New Survey Ranks LSU School of Landscape Architecture First in U.S.

(Baton Rouge) – The LSU School of Landscape Architecture has the top-ranked undergraduate degree program in the nation, according the results of a 2007 survey released this week by Design Intelligence, the leading journal of the design professions. The same study also ranked the School’s graduate program fifth in the country.

“Everyone in the school is thrilled by our new rankings,” said Elizabeth Mossop, director of the School of Landscape Architecture. “It is a tribute to the achievements of our students, alumni and faculty in recent years.”

While U.S. News and World Report has established a nationally recognized ranking system for universities and many university programs, the magazine does not rank design schools. To fill that void, Design Intelligence began its own ranking of accredited programs in architecture, landscape architecture and interior design several years ago. Since then, the Design Intelligence survey has become the established ranking system for design programs across the U.S.

“This is extremely significant,” said David Conrath, dean of the College of Art+Design, which oversees the School of Landscape Architecture. “One of the criteria for the LSU Flagship Agenda is to have our academic units recognized by national organizations for exceptional quality.”

Rankings in the Design Intelligence survey are based on statistical information, professional surveys and academic surveys. Practitioners at leading U.S. landscape architecture firms complete the survey, which asks them which schools have produced the best-prepared graduates during the past five years.

“While the professional and academic surveys are based more on reputation than hard evidence, it is important to note that it is these same firms who actually hire graduates from accredited schools,” Conrath said.

LSU’s School of Landscape Architecture undergraduate program moves up to first place from third, where it was ranked in 2006. The graduate program, meanwhile, remains in the top five for the second year in a row. More significantly, the School has been among the top ten since the survey began.

“To me this demonstrates the School has a well-rounded and effective educational program,” Conrath said. “It means the faculty is extremely engaged in the academic enterprise and committed to their students’ success, the students are inspired and devoted, and the leadership of the School has a clear vision that is respected by the profession.”