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Landscape Studies

About The Program

The Landscape Studies Program at Smith, the first in a liberal arts undergraduate college in the United States, joins architecture, landscape architecture, landscape history and theory, art, art history and literature with the sciences and social sciences to investigate critical issues in the built environment.

Students study the design, history, and politics of landscapes in the United States and abroad. We read histories, theory, and literary texts that express the great range of ways in which people inhabit, shape, and understand the landscape. In classrooms and in studios, we explore physical landscapes and design working plans.

The Landscape Studies Program links faculty, students, and courses in Architecture, Engineering, and Environmental Science and Policy; together, these people and programs produce a study of the design, ecology, politics, and human relationship to the environment that we believe is unique in the United States.

Smith's resources make this possible. Our campus is a botanic garden and an arboretum, an historic landscape designed by the firm of Frederic Law Olmsted, the creator of Central Park. Our museum, libraries, rare book room, the campus itself, and our curriculum together form a unique, rich archive and laboratory for the study of human interactions with the spaces and places we inhabit.

The Five Colleges—Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and the University of Massachusetts—are collectively a hotbed of academic, artistic and activist involvement with the environment. University professors of landscape architecture and regional planning welcome our students in their courses. Under a new agreement between Smith and the Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of Massachusetts, Smith students can choose courses here and at the University that will permit them to receive the professional degrees of Master in Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture in two years instead of three.

Our own landscape, the Connecticut River Valley, is one of the most fertile agricultural landscapes in the country; it is now a center for innovations in design, recovery, and use of our environment.