Engaged Design on the Third Coast
Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design education at the University of Minnesota prepares students for careers as engaged designers, able to tackle complex challenges facing the environments of our cities and regions today and in the future. We utilize the incredible physical and cultural settings of the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota, and the Mississippi River and Great Lakes Watersheds (the third coast) as a unique basis for this engagement. Our curricula are designed to teach a mix of students from a variety of backgrounds in emerging challenges of resiliency, equity, and public/environmental health through the lens of design and interdisciplinary collaboration. We do this by engaging with real world partners and projects through our design studios, seminars, workshops and lecture courses.
Our undergraduate Bachelor of Environmental Design (BED) curriculum focuses on core design thinking and creativity skill sets. Students learn to understand the complexity of the built environment and how to make changes to our landscapes, cities and regions through design ideas, advocacy, initiatives and policies.
Our Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) curriculum is a professional degree that provides excellent foundational knowledge and skills while also providing opportunities for each student to pursue their own individualized interests. Our focus is to design sustainable and artful solutions to the complex challenges of the 21st century. The 1st year of the program focuses on core knowledge and skil lsets, while the 2nd and 3rd years build in the complexity of real world problems by exposing students to community partners through studio projects, workshops, and guest critics.
Our Master of Science in Landscape Architecture (MSLA) program is a three semester, research oriented degree program, designed to allow each student to delve deeply into a chosen topic area. The degree plan is highly flexible to allow a customized course mix that supports each student’s area of interest. The program culminates in a Master’s thesis paper or project. This is a great degree for designers looking to hone their skills or knowledge to develop a specialization.
All of our programs are taught on the Minneapolis’ east bank campus of the University of Minnesota. The Twin Cities area and the State of Minnesota are amazing resources for personal and professional growth. We have a thriving professional landscape architecture community with many diverse models of practice, from traditional consulting design to non-profit organization leadership to state/local government practice. We also have examples of great built landscapes, including one of the best public park systems in the world. Beyond the metro area, we connect with greater Minnesota and the region through courses such as our Design Duluth initiatives and studio projects in other Great Lakes cities such as Chicago and Cleveland. These places are laboratories for greater understanding of the complex challenges facing the discipline of landscape architecture today, as we tackle some of the greatest problems of contemporary society (clean water, feeding the world, developing equitable societies, etc.) It is an exciting time to live, learn, and work in Minnesota.
The flexibility of our programs allows for our graduates to hone their experiences toward the type of practice that fits them, while their acquired skills allow them to find a position anywhere they want to go. Our graduates are finding employment in both private and public practice in the Twin Cities and across the world.