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Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree

The School of Landscape Architecture BFA program focuses on the development of flexible design processes for landscape and urban design, an understanding of ecological systems, sustainable practices and use of materials, site planning, and advanced drafting and rendering techniques. By graduation, each student will have a portfolio that reflects his or her unique creative vision within this rapidly expanding and evolving profession.

BFA Landscape Architecture Unit Requirements

Core 36 Units
Major 42 Units
Art Electives 9 units
Liberal Arts 45 units
TOTAL 132 units

BFA Landscape Architecture Degree Requirements

  • 3 Written Communications courses
  • 2 History of Landscape Architecture courses
  • 1 Math for Environmental Design course
  • 1 Applied Math course
  • 1 Landscape Social Factors course
  • 1 Historical Awareness course
  • 1 Cultural Ideas & Influences course
  • 1 Employment Communications & Practices course

And:

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Minimum grade of C- in all core courses, major courses, and the following Liberal Arts courses:
    • LA 108 Composition for the Artist
    • LA/LAN 115 The Natural World 1
    • LA/LAN 117 Survey of Landscape Architecture
    • LA/LAN 177 Pre-Industrial Urban Open Spaces
    • LA 255 College Math
    • LA 271 College Algebra with Geometry
    • LA/LAN 277 Post Industrial Urban Open Spaces
    • LA/LAN 297 Landscape Social Factors

    Additional Information

BFA Program Learning Outcomes

Undergraduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

DESIGN SOLUTIONS

  • Design beautiful and functional outdoor environments of all scales that respond to specific user/client needs and programmatic requirements.
  • Produce defensible design solutions that reflect knowledge of the cultural, historical, ecological and climatic factors of a given site.

RESEARCH AND DESIGN PROCESS

  • Conduct a thorough observation and analysis and/or a post-occupancy evaluation of a site in order to determine how people use space.
  • Work effectively with the natural forms, processes and elements of an indigenous landscape during the entire design process.
  • Apply the basic principles and elements of design to landscape architecture design solutions.
  • Explore sufficient concepts and alternative solutions as part of the design process.

NATURAL SYSTEMS

  • Identify the indigenous components and processes found on any site (soil types, individual plant species, plant communities, wildlife, climatic conditions, and hydrology) and determine the resultant design opportunities and constraints.
  • Effectively use trees, shrubs, grasses, annuals, perennials and bulbs in their planting designs in order to provide year-round seasonal beauty and function.

TECHNICAL SYSTEMS AND MATERIALS

  • Design technically accurate and ecologically sensitive grading and drainage plans and irrigation systems.
  • Select materials that will enhance the aesthetic and ecological qualities of a given site as well as provide for the programmatic requirements of the client and/or user group.
  • Estimate cost of materials and installation.
  • Develop innovative construction details that solve complex structural, functional, aesthetic/environmental issues.

HISTORICAL PRECEDENT

  • Demonstrate sufficient knowledge of historical precedents, including cultural and geographic forces that have shaped major historical gardens, public parks and urban open spaces in their design projects.

BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION CODES

  • Recognize the design opportunities and limitations of building and construction codes.

GRAPHIC/VISUAL COMMUNICATION

  • Visually communicate their ideas and solutions (perspectives, axonometrics, plans sections and elevations).
  • Successfully use a range of visual media to communicate their ideas and solutions (freehand and computer drawing, drafting, three dimensional models, rendered presentation illustratives).

VERBAL PRESENTATION SKILLS

  • Successfully communicate design proposals and key objectives of their projects.
  • Articulate rationale for design decisions throughout the design process.

PROFESSIONAL READINESS

  • Produce a professional portfolio demonstrating their skills and design process.
  • Collaborate effectively with other members of a project team.

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Associate of Arts (AA) Degree

AA Landscape Architecture Unit Requirements

Core 33 units
Major 15 units
Liberal Arts 18 units
TOTAL 66 units

AA Landscape Architecture Degree Requirements

  • 2 Written Communication courses
  • 2 History of Landscape Architecture courses
  • 1 Math for Environmental Design course
  • 1 Applied Math course
  • 1 Employment Communications & Practices course

And:

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Minimum grade of C- in all core courses, major courses, and LA 108 Composition for the Artist

Additional Information

AA Program Learning Outcomes

Undergraduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Research and Design Process

  • Apply the basic principles and elements of design to landscape architecture design solutions.
  • Explore sufficient concepts and alternative solutions as part of the design process.

Natural Systems

  • Identify the indigenous components and processes found on any site (soil types, individual plant species, plant communities, wildlife, climatic conditions, and hydrology) and determine the resultant design opportunities and constraints.
  • Effectively use trees, shrubs, grasses, annuals, perennials and bulbs in their planting designs in order to provide year-round seasonal beauty and function.

Technical Systems and Materials

  • Design technically accurate and ecologically sensitive grading and drainage plans and irrigation systems.

Historical Precedent

  • Demonstrate sufficient knowledge of historical precedents, including cultural and geographic forces that have shaped major historical gardens, public parks and urban open spaces in their design projects.

Graphic/Visual Communication

  • Visually communicate their ideas and solutions (perspectives, axonometrics, plans sections and elevations).
  • Successfully use a range of visual media to communicate their ideas and solutions (freehand and computer drawing, drafting, three dimensional models, rendered presentation illustratives).

Verbal Presentation Skills

  • Successfully communicate design proposals and key objectives of their projects.

Professional Readiness

  • Produce basic materials required for an entry-level job search

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Classes

Not ready for a degree program? Explore our course catalog and take classes based around your interests and schedule online or in our world-class facilities in San Francisco.

Undergraduate Degree Breakdowns

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Rooted in practical skills and professional knowledge, the BFA degree provides students with a disciplined approach to the study of Landscape Architecture. The general education program (Liberal Arts) supports major coursework by promoting the breadth of knowledge, critical thinking and communications skills necessary to analyze issues from multiple perspectives. Student portfolios will demonstrate the variety of skills and creativity developed. Graduates enter the field prepared for professional opportunities in Landscape Architecture.

Associate of Arts (AA)

The Associate of Arts degree provides students with an introduction to a particular field of study in art and design with a firm foundation in the concepts and problem-solving skills of that field. Once earned, the Associate’s degree can also be used as a stepping stone to the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The Academy of Art University Associate of Arts degree is specifically designed for seamless transition into the Academy of Art University Bachelor of Arts degree and to apply for entry level positions in the industry.

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