Ohio State’s Landscape Architecture Programs rank #3 and #12 in Nation

The Knowlton School’s Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA) is ranked #3 in the nation according to DesignIntelligence’s annual list of America’s top landscape architecture programs. The Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program ranked 12th in the nation, according to both hiring professionals and academic leaders who participated in the survey.

An additional deans and chairs survey asked leaders of 47 landscape architecture academic programs about the issues they find significant. According to 88 percent of the professors surveyed, their biggest concern is climate change and sustainability, while another 84 percent said urbanization and 50 percent said globalization.

Detailed rankings are available in the 17th edition of America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools, which assesses program rankings and education trends in architecture, landscape architecture and interior design.

During the BSLA and MLA accreditation review in spring of 2017, the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board noted the gender diversity in the section’s professional programs: “The program currently has a predominance of female faculty, the highest percentage in its history and the highest in any American professional landscape architecture program in our profession’s history.” Poised for the future, the Landscape Architecture program was further credited with a “coherence of direction” and a clear mission that aligns with The Ohio State University’s land-grant heritage. 

Knowlton School Professor and Landscape Architecture Section Head Dorothée Imbert credits the strength of the landscape architecture programs on the cohesiveness and complementarity of an extremely energetic faculty. She stated, "The faculty's avenues of research, from speculative design to alternative agroecologies and urban land exchange, have already garnered recognition. As we further develop our portfolio of teaching and research, we are seeking regional and interdisciplinary partnerships to expand our impact on our environment through test sites and experimental landscapes, with the goal of becoming the foremost Midwestern landscape architecture program with an international reputation."

Imbert described the pedagogical framework within which landscape architecture students engage the curriculum at Ohio State: "Fundamentally, ours is a design culture of thinking through making. Students engage the medium (terrain, hydrology, vegetation) and phenomena of landscape architecture, at a variety of scales through analog and digital models and hybrid graphic investigations. These experimentations take place not only in studio but in eco-tech, media and history/theory courses."  Knowlton School students ground their practice and applied research in the Midwest (agriculture, mining, vacant land), Imbert indicates, to address broader economic, social and ecological themes, thus preparing students to equally contribute to the landscape of Ohio and the world.

The Landscape Architecture Section celebrated its centennial in 2015. Courses in the program were first offered at Ohio State in 1915 in the College of Agriculture. Today, the programs at the Knowlton School are the only MLA and BSLA degree programs accredited in Ohio.