The foundation of the bachelor of science in landscape architecture (BSLA) undergraduate curriculum is a sequence of intensive design studios.
The design studio model involves a one-on-one relationship between the student and faculty, and this interaction typifies the Cornell landscape architecture program. Each studio requires a different set of principles and theories and an artistic mastery of the media of landscape – landform, plants, water, and non-vegetal materials and their manipulation through the application of ecological and technological practices. The topics, sites, contexts, constituencies, and scales of development of each studio builds on the previous studio in an ever-increasing level of complexity and attention to detail and conceptual thought. Supplemental courses in all other aspects of the field provide the information synthesized in the studio to reinforce the design process and end result. The studio is project-based and exposes students to a wide array of landscape scales, types, contexts, and topical issues. The studio format entails lectures, demonstrations, field trips, readings, guest presentations, precedent study, one-on-one instruction, and group discourse. Rather than espousing a singular design philosophy or style, the department offers multiple perspectives on design, imparted through the studio course sequence. The required sequential nature of the studios offered throughout the student’s academic career at Cornell allows for each studio to build on the previous one with an ever-increasing degree of complexity and attention to detail. Studio size is conducive to small group interaction among students and between students and faculty.
Our undergraduate program complies with the requirements of three governing bodies:
- The New York State Education Department (NYSED)
- The Council of Landscape Architecture Registration Boards (CLARB)
- The Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB)
The undergraduate landscape architecture curriculum is a broad-based course of study that provides instruction in the skills necessary for professional practice and is a license-qualifying, first professional degree. In addition to the required landscape architecture courses, students are expected to fulfill university requirements in biological, physical, and social sciences, humanities, and written and oral communication.
The formal concentration in Landscape Architecture allows degree candidates in the department the opportunity to define an area of personal interest within this broad profession or to examine the landscape dimensions of an associated field. The concentration is an opportunity for students to formally establish their interests as part of the degree.
- The concentration is defined by the student in consultation with their faculty advisor.
- The requirements of the concentration are at least 10 credits for the MLA beyond those required by the department for the degree. Students include the LA 4030 The Concentration class as part of the 10 credit requirement.
BSLA Admission Details
Undergraduate students enter the Department of Landscape Architecture as freshmen or transfer students.
- For general incoming freshmen application information, visit the CALS First Year Students page. This page contains links for how to apply, requirements for admission, selection criteria, and timetable for admission.
- For general incoming transfer students application information, visit the CALS Undergraduate Transfer Students page. This page contains links for how to apply, special and visiting students, timetables, transfer agreements with other colleges and universities, transfer credits, transfer day, and transfer criteria.
- If you are already a student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and would like to transfer into the BSLA program, you will need to fill out the LA Transfer Application and submit it along with a portfolio to the Department.
Applicants to the BSLA program are required to submit a portfolio. The portfolio is used to assess your aptitude for visual thinking and design. Applicants may include a wide variety of media, including freehand drawings, painting, photography, graphic design and renderings, garden design, and other creative endeavors.
Portfolios should include a total number of 10-12 pieces. Please include a brief caption for each piece, including a title, size, project intention, and medium of each work.
Portfolios are digitally submitted along with the BSLA application. Please note that your file size should be less than twenty (20) megabytes total.
Please send your portfolio to:
Jamie Vanucchi, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Email: jlv29 [at] cornell.edu
Please include your full name in the email header to ensure your portfolio is correctly matched with your application.