Introduction to Landscape Architecture

discipline

Landscape Architecture encompasses the design, analysis, planning, management, and stewardship of sustainable environments. Landscape architects design across a wide spectrum of projects: parks and gardens, community design, urban design and planning, green infrastructure, and regional planning, as well as at the scale of watersheds and natural systems. The work of the profession is grounded in the natural and social sciences, draws inspiration from nature and the arts, and is implemented through innovative design, site engineering, construction, land management, and environmental technologies. The Landscape Architecture Program guides students as they address some of the most important challenges of our time: climate change; healthy living and empathetic design; urbanization; re-imagining water, food, energy and transportation; green infrastructure; remediation of spoiled and disturbed sites; and preserving critical natural resources. We believe the work of the profession, at the critical intersection of natural and cultural systems, will be the most consequential of the design arts in the 21st century.

overview of the program

The core of the academic program is a rigorous sequence of design studios that allows students to explore a broad range of landscape architectural issues, contexts, and project types. Design studios are accompanied by discussion, lecture, and experiential coursework that provides systematic and comprehensive coverage of the emerging body of knowledge related to technology, design theory, landscape ecology, and human/environment interaction. Off-campus are available for undergraduate and graduate students.

The Landscape Architecture Program at Virginia Tech has an established international reputation as one of North America’s leading and highly-ranked programs. Housed in the School of Architecture + Design, the program offers fully accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as PhD studies focused in landscape architecture. Non-degree students from other universities are invited to study with us for one or two semesters. VT students can also pursue a Minor in Landscape Architecture.

In 2015, the VT Landscape Architecture Program celebrated its 40th anniversary. Graduates are working in private, public and academic practices. VT LAR alumni are influencing the design, planning and management of the built environment around the globe. The Landscape Architecture degree programs are known for their strong studio core, integrated theory and technical coursework, and community engagement. Each degree program culminates with a student-directed research project. Our graduates are well-prepared for a wide-range of professional and academic practice options.

four degree programs

The Landscape Architecture program offers four degree programs to meet the diverse needs of prospective students:

  • Five-year first professional Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA)
  • Three-year first professional Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)
  • One and two-year advanced Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)
  • PhD in Architecture and Design Research

Our undergraduate and graduate first professional degree programs are fully accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board and enable students to develop the capabilities required to enter private or public practice. The advanced MLA and PhD programs are designed for individuals who already hold professional design credentials and wish to conduct in-depth research within a specific sub-area of the discipline. Often, students entering the PhD program wish to pursue an academic career.

why study at Virginia tech?

The Landscape Architecture Program is in the School of Architecture + Design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. The College offers degree programs in Architecture, Building Construction, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Public Policy, Urban Affairs, Urban and Regional Planning, Art, and Art History. Most of these programs are ranked among the best nationally or internationally. The School and College offer outstanding support facilities for their studio-based design curricula.

The program prepares graduates to meet the challenges of a dynamic and complex field; equipping them with the multitude of skills and knowledge essential to success in the profession.

  • Both the bachelor and master degree programs in landscape architecture have ranked consistently among the top programs in the nation. (Design Intelligence and BestColleges.org)
  • VT LAR students are consistently sought after by regional and national firms for internships and full-time employment.
  • Emphasis on integrating the art and science of design with STEM-based scientific methodologies.
  • Community engagement on real world projects and problems.
  • The 4th year studio alternative includes education abroad, internships, international academic exchange programs, and specialized domestic study.
  • Student autonomy is strongly encouraged throughout the curriculum, culminating in the fifth-year independent Senior Project and the applied Graduate Thesis.
  • Students are encouraged to take courses across the university. Many undergraduates have taken minors in Planning, Environmental Science, Horticulture, Geography, Green Engineering, Languages, and History. Graduate students can obtain dual degrees in either Natural Resources (MNR) or Urban and Regional Planning (MURP).
  • Opportunities for undergraduate research with faculty and students across disciplines.
  • Strong relationship with the profession – alumni, practitioners and American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).
  • 100% of Virginia Tech landscape architecture students believe they are well prepared for their profession upon graduation. (2015 Design Intelligence Survey)

We welcome you to join us.