Landscape Architecture M.L.A. (Ithaca)
Field of Study
Contact InformationWebsite: https://cals.cornell.edu/landscape-architecture
Phone: 607 255-9552
440 Kennedy Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Concentrations by Subject
- landscape architecture
Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.
Application Requirements and Deadlines
Fall, Jan. 8
All applicants are required to submit two recommendations and a design portfolio. Applicants to two-year program should hold a bachelor's degree in architecture or landscape architecture from a recognized institution. Applicants with a bachelor's degree in an area other than architecture or landscape architecture should apply to the three-year program. A field brochure is available upon request from the graduate field office.
- all Graduate School Requirements, including the English Language Proficiency Requirement for all applicants
The professional curriculum of the department provides instruction in the discipline and practice of Landscape Architecture with emphasis on creative solutions to environmental problems that are responsive to cultural values and natural processes specific to a site. Cornell’s approach to Landscape Architectural graduate education integrates studio-based work and with real site-based design projects. It promotes students’ skills of critical investigation through site assessment, related design appropriateness and ultimate site suitability. This approach to education is consistent with the department’s mission, creating inventive learning opportunities that foster independent inquiry. The focus on the cultural landscape as a basis for the curriculum highlights interactions between people and the environment, utilizing diverse methodologies and means of representation.
Graduate students must acquire and display a strong facility in Landscape Architectural design at a variety of scales from residential to regional design with a focus on urban clusters and distinctive populations within upstate New York. Their designs must emerge from a critical understanding of design tradition and theory, a synthesis of scientific methods and artistry, as well as an intimate understanding of and responsiveness to social, historical, cultural, and environmental concerns. The curriculum provides a framework that can both forge and adapt to contemporary developments and innovation in the field of Landscape Architecture and society at large.
The MLA program thrives at Cornell because the resources and traditions of the University support students in exploring a wide variety of subjects that inform well-designed landscapes in their cultural and natural contexts. The college’s, as well as the department’s, current mission emphasizes the interdisciplinary study of ecological and cultural processes, historically as well as in contemporary design. Doing so within the professional practice of Landscape Architecture requires the development of design skills (field observation, critical thinking, speculation, form-making processes), the mastery of tools through which design is represented (drawing, visualization, writing), developed through clients and communities (presentations, negotiations, communication skills) and then constructed projects (technology). Research in the field as well within libraries and archives is promoted for professional practice as well as for those preparing for an academic career. The department seeks to teach a design process that leads to the discovery of knowledge through inventive responses to sites selected for their capacity to test theory through practice.
A graduate of the master’s program in the Department of Landscape Architecture is expected to demonstrate the skills and knowledge that would allow the individual to successfully embrace a variety of professional opportunities including but not limited to: professional practice, research, public/government work, teaching, planning, community design and engagement, and others. Acquiring proficiency in these skills and knowledge includes:
Generating landscape designs at a variety of scales that address the complex cultural and natural systems at work on a site.
Developing basic graphic skills, both hand-drawing and computer applications, that are required of the contemporary landscape graduate at entry-level, minimally, but that position students to be immediately effective in communicating innovative designs;
Demonstrating knowledge of plant materials, including plant identification and the understanding of the physical and cultural characteristics of plants that determine their usefulness in the landscape;
Gaining insight into the professional skills and the roles of the Landscape Architect in practice, as well as the problems and/or opportunities encountered in real world situations;
Mastering the requisite technical skills (engineering and construction) necessary for the professional Landscape Architect;
Engaging scientific processes, such as landscape ecology, to a level that enables the student to work effectively with scientists and to translate their findings into design and communication with clients and other constituencies.
Advancing socially and environmentally responsible design by understanding that shaping the physical form of a community requires learning the social and cultural dynamics that foster sustainable landscape change.