.

As a profession, landscape architecture includes design at many scales, ecologically based planning activities, analysis of environmental impacts, and detailed development of land and sites. As an academic discipline, it provides an opportunity for personal development through environmental problem-solving, graphic and oral communication, and project-oriented study.

As a profession, landscape architecture includes design and planning at many scales, including ecologically based decision-making, analysis of environmental impacts, urban design, ecological restoration, service to disadvantaged communities, detailed development of land and sites, and many other problems. As an academic discipline, it provides an opportunity for personal development through environmental problem-solving, graphic and oral communication, and project-oriented study in which small groups of students work with instructors to address contemporary problems within a defined area.

Computers in the Curriculum

Digital tools have become prevalent in the profession of landscape architecture. Although campus computer laboratories and facilities are available to students, they are heavily used, and access is limited. The Department of Landscape Architecture requires its students to purchase or have unlimited access to a personal computer with a powerful capacity to work with very large graphic files. Refer to the websites for the department and the School for Architecture and Allied Arts for details.

Faculty

Elisabeth Chan, associate professor (design representation, design theory). BA, 1993, Hampshire; MLA, 2000, Cornell. (2001)

Arica Duhrkoop-Galas, instructor (plants, planting design, landscape construction). BA, 1998, Portland State; CE, 1999, Cambridge; MLA, 2005, Oregon. (2010)

Mark Eischeid, assistant professor (landscape history, design theory, landscape systems). BS, 1994, Stanford; MLA, 2000, California, Berkeley; MFA, 2010, Edinburgh. (2014)

Christianne Enright, instructor (landscape planning, landscape analysis, geographic information systems). BA, 1984, California, Santa Barbara; BLA, 2003, MLA 2006, PhD, 2013, Oregon. (2013)

Anne Godfrey, instructor (landscape media and arts, design process and theory). BA, 1997, Carleton College; BLA, 2002, MLA, 2004, Oregon. (2008)

Kenneth I. Helphand, professor (landscape history, literature, and theory). BA, 1968, Brandeis; MLA, 1972, Harvard; Fellow, American Society of Landscape Architects. (1974)

David Hulse, Philip H. Knight Professor (alternative futures analysis, river restoration and management, landscape ecology). BSLA, 1981, Colorado State; MLA, 1984, Harvard. (1985)

Bart Johnson, professor (ecological restoration and design, land planning, complexity modeling). BS, 1987, Cornell; MLA, 1992, PhD, 1995, Georgia. (1995)

Harper Keeler, instructor (civic agriculture, landscape biodynamics, urban farm director). BLA, 1995; MLA 2011, Oregon. (2010)

Ronald J. Lovinger, professor (planting design theory, landscape transformations, landscape as art form). BFA, 1961, Illinois; MLA, 1963, Pennsylvania; reg. landscape architect, Oregon, Pennsylvania. (1965)

Dennis “Whitey” Lueck, instructor (horticulture, field studies, landscape biodynamics). BS, 1974, Pennsylvania State; MS, MA, 1980, Oregon State. (2005)

Robert Z. Melnick, professor (landscape preservation, research methods, historic and cultural landscape analysis). BA, 1970, Bard; MLA, 1975, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Fellow, American Society of Landscape Architects. (1982)

Robert G. Ribe, professor (landscape planning and analysis, visual resource management, landscape economics). BS, 1977, California, Riverside; MS, 1981, MA, 1987, PhD, 1990, Wisconsin. (1988)

Deni Ruggeri, associate professor (urban design, transportation design, land planning). MLA, 2001, Politecnico di Milano; PhD, 2009, California, Berkeley. (2010)

Brad Stangeland, instructor (landscape construction, computer-aided design, professional practice). BLA, 1983, Oregon; reg. landscape architect, Oregon. (2003)

Roxi Thoren, associate professor (urban design, landscape history, microclimate analysis). BA, 1996, Wellesley; MArch, 2001, MLA, 2002, Virginia. (2004)

Emeriti

Jerome Diethelm, professor emeritus. BArch, 1962, Washington (Seattle); MLA, 1964, Harvard; reg. architect and landscape architect, Oregon. (1970)

The date in parentheses at the end of each entry is the first year on the University of Oregon faculty.

The curriculum in landscape architecture leads to a professional degree of bachelor of landscape architecture (BLA). The five-year program, accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board, combines general preparation in the arts and sciences with a focus on environmental-design studies. The program's goal is to produce a visually literate, technically skilled, ecologically knowledgeable, and environmentally responsible designer, planner, and graphic artist capable of playing a central, professional role in the evolving landscape.

In recognition of the integrated and comprehensive nature of environmental planning and design, BLA students are encouraged to pursue opportunities to collaborate on planning and design problems with students in architecture, art, community planning, and other disciplines.

Curriculum Options

The curriculum is a well-defined sequential path toward the degree. Electives vary according to the interests, goals, and experience of each student and are chosen with the help of faculty advisors. Departmental electives reflect the need to provide a variety of environmental subjects and to introduce the rapidly expanding number of career areas in the profession. Program objectives provide a solid base of essential skills, tools, and knowledge in landscape design and planning. Program flexibility allows each student to emphasize such topics as ecological restoration and design, sustainable cities and land systems, landscape aesthetics, natural resource analysis and planning, land conservation and development, urban design, restoration of waterways, renewal of agricultural lands, private and public agency professional practice, environmental impact assessment, landscape history and preservation, and environmental design research methods.

The undergraduate program balances exposure to the many facets of landscape architecture with the expectation that growth and specialization will occur at the graduate level and in professional apprentice and internship programs.

Curriculum Structure

The undergraduate curriculum consists of the following interrelated areas:

  • Planning and design
  • Subjects
  • Electives

Planning and Design

Studio courses focus on the development and communication of solutions to site and other environmental problems through specific physical-design proposals. This area addresses the physical-spatial implications of planning and management policies, client needs, and programs. Tutorial studio work is the integrative heart of the curriculum.

Studio courses focus on the development and communication of solutions to site, neighborhood, city, transportation, watershed, and regional environmental and social problems. Students work closely with an instructor to analyzeand create specific landscape design and planning proposals. This area addresses the physical-spatial implications of planning and management policies, client needs, and programs. Tutorial studio work is the integrative heart of the curriculum.

Subjects

Six subject areas are essential foundations for the planning and design program: landscape architecture technologies and professional practice, plant materials, landscape analysis and planning, the history and theory of landscape architecture, urban design, and landscape architectural media. Required course work in history, theory, media, and technologies includes alternative choices to allow each student to tailor an individualized educational program with the help of an advisor.

Electives

This area, which includes general university requirements, provides for personal choice in selecting additional course work in in landscape architecture, architecture, art, planning, and more generally in arts and letters, social science, and science.

Preparation

Students planning to major in landscape architecture should prepare by beginning studies in the following areas:

Environmental Awareness

Courses in ecology, biology, botany, geology, environmental science, and geography help begin the process of understanding the complex interrelationships and interdependencies of people and the environment.

Human Behavior

Courses in art history, anthropology, sociology, history, government, psychology, political science, cultural geography, and related subjects help explain human needs, values, attitudes, and activities and are useful in preparing for the design of physical places.

Visual Language Skills

Courses in drawing, painting, photography, film, design, art history, and related subjects help develop perceptual skills, cultural understanding, and the ability to explore and communicate ideas graphically.

Full-time students planning to transfer into the department are urged to take 12 credits of lower-division landscape architecture courses as freshmen, much like the courses listed below as required of freshmen already admitted to the major. If a transfer student is admitted to the major, he or she may expect to transfer without loss of time or credit into the second year of the BLA program, whether or not they have already taken any landscape architecture courses.

Students interested in the BLA program should apply to the university by January 1 and to the department by January 15. Applicants wishing to gain priority should apply to the BLA by November 1. Another round of admissions occurs on a space-available basis with an application deadline of March 1. Include with the online application the following:

  1. Letter of intent describing pertinent background information, interests, goals, and aspirations
  2. Portfolio of creative work
  3. Three letters of recommendation from people able to assess the applicant’s academic and creative abilities and potential contributions
  4. Transcripts of previous college work
  5. A recent writing sample, preferably from an academic or employment setting

Inquire at the Department of Landscape Architecture, its website, or at the university’s Office of Admissions for more detailed information.

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Requirements

Requirements for the BLA degree (including university requirements) total 220 credits. Required courses separate from university requirements are distributed as follows:

Planning and Design

Plan of Study Grid
First YearCredits
No studio courses are required of first-year students in the major  
 Credits0
Second Year
LA 289Landscape Architectural Design 1,212
 Credits12
Third Year
LA 439Landscape Architectural Design and Process 1,212
 Credits12
Fourth Year
LA 489Site Planning and Design 112
Select one of the following: 3 6-7
Architectural Design 6
Site Planning and Design 6
Workshop: [Topic] (Design) 41-21
Practicum: [Topic] 1-21
 Credits18-19
Fifth Year
LA 490Comprehensive Project Preparation 3
LA 494Land Planning and Design 6
LA 499Comprehensive Project 8
 Credits17
 Total Credits59-60
1

Two studios.

2

Transfer students typically enter the program in the second year.

3

 An approved studio in another UO summer program may be substituted.

4

Summer only.

Subject Courses and Other Electives

Courses Required of First-Year Students Admitted to Major 1
Select three of the following:12
Introduction to Architecture
Introduction to Landscape Architecture
Understanding Landscapes
Photography and Environmental Values
Landscape Field Work: [Topic]
Contemporary American Landscape
Urban Farm
Landscape Architectural Technology and Practice12
Landscape Technologies I
Landscape Technologies II
Computer-Aided Landscape Design
Professional practice course
Plants in the Landscape and Ecosystems12
Plants: Fall
Plants: Winter
An approved basic ecology class, if not taken as a freshman:
Introduction to Ecology
Introduction to Environmental Studies: Natural Sciences
Forest Biology
Biogeography
Landscape Analysis and Planning12
Analyzing Landscape Systems
Introduction to Landscape Planning Analysis
Principles of Applied Ecology
History and Theory of Landscape Architecture16
Understanding Landscapes
History of Landscape Architecture I-II
An approved landscape theory course:
Photography and Environmental Values
Contemporary American Landscape
Seminar: [Topic]
Seminar: [Topic] (Landscape Design Theory)
Land and Landscape
Spatial Composition
Landscape Perception
Landscape Architectural Media6
Landscape Media
Digital Landscape Media
Media and Landscape Technology Workshops6
Workshop: [Topic] (Architecture Media)
Workshop: [Topic] (Advanced Computer-Aided Landscape Design)
Workshop: [Topic] (Drawing)
Experimental Course: [Topic] (Oregon BILDS [Building Integrated Livable Designs Sustainably])
Computers in Landscape Architecture
Media for Design Development: [Topic]
Advanced Design-Development Media: [Topic]
Advanced Landscape Media
Landscape Technology Topics
Other Electives 232-44
Introduction to American Environmental History
Community, Environment, and Society
Geology of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
Earth Resources and the Environment
Geomorphology
Plants: Spring
Environmental Management
Climate-Change Policy
Society, Culture, and Place
Environmental Ethics
Watershed Science and Policy
Experimental Course: [Topic] (Civic Agriculture)
Architectural Contexts: Place and Culture
Community Design
Japanese Garden
Principles of Urban Design
Theory of Urban Design I
Land-Use Policy
Sustainable Urban Development
Green Cities
Native American Architecture
Landscape Ecology
North American Historical Landscapes
Environment and Development
Total Credits108-120
1

First-year students are encouraged to take a basic ecology course.

2

Electives totaling 44 credits for students who transferred into the major; 32 credits for students admitted to the major in their first year. These elective courses may include any extra courses taken from any of the lists found under first-year courses, history and theory of landscape architecture, or media and landscape technology workshops.

Minor in Landscape Architecture

The department offers a minor in landscape architecture subject to the following:

  1. Students must complete and submit to the department the application to the minor program. Applicants are notified when their applications have been approved. The application includes a curriculum work sheet with the requirements in effect at the date of acceptance
  2. Enrollment in the minor program may be limited if the department's courses are overenrolled. If the department is unable to accommodate additional students, it may suspend admission to the program until space becomes available
  3. Courses required for the minor are open to other university students with instructor’s consent. Minor candidates may be given preference on course waiting lists over nondepartmental students. Students in the minor should inform instructors when asking permission to enroll

Minor Requirements (26 credits)

LA 260Understanding Landscapes4
Choose one from the following: 14
Landscape Field Work: [Topic]
Analyzing Landscape Systems
Plants course chosen from the subject area (see Subject Areas table)4
Landscape design arts course chosen from the subject area (see Subject Areas table)4
Optional courses in landscape architecture from Subject Areas table10
Total Credits26
1

Once one of these courses is completed, the other course may be taken to fulfill another requirement if it appears in the corresponding lists for that requirement. The same applies for repeating the same course if the topic changes.

2

 Students may take any combination of courses in the Subject Areas table. Only one term of Urban Farm (LA 390) or one design studio may be applied to the minor.

Subject Areas

Plants, Applied Ecology, and Landscape Analysis
LA 326Plants: Fall4
LA 327Plants: Winter4
LA 328Plants: Spring4
LA 337Landscape Field Work: [Topic]1-4
LA 390Urban Farm2-4
LA 410Experimental Course: [Topic] (Civic Agriculture)1-5
LA 413Analyzing Landscape Systems4
LA 440Introduction to Landscape Planning Analysis4
LA 441Principles of Applied Ecology2-6
LA 465Landscape Ecology4
Landscape Design Arts, History, and Theory
LA 227Introduction to Landscape Architecture2
LA 289Landscape Architectural Design (if space is available)6
LA 333Photography and Environmental Values4
LA 375Contemporary American Landscape4
LA 408Workshop: [Topic]1-21
LA 433Japanese Garden4
LA 443Land and Landscape4
ARH 477–478History of Landscape Architecture I-II8
LA 484Landscape Perception4
Landscape Technologies
LA 459Landscape Technology Topics2-4

Check with the department for information about new subject-area courses in the curriculum. Seminars and workshops may often be applied to the minor.

Graduate Studies

The department offers master- and doctoral-level programs in the field of landscape architecture. At the master’s level, the department makes a distinction between first professional master’s students and postprofessional master’s students. First professional master’s students hold an undergraduate degree other than an accredited bachelor of landscape architecture (BLA, BALA, or BSLA) and are working toward the master of landscape architecture (MLA). Postprofessional master’s students hold an accredited bachelor of landscape architecture and are working toward the completion of the advanced postprofessional MLA degree. Students with an accredited bachelor or architecture (BArch) or other accredited professional environmental design degree often earn a postprofessional MLA with some additional requirements, or they may opt to earn a first professional MLA degree with waivers of some course requirements, decided on a case-by-case basis.

Students may enroll in joint MLA degree programs with the master of architecture (MArch) and master of community and regional planning (MCRP) programs with integrated and coordinated degree requirements. Arrangements may be made through academic advisors in the two departments.

First Professional Master’s Program

Although requirements and time to degree may vary with each student, the following options represent typical situations:

Students with a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture

Students entering with a four-year or nonaccredited degree in landscape architecture spend two to three years completing the first professional MLA. The first year focuses on course work required for the degree. The second year focuses on completing electives related to the master’s project and the project or thesis itself.

Students with Other Degrees

Students who have no background in landscape design and planning can expect to spend a minimum of ten terms earning an accredited, first professional MLA.

The department recognizes that first professional master’s candidates have extremely varied backgrounds and may have special requirements. Based on undergraduate courses, background in design-related disciplines, and work experience, these students may be exempt from a limited number of requirements. Students who want to replace or waive requirements must show equivalent competency in those areas, typically through course work or professional experience.

Program Components of the First Professional MLA

Planning and Design (42 credits)

This program allocates significant faculty resources to project-oriented instruction and has a long history of success at design studio education. Regular faculty members offer or consult in studios and participate in the midterms and weeklong end-of-term reviews of student work. Studio projects typically increase in scale and complexity over the course of the degree program. Students must take seven studios in this subject area.

Subject Courses

Technology and Practice (12 credits). Covers computer-aided design, professional practice, site engineering, landscape materials and detailing, irrigation, and other topically oriented technologies courses. The sequence has strong ties to a required technical studio and design-build courses offered by the architecture department.

Plants (8 credits). The sequence of fall and winter plants courses emphasizes knowledge of native plants, ecological planting design, local plant communities, and horticultural plant materials. The sequence integrates plant identification with introductory and advanced planting design. Students may choose electives from this area, including courses on Japanese gardens, planting design, spring plants, or subjects related to the department’s urban farm.

Landscape Analysis and Planning (16 credits). Landscape planning courses cover history, theories, and methods related to basic landscape analysis, geodesign, ecological planning, regional planning, ecological restoration, alternative futures, Oregon’s land-use planning system, critical issues related to land conservation and development, and introductory and advanced landscape ecology. The department offers courses in geographic information systems that teach the industry standard, ArcGIS. Students may choose electives from this area for an area of concentration.

History and Theory (16 credits). Courses include the history of landscape architecture, design theory, urban design, landscape perception, and landscape preservation. Students may choose electives from this area for an area of concentration.

Landscape Architectural Media (12 credits). Courses cover the use of computer graphics software, computer aided design software, hand drawing, computer three-dimensional modeling software, and other techniques for representing, manipulating, and communicating landscape designs and plans.

Area of Concentration (16 credits). Students take four courses from any department at the university, selected with their advisors, to develop specialized knowledge and skills typically related to the topic of their master’s project or thesis.

Research and Master’s Project (22 credits)

Students take two courses in research methods and project development and one mentored research development course. A faculty member serves as a project chair. The MLA project is completed during the third year for first professional master's candidates in a two-term master's clinic studio. This independent project of high academic standard presents original work that contributes to the body of knowledge in landscape architecture and/or demonstrates an advanced capacity to solve design and planning problems through critical inquiry and strong problem-solving analysis. The topic may be selected from a range of theoretical to practical design issues. Projects must include a written component, which sets out the problem, goals and objectives, methodology, findings, and conclusions of the project. Students must complete Landscape Research Methods I (LA 620), Landscape Research Methods II (LA 621), and Research Proposal Development (LA 695), and at least 12 credits of Master's Project (LA 699) or Thesis (LA 503).

First Professional Master's Curriculum

Planning and Design
LA 508Workshop: [Topic]6
LA 539Landscape Architectural Design and Process 112
LA 589Site Planning and Design 118
LA 594Land Planning and Design 16
Subject Courses
Technology and Practice
LA 362Landscape Technologies I4
LA 366Landscape Technologies II4
LA 517Computer-Aided Landscape Design2
Professional practice course2
Plants
LA 326Plants: Fall4
LA 327Plants: Winter4
Landscape Analysis and Planning
LA 513Analyzing Landscape Systems4
LA 515Computers in Landscape Architecture4
LA 540Introduction to Landscape Planning Analysis4
LA 541Principles of Applied Ecology4
History and Theory
ARH 477–478History of Landscape Architecture I-II8
LA 607Seminar: [Topic] (Landscape Architecture Literature)2
LA 608Workshop: [Topic] (Understanding Landscapes)2
An approved landscape theory course chosen from the following:4
Introduction to Landscape Architecture Theory
Seminar: [Topic]
Spatial Composition
Landscape Architectural Media
LA 350Landscape Media2
LA 352Digital Landscape Media2
Workshops in media and landscape technology chosen from the following:8
Workshop: [Topic] (Architectural Media)
Workshop: [Topic] (Advanced Computer-Aided Landscape Design; Drawing)
Media for Design Development: [Topic]
Advanced Design-Development Media: [Topic]
Advanced Landscape Media
Landscape Technology Topics
Research and Master's Project
LA 601Research: [Topic]2
LA 620–621Landscape Research Methods I-II4
LA 699Master's Project16
or LA 503 Thesis
Area of Concentration Electives
Four courses approved by advisor16
Total Credits144

Postprofessional Master’s Program

The two-year graduate program leading to the master of landscape architecture (MLA) degree is intended for students prepared to do advanced work in the field. Students entering the postprofessional MLA program must have a professionally accredited bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture or architecture.

Students with professional landscape architecture degrees typically spend two years in residence satisfying course requirements. Students with professional architecture degrees may spend an additional term, decided on a case-by-case basis.

The postprofessional MLA program seeks to prepare the student for advanced understanding, competence, and responsibility in promoting harmonious human-land relationships through private or public practice or teaching at the university level. Many graduate students have the opportunity to learn and practice teaching skills as paid teaching assistants and graduate teaching fellows in the department. Some graduates are offered faculty positions throughout the world. The program takes advantage of regional and university resources through landscape projects, internships, and visiting professionals, while it provides a beneficial base of support and ideas in the department. The department recognizes the importance of building a community for graduate education characterized by serious and rigorous inquiry, self-direction, and opportunities to work closely with teachers and peers in an active design and planning enterprise.

A central aspect of the postprofessional MLA program is the student’s concentration on studies and original work in one of five areas of landscape architecture: design theory, landscape ecology, landscape history, urban design, and landscape planning. These areas are broad enough to include many particular research problems for master’s projects and professional practice. While these concentration areas are naturally related, each involves a different set of skills and understanding developed through departmental courses and focused elective course work outside the department. The five concentration areas are those in which faculty members, due to their academic training and professional and research experience, are best equipped for collaboration with graduate students.

Concentration Areas

Design Theory

The transformation and enhancement of outdoor environments to more beautiful, expressive, and supportive places involves developing creative artistry, applying an understanding of places and their evolutionary possibilities, and thinking clearly with sensitivity to peoples’ needs and values. This concentration is intensive in design criticism and in theories of design process, ideas, and content.

Landscape Ecology

This rapidly evolving discipline focuses on how landscape pattern, process, and change interact to create land mosaics that maintain the rich diversity of life and the foundations for human well-being. Understanding key links between spatial and temporal patterns and flows of organisms, materials, energy, and information at a variety of scales is the basis for maintaining or restoring landscapes that embody ecological integrity and cultural vitality.

Landscape History

This dimension of landscape architecture seeks to understand every landscape as a unique place in time and content. It combines an understanding of how landscapes have evolved as cultural and vernacular environments as well as how they have evolved as deliberate expressions of social norms and cultural aesthetics through history and among cultures. These understandings are applied to theories of design and planning as well as to the preservation of culturally rich landscapes.

Landscape Planning

Analyzing large landscapes and directing their management and land-use patterns to meet social and environmental ends requires an understanding of land tenure, use traditions and institutions, and knowledge of the science and values inherent in regional natural resources and human activities. For this analysis, computer geographic information systems are used to synthesize information and generate landscape plans. Examples include river management, wetlands preservation, public forest plans, urban growth management, scenic resource management, and regional ecological enhancement.

Urban Design

Many projects undertaken by the profession entail study of the form and function of cities at many scales to design and integrate systems of transportation, recreation, infrastructure, nature conservation, and buildings. These projects often involve articulation of multiple goals for city evolution and sustainability, data analysis and conceptual mapping of city forms and districts, intensive public-participation processes, and the design of solutions on a variety of scales, from whole city regions to parks and plazas.

Postprofessional Master's Curriculum

Planning and Design
LA 594Land Planning and Design6
Landscape Analysis and Planning
Choose one of the following, or a course approved by advisor: 14
Analyzing Landscape Systems
Computers in Landscape Architecture
Introduction to Landscape Planning Analysis
Principles of Applied Ecology
History, Literature, and Theory
Choose one of the following, or a course approved by advisor: 14
Architectural Contexts: Place and Culture
Human Context of Design
Spatial Composition
Landscape Perception
Seminar: [Topic] (Theory)
Introduction to Landscape Architecture Theory
Concentration Area
Advisor-approved courses in one area of concentration from list above20
Research Methods and Master's Project 1,2
LA 601Research: [Topic]2
LA 620–621Landscape Research Methods I-II4
LA 699Master's Project 316
or LA 503 Thesis
Total Credits56
1

Courses used to satisfy Analysis, Research, and Theory requirements above may not be used to satisfy Concentration Area requirements.

2

Before enrolling in Master's Project (LA 699), the student must obtain department approval of a project proposal and recruit a chair from among landscape architecture faculty members. Near the completion of the project, the student presents the results of the project to faculty members and students and gains final approval of the project’s documentation from the faculty committee.

3

Completed during the second year.

Admission

Online applications to the first professional or postprofessional master’s programs should contain the following:

  1. Completed application form and fee
  2. Three letters of recommendation from people able to assess the applicant’s strengths and potential contributions
  3. Personal statement describing pertinent background information, interests, goals, and aspirations
  4. Portfolio of creative work or other work indicative of relevant abilities
  5. Writing sample such as a research paper or a technical report
  6. Transcripts of previous college work

The deadline is January 15. Late applications may be considered. Applications from all disciplines are welcome. Students whose first language is not English must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores of at least 577 on the paper-based test, 233 on the computer-based test, or 90 on the Internet-based test. General university regulations governing graduate admission are in the Graduate School section of this catalog.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The doctoral program in landscape architecture offers advanced study with a focus on ecological landscape planning and design, which encompasses a range of spatial scales and cultural contexts. An ecological approach focuses on how landscape pattern, process, and change interact to create land mosaics that maintain the diversity of life and the foundations for human well-being. The doctoral program is designed to engage these issues through spirited analysis, critique, and prescription of landscapes in Oregon, the United States, and the world.

Because the profession is broad and diverse, the landscape architecture PhD pursues robust development of academic, analytical, creative, and integrative capabilities that can continue to grow throughout subsequent careers. Accordingly, the program emphasizes the following:

  • Advanced expertise and understanding in a focused topic
  • The ability to form integrative conceptual models of landscape issues, problems, and solutions
  • The ability to critically analyze deficiencies in knowledge about the field and identify needs for new, original knowledge
  • The ability to form and investigate operationally bounded questions
  • The ability to independently design and execute a complete, intensive research project
  • The ability to completely document a research project with high-quality writing and illustrations

The integrative nature of landscape design as a science and an art entails development of innovative models and methods for design, education, and research. The program offers students the opportunity to develop skills as innovative educators by working with faculty members as teaching assistants, and to teach courses under faculty guidance. The close and supportive relationships among scholarship, teaching, professional growth, and artistic achievement foster excellence in design education, research, and practice. Scholars follow many routes, and the program provides substantial flexibility to tailor students’ programs to individual needs.

Course of Study

Completion of the program requires demonstrated excellence through original contributions to the field. Indicators of a doctoral student’s achievements are successful completion of the oral and written comprehensive exams and successful completion and defense of a dissertation that substantially advances knowledge in a chosen area of expertise.

Through a series of four required courses in landscape architecture literature, theory, and research, PhD students learn how to conduct both qualitative and quantitative studies of landscapes and the processes that shape them. After completing these core courses, advanced studies in methodology, tailored to suit career intentions, are required. Advanced methodological preparation in quantitative research occurs through statistical and spatial analysis as well as case-study analysis, design criticism, content analysis, historical interpretation, and environment-behavior observation.

The program prepares students to understand and apply appropriate methods of inquiry, and to deepen their understanding of the nature and role of rigorous scholarly inquiry in landscape architecture. Course requirements are designed to provide both depth and breadth of knowledge in landscape architecture, and to draw on the frameworks and methodologies of related disciplines that support the student’s dissertation research.

Length of Program and Steps to Completion

A PhD in landscape architecture requires a minimum of three years of full-time graduate work, including one year of residency. Depending on background and research goals, students can expect to complete the degree in three to six years, with a norm of four to five years.

The student’s program of study depends substantially on his or her prior degrees.

Degree Held Credits to Expect to Complete for PhD
MLA or MArch 68
BLA or BArch only 80
Master's degree without professional environmental-design degree 86

Classes for the doctoral degree include design-studio experience and subject-area courses to provide a foundation in landscape architecture sufficient to support a student’s goals, research, and advanced course work.

At the completion of course work, normally the end of the second year, each student submits a written comprehensive exam, followed by an oral comprehensive exam. The examination committee will consist of three faculty members, two from landscape architecture and one from an outside department or program, who will prepare and administer the written and oral comprehensive exams. Once students have passed both comprehensive exams, they will be advanced to candidacy. Each student must submit the dissertation proposal within three terms of the exams. A student then forms a dissertation committee consisting of four members, with a minimum of two from landscape architecture and at least one from another field related to the student’s area of research. The dissertation committee must approve the student’s written dissertation proposal following a scheduled, public proposal presentation before the student undertakes the dissertation.

Some credit requirements may be waived or satisfied through transfer credits which must not have previously been applied to any graduate or undergraduate degree. No more than 15 credits may be transferred. Successful completion of the doctoral program is a matter of proven excellence through substantial, original contributions to the field and not the accumulation of a specific number of credits.

Requirements

A student’s program of study is developed with the major professor and a second doctoral advisor.

PhD Required Courses, Work

Theory, Research, Investigation 1
LA 620–621Landscape Research Methods I-II8
LA 695Research Proposal Development2
LA 601Research: [Topic]6
Doctoral colloquium2
Outside analytic-synthetic courses 24-12
Electives 3
Advanced Electives: 500-level and above landscape architecture courses in design theory, history, criticism, preservation, planning, and ecology 412
Supporting Courses: courses typically taken outside of landscape architecture 412
Dissertation
Dissertation course18
Total Credits68
1

A student entering with a master’s degree but without a professional environmental-design degree should expect to take a minimum of 18 additional credits in landscape architecture.

2

A student may be required to take more than 4 credits in analytic-synthetic courses in other departments.

3

A student entering the program with a BLA or BArch but no master’s degree takes an additional 12 credits of electives.

4

Selected in consultation with major professor

Admission

Students must either have previously completed a professional degree in landscape architecture or architecture (e.g., BLA, MLA, BArch, MArch) or hold a master’s degree (e.g., MA, MS) from a related field, and show clear evidence of academic experience and goals aligned with landscape architecture. A commitment to research along with a demonstrated record of research achievement are important criteria. Applications to the program must include the following items:

  1. A personal statement assessing the applicant’s background, strengths, interests, and aspirations in the field of landscape architecture. This should include why one wishes to come to the University of Oregon for doctoral work, and a description of a proposed area of concentration, course of study, and a prospective major professor
  2. A portfolio of creative and scholarly work including at least one writing example showing evidence of critical thinking in a research context
  3. Three letters of recommendation, including two from academic sources
  4. Official transcripts from all universities or colleges attended
  5. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  6. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores (575 paper or 233 computer, minimum) for all nonnative speakers

Applications mailed to the department office for entry fall term are due in early February. General university regulations governing graduate admission are in the Graduate School section of this catalog.

Courses

Course usage information

LA 196. Field Studies: [Topic]. 1-5 Credits.

Repeatable twice for a maximum of 6 credits.

Course usage information

LA 199. Special Studies: [Topic]. 1-5 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 227. Introduction to Landscape Architecture. 2 Credits.

Exploring the background and scope of the profession: its history, ethics, goals, skills, topics, achievements, and evolving challenges in making healthy, functional, and beautiful places.

Course usage information

LA 260. Understanding Landscapes. 4 Credits.

Perception, description, and explanation of landscapes as environmental sets, as biophysical processes, and as cultural values.

Course usage information

LA 289. Landscape Architectural Design. 6 Credits.

Study of places, their use, and how they evolve. Fundamentals of environmental awareness, social factors, and small-scale site design; abstract design and elementary graphic techniques. Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 326. Plants: Fall. 4 Credits.

Characteristics, identification, and design uses of deciduous trees, shrubs, vines, and ground covers. Emphasis on identification and appropriate use in landscape design.

Course usage information

LA 327. Plants: Winter. 4 Credits.

Characteristics, identification, and design uses of ornamental conifers and broad-leaved evergreen trees, shrubs, and ground covers.
Prereq: LA 326.

Course usage information

LA 328. Plants: Spring. 4 Credits.

Characteristics, identification, and design uses of flowering trees, shrubs, vines, and ground covers; emphasis on synthesis of fall, winter, and spring.
Prereq: LA 327.

Course usage information

LA 333. Photography and Environmental Values. 4 Credits.

Explores major movements in landscape photography through the lens of cultural perceptions and policies about landscape and environment.

Course usage information

LA 337. Landscape Field Work: [Topic]. 1-4 Credits.

Repeatable. Direct examination and appraisal of the function, form, content, and composition of example landscapes in relation to ecological, cultural, legal, technical, aesthetic, and economic objectives.

Course usage information

LA 350. Landscape Media. 2-4 Credits.

Development of freehand drawing and visualization skills; exercises on line, tone, texture, and color for plan, section, and perspective drawings. Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 352. Digital Landscape Media. 2-4 Credits.

Introductory survey and skill development in a range of basic computer graphic tools used in landscape architecture. Includes image processing, computer drawing, modeling, and drafting. Repeatable once for maximum of 8 credits.
Prereq: LA 350.

Course usage information

LA 362. Landscape Technologies I. 4 Credits.

Develops understanding of contours, contour manipulation, and site engineering methodologies in the design of places; fundamentals of inclusive design, stormwater management, earthwork, and design development.

Course usage information

LA 366. Landscape Technologies II. 4 Credits.

Consideration of aesthetic and engineering properties of materials and processes of landscape construction; communication of design intent through documentation including sources and costs.
Prereq: LA 362.

Course usage information

LA 375. Contemporary American Landscape. 4 Credits.

Evolution of the contemporary American land-scape as an expression of American culture.

Course usage information

LA 390. Urban Farm. 2-4 Credits.

Experimentation with food production in the city; rebuilding urban soils; farm animal-plant relationships; nutrient cycles. Cooperative food production and distribution; use of appropriate technologies. Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 399. Special Studies: [Topic]. 1-5 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 401. Research: [Topic]. 1-21 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 405. Reading and Conference: [Topic]. 1-21 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 406. Special Problems: [Topic]. 1-21 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 407. Seminar: [Topic]. 1-5 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 408. Workshop: [Topic]. 1-21 Credits.

Repeatable. Concentrated programs of study on special topics. Regular offerings include Fire Ecology and Management, Landscape Design.

Course usage information

LA 409. Practicum: [Topic]. 1-21 Credits.

Supervised field laboratory work; clinical or in-service educational experience. Planned programs of activities and study with assured provisions for adequate supervision. Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 410. Experimental Course: [Topic]. 5 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 413. Analyzing Landscape Systems. 4 Credits.

Develops skills for collecting data and understanding how landscapes function in space and time to inform good decision-making in planning and design.
Prereq: one course in geography or biology or environmental studies.

Course usage information

LA 415. Computers in Landscape Architecture. 4 Credits.

Repeatable. Development, application, and evaluation of computer systems for land use and site planning (e.g., geographic information systems); encoding of data, cell storage, and analysis systems.

Course usage information

LA 417. Computer-Aided Landscape Design. 2-4 Credits.

Understanding and use of computer-aided drafting and design technology for executing landscape design development, evaluation, and presentation tasks.

Course usage information

LA 421. Landscape Photography and Environmental Perception. 4 Credits.

The influence of changing photographic landscape representations upon the perception of places and communities in relation to ideas about natural, cultural, and environmental values.

Course usage information

LA 423. Drawing The Landscape. 4 Credits.

Exploration of the varied ways to represent and understand the form, cultural meaning, social content, history, natural dynamics, regional context, spiritual intentions, and technical functions of urban and rural landscapes.

Course usage information

LA 433. Japanese Garden. 4 Credits.

Explores the art, form, meaning, and experience of Japanese gardens. Special emphasis on their heartland in the valley of Nara and Kyoto.

Course usage information

LA 439. Landscape Architectural Design and Process. 6 Credits.

Intermediate problems in landscape architecture design. Relations among problem concepts, goals, design theory, communication media, and technical analysis. Repeatable four times for a total of 30 credits.
Prereq: LA 289.

Course usage information

LA 440. Introduction to Landscape Planning Analysis. 4 Credits.

Principles of designing land- and waterscapes for human use and settlement. Ecological, social, and economic analyses of landscapes, resources, and patterns of occupancy in the Eugene-Springfield area.
Prereq: LA 413.

Course usage information

LA 441. Principles of Applied Ecology. 2-6 Credits.

Application of ecological concepts to landscape design, planning, and management. Emphasis on spatially explicit problem-solving over a range of spatial and temporal scales.
Prereq: one course in ecology.

Course usage information

LA 443. Land and Landscape. 4 Credits.

Theories and concepts in landscape planning and design. The valuing emphasis alternates every other year between environmental ethics and environmental aesthetics. Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 450. Advanced Landscape Media. 4 Credits.

The role of media in design inquiry; development of hard-line drawing skills, diagramming, and principles of graphic design. Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 459. Landscape Technology Topics. 2-4 Credits.

Intensive study of topics in landscape construction and maintenance. Topics include irrigation, lighting, special structures, water management, and road design. Repeatable thrice for maximum of 10 credits.

Course usage information

LA 465. Landscape Ecology. 4 Credits.

Links concepts and applications of landscape ecology through extensive field experiences that develop a deep understanding of a specific landscape or a set of issues.
Prereq: LA 441.

Course usage information

LA 484. Landscape Perception. 4 Credits.

Development of the human-environment relationship as it relates to landscape perception, landscape archetypes, and the development of a theoretical base for contemporary landscape design.

Course usage information

LA 489. Site Planning and Design. 6 Credits.

Advanced problems in landscape architecture, cultural determinants of site planning and design, design development and natural systems and processes as indicators of carrying capacity. Repeatable.
Prereq: LA 362, LA 366, LA 439.

Course usage information

LA 490. Comprehensive Project Preparation. 3 Credits.

Finding, describing, programming, and probing environmental opportunities and problems.

Course usage information

LA 494. Land Planning and Design. 6 Credits.

Problems in landscape architecture of increased cultural complexity. Land use planning, computer-aided ecological analysis of land, environmental impact, urban and new community design.
Prereq: LA 489; fifth-year standing for undergraduates.

Course usage information

LA 499. Comprehensive Project. 8 Credits.

Advanced planning and design projects in landscape architecture. Studio development of individually selected projects.
Prereq: LA 490.

Course usage information

LA 503. Thesis. 1-16 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 507. Seminar: [Topic]. 1-5 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 508. Workshop: [Topic]. 1-21 Credits.

Repeatable. Concentrated programs of study on special topics. Regular offerings include Fire Ecology and Management, Landscape Design.

Course usage information

LA 510. Experimental Course: [Topic]. 5 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 513. Analyzing Landscape Systems. 4 Credits.

Develops skills for collecting data and understanding how landscapes function in space and time to inform good decision-making in planning and design.

Course usage information

LA 515. Computers in Landscape Architecture. 4 Credits.

Development, application, and evaluation of computer systems for land use and site planning (e.g., geographic information systems); encoding of data, cell storage, and analysis systems. Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 517. Computer-Aided Landscape Design. 2-4 Credits.

Understanding and use of computer-aided drafting and design technology for executing landscape design development, evaluation, and presentation tasks.

Course usage information

LA 521. Landscape Photography and Environmental Perception. 4 Credits.

The influence of changing photographic landscape representations upon the perception of places and communities in relation to ideas about natural, cultural, and environmental values.

Course usage information

LA 523. Drawing The Landscape. 4 Credits.

Exploration of the varied ways to represent and understand the form, cultural meaning, social content, history, natural dynamics, regional context, spiritual intentions, and technical functions of urban and rural landscapes.

Course usage information

LA 533. Japanese Garden. 4 Credits.

Explores the art, form, meaning, and experience of Japanese gardens. Special emphasis on their heartland in the valley of Nara and Kyoto.

Course usage information

LA 539. Landscape Architectural Design and Process. 6 Credits.

Intermediate problems in landscape architecture design. Relations among problem concepts, goals, design theory, communication media, and technical analysis. Repeatable four times for a total of 30 credits.

Course usage information

LA 540. Introduction to Landscape Planning Analysis. 4 Credits.

Principles of designing land- and waterscapes for human use and settlement. Ecological, social, and economic analyses of landscapes, resources, and patterns of occupancy in the Eugene-Springfield area.
Prereq: LA 513.

Course usage information

LA 541. Principles of Applied Ecology. 2-6 Credits.

Application of ecological concepts to landscape design, planning, and management. Emphasis on spatially explicit problem-solving over a range of spatial and temporal scales.
Prereq: one course in the natural sciences.

Course usage information

LA 543. Land and Landscape. 4 Credits.

Theories and concepts in landscape planning and design. The valuing emphasis alternates every other year between environmental ethics and environmental aesthetics. Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 550. Advanced Landscape Media. 4 Credits.

The role of media in design inquiry; development of hard-line drawing skills, diagramming, and principles of graphic design. Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 559. Landscape Technology Topics. 2-4 Credits.

Intensive study of topics in landscape construction and maintenance. Topics include irrigation, lighting, special structures, water management, and road design. Repeatable thrice for maximum of 10 credits.

Course usage information

LA 565. Landscape Ecology. 4 Credits.

Links concepts and applications of landscape ecology through extensive field experiences that develop a deep understanding of a specific landscape or a set of issues.
Prereq: LA 4/541.

Course usage information

LA 584. Landscape Perception. 4 Credits.

Development of the human-environment relationship as it relates to landscape perception, landscape archetypes, and the development of a theoretical base for contemporary landscape design.

Course usage information

LA 589. Site Planning and Design. 6 Credits.

Advanced problems in landscape architecture, cultural determinants of site planning and design, design development and natural systems and processes as indicators of carrying capacity. Repeatable.
Prereq: LA 539.

Course usage information

LA 594. Land Planning and Design. 6 Credits.

Problems in landscape architecture of increased cultural complexity. Land-use planning, computer-aided ecological analysis of land, environmental impact, urban and new community design.
Prereq: LA 489/589.

Course usage information

LA 601. Research: [Topic]. 1-16 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 602. Supervised College Teaching. 2-5 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 603. Dissertation. 1-16 Credits.

Course usage information

LA 605. Reading and Conference: [Topic]. 1-16 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 606. Special Problems: [Topic]. 1-16 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 607. Seminar: [Topic]. 1-5 Credits.

Repeatable. A recent topic is Introduction to Landscape Literature.

Course usage information

LA 608. Workshop: [Topic]. 1-16 Credits.

Repeatable. Intensive study combining practical projects with instruction on special topics related to landscape problems.

Course usage information

LA 609. Practicum: [Topic]. 1-16 Credits.

Repeatable. Supervised field laboratory work; clinical or in-service educational experience. Planned programs of activities and study with assured provisions for adequate supervision.

Course usage information

LA 610. Experimental Course: [Topic]. 1-5 Credits.

Repeatable.

Course usage information

LA 617. Introduction to Landscape Architecture Theory. 4 Credits.

Survey and critique of the theoretical frameworks for landscape architecture.

Course usage information

LA 620. Landscape Research Methods I. 2-4 Credits.

Contemporary research issues and strategies. Theories, approaches, and techniques applicable to topics and problems in landscape architecture. Sequence with LA 621.

Course usage information

LA 621. Landscape Research Methods II. 2-4 Credits.

Contemporary research issues and strategies. Theories, approaches, and techniques applicable to topics and problems in landscape architecture. Sequence with LA 620.
Prereq: LA 620.

Course usage information

LA 695. Research Proposal Development. 2 Credits.

Preparation and presentation of the student's terminal research and design project proposal and plan for completion of the master's degree in landscape architecture.
Prereq: LA 621.

Course usage information

LA 699. Master's Project. 2-10 Credits.

Student-directed and executed performance and communication of original research or project work to demonstrate advanced mastery of landscape architecture. Repeatable.