California MLA programs

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    Emily W.

    Hey everyone,

    I’m taking LA classes currently at UCLA Extension (not in the certificate program), and I’m thinking about applying to MLA programs for 2010. It’s a bummer that UCLA doesn’t have an MLA program, because I currently live on the west side of Los Angeles and would be just fine with staying here. And the instruction at UCLA is great – but I would just rather go for my master’s. I would like to stay in California, however, so I’m checking out my other options and would love to get some opinions.

    USC – Anyone know what the deal is here? I know it is a newish program and not yet accredited by ASLA (they have it listed as ‘Candidacy’) – those two things make me wary. On one hand, I’m all for the excitement of joining a new program, especially in Los Angeles – but also worried about the possible lack of dedicated instructors, budget cuts in this recession, and most of all, this lack of accreditation. Anyone have any insights on this program? I’m very interested because it’s the only MLA program in Los Angeles proper, but am scared of not being able to get licensed post graduation.

    Pomona – I already know the commute will suck from LA – not interested in moving there – but how is the program’s reputation and quality of education? Do they focus on SoCal urban design at all?

    Berkeley – If I have to venture north, this would obviously be the top choice – but I worry about not getting in because of the competition. Is the program here uber competitive? I really like their urban and sustainable focus.

    San Luis Obispo – good wine, beautiful coast, but too small of a town for me, honestly.

    And to spice it up a little – Oregon. I’d be all over this program if it was in Portland. But it’s in Eugene. Though – I know UO regular Arch has a lot of Portland programs. Any MLA students here, and have you gotten to study in Portland at all?

    Am I missing anything? I know SF is a hot place to be for landscape architecture, but I would love to be able to promote and practice LA in, well – LA and other parts of SoCal. There just doesn’t seem to be a huge landscape arch presence in this area, at least compared to the Bay Area, or other large metro areas.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

    Noah Billig

    You should take the time to visit Pomona and talk to some of their students and professors. I visited and almost went there in 2003, but I got into my hometown program (Minnesota) so I went there instead. Pomona seems like they are doing some great things. Also, the professors I met with there were very kind and open. It had a great atmosphere as far as I could tell.

    Bob Luther

    Did Berkely get it’s accredidation back, I know around 2000 they were having some issues with accredidation… Pomona is unique in that the department of environmental design has a LA department, Architecture department, Urban Planning department, Graphic Arts, and a cutting edge sustainability program (John T Lyle Center), so you would be able to take classes in a variety of areas, I got my undergraduate degree from Cal Poly Pomona, I was directed away from the graduate program because of the work I wanted to do was more hands-on less theoretical, and got a second BS there, and really enjoyed the experience, it is a small school but the faculty is very good and it focuses on sustainability issues.

    Tammy Martin

    Great question. I’m in the UCLA Certificate program and wanting to switch to Cal Poly in June 2010 to finish up my Masters so I’m looking forward to the replies. I met with the grad advisor who was absolutely great! He gave me a tour of the dept and all of the students that he introduced me too seemed very happy. I was also extremely impressed with the studio space and amenities that the students had available to them that would make tight deadlines a whole lot easier! I too would encourage you to visit before you count it out entirely.

    Emily W.

    Berkeley is currently accredited as far as I can tell. Pomona is not on the DI top programs list, but since I am hearing positive things here I will definitely check it out. Anyone know anything about USC?

    Also, it’s worth mentioning that since I don’t have any LA experience I would rather attend a hands-on heavy program rather than a more theoretical one.

    Bob Luther

    the interesting thing about the grad program at pomona is that you do your first year of grad school with the third year undergrads (makes for an interesting dynamic) this gives you great exposure to the hands-on aspects of the profession, I got a second BS because I wanted the real world hands-on stuff, and the undergrad program was a much better choice for that.

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