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Master of Arts (MA) Degree

MA Landscape Architecture Unit Requirements
Major 36 units
TOTAL 36 units

MA Landscape Architecture Degree Requirements

  • Successful completion of Final Portfolio Review
  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA
  • Minimum grade of C in all required 36 units

Additional Information


MA Program Learning Outcomes

Graduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Design Solutions

  • Demonstrate basic command of the key principles, systems, and elements of design that inform two- and three- dimensional design and composition
  • Produce defensible design and planning solutions that reflect an awareness of the historical, ecological and climatic factors of a given site
  • Creatively solve design problems

Research and Design Process

  • Conduct sufficient research and analyze findings at appropriate junctures in the design process
  • Explore sufficient concepts and alternatives, and test them against relevant criteria and standards

Natural Systems

  • Identify and evaluate key features and processes found on a site (such as soil types, individual plant species, plant communities, wildlife, climatic conditions, and hydrology) to determine design opportunities and constraints

Human and Social Factors

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the complexities that exist between human behavior and outdoor space in design proposals

Technical Systems and Materials

  • Apply the principles of sustainability to design technically accurate and ecologically sensitive grading and drainage plans and irrigation systems
  • Select and evaluate materials that will both enhance the aesthetic and ecological qualities of a given site and provide for the programmatic requirements of the client and/or user group

History, Theory, and Criticism

  • Demonstrate an awareness of fundamental design traditions, ideas, and influences in design proposals

Visual and Verbal Communication

  • Consolidate research and present ideas in a concise and convincing verbal presentation
  • Select appropriate representational media, including computer graphics and freehand drawing, to express essential information throughout the design process

Professional Readiness

  • Produce a professional portfolio demonstrating their skills and design process

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.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree

The MFA program provides advanced study for students pursuing a career in Landscape Architecture.

Track I is available to students who have already obtained an undergraduate professional degree, such as a BLA or BArch. Coursework emphasizes theories of open urban spaces, collaborative and interdisciplinary methods of design and implementation, sustainability, and advanced digital rendering techniques.

Track II is available to students with a BA or BS degree, who have limited or no experience with art and design. Coursework focuses on establishing the fundamentals of drafting, site engineering, planting design, ecological systems, site analysis and site design, and regional planning and analysis.

MFA Landscape Architecture Unit Requirements

Track I

Major 33 units
Directed Study 12 units
Graduate Liberal Arts 9 units
Electives* 9 units
TOTAL 63 units
Track II
Major 57 units
Directed Study 12 units
Graduate Liberal Arts 9 units
Electives* 9 units
TOTAL 87 units
*Per director approval

MFA Landscape Architecture Degree Requirements

  • Successful completion of Final Thesis Project
  • Minimum grade of C in all required 63 units or 87 units
  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and the following Academic Study requirement:
    1 Art Historical Awareness & Aesthetic Sensitivity course
    1 Cross Cultural Understanding course

Additional Information


MFA Program Learning Outcomes

Graduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

MFA Thesis Project

  • Present an original thesis concept worthy of the MFA degree
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of the thesis project
  • Produce an comprehensive project that contributes to the design community, demonstrating advanced landscape architecture and design skills

Design Solutions

  • Demonstrate command of the basic principles, systems, and elements of design that inform two- and three- dimensional design and composition
  • Make effective and appropriate design choices at a variety of scales
  • Produce defensible design solutions

Research and Design Process

  • Produce comprehensive site research and analysis
  • Integrate findings from the site analysis to develop appropriate design solutions
  • Display a working knowledge of the historical influences and theoretical principles of landscape design
  • Incorporate appropriate public policy, law, codes and standards in the design process
  • Natural Systems: Identify the indigenous natural systems, components and processes found on a given site and incorporate findings into design solutions
  • Human & Social Factors: Demonstrate understanding of the diverse needs, values and customs of the communities and individuals active at the site by incorporating findings into design solutions

Design Development

  • Evaluate and select materials that will enhance the qualities of a given site as well as provide for the programmatic requirements
  • Demonstrate an understanding of site development and site engineering as appropriate to the site design (grading, drainage, planting design and hardscape development)
  • Apply principles and strategies of sustainability to design work

Communication Skills

  • Consolidate research and present ideas in a concise and convincing visual, verbal and written presentation
  • Utilize appropriate media, including computer graphics and freehand drawing to communicate thinking process and design solutions

Professional Readiness

  • Produce a professional portfolio and employment materials
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of landscape architecture on the stewardship of the environment
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical issues involved in landscape architectural design and practice

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

Please see Degree Breakdown for requirements for the program. Explore our course catalog and take classes based on your interests, either online or in our world-class facilities in San Francisco.

Graduate Degree Breakdowns

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

The MFA degree provides advanced study for students pursuing a career in Landscape Architecture. Studio courses focus on the techniques necessary to develop and master technical skills. Graduate Liberal Arts courses promote the expression of ideas and effective communication utilizing visual, oral and written presentation skills. The graduate Landscape Architecture program culminates with an independent final project. Students will graduate from the program equipped with a portfolio of work and prepared for professional opportunities in the field of Landscape Architecture.

Track I is available to those who have previously obtained a professional undergraduate degree such as a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) or BArch. These individuals have the background to be successful within the intense and professionally focused 63 unit MFA Landscape Architecture program without needing additional preparation. Please see Track I degree breakdown for a sample outline of courses.

Track II is available to those who have a BA or BS degree, but have limited or no background in art and design. Courses focusing on basic drawing, drafting and computer skills as well as those in ecological principles and systems are offered in the first year to encourage success within the 87 unit MFA Landscape Architecture program. Please see Track II degree for a sample outline of courses.

The School of Landscape Architecture will be seeking application for professional accreditation from Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB). Academy of Art University and the School of Landscape Architecture are regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

Master of Arts (MA)

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