The five-year BLA program engages students in courses and extra-curricula activities that develop and hone a wide-range of skills necessary to practice landscape architecture. Combining design and design-thinking, creativity, science, problem-solving, and community collaboration, the Landscape Architecture Program at Virginia Tech guides students as they develop their skills and make their place as designers and planners of the built environment.
Register here to schedule an on-campus visit. Tours of the undergraduate program are offered Friday afternoons at noon during the academic semesters, as well as during CAUS' weekend Open Houses.
Foundations of Design
During the first year, landscape architecture students enroll in an interdisciplinary studio and take foundational courses in natural systems, and landscape thinking and representation. The interdisciplinary studios address two and three dimensional design and design thinking with architecture, industrial design and interior design majors. Students study foundational elements of design theories and practices that explore design processes and discovery through experimentation as they develop critical design-thinking, aesthetic judgment and means of self-evaluation. The studio integrates craft, art and technology in exercises and projects using a variety of materials and tools. Expect an emphasis on intellectual discipline, dialogue, assertion of interest, and a self-motivated search for critical issues during the first year.
Building Professional Competency and Pursuing a Comprehensive University Education
The second and third years of the BLA program continue to use discovery-based learning and the pursuit of individual excellence to provide a strong professional education necessary for entry into an increasingly dynamic and expanding profession. Ecological and environmental systems, and socio-cultural concepts are introduced in theory and methods courses to develop a comprehensive understanding of the natural and human systems fundamental to the discipline and practice of landscape architecture. These are applied in studio projects that build with increasing complexity using real sites and addressing real world issues.
Exploring the World and Oneself
During the fourth year, students undertake a design research-focused study. This may take the form of a education abroad program, a collaborative interdisciplinary studio, a semester at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center or a foreign university, or coursework that provides an in-depth examination of a particular area of professional interest. In addition, students are encouraged to pursue a professional internship or employment (whether for academic credit or not). These individual pursuits help prepare students to take leadership roles in advancing the profession and society.
The Fifth Year Brings It Together
The BLA curriculum culminates in the research-based, self-directed senior project informed by reflective practices. Students completing the BLA program are expected to demonstrate a high-level ability to enter practice guided by a well-founded intellectual and ethical position. Students develop individual projects that incorporate multiple dimensions of problem-setting and problem-solving, and demonstrate professional expectations and capabilities in project design, design-detailing and communication.
A few words from our graduates:
Studying with the Virginia Tech Landscape Architecture program can be described in one word: catalytic. Students encounter projects and design problems that require creativity, innovation, and collaboration. The open layout studio and faculty create an atmosphere of academic exploration, growth, and discovery that simultaneously encourages and challenges the status quo. This environment provides a design education that transforms the students, from foundation studio through to senior thesis, into knowledgeable, accountable professionals. Will (BLA2015)
What sold Virginia Tech for me is the unbelievable sense of community between students, family’s, and alumni. The education is very respected throughout the country, and the alumni and professors are incredibly helpful at setting up connections after graduation. I was able to land an entry level position at EDSA based on a contact and recommendation from the faculty. Pete (BLA2013)