Programs

Master of Landscape Architecture

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Tab 1 Group

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

 

LAAB Accreditation
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

 

PUBLIC INFORMATION POLICY

Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) accredited programs are required to provide reliable information to the public.  Programs must report on accreditation status and its performance. This information is to help potential students make informed application decisions.

 

ACCREDITATION

The three- and two-year programs in landscape architecture are accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board.  For more information on LAAB, see:

https://www.asla.org/AccreditationLAAB.aspx

 

 

RETENTION AND GRADUATION RATES

 

A highly desirable faculty: student ratio plays a central role in our high retention rates. Faculty members continually support and monitor student performance to ensure timely graduation.

 

 

MASTER OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE, 3 YEAR CURRICULUM:

38 of 43 students entering in the past four years earned their degree within 3 years

 

  • 1 student continued for a fourth year to earn the degree.
  • 43 students total have entered the program in the past 4 years; 4 of them subsequently left for personal reasons

 

MASTER OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE, 2 YEAR CURRICULUM:

37 of 40 students entering in the past four years earned their degree within 2 years 

 

  • 40 students total have entered the program in the past 4 years; all of them have graduated or are currently working toward a timely graduation (3 students continued for a third year to earn the degree)

 

 

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

USC requires students to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 to earn a graduate degree. The average grade point average (GPA) of Master of Landscape Architecture students is 3.51 (on a 4.0 grade point system).

 

EMPLOYMENT STATUS

Close to 75% of recent graduates find employment in landscape architecture within 6 months of graduating.

 

 

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Admission with No Previous Professional Education (+3)

Individuals who have completed a four-year Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree, or its equivalent, with no prior degree in landscape architecture, architecture or environmental design, are eligible for admis­sion to the program. Preference for admission is given to those who have completed a bal­anced undergraduate education that includes study in the arts, sciences and humanities. Applicants must document successful completion of a college-level course in the natural sciences. Preparation in the visual arts is strongly encouraged. A minimum of a one-semester, college-level course in the visual arts, such as drawing, sculpture, graphics and/ or basic design, is required before beginning the first semester of study. Courses in the humanities, ecology, history of art, landscape architecture and architecture are strongly encouraged, although not required. Please see the 96-Unit Curriculum +3.

 

 

Admission with Advanced Placement (+2)

Applicants who have completed a non- accredited, pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture, landscape architecture or environmental design may be granted advanced placement of one or two semesters, subject to the review of the admission committee. Applicants granted advanced placement may be able to waive certain course requirements for the MLA program by demonstrating equivalencies in any of the required courses. The program director and faculty in charge of the specific curriculum areas will determine the studio and professional course requirements for each MLA student admitted with advanced placement. The following courses are prerequisites to be completed prior to matriculation or, on specific notice, in the first year of the program: history of landscape architecture (ARCH 565 or equivalent), landscape architecture construction (ARCH 534, ARCH 535 or equivalent), plant materials (ARCH 537, ARCH 538 or equivalent), media (ARCH 548 or equivalent). Please see 64-Unit Curriculum +2.

 

Admission with a First Professional Degree in Landscape Architecture: Advanced Standing (+1.5)

Students who hold an accredited Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree or the equivalent may be granted advanced standing in a post-professional 48-unit, three-semester sequence of studies.

 

Retention and Graduation Rates

Approximately 24 students are enrolled each year, primarily in the first professional degree curricula, with 1-4 in the post-professional degree program.  The student retention and on-time graduate rate is 96%.

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Following is the program curriculum for the 2014-2015 Academic Year.  For previous years, please consult the online USC Catalogue archive.

 

The USC Catalogue is the document of authority for all students. The program requirements listed in the USC Catalogue supersede any information which may be contained in any bulletin of any school or department. The university reserves the right to change its policies, rules, regulations, requirements for graduation, course offerings and any other contents of this catalogue at any time.

 

96-Unit Sample Curriculum +3

Students admitted with no previous professional education must complete 96 units, including 68 units of specified courses, 18 units of electives of which a minimum of 14 must be from the School of Architecture, and 10 units of Thesis Option I or II. Electives must be part of a curricular plan approved by the program director.

 

Year One, Semester One

Units

ARCH 537L

Urban Plant Ecology: Environmental Perspectives

4

ARCH 539L

Media for Landscape Architecture

2

ARCH 541aL

Landscape Architecture Design

6

ARCH 565

Global History of Landscape Architecture

3

 

 

Total Units: 15

 

Year One, Semester Two

Units

ARCH 534

Landscape Construction: Topographic Design

3

ARCH 538L

Urban Plant Ecology: Cultural Perspectives

4

ARCH 541bL

Landscape Architecture Design

6

ARCH 548

Media for Landscape Architecture: 3D Design

3

Electives

 

1

 

 

Total Units: 17

 

Year Two, Semester One

Units

ARCH 531

The Natural Landscape

3

ARCH 535

Landscape Construction: Performance Approaches

3

ARCH 542aL

Landscape Architecture Design

6

ARCH 543

Research Methods

1

ARCH 544

Urban Landscape: Process and Place

3

 

 

Total Units: 16

 

Year Two, Semester Two

Units

ARCH 542bL

Landscape Architecture Design

6

ARCH 545

Urban Landscape: Contemporary History and Prospect

3

ARCH 635

Landscape Construction: Assembly and Documentation

3

Electives

 

4

 

 

Total Units: 16

 

Year Three, Semester One

Units

ARCH 530

Landscape Architecture Practice

3

ARCH 642L

Landscape Architecture Design

6

ARCH 697aL

ARCH 698aL

M.L.Arch Thesis Option II, or

M.L.Arch Thesis Option I

2

Electives

 

5

 

 

Total Units: 16

 

Year Three, Semester Two

Units

ARCH 697bL

ARCH 698bL

M.L.Arch Thesis Option II, or

M.L.Arch Thesis Option I

8

Electives

 

8

 

 

Total Units: 16

 

64-Unit Curriculum +2 (For Advanced Placement students admitted with pre-professional design degrees)

Advanced placement students must complete 64 units, including 37 units of specified courses, 17 units of electives of which a minimum of 12 must be from the School of Architecture, and 10 units of Thesis Option I or II. Electives must be part of a curricular plan approved by the program director.

 

 

Year One, Semester One

Units

ARCH 542aL

Landscape Architecture Design

6

ARCH 543

Research Methods

1

ARCH 544

Urban Landscape: Process and Place

3

ARCH 565

Global History of Landscape Architecture

3

Electives

 

3

 

 

Total Units: 16

 

Year One, Semester Two

Units

ARCH 542bL

Landscape Architecture Design

6

ARCH 545

Urban Landscape: Contemporary History and Prospect

3

ARCH 548

Media for Landscape Architecture: 3D Design

3

Electives

 

4

 

 

Total Units: 16

 

Year Two, Semester One

Units

ARCH 530

Landscape Architecture Practice

3

ARCH 531

The Natural Landscape

3

ARCH 642L

Landscape Architecture Design

6

ARCH 697aL

M.L.Arch Thesis Option II, or

 

ARCH 698aL

M.L.Arch Thesis Option I

2

Electives

 

2

 

 

Total Units: 16

 

Year Two, Semester Two

Units

ARCH 697bL

M.L.Arch Thesis Option II, or

 

ARCH 698bL

M.L.Arch Thesis Option I

8

Electives

 

8

 

 

Total Units: 16

 

48-Unit Sample Curriculum +1.5 (for Advanced Standing students admitted with a first professional degree in Landscape Architecture)

 

Advanced standing students must complete 48 units, including 19 units of specified courses, 19 units of electives of which a minimum of 12 must be from the School of Architecture, and 10 units of Thesis Option I or II. Electives must be part of a curricular plan approved by the program director.

 

 

Year One, Semester One

Units

ARCH 542aL

Landscape Architecture Design

6

ARCH 543

Research Methods

1

ARCH 544

Urban Landscape: Process and Place

3

Electives

 

6

 

 

Total Units: 16

 

Year One, Semester Two

Units

ARCH 542bL

Landscape Architecture Design

6

ARCH 545

Urban Landscape: Contemporary History and Prospect

3

ARCH 697aL

M.L.Arch Thesis Option II, or

 

ARCH 698aL

M.L.Arch Thesis Option I

2

Electives

 

5

 

 

Total Units: 16

 

Year Two, Semester One

Units

ARCH 697bL

M.L.Arch Thesis Option II, or

 

ARCH 698bL

M.L.Arch Thesis Option I

8

Electives

 

8

 

 

Total Units: 16

 

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Description
Requirements
Curriculum
Faculty