PhD in Landscape

This discussion started on TC, but worth breaking out...

Most PhD's for LA oriented folks are not in LA but in associated fields like planning, geography (aka Javier), history, botany, ecology, or civil engineering. More PhDs seem to be at public universities, while the 'design schools' have mostly MLAs.

the bigger question, is what does a PhD in Landscape get you? Mostly it seems to be the ability to quantify the landscape and use statistics. Research can be accomplished with an MLA as the majority of faculty in LAAB programs have either an MLA or MArch.

Also note that most PhD granting institutions place the candidates in between several departments...

Just checking LA grad school's faculty, here are list of faculty with PhDs.

My doctoral colleagues at the U of MN have degrees from:
Ph.D, Landscape Architecture. Edinburgh College of Art
Ph.D, Urban and Regional Science. Texas A&M
Ph.D, University of Arizona

Ph.D. Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University

Ph.D. Environmental Design and Planning, Arizona State University

Ph.D,University of Pennsylvania honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Miami University, and honorary Doctor of Science from Florida International University
Ph.D. Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh College of Art
PhD, Columbia University
Ph.D. Harvard University

PhD Harvard University

Cal Poly:
Ph.D. University of Arizona, School of Renewable Natural Resources
PhD by Project at RMIT University
Ph.D. Urban and Regional Science, Texas A&M University
PhD Natural Resources with a minor in Environmental Psychology, University of Arizona

PhD, Geography and Environmental Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University
Ph.D., University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Ph.D. Urban Design and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dr. Sc. ETH Zurich, Switzerland
PhD University of Michigan
Ph.D. Environmental Planning, Berkeley

PhD Civil Engineering, University of Toronto
doctorate in English at the University of Toronto

Ph.D. in Regional Planning, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
Ph.D. Ecology, State University of New York at Stony Brook

UMass (includes planning):
Ph.D. Urban Forestry, University of Massachusetts
Ph.D. Environmental Sciences, Wageningen Agricultural University, Wageningen, Netherlands, Department of Physical Planning and Rural Development
Ph.D. City and Regional Planning, UPenn
Ph.D., Urban and Regional Planning, University of Waterloo, Ontario
Ph.D. Anthropology, Cambridge University
PhD, University of North Carolina , Chapel Hill
Ph.D. Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan

Penn State:
Ph.D. Architecture (specialization in Environment Behavior Studies), University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Ph.D., Doctor of Philosophy, Geography (Designated Emphasis in Social Theory and Comparative History), University of California Davis
PhD, Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University
Ph.D., Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara
PhD Environmental Design and Planning, Virginia Tech
Ph.D. Zoology, Southern Illinois University

Nov 10, 09 11:38 am


Thanks for this...

Nov 10, 09 2:00 pm  · 

Very interesting list and topic, Barry. I look forward to reading (your blog, too) and commenting more later. Right now, I'm off to teach a class myself!

Nov 10, 09 3:29 pm  · 

Would be interesting to compare this list to the schools which only grant tenure to those with Phds vs. those that can obtain tenure with MLA.

I know my undergrad U. Wisconsin Madison (land arch dept.) will not grant tenure to someone with out a Phd.

Nov 11, 09 11:08 am  · 

anti that is probably true many programs i would think..

Nov 11, 09 1:39 pm  · 

This list isn't comprehensive and only covers about half the LA programs. It would be interesting to see if there is a greater penetration of PhDs into architecture programs.

In my conversations about my academic career path at the U of MN, needing a PhD has not been broached. You don't need a PhD to do good research or to get published - these criteria seem more significant in getting tenure. Teaching should also be a major influence on tenure, but teaching is only 1/3rd of the mission of the LA department- outreach and research are the other pieces of the pie...

Nov 11, 09 2:38 pm  · 

in my experience it is becoming more difficult to get a tenure track/tenured position in architecture (particularly history/theory) without a phd... thus why i'm currently pursuing a phd...

in terms of landscape, although my phd will be in architecture the topic crosses the boundaries into landscape and urbanism... at penn the phd program in architecture has a variety of possible focuses including both landscape and urbanism...

Nov 11, 09 3:58 pm  · 

I did my PhD in urban planning, focusing on the history of planning and development, where I researched housing types and related planning for them. My advisor's PhD is in architectural history. We both originally trained and practiced in architecture, and ended up pursuing our interests in the designed/built environment via scholarship. (This, in a planning school with a list of faculty credentials as diverse as Barry's list above. Sadly, we were part of a small minority interested in the built environment there.)

Speaking of "landscape," the vernacular landscape/ cultural landscape methodology is an important one in the increasingly inter-disciplinary study of the built environment.

Nov 11, 09 7:59 pm  · 

What institutions out there still don't require a phd for tenure track? I know the design schools (RISD, GSD, etc.) don't but what about the bigger state schools?

Nov 11, 09 8:03 pm  · 

As for the tenure-track question: my impression is that the architecture field may be the only one where you still occasionally see a TT positon announced in which a terminal master's degree--alongside a record of research & publishing and/or distinguished professional practice--might suffice as minimum qualification. This would normally be for studio-based faculty.

For all other faculty, the PhD is now the standard, it seems.

Nov 11, 09 8:12 pm  · 


Even for tenure track in LArch? I didn't think they had Phd's in Larch..

Barry are you not planning on pursuing a tenure track at U of MN? Or elsewhere down the road?
Or would you consider going back for additional degree?

Nov 11, 09 9:55 pm  · 

Nam, I'm certainly considering seeking a tenure track post in a few years. Our dream has always been to head back west or east and not to linger in the midwest. Events have pushed that day off by two years or so. That gives me enough time to really polish my teaching chops and establish my academic creds at the UMN. No thoughts of heading back for a PhD - I like learning - but I rather be doing.

In Architecture and Landscape a terminal degree plus registration and a decent professional resume can get you in the door. Dual degrees are on the rise as an alternative to a PhD. There are as many MARCH/MUP or MLA/MBA combos occupying the academy as there are PhDs that I spotted in the search.

Once you're in, then the issue is can you get published?

For history/theory, ecological, horticultural, planning, and some engineering focuses minded folks, a PhD is critical. For designers, it is less important.

Nov 11, 09 10:50 pm  · 

publishing is hard if you are not doing research. doing research is hard without training, which is what phd is all about. not impossible of course, but m.arch at least is the worse possible preparation for publishing academic quality articles. seriously, you could not learn worse habits than the ones taught by koohaas and other theorists of our peer group.

even my small university in canada seems to be encouraging their teachers to get phds. it seems to be a trend. here in japan phd is essential, also license. neither would mean no chance of teaching at all and tenure impossible. based on what my friends are telling me in UK and North America i think the rest of our field is going the same way round the world...a small sample of friends mind you. so don't trust me.

Nov 12, 09 1:48 am  · 

It is good that it requires Phd as, there are so many places where it is required as, I heard about canada because my friend told me about this as, this will defnitely help all the students who are interested in getting Phd.


Nov 12, 09 6:51 am  · 
"publishing is hard if you are not doing research. doing research is hard without training, which is what phd is all about. not impossible of course, but m.arch at least is the worse possible preparation for publishing academic quality articles. seriously, you could not learn worse habits than the ones taught by koohaas and other theorists of our peer group."

i agree 100%... most of the writing by koolhaas and the like wouldn't be considered proper academic writing by a tenure committee (which almost always will include people from outside architecture)... in addition, publishing alone isn't enough... you have to publish in the right places (i.e. peer reviewed journals and academic presses)...

also, one of my advisors told me the other day that the gsd does not have tenure... can anyone confirm or deny that?

Nov 12, 09 9:31 am  · 

Deny - GSD does have tenure. But a lot of the tenured faculty still run outside design practices so I have no idea how that structure is set up to function.

Nov 12, 09 10:16 am  · 

The GSD does not grant tenure, except is special cases. The granting to title associate prof at the GSD does not indicate tenure. They like it that way.

State schools need research $$ to survive. You get grants with PhDs. AFAIK the MLA is still the terminal degree for LA. There has been a pendulum swing regarding the necessity of a PhD to teach. Just a few years ago the general idea was that every school had to have a PhD program to survive and that PhD's (in LA) would become the norm for teaching in the field. Hasn't happened and a thousand PhD programs haven't bloomed.

Some design related schools have their own tenure standards. 'Critical or creative' practice will get you tenure, and is considered the equal of traditional academic research under some tenure guidelines.

Nov 12, 09 10:24 am  · 

Cowerd is right that associate prof does not indicate tenure and that they prefer not to grant tenure but there are 5 tenured professors in the landscape architecture dept right now. Martha Schwartz being one of them, who had to essentially quit in 2006/7 in order to get tenure.

Nov 12, 09 10:38 am  · 

Does anyone have a list of schools that offer PhDs in Landscape Arch?

Feb 17, 10 5:49 pm  · 

The only one I know of is the University of Oregon

Feb 17, 10 5:51 pm  · 

not a list per se, but a review of PhD credentials of folks teaching in LA programs around the US and Canada. You'll notice that most are NOT in LA, but affiliate fields. My suggestion is to find a school with a stellar MLA program that inspires you/has folks to support the research you hope to accomplish and approach them about potential PhDs at that Uni.

Feb 17, 10 8:01 pm  · 
"My suggestion is to find a school with a stellar MLA program that inspires you/has folks to support the research you hope to accomplish and approach them about potential PhDs at that Uni."

this is probably the best way to go... for example, my research is somewhere between architecture, urbanism, and landscape... so in my coursework at penn i have taken coursework in all three.

also, i believe that landscape is one of the possible focuses in the phd program at penn.

Feb 17, 10 9:48 pm  · 

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