USC offers an international laboratory for the study of place in an extraordinary natural landscape, at the center of an unparalleled multicultural region, within the context of a great urban university. Thus, the study of landscape architecture at USC has a particular focus on urban place-making in relation to three principles.
First, the programs are intended for students who already have earned a first degree or the equivalent in landscape architecture or architecture, as well as students entering design studies after obtaining a degree in another field. The emphasis is on truly advanced study based on the knowledge and skills to engage complex issues and to undertake ambitious explorations. Graduates are prepared for leadership opportunities in professional practice as well as in higher education.
A second emphasis is on urban landscapes, and on the responsibility of design professions to create the qualities and meanings of our urban futures and to make critical contributions to the reclamation of degraded natural systems and places.
Third, place-making is a collaborative responsibility that requires leadership from professionals across the entire domain of planning and design. This requires seamless relationships between programs, students and faculty engaged in architecture, landscape architecture, preservation, building science and planning studies.
Thesis or Directed Research Option
In addition to the opportunity to initiate an independent written thesis, students are provided the option to undertake independent design research on important urban issues and projects already in progress within the School of Architecture. Whichever option is taken, students are supported in their work by a three-member faculty advisory team including a principal critic.
MLA Thesis & Design Research Studies
Accreditation is a non-governmental, voluntary system of self-regulation. Its core is the concept of self-evaluation. The Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) accreditation process evaluates each program on the basis of its stated objectives and compliance to externally mandated minimum standards. The program conducts a self-study to evaluate how well it is meeting its educational goals. LAAB then provides an independent assessment, which determines if a program meets accreditation requirements. Programs leading to first professional degrees at the bachelor’s or master’s levels in the United States are eligible to apply for accreditation from LAAB.
The USC Master of Landscape Architecture first professional curricula (3-year and 2-year curricula) are accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB). The LAAB Conditions of Accreditation (including the Student Performance Criteria) are posted on the ASLA website:
LAAB Accreditation Standards Procedures
USC MLA Accreditation 2011