Landscape Architecture

http://landarch.uoregon.edu

Roxi Thoren, Department Head
541-346-3641
210 Lawrence Hall
archinfo@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 deeply attentive to how places serve human needs and support sustainable and resilient 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 to local natural and socioeconomic 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 society, the past, the future and ourselves. The program combines professional understanding and skills with a liberal-arts education.

As a profession, landscape architecture includes design at many scales, including ecologically based planning activities, transformation of urban and rural landscapes, service to disadvantaged communities, and design of beautiful and functional parks and gardens. As an academic discipline, it provides opportunities 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 pressing contemporary problems through detailed development of land and sites.

Computers in the Curriculum

Digital tools are necessary for landscape architects. The department requires all students to have unlimited access to their own personal computer. Because of the professional application of complex graphic programs and large data files for most course work, the department’s computer requirements exceed the average user’s computing needs. See the College of Design's Student Computer Purchasing Guide for recommended specifications and departmental requirements.

Faculty

Jacques Abelman, assistant professor (social justice, landscape infrastructure, food systems). BA, 1996, Amherst College; MA, 2002, University of the Arts, London; MLA, 2014, Amsterdam Academy of Architecture; reg. landscape architect, Netherlands. (2016)

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; reg. landscape architect, Oregon. (2010)

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

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

Michael Geffel, visiting professor (design processes, design experiments, construction techniques). BS, 2006, Oregon; MLA, 2013, Virginia. (2017)

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 (climate change adaptation, ecological restoration, urban ecosystems). 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)

Yekang Ko, assistant professor (urban sustainability, energy landscapes, climate-responsive design). BS, 2005, Korea; PhD, 2012, California, Berkeley (2016)

Jun Hak Lee, instructor (geographic information systems, data visualization). BS, 1999, MS, 2001, Korea; PhD, 2010, California, Berkeley. (2016)

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

Robert G. Ribe, professor (landscape planning and analysis, visual resource management, landscape economics). BS, 1977, California, Riverside; MSLA, 1981, MA, 1987, PhD, 1990, Wisconsin; Fellow, American Society of Landscape Architects. (1988)

Kory Russel, assistant professor (water, container-based sanitation, informal settlements). BS, 2003, MES, 2005, Taylor; MS, 2012, Stanford. (2016)

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)

Kenneth I. Helphand, professor emeritus. BA, 1968, Brandeis; MLA, 1972, Harvard; Fellow, American Society of Landscape Architects. (1974)

Robert Z. Melnick, professor emeritus. BA, 1970, Bard; MLA, 1975, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Fellow, American Society of Landscape Architects. (1982)

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 socially 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 design and planning, BLA students are encouraged to pursue opportunities to collaborate on design and planning 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, social justice, 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:

  • Design and planning
  • Subjects
  • Electives

Design and Planning

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 analyze and 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. The department allocates substantial 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 eight studios in this subject area.

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.

Six subject areas provide essential foundations for the design and planning program: landscape architecture technology and professional practice; plant materials; landscape analysis and planning; history and theory of landscape architecture; media; and landscape media and technologies workshops. Required course work in history, literature, and theory and in media and technologies includes choices that allow each student to tailor an individual 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 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.

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

First YearCredits
No studio courses are required of first-year, nontransfer students in the major  
Second Year
LA 289Landscape Architectural Design (two studios) 112
Third Year
LA 439Landscape Architectural Design and Process (three studios) 118
Fourth Year
LA 489Site Planning and Design (three studios) 218
Fifth Year
LA 490Comprehensive Project Preparation 3
LA 494Land Planning and Design 6
LA 499Comprehensive Project 8
 Total Credits: 65

Subject Courses and Other Electives

Landscape Architectural Technology and Practice8
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 1
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:
Seminar: [Topic] (Landscape Design Theory)
Experimental Course: [Topic] (Design Theory)
Experimental Course: [Topic] (Design Theory)
Spatial Composition
Landscape Architectural Media6
Landscape Media
Digital Landscape Media
Media and Landscape Technology Workshops6
Workshop: [Topic] (Architecture Media)
Workshop: [Topic] (Media)
Experimental Course: [Topic] (Advanced Computer-Aided Design)
Experimental Course: [Topic] (Oregon BILDS [Building Integrated Livable Designs Sustainably])
Computers in Landscape Architecture
Media for Design Development: [Topic]
Advanced Landscape Media
Landscape Technology Topics
Other Electives 243
Total Credits103

Minor in Landscape Architecture

To earn a minor in landscape architecture, students file an application form with the department in consultation with the program director. Once admitted, students remain in contact with the director for personalized advising.

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. To declare the minor, complete the following:

  1. Obtain the Undergraduate Minor Application Form from the School of Architecture and Environment office, 210 Lawrence Hall. The application includes a curriculum worksheet with the requirements in effect at the date of acceptance.
  2. Meet with the program director to discover when courses are offered, which topics courses or seminars will be offered to fulfill minor requirements, and to develop a curricular plan.
  3. Return the completed and signed form to the department office.

Minor Requirements (26 credits)

LA 260Understanding Landscapes4
LA 413Analyzing Landscape Systems4
One subject area course in plants from list below4
One subject area course in history and theory from list below4
Elective courses 110
Total Credits26

Subject Areas

Plants
LA 326Plants: Fall4
LA 327Plants: Winter4
LA 328Spring Plants4
LA 337Landscape Field Work: [Topic] (any plants topic)1-4
LA 390Urban Farm2-4
History and Theory
LA 199Special Studies: [Topic] (Design for a Sustainable World)4
LA 407Seminar: [Topic] (Landscape Architecture Theory)4
LA 474History of Landscape Architecture I4
Elective Courses
Any landscape architecture (LA) courses; Urban Farm (LA 390) may be repeated if taken during different terms
Studio Options 1

Five-Year Degree Plan

The degree plan shown is only a sample of how students may complete their degrees in five years. There are alternative ways. Students should consult their advisor to determine the best path for them.

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture

Degree Map
First Year
FallMilestonesCredits
WR 121 College Composition I Must pass with a C– or better4
General-education course in arts and letters 4
General-education course in social science 4
General-education course in science 4
 Credits 16
Winter
WR 122
College Composition II
or College Composition III
Must pass with a C– or better4
General-education course in social science 4
General-education course in science 4
Multicultural course May count as a group-satisfying course4
 Credits 16
Spring
General-education course in arts and letters 4
General-education course in social science 4
General-education course in science 4
Multicultural course May count as a group-satisfying course4
 Credits 16
 Total Credits 48
Degree Map
Second Year
FallMilestonesCredits
LA 260 Understanding Landscapes 4
LA 326 Plants: Fall Meet with advisor to discuss academic goals4
Elective course with an LA subject code or general-education course 4
Elective course with an LA subject code 4
 Credits 16
Winter
LA 289 Landscape Architectural Design 6
LA 327 Plants: Winter 4
LA 350 Landscape Media 2-4
LA 408 Workshop: [Topic] 2
 Credits 14-16
Spring
LA 289 Landscape Architectural Design 6
LA 352 Digital Landscape Media 2-4
Elective course with an LA subject code or general-education course Complete UO core education requirements4
Elective course with an LA subject code 4
 Credits 16-18
 Total Credits 46-50
Degree Map
Third Year
FallMilestonesCredits
LA 413 Analyzing Landscape Systems Meet with advisor to discuss academic goals4
LA 439 Landscape Architectural Design and Process Consider study abroad or field school for the following summer6
Landscape theory elective course 4
Elective course with an LA subject code or general-education course Complete basic ecology or natural systems course prerequisite prior to taking LA 441 in the fourth year 4
 Credits 18
Winter
LA 417 Computer-Aided Landscape Design 2
LA 439 Landscape Architectural Design and Process Meet with College of Design Student Services to discuss résumé and portfolio design and career planning6
Elective course with an LA subject code 4
LA 474 History of Landscape Architecture I 4
 Credits 16
Spring
LA 366 Landscape Technologies II 4
LA 408 Workshop: [Topic] 2
LA 439 Landscape Architectural Design and Process 6
Second history of landscape architecture course 4
 Credits 16
 Total Credits 50
Degree Map
Fourth Year
FallMilestonesCredits
LA 441 Principles of Applied Ecology 4
LA 489 Site Planning and Design Meet with advisor to discuss academic goals6
Elective course with an LA subject code 4
Technology workshop 2
 Credits 16
Winter
LA 408 Workshop: [Topic] 2
LA 415 Computers in Landscape Architecture 4
LA 489 Site Planning and Design Apply for summer internships6
Elective course with an LA subject code 4
 Credits 16
Spring
LA 440 Introduction to Landscape Planning Analysis 4
LA 489 Site Planning and Design Meet with advisor to discuss career plans6
Elective course with an LA subject code 4
 Credits 14
 Total Credits 46
Degree Map
Fifth Year
FallMilestonesCredits
LA 490 Comprehensive Project Preparation Apply to graduate school or begin looking for work to begin after graduation3
LA 494 Land Planning and Design Meet with advisor to make a graduation plan6
Elective courses with an LA subject code 6
 Credits 15
Winter
LA 462 Professional Practice of Landscape Architecture 2
LA 499 Comprehensive Project 8
Elective course with an LA subject code Need total of 43 credits in landscape architecture electives to graduate4
 Credits 14
 Total Credits 29

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

Design and Planning

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 analyze and 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. The department allocates substantial faculty resources to project-oriented instruction and has a long history of 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 eight studios in this subject area.

Subject Courses

Six subject areas provide essential foundations for the planning and design program: landscape architecture technology and professional practice; plant materials; landscape analysis and planning; history and theory of landscape architecture; media; and landscape media and technologies workshops. Required course work in history, literature, and theory and in media and technologies includes choices that allow each student to tailor an individual educational program with the help of an advisor.

Research and Master’s Project

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 during 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.

Area of Concentration

Students take elective 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.

The area of concentration courses represent a focused inquiry in advanced topics that master’s students undertake while forming and developing their master’s projects. When students begin the MLA program, they should consult their departmental advisor to begin planning their area of concentration course work and receive approval for course selection. At the time when a student is assigned a master’s project advisor, responsibility for course approval shifts to this person. At any time students may consult with other members of departmental faculty they feel could help them craft their area of concentration. To be approved, an area of concentration must be graduate-level (a 500 or 600 course number) and must be demonstrably related to the student's master's project topic and supportive of the project’s development.  See an advisor for more information.

First Professional Master's Curriculum

Planning and Design
LA 539Landscape Architectural Design and Process6
LA 589Site Planning and Design (three studios) 118
LA 594Land Planning and Design (three studios) 118
Introductory course in graduate design6
Subject Courses
Technology and Practice
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
LA 574History of Landscape Architecture I4
LA 607Seminar: [Topic] (Landscape Architecture Literature)2
An approved landscape theory course chosen from the following:4
Seminar: [Topic] (Design Theory)
Seminar: [Topic] (Design Theory)
Spatial Composition
Introduction to Landscape Architecture Theory
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] (Media or Technology)
Media for Design Development: [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 Project 116
or LA 503 Thesis
Area of Concentration Electives
Four courses approved by advisor16
Total Credits140

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 who are accepted into the program may spend an additional one to three terms, 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 employees 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.

Required coursework includes one design and planning studio, one course in landscape analysis and planning, one course in history, literature, and theory, Landscape Research Methods I (LA 620) and Landscape Research Methods II (LA 621), and mentored research with a faculty member. In addition, students must complete five courses (20 credits) in an area of concentration. The master's project or thesis and its prerequisite master's research course sequence must also be completed for a minimum of 22 credits.

A central aspect of the postprofessional MLA program is the student’s concentration on studies and original work in a focused area of landscape architecture such as 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 described below are those in which faculty members, due to their academic training and professional and research experience, are best equipped for collaboration with graduate students.

Research and Master’s Project

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 second year for postprofessional master's candidates during 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.

Area of Concentration

The area of concentration courses represent a focused inquiry in advanced topics that master’s students undertake while forming and developing their master’s projects. When students begin the MLA program, they should consult their departmental advisor to begin planning their area of concentration course work and receive approval for course selection. At the time when a student is assigned a master’s project advisor, responsibility for course approval shifts to this person. At any time students may consult with other members of departmental faculty they feel could help them craft their area of concentration. To be approved, an area of concentration must be graduate-level (a 500 or 600 course number) and must be demonstrably related to the student's master's project topic and supportive of the project’s development.  See an advisor for more information.

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 and Theory
Choose one of the following, or a course approved by advisor: 14
Spatial Composition
History of Landscape Architecture I
Seminar: [Topic] (Theory)
Introduction to Landscape Architecture Theory
Area of Concentration
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

Admission

Prospective applicants to the MLA degree programs may find information about the program and application requirements on the department website.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The doctoral program in landscape architecture offers opportunities for advanced study and scholarship in ecological landscape planning, sustainable urban design, and design history and theory. Landscape planning is primarily concerned with assessing large landscapes and directing their policy, management, and land-use patterns to meet social and environmental ends, while design typically addresses smaller areas in greater detail.

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 in the field and identify needs for new, original contributions
  • The ability to form and investigate operationally bounded questions
  • The ability to independently design and execute a complete, intensive research project
  • The ability to fully 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

Courses 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 601Research: [Topic]6
LA 605Reading and Conference: [Topic]6
LA 617Introduction to Landscape Architecture Theory4
LA 620–621Landscape Research Methods I-II8
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 48-12
Supporting Courses: courses typically taken outside of landscape architecture 412
Dissertation
LA 603Dissertation16
Total Credits70

Admission

Prospective applicants to the landscape architecture doctoral program may find information about the program and application requirements on the department website.

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. Spring Plants. 4 Credits.

Focuses on flowering plants, their identification, design use, and ecosystem services they provide. Plant identification focuses on flowering trees and shrubs, groundcovers and perennials, with the intention of understanding how flowering plants may be used in design to support both human needs and ecosystem functions.

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.

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. Repeatable twice for maximum of 12 credits.

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]. 1-5 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 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 429. Civic Agriculture. 4 Credits.

Exploring the impact and subsequent reversal of industrialized food systems through community driven production, distribution and equity methods, foodshed resiliency creation and ecologically literate agriculture practice.

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 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 462. Professional Practice of Landscape Architecture. 2 Credits.

Introduces students to key aspects of professional practice, fundamental professional skills, and professional career planning. Includes licensure, legal aspects of landscape architecture, career options, business management, and project management.

Course usage information

LA 472. Landscape Architectural Theory: [Topic]. 4 Credits.

This course examines theories and the role of theory in landscape architecture. Each offering explores landscape theory through a different lens, including the analysis and design of landscapes, the creation of built works, and the discussion and critique of projects.

Course usage information

LA 474. History of Landscape Architecture I. 4 Credits.

First in a sequence covering the history of landscape architecture. Explores the history and theory of the designed landscape from the beginnings of human settlement to the 19th century.

Course usage information

LA 475. History of Landscape Architecture II. 4 Credits.

The second in a sequence of two classes covering the history of landscape architecture, from the 19th century to the late 20th century.
Prereq: LA 474.

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]. 1-5 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 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 529. Civic Agriculture. 4 Credits.

Exploring the impact and subsequent reversal of industrialized food systems through community driven production, distribution and equity methods, foodshed resiliency creation and ecologically literate agriculture practice.

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 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 562. Professional Practice of Landscape Archtecture. 2 Credits.

Introduces students to key aspects of professional practice, fundamental professional skills, and professional career planning. Includes licensure, legal aspects of landscape architecture, career options, business management, and project management.

Course usage information

LA 572. Landscape Architectural Theory: [Topic]. 4 Credits.

This course examines theories and the role of theory in landscape architecture. Each offering explores landscape theory through a different lens, including the analysis and design of landscapes, the creation of built works, and the discussion and critique of projects.

Course usage information

LA 574. History of Landscape Architecture I. 4 Credits.

First in a sequence covering the history of landscape architecture. Explores the history and theory of the designed landscape from the beginnings of human settlement to the 19th century.

Course usage information

LA 575. History of Landscape Architecture II. 4 Credits.

The second in a sequence of two classes covering the history of landscape architecture, from the 19th century to the late 20th century.

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 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.