What do you wish you'd asked when choosing an LA school?

I'm hoping to enter a landscape architecture program next year. I'm coming to LA with a background in biology and an MPH in environmental health. I'm interested in working at the neighborhood-city scale, focusing on ecological restoration and urban adaptation.

I'd like to figure out which MLA transition program would train me for this type of work. Beyond just the school rankings and certification reports, however, it's hard to tell which school is the best fit.

How did you choose your LA program? What do you wish you'd known before you started your program?


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I chose my program based on: student work, where alumni worked after graduating, dedicated teaching faculty, the pedagogy of the school, and the studio culture when I visited, faculty recommendation (from the architecture faculty in college.

It's good to visit a few schools to begin to see how they differ: students and faculty personalities can create a different feel.  Looking at faculty research and student projects will also be a good indication of the type of topics covered in design studios.

A good thing to know is the financial side of the program - scholarships/fellowships/incidental costs (travel studios/printing/etc can add up).

Thank you, Tosh! This is helpful! I've certainly found a large difference in cultures, funding opportunities, and facilities while visiting my first few schools. Since I can't visit them all, I'll look into narrowing down my options using the parameters you suggested.

I appreciate your help.

This is a great question, Gaelle!

I wanted to respond to bump it in hopes of getting you more responses.

Any certain part of the country you are interested in?

Thanks, Daniel! I'm pretty flexible. I'm now based in DC, so I'm starting my school research in this area (UMD, VA Tech, Penn). I'm also looking into a few European programs (Edinburgh, Versailles, London, etc) since I also have EU citizenship.

Where did you study? Where would you go if you could choose again?

What made you decide that LA is your best bet?  Seems like a degree in Water Resources Engineering or Planning might be a better fit given your interests.

I would suggest identifying 4 - 6 companies that do the type of work that you are interested in getting into and finding out what kind of educational backgrounds their staff have.

First thing I wished I had asked: how many students found full-time jobs after graduation; followed by, what kind of internship placement do you offer; and then closed by, what was the starting wage for your students? 

See, the reason why I'd asked that (if I were doing it again) is because they conveniently don't tell you a few things that ultimately determine how successful you will be at the end of your program (don't believe the BS that it depends on your skills - hogwash!): how hard it will be to find a job, how little money you will make, and how much help they will provide in getting that first job. For some reason they just don't care - 'academia' I suppose.

Maybe the first question should be "why are you teaching and not practicing?".

My first question to you is........WHY did you go for those first 2 degrees in the first place?  

IMO, way too many college graduates are being "brainwashed" by Liberal Professors to jump into, renewable, global warming, save the Planet programs.  And, a vast majority of these Liberal Professors have no idea if their graduates can even earn a living with those degrees.

What makes you think that a Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture will serve YOU better than what you're doing now?

Well, of course, I believe that people's efforts in the "green energy" movement is an admirable one......but, good luck in trying to make a living in that industry.

If I were you....I'd do some "serious" research before you jumped into an LA Master's Degree Program.  A University degree is a fantastic accomplishment, for sure, but, if it doesn't lead to a "real job".....what's the point?  


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