DesignIntelligence recently announced its 2017 landscape architecture graduate and undergraduate program rankings. For the third year in a row, Louisiana State University (LSU) was deemed the best undergraduate landscape architecture program. And for the 13th consecutive year, Harvard University retained its dominance 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 17th edition of America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools, which assesses program rankings and education trends in architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design.
Respondents from nearly 1,900 hiring professionals ranked schools, some 500 respondents more than last year.
DesignIntelligence asks us to only list the top five schools for each program. To see the top 15, purchase the report.
Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Degree Rankings:
1) Louisiana State University
2) Pennsylvania State University
3) Ohio State University
4) Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
5) Cornell University
Master of Landscape Architecture Degree Rankings:
1) Harvard University
2) University of Pennsylvania
3) Louisiana State University
4) Cornell University
5) Kansas State University
Satisfaction with landscape architecture graduates among employers increased slightly from last year. Some 75 percent said they “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the state of landscape architecture education in the U.S., up from 73 percent in 2016 and 71 percent in 2015, but down from 80 percent in 2013.
Employers still think landscape architecture students lack basic knowledge for many aspects of their job. A majority thought students lack an understanding of “the importance of projects, budgets, and schedules,” procurement processes, firm business models, and real estate or commercial law.
Some 32 percent of employers thought it took 6-12 months for new hires to become “fully productive and billable.” 23 percent think it takes longer and 42 percent less.
Practitioners were also asked about global concerns with the greatest impact on landscape architecture. They identified:
Climate change (70 percent)
Urbanization (61 percent)
Globalization (46 percent)
Mass immigration (43 percent)
Geopolitics (38 percent)
Population aging (37 percent)
An additional deans and chairs survey asked leaders of 47 landscape architecture academic programs about the issues they find significant. According to 88 percent of the professors surveyed, their biggest concern is climate change and sustainability, while another 84 percent said urbanization and 50 percent said globalization. Academics are even more concerned about climate change than practitioners.
Among the biggest changes to curricula in the last five years: some 60 percent thought it was “more emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration and integrated practice,” while 57 percent saw an increased focus on community involvement. Just 39 percent saw an increased focus on sustainable and healthy design, down from 51 percent last year.
And for the sixth year, DesignIntelligence surveyed landscape architecture students to gauge their satisfaction with the programs covered. This year, more than 589 students were surveyed, up 36 percent from the last. On average, just 56 percent thought their program was “excellent.” Students were most pleased with their programs’ allocation of dedicated studio spaces, and least happy with their technology offerings. Just 43 percent of graduates plan on working in private practice when they graduate (down from 59 percent last year); 16 percent remain undecided. Students can expect to have some $37,000 in debt on average when they graduate.