The Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst was founded by Frank A. Waugh in 1903 as an undergraduate program in Landscape Gardening, the second such program in the United States. In the 92 years since then, the Department has grown substantially, changed its name, and developed a number of distinct instructional, research and outreach programs.
Bachelor's in Landscape Architecture (BSLA, BLA)
In 1930, the original Bachelor of Science in Landscape Gardening was changed to a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture. At the same time, a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) was awarded for a fifth year of study at the graduate level after the BS in Landscape Architecture. In 1959, the BS in Landscape Architecture was accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architecture. Both options were suspended in 1966, and replaced by a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design. Persons interested in landscape architecture were placed into the Design Option of this program after successful completion of a series of tests on graphic skills and creativity. In 1987, the Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture was resumed, and was accredited in 1990.
Master's in Landscape Architecture (MLA)
The MLA was initiated in 1915 as a Master's in Landscape Gardening, changed three years later to a Master's in Landscape Architecture. It was first accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1971.
Associate's in Landscape Contracting (AS)
This program, part of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, was initiated in 1923 as Horticulture, subsequently changed to Landscape Operations, and recently to Landscape Contracting.
Master's in Regional Planning (MRP)
This program was initiated in 1968, and in 1971, the name of the Department was changed to Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning to reflect a larger mission. However, it was not until 1976 that the MLA and MRP programs were administratively separated. The MRP was first accredited in 1987.
The Dual Degree Program (MLA/MRP)
Starting in the 1970's, an increasing number of graduate students selected courses that they would allow them to receive both the MLA and the MRP with one additional year of study. This was formalized as a distinct program in the late 1980's, and almost ten percent of entering students now choose this option.
Doctorate in Regional Planning (PhD)
This program was approved in 1988, and the first students were admitted in 1989.
Center for Rural Massachusetts
This Center was first established through an Act of the Massachusetts Legislature in 1984 as part of the College of Food and Natural Resources, and assigned to the Department in 1990.
Center for Economic Development
This Center was transferred to the College of Food and Natural Resources from the School of Business in the late 1980's, and assigned to the Department in 1989.
Degrees in Planning and Law
In 1997, an agreement was signed with the Western New England College of Law that allows students to obtain both an MRP and a JD in four rather than the usual five years.
Programs no longer with us
The history of these programs is complex, but from the 1950's to the early 1990's, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning was their primary home.
The Department was responsible for the academic part of this program for several years in the 1980's, graduating almost 100 students. Three of them have since been awarded MacArthur Fellowships, and one an honorary doctorate from the University.