Grad School Decision: Texas A&M or Harvard GSD

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums EDUCATION Grad School Decision: Texas A&M or Harvard GSD

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  • #152017

    I’m in the last stage of my decision process. I will be visiting the aforementioned campuses in this upcoming week. I just wanted some new perspectives on my situation.
    I’ve narrowed down my grad school choices to Harvard GSD and Texas A&M. I’ve been in touch with faculty and current students at the GSD for almost a year now. I’ve spoke with one A&M alum over the summer to get a feel for the program. Both schools offered me reasonable fonanial aid packages. However, I am a Texas resident so I qualify for in-state tuition and recieved a scholarship that diminished my cost of attendance immensely. Not to mention the fact that I would only need to attend the program for two years.
    I’m torn between these two programs. Both are prominent in the field. I can’t ignore the fact that Harvard is THE top notch program, but A&M would be a shorter and cheaper option…Thoughts?
    I’m coming from an environmental engineering bachelors background.

    Peter Graves

    n.b.: gross generalizations below

    these programs couldn’t be more different when it comes to landscape architecture teaching. Where do you want to be after you graduate? What do you want to get out of your MLA program? Take a look at where graduates of these two programs typically end up working. Are you interested in becoming an educator, researcher, or working for a leading or innovative firm in the northeast? Harvard’s my suggestion there. Are you more interested in the practice of landscape architecture at the ground level, learning about how landscapes are designed and constructed, sustainability, plant materials, like to see your designs built, like to work locally,specifically in texas or the southern U.S.? I’d say A&M for this reason. 

    I’ve worked with people from both schools. Both great schools. And sure, you can technically do anything you want with either education. But as a generalization, you’re going to get the “latest and greatest” tech and teaching from GSD, and you’ll get a really great education grounded in the reality of the here and now at A&M. 

    Giant grain of salt here as I attended neither of these schools.


    Thank you for your input! I actually just got off the phone with a friend who is a current student and, coincidentally enough, she said something similar to what you shared. This new perspective definitely has me leaning toward Harvard, based on my career goals.


    If you want to practice in Texas, I would go with Aggies.  

    Tosh K

    A lot depends on what you want to do after you graduate – some programs train you to be useful from day one in a design firm that sees project through construction (I’m A&M is one) others are more theory driven (GSD is more the latter, big scale planning, diagramming but not a whole lot of actual detailing or understanding of construction).  Also be very wary of large amounts of debt, it can really narrow your ability in post-graduate jobs.  Look strongly at where you want to end up and make sure your bases are covered.

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