Master of Landscape Architecture
Designing the Urban Ecological Future
Landscape architecture plays an essential role in connecting justice to environmental design and the ecological infrastructures of the urban realm. The mission of the Master of Landscape Architecture Program at the Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York, is to prepare students to be leaders in the field of landscape architecture through innovative research and practice in urban ecological design, planning, and policymaking. The program aims to reimagine and rethink the profession’s current and future challenges through the lens of social, environmental, and multi-species justice, including rapid urbanization, resource extraction and management, the interface of nature and technology, ongoing species extinctions, and the climate emergency. The curriculum engages critical thinking about complex and indeterminate systems, empowering students to implement actionable change across multiple scales of the urban landscape.
Landscape architecture is a discipline that physically transforms the surface of the earth — it literally changes the world and the world’s systemic flows. As designers and thinkers, we work with biotic and abiotic networks of human and non-human actors. Our discipline also has the capacity to radically rethink and transform social networks, and we are especially well-poised to respond to the climate emergency with both mitigation and adaptation strategies. Our program attracts activist students who seek to rethink accepted paradigms and implement actionable change in the public realm and the quality of public space in terms of equity, accessibility, and justice: climate justice, social justice, environmental justice, and multispecies justice. Transforming the profession begins in the academy. Our landscape architecture program is committed to challenging the entrenched biases and historical canons of landscape architecture that have too long been accepted as the norm, and we support the clarity and resonance of our students’ diverse voices in the field.
Graduate programs at the Spitzer School of Architecture share a transdisciplinary design-research environment of vertical studio laboratories. First-year MLA students enroll in a foundation year of coursework addressing design thinking across nature and culture while building digital, technical, ecological, and critical-thinking skills. Second-year and third-year MLA students enroll in advanced landscape architecture studio laboratories and one co-required course each semester in which students and professors work synthetically across disciplines for a two-semester engagement with exploratory research and projective design. These advanced studio labs and coordinated coursework incorporate design research, advanced digital representation, and history/theory to address “wicked problems” in landscape architecture through extended design thinking. Upper-level students take two additional courses each semester that engage with technical, ecological, and professional practice topics. Read about this year’s studio topics here.
Applicants from all undergraduate backgrounds are welcome in the three-year the Master of Landscape Architecture program.
The Master of Landscape Architecture Program at the City College of New York’s Bernard & Anne Spitzer School of Architecture is fully accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board. Click here for full accreditation details and other public information.
Total program credits: 90. Per-semester courseload: 15 credits.
Fall Term 1
LAAR 61100: Landscape Architecture Studio I
LAAR 61400: Digital and Traditional Drawing
LAAR 61500: Introduction to Ecology/Plant Identification
LAAR 61300: Landscape Technology I
Spring Term 2
LAAR 62100: Landscape Architecture Studio II
LAAR 62200: Introduction to Landscape Architecture History
LAAR 62700: Urban Ecology
LAAR 62300: Landscape Technology II
Fall Term 3
LAAR 63100: Landscape Architecture Studio III
LAAR 66200: Advanced Visual Representation
LAAR 63300: Environmental Planning
LAAR 65160: Urban Plants
Spring Term 4
LAAR 64100: Landscape Architecture Studio IV
LAAR 00000: History Elective
LAAR 64400: Planting Design
LAAR 00000: Urbanism Elective
Fall Term 5
LAAR 65100: Landscape Architecture Studio V
LAAR 64150: Design Research
LAAR 64700: Landscape Restoration
LAAR 65300: Professional Practice
Spring Term 6
LAAR 66100: Landscape Architecture Studio VI
LAAR 00000: History Elective