Tulane University launches new landscape architecture and engineering dual degree to address climate challenges

Tulane University has launched a first-of-its-kind dual graduate degree — the Master of Landscape Architecture and Master of Science in River-Coastal Science and Engineering, which will begin recruiting its first graduate students this summer.

The new program, a partnership between Tulane’s School of Architecture and School of Science and Engineering, is designed to meet the growing need for professionals in landscape architecture, design, building, engineering and planning as climate change and extreme weather continue to impact communities globally.

The new dual degree creates a pathway for students interested in pursuing a career in landscape architecture, informed by a strong background in science and in engineering, with high design abilities focused on environmental and social issues.

“This unique program is sure to attract students from across the globe due to its singular and clear interdisciplinary education, not offered in most other programs,” said Iñaki Alday, dean of Tulane University School of Architecture. “Everyone in the field who we talk to says, ‘Yes, that’s exactly what we need.’ We need landscape architects with engineering knowledge who are going to be effective technically, aesthetically and ecologically. We need engineers who can design places for people and ecologies.”

The Landscape Architecture and Engineering program will begin recruiting its first cohort of graduate students in Summer 2024 with an application deadline of Jan. 15, 2025. Formalization of the degree is expected in 2024 through the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB).

“Marrying landscape architecture with specialized engineering and science knowledge will enable graduates to deeply contribute to our region and other coastal communities around the world,” said Kimberly Foster, dean of Tulane’s School of Science and Engineering. “The opportunities should be limitless.”

The program will be co-directed by Margarita Jover, a professional architect and landscape architect and professor of architecture at the Tulane School of Architecture, and Ehab Meselhe, professor of river-coastal science and engineering at Tulane School of Science and Engineering.

“Urban designers, landscape architects, engineers and different professions working within the built environment must focus on ‘desired futures’ and ways to get there,” Jover said. “Melding design and the sciences in this interdisciplinary education will prepare future professionals to design ‘climate-adaptation plans’ to support cities and towns nationwide.”

The dual degree is designed to be completed in three and a half years, with the program beginning in the summer term. It also includes collaboration with the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Earth and Environmental Sciences departments in the School of Science and Engineering.

“The dual degree is a major step forward in our efforts to adequately prepare our students to tackle complex and interdisciplinary environmental challenges,” Meselhe said.

The formation of this innovative dual degree is made possible by Tulane’s size and its administrative structure, which is designed to encourage collaboration across disciplines.

“It’s very exciting to collaborate with another school and demonstrate what we always talk about at Tulane – working from one school to the other and being highly collaborative – and in doing so, creating a new field at the intersection,” Alday said. “There is where innovation will happen.”

For more information about the Landscape Architecture and Engineering program, visit architecture.tulane.edu/academics/landscape-and-engineering.