UMass SealUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst - 2007/08 Guide to Undergraduate Programs
[ Home ][ Undergraduate Admissions, Expenses, & Financial Aid ][ Academic Information ][ Schools & Colleges ]
[ Departments & Programs ][ Other Academic Opportunities & Services ][ General Information ][ Site Index ]
Department & Program Listings
[ Departments & Programs A-D ]
[ Departments & Programs E-L ]
[ Departments & Programs M-R ]
[ Departments & Programs S-Z ]
[ Departments & Programs - Show All ]

Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning

Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning | Courses | Faculty

109 Hills North

Head of Department: Professor Brabec. Professors Ahern, Lindhult, Volpe; Associate Professors Bischoff, Hamin, McGirr, Pader, Ryan; Assistant Professors Renski, Sleegers; Lecturers Davidsohn, Hamin, Kumble, Taylor, Thurber; Adjunct/ Associate Faculty Bloniarz, Brennan, Collura, Denig, Dodson, Feiden, Finn, Fisette, Garber, Graham, Heim, Hellmund, Karson, Kotval, Loomis, Lyon, Moriarty-Lempke, Platt, Richardson, Rosenberg, Schweik, Seewald, Shuldiner, Sinton, Taupier, Thompson, Warnick, Washburn.

The department offers an Associate of Science degree (two-year) in Landscape Contracting. This program is provided through the Stockbridge School, which is a unit of the College of Natural Resources and the Environment. Details about Stockbridge programs may be found at the end of the information about the college.

Information about departmental programs is available on the Website:

Environmental Design

109 Hills North

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Contact: Patricia McGirr
Office: 102 Hills North
Phone: (413) 545-6621

The Field

As population density increases and natural resources are depleted and squandered, decisions affecting the sustainability and aesthetics of the land and other natural resources assume increased importance. Both the public and the private sectors must be involved if the challenge of balancing development pressures with environmental protection interests is to be realized. Traditionally, opportunities for specific professional involvement have been found in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, and regional planning. Additional professional opportunities are available in the fields of horticulture, environmental law, real estate development, and many other disciplines that share an environmental concern. For professionals in related fields such as law, education, community development or finance, the sound theoretical understanding of environmental issues gained through the environmental design program contributes and informs design and planning decision-making processes and values.

The Major

The Environmental Design program provides a sound theoretical understanding of both environmental and human issues as a foundation of knowledge for a wide range of design and planning fields.

There is a demand, locally and globally, for concerned and knowledgeable individuals to enter the environmental design professions, and to oversee and direct the building of beautiful and sustainable places in which to work and live. People from a wide range of design and planning fields—architects and landscape architects, lawyers, horticulturists, educators, private citizens on town zoning boards—are involved in this decision-making process to humanize cities, protect farm land, and conserve significant landscape resources.

Through the four concentration options, the program provides historical, theoretical, and professional perspectives in the liberal arts and science fields, emphasizing environmental issues. This training enables graduates of the program to make informed and effective planning and design decisions that can have a lasting impact on the built and natural environments.

Computer Requirement
All students are required to have a laptop computer, equal or greater to the specifications provided by the department. The department will also provide a list of required software (including version).

The Curriculum

The Environmental Design curriculum consists of a series of core courses that are required of all Environmental Design students, as well as a group of concentration courses specific to each of the four areas of study available within the Environmental Design program. Through a series of core courses, students gain an understanding of the factors and processes needed to identify and evaluate solutions to environmental design and planning problems. Environmental Design core courses include topics in landscape architecture history, city planning, and ecological design and planning. The major requires 17 classes, eight core courses, and nine concentration courses.

Areas of Concentration

This component of the curriculum provides the opportunity for students to engage in studies that support an area of interest related to the core environmental design curriculum.

These include the following studies: horticultural, landscape, urban, and built environment.

Students who choose to concentrate in Horticultural Studies learn how to apply sound ecological and scientific principles in conserving nature and adding beauty through the use of plants. This concentration combines the scientific knowledge of horticulture with the theoretical and practical aspects of landscape design, technology, and business management.

In the Landscape Studies concentration, students study landscape planning policy and conservation. Acting within a framework of sociological and ecological principles, landscape designers and planners seek ways to conserve or revitalize the contextual landscapes of existing communities.

The Urban Studies concentration explores the evolving forms of cities and towns and the issues of their residents. The urban planner develops alternative methods of achieving community goals, anticipating developmental impacts, and planning for a sustainable future.

The Built Environment concentration has a pre-architecture studies focus. Students pursue their interest in the relationship between the environment and built forms.

The Minor

The Minor in Environmental Design is intended for those students from related majors who share a concern for understanding the nature of environmental decision making. It is structured to expose students to the historical, theoretical, and professional aspects of the field. The minor requires that five courses be completed from the core curriculum.


Landscape Architecture

109 Hills North

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Contact: Jane Thurber
Office: 403 Hills North
Phone: (413) 545-1109

The Field

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. Mr. Olmsted, who was active in his profession from the mid 1850s to the mid 1890s, was involved with the full range of effort implied above. Today, because our civilization 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 Major

The Bachelor of Science Program in Landscape Architecture 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.
Our fundamental concern 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, fits 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.

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 New Zealand. A study tour course is offered each spring focusing on a nine-day intensive tour of one or more cities in Europe. Recent trips have visited and studied Holland, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Germany.

Students who enroll in the program as freshmen can earn a B.S. degree in Landscape Architecture in four years. In addition to the University’s General Education requirements, the landscape architecture core curriculum consists of five interrelated areas or sequences as follows:

Design Studio Sequence
The twelve studios that run through the second, third, and fourth years are the core of the landscape architecture program. Students learn the principles, methods, processes, and techniques of landscape architecture design. Each studio provides progressively more complex problems with studios divided into two seven-week segments. Each segment has a different instructor to ensure a diverse range of project types, scales, and points of view.

Natural and Cultural Factors Sequence
Five courses include: introduction to environmental design, dynamics of human habitations, city planning, and landscape pattern and process. They are intended to acquaint students with the natural and cultural processes that have shaped the landscape from past to present.

History Sequence
Two courses provide students with an understanding of the historic forces that have shaped the man-made environment and the role that landscape architects have played.

Skills Sequence
The six courses in this sequence teach students the skills and knowledge required to implement landscape architectural projects. Included are courses in graphics, construction materials, site engineering, and professional practice, writing in Landscape Architecture, and computers in Environmental Design.

Computer Requirement
All students are required to have a laptop computer, equal or greater to the specifications provided by the department. The department will also provide a list of required software (including version).

Career Opportunities

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.

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 (developments and protection)
Historic preservation
Land reclamation
Design-build enterprises
Land trusts and environmental organizations

As implied above, landscape architects work at a range of scales and interests. They are employed in private practice, in public agencies and in academic practice.

Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning | Courses | Faculty