Help!! Advice about master in landscape architecture

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums EDUCATION Help!! Advice about master in landscape architecture

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    Fred Besancon

    Hey Brian – how’s it going?  Blast from the past in seeing your name.

    To follow up on Brian’s point, and to speak highly of my time at RISD, one of its great assets is that you can enroll in Brown University’s Sheridan Teaching Program.  It’s a year-long course that helps prepare one to teach in higher education.  RISD has developed its own seminar series that tags along with Brown’s that looks at what it means to teach in a design- or art-oriented school.  

    Elaine, one thing I would caution you is this idea of going to grad school to learn ‘design.’ From what I’ve seen, every school is a ‘design’-oriented school.  The question though is what you mean by ‘design?’

    In looking at your list, I would say that each as a different attitude towards the premise of design and what are its chief drivers.  No school is right or wrong, but its really about what your values are.  Are you more sustainability focused, or are social issues more important?  My alma mater, RISD, was great for me, but I know others I went to school with had difficulty with the program because it didn’t align with their professional / personal values.

    I found what was a tremendous value was taking a considerable time off between undergraduate school and graduate school (eight years) to begin to get a sense of what I want to pursue (there was also a career change from architecture to landscape architecture). In looking at other architects and landscape architects I know and respect, did a similar route.  I found that working for other designers I respect, I learned design from different points of view, learned design issues / thinking at a variety of scales, understood the professions at a great depth, and picked up a lot of useful technical information I could bring to bear back at graduate school.

    If you stick with the plan to get a master’s degree immediately, go to each school and see what each promotes in their work.  Speak to many students in each program and to faculty in a candid way.  I remember asking candidly different programs what I was after and getting candid responses back.  Look beyond the portfolio and glitzing images and towards the profession each program seeks to provide.

    And let me know if I can give you any more info on RISD.

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