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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.


  1. The concentration is defined by the student in consultation with his/her faculty advisor.
  2. The requirements of the concentration are at least 10 credits for the BSLA and for the MLA beyond those required by the department for the degree.
  3. You must include LA 4030/6030: The Concentration (see below)

There are no further requirements. This is an opportunity to have your interests formally established as part of your degree. You may state your concentration on your resume.

LA 4030/6030: The Concentration 1 credit

This course develops the intellectual rationale for your concentration. It is a short 2-5 page essay or other reflective document developed during your final year, in consultation with your advisor.  It sets the courses into the context of your interests and experience to establish your concentration in its fullest sense:

  • Reflective. The essay allows you to reflect upon and synthesize what may have been a long exploration, a maturing of your interests. Your courses may seem disparate as a list, but by the time of the concentration essay, they be should be viewed in the context of your broader interests and experience to form a coherent expression of where you are heading in your career.
  • Sets context. Essay may include how summer internships, travel, scholarships, extracurricular activities, work-study jobs, required courses, and prior degrees and work experience fed into your intellectual thinking about your concentration within the field of landscape architecture.
  • Formal documentation of your concentration. The essay is placed in your student file. It will serve as a reference for faculty as you apply to graduate school, for jobs, or to reflect upon when you become famous.
  • Preparation for jobs and grad school. Think of the essay as the text for your interview with an employer or your personal essay for graduate school regarding your particular interests within landscape architecture or a relevant field.
  • Revise as you wish. Even after submission, you may revise it for your file. It is your statement of how you would like us to read your experience and accomplishments.

Change goals. In the event that you realize that design is not the career for you, the concentration may be your preparation for graduate study in a new or related area: law school, research, business school, etc. The essay may help you explore this transition in positive terms.

Advising Guidelines

  1. Discuss the concentration with your advisor upon arrival at Cornell. If you have any questions about a concentration, be sure you are clear about the opportunity it presents.
  2. Begin the concentration courses as soon as you can. The concentration is composed of courses that interest you, not requirements. If you come with a specific interest (golf course design, ecology, sustainable development, art, historic preservation), take the electives as soon as you can--you will find that degree requirements compete with the times available, so don't wait, pre-register promptly for the next term. In any case, get started, see where you interests lie, talk to your advisor, talk to other students. Be proactive in pursuing courses that interest you.
  3. The concentration can begin broadly and focus later, or begin in a focused manner and broaden. There is no need to have a set title that you might regret later--make your initial definition broad enough to cover your realm of interest. If you start specifically and wish to broaden or shift focus, just change your title. You can do this at any time before graduation.
  4. Plan ahead, as soon as you know what interests you. Restoration ecology and other popular courses are offered every other year. Plan the year your requirements will allow you to fit in desired classes. This is an inexact science; however, the staff can tell you the times that your future courses typically meet.
  5. The students know the scoop. As soon as we have enough feedback from students, we will set up information in the landscape architecture office and website where you can read surveys of concentration topics, course preferences, examples of essays, and other student-generated advice.

Meanwhile, it is up to you to you to seek out good courses.

Popular and Possible Concentrations

  • Fine arts, design studies, representation, sculpture, landscape art, computer visualization, dance, theater studies, woodworking.
  • Ecology, Environmentally sustainable design, Green architecture, restoration ecology, urban remediation, environmental law.
  • Horticulture, public garden management, urban horticulture.
  • Landscape history, cultural landscape history, Historic preservation, landscape preservation, archaeology.
  • Community based design, participatory action research, playground design.
  • Entertainment industry, eco-tourism, golf course design, business, economics.
  • Italian, Spanish studies, other area studies.
  • Invent your own.