Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design Graduate Academic Certificate


The Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design Graduate Academic Certificate (LA+ED GAC) is offered through the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design Program in the Department of Human Ecology. The Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design Program focuses on interdisciplinary inquiry related to landscape structure and function, spatial patterns, the built environment, natural systems, landscape meaning and history, and environmental quality. Faculty who teach and mentor students in LA+ED courses work in the areas of landscape architecture, urban and community design, sustainable development, public participation, environmental planning, landscape ecology, ecological restoration, conservation planning, cultural and historical studies, among others. Courses and research in this area prepare students for advanced research, practice and teaching in landscape architecture and related fields of environmental design.

Landscape architecture and environmental design concern the relationship between people and their environment. Typically, this is manifested through the planning, design, and use of the physical and everyday environment. However, as design is human intent expressed in the material world, a central focus is how society shapes the physical landscape across various scales using different sets of social values. The Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design Program seeks novel, interactive and dynamic processes of problem-solving leading to defensible and sustainable solutions. Analyses of these processes require a knowledge base in areas as diverse as culture, ecology, policy, economics, and history, among others areas. An appreciation for interdisciplinary inquiry and understanding is a common thread that defines the LA+ED GAC. Some examples of graduate-level study in LA+ED include analyses of landscape patterns using methods in geographic information science, design and planning at advanced levels, historical and cultural studies of landscapes and places, and the development of advanced methods and techniques in citizen participation.

Faculty members associated with the LA+ED GAC are primarily based in the Landscape Architecture Program and are also members of the Geography Graduate Group (GGG), the Community Development Graduate Group (CDGG), the Graduate Group in Ecology (GGE) and other graduate groups at UC Davis. They are also closely affiliated with research organizations at UC Davis including the John Muir Institute of the Environment, Institute for Transportation Studies, Center for the Study of Regional Change, Information Center for the Environment, and the California Center for Urban Horticulture. We also cooperate closely with UC Berkeley’s Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Program and courses are available there to supplement graduate study.

The LA+ED GAC program will prepare students to:

(1) teach and conduct research in academic programs in landscape architecture, architecture, and planning;

(2) serve as researchers and analysts in public, private, and non-governmental research institutions; and,

(3) assume leadership positions in agencies engaged in issues of planning and design at the local, regional, national, transnational, and international levels.

Admissions Criteria:

Students that apply to the LA+ED GAC are required to submit a completed LA+ED GAC application form, transcripts, a statement of purpose (<750 words), and optionally, a portfolio of previous studio design work in the spring quarter. The portfolio is only required for students who wish to opt out of the studio course requirement. The student must identify and seek approval from an affiliated faculty member as their LA+ED GAC major professor. At the time of application the student must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. The application materials are due on the third Friday of the spring quarter and admission decisions will be announced on the fifth Friday of the spring quarter. Application materials should be submitted to the LA+ED GAC Staff Coordinator. Decisions will be announced via email to the applicant.

Certificate Requirements:

Students are required to take 12-17 units to complete the LA+ED GAC curriculum. A student with a previous degree in landscape architecture is expected to take 12 units, while a student with no previous degree in landscape architecture will be expected to take 17 units to complete the LA+ED GAC. The additional units are the studio course requirement for students without a prior degree in landscape architecture or an allied discipline, such as architecture. The studio requirement can be met by any approved studio course previously completed. Evidence of studio work is required in the application process (see above in the Admissions Criteria section).

Required Courses

Course substitutions may be approved by the LA+ED GAC Executive Committee.

1.      Core course (4 units; existing course):

        LDA 201 Theory and Philosophy of the Designed Environment (4 units)

2.      Methods Course (pick one; 4 units; existing courses):

        LDA 202 Methods in Design and Landscape Research (4 units)

        LDA 210 Advanced Landscape Architecture Studio Methods (4 units)

3.      Specialization Course (pick one; 4 units; existing courses):

        LDA 200 Citizenship, Democracy, & Public Space (4 units)

        LDA 205 Physical Planning and Design (4 units)

        LDA 220 Public Space and Culture (4 units)

        LDA 250 Life-Place: Bioregional Theory and Principles (4 units)

        LDA 260 Landscape and Power (4 units)

        LDA 270 Environment and Behavior (4 units)

        LDA 280 Landscape Conservation (3 units) / LDA 298 Directed Group Study (1 unit)

        LDA 298 Directed Group Study (4 units)

4.      Studio Course (pick one; 5-6 units; existing courses):

        LDA 180 A-Q/LDA 181 A-Q Planning and Design Studio (5 units)

        LDA 191 Landscape Architecture Design and Planning Studio (6 units)

        LDA 298 Directed Group Study (5-6 units)

5.      Other requirements:

Students are required to have taken an introductory graphics course such as LDA 21 or DES 21 or its equivalent as a prerequisite for the studio course requirement. There are no other requirements for the LA+ED GAC beyond coursework, except to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher in LA+ED GAC coursework. If a student’s GPA falls below 3.0 the student will be disqualified from the program only after an evaluation or probationary period to be decided by the EC and the LA+ED GAC major professor for the student.

Please contact Carrie Ruport at for more information.