Jan 21, 2022  
USC Catalogue 2019-2020 
USC Catalogue 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Landscape Architecture (MLArch)

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Landscapes are the intersection of nature, social conditions and the built environment. The Landscape Architecture + Urbanism program at the USC School of Architecture explores the role of Southern California and global geographies as generators and solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges of climate change, social and environmental justice and the role of technology. In our program we research these issues and develop multi layered proposals using design thinking to address extreme natural and social conditions affecting people, infrastructure and the environment, especially as these issues present themselves in our everyday life.

Our program curriculum is focused on a balanced core of design studios, media and representation, history and theory, construction documentation, plant materials and ecology, and urbanism. The studio sequence is designed to build design and communication skills within the process of understanding site, context and strategies for intervention. We begin with small local urban sites where intensive field work is critical to site understanding and build up to a year-long investigation of relevant topics and site investigations in the third year design research seminar and studios. Students synthesize their coursework in history, plant materials, ecology, construction and urbanism with their studio work. Second year studios provide opportunities to investigate design responses to climate change impacts and options to collaborate with architecture students in an integrated setting. Elective courses in our curriculum come from a wide range of offerings in the School of Architecture and related real estate, planning, GIS and cinema courses offered at USC. 

We are fortunate to inhabit one of the most culturally and environmentally diverse geographies in the world. We are located within an hour’s drive from the Pacific Ocean, the San Gabriel Mountains and the western edge of the Sonoran Desert. Los Angeles is the most vibrant and diverse city on the West Coast of the United States. We are known as the city that is constantly reinventing ourselves. At the beginning of the 21st century we are engaged in efforts to re-define our City and our relationship to natural systems. We are optimistic that this generation, with the benefit of increased attention to the qualities and power of the landscape will prove to be more resilient than the last.

Master of Landscape Architecture

Individuals who have completed a four-year Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree, or its equivalent, with no prior accredited degree in landscape architecture, 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.  Courses in the humanities, ecology, history of art, landscape architecture and architecture are strongly encouraged, although not required.

96-Unit Curriculum

Students admitted with no previous professional education must complete 96 units (during three years of residency), including 70 units of specified courses, 16 units of electives of which a minimum of 10 must be from the School of Architecture, and 10 units of Thesis. Electives must be part of a curricular plan approved by the program director.

96-Unit Sample Curriculum

Requirements for Advanced Placement

Applicants who have completed a LAAB (Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board), or equivalent, degree in landscape architecture may be granted advanced placement of 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 635  or equivalent), plant materials (ARCH 537 , ARCH 538  or equivalent), media (ARCH 539  or equivalent).

64-Unit Sample Curriculum

Advanced placement students must complete 64 units, including 39 units of specified courses, 15 units of electives of which a minimum of 10 must be from the School of Architecture, and 10 units of Thesis. Electives must be part of a curricular plan approved by the program director.

Sample Elective Courses

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