DesignIntelligence 2014 Landscape Architecture Program Rankings


DesignIntelligence recently announced its 2014 landscape architecture graduate and undergraduate program rankings. For the first time since 2007, Pennsylvania State University came in at the top of undergraduate landscape architecture programs, unseating long-time leader Louisiana State University. For the tenth year, Harvard University came in as the best graduate program in the annual survey conducted by DesignIntelligence on behalf of the Design Futures Council.

Detailed rankings are available in the 14th edition of America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools, which assesses program rankings and education trends in architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and industrial design.

Respondents from nearly 800 “professional practice” organizations (up nearly double over last year) answered questions about how well prepared graduates are from different undergraduate and graduate programs. Some 74 percent said they “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the state of landscape architecture education in the U.S., down from 80 percent last year. Some 64 percent found that graduating students had an “adequate understanding” of biology, biodiversity, and environmental degradation, also slightly down. Some 60 percent thought their firms benefited from the new ideas about sustainability that recent graduates brought with them.

This year, the top five emerging concerns by practitioners are:

    Sustainability / Climate Change (58 percent)
    Maintaining Design Quality (50 percent)
    Integrated Design (42 percent)
    Urbanization (35 percent)
    Retaining Quality Staff in Design Practices (31 percent)

Interestingly, sustainability / climate change became the top issue by far this year, a change over the past few years.

DesignIntelligence asks us to only list the top five schools for each program. To see the top fifteen rankings for each category, purchase the report.

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Degree Rankings:

1) Pennsylvania State University
2) Louisiana State University
3) Purdue University
4) California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
5) University of Georgia

Master of Landscape Architecture Degree Rankings:

1) Harvard University
2) Kansas State University
3) Louisiana State University
4) University of Pennsylvania
5) Cornell University

An additional deans and chairs survey asked leaders of 63 landscape architecture academic programs about the top programs and the issues they find significant. According to 82 percent of the professors surveyed, the design profession’s biggest concern is climate change / sustainability, while another 66 percent said urbanization and 42 percent said globalization. The percentage identifying those issues has only increased over the past few years.

Among the biggest changes to curricula in the last 5 years: some 68 percent thought it was the greater “emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration and integrated practice,” while 58 percent thought it was the increased focus on sustainable design.

For the third year, DesignIntelligence surveyed 679 landscape architecture students to gauge their satisfaction with the programs covered. Students were most satisfied at University of Pennsylvania followed by those at Cornell University and then the University of Virginia.

To see the full responses from professors and students, purchase the report.

Check out the 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009 program rankings.

Lastly, a big round of applause to Dick Zweifel, FASLA, professor and associate dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, who was listed as a DesignIntelligence top 30 most admired educators for 2014. “His consistency and vision have kept Cal Poly SLO among the best education programs in multidisciplinary design professions.”

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