Of the several environmental design professions, landscape architecture is the one most concerned with the wise use of the outdoor environment. It attempts to fit human outdoor activities into the natural or the built environment so that those activities function efficiently, have high visual quality and will have minimal impact on natural systems. Together with planners, architects, and civil engineers, landscape architects plan and design the myriad of elements that make up our cities and towns.The profession of landscape architecture in this country began with the work of Frederick Law Olmsted. Active in his profession from the mid-1850s to the mid-1890s, Olmsted was involved with the full range of effort implied above. Today, because our society is more complex, many landscape architects tend to focus on one or more aspects of the profession such as: urban, rural, small scale, large scale, design, planning, construction supervision, or combinations thereof. A tremendous diversity of effort is required in the profession.
The landscape architecture program focuses on visual, physical, ecological, cultural, and design issues encountered in the urbanizing landscape. Its primary objective is to educate and train professionals who are prepared to engage future design problems and advance the state of the art. A diverse and internationally recognized faculty is much involved in educational, research, and professional activities in landscape planning, design, and computer applications.
The fundamental concern of landscape architecture is the wise use of land and natural resources. As the public becomes increasingly aware of and sophisticated about environmental issues, opportunities for professional landscape architects can be expected to increase rapidly. Landscape architects serve as mediators between developers and a site to ensure that development does not unduly disrupt natural systems, fi ts within the cultural context, and is aesthetically pleasing. They design and plan parks, residential communities, university campuses, corporate headquarters, and open space networks. The landscape architect’s planning and design decisions are of critical significance to both the immediate and long-term future.
In addition to the UMass Amherst’s general education requirements, the landscape architecture core curriculum consists of five interrelated areas or sequences. The graphic communications sequence introduces students to the tools and techniques necessary to communicate design ideas. An elective in computer applications in design is also available. The design studio sequence consists of twelve studios that run through the second, third, and fourth years and are the core of the landscape architecture program. Students learn the principles, methods, processes, and techniques of landscape architecture design.
The natural and cultural factors sequence includes courses intended to acquaint students with the natural and cultural processes that have shaped the landscape from past to present. The history sequence provides students with an understanding of the historic forces that have shaped the man-made environment and the role that landscape architects have played. Lastly, the courses in the skills sequence teach students the skills and knowledge required to implement landscape architectural projects. Included are courses in graphics, construction materials, site engineering, professional practice, writing in landscape architecture, and computers in environmental design.
No minor is available in landscape architecture.
Students may pursue honors opportunities within the major. Contact the honors coordinator for more information.
The public concern for the natural environment and for high quality built environments has increased professional employment opportunities in landscape architecture. Currently landscape architecture is among the fastest growing design careers in the nation. Graduates work at a range of scales and interests, and are employed in private practice, in public agencies, and in academic practice. The types of work include park and recreation planning and design; regional planning and management projects; resort development and golf course design; urban design (streetscapes, urban development); coastal facilities (development and protection); historic preservation; land reclamation; design-build enterprises; land trusts and environmental organizations.
Study Abroad and Internships
Opportunities exist in the program for study abroad. In the fall semester of the senior year, students may go to Copenhagen to study in Denmark’s International Study Program. The program deals with both architecture and landscape architecture, and the city provides an exciting context for urban studies. Other opportunities for exchange exist in England and Germany.
In addition, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences encourages students to acquire practical experience—as much as possible—related to their majors. Internships, or participating in Community Service Learning options can only help students prepare for employment or graduate study. Be sure to work closely with your advisor.
109 Hills North
Undergraduate Academic Advisor: Ethan Carr, 104 Hills North