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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, welcomed its inaugural class of landscape architecture graduate students this year. A joint collaboration between the College of Architecture and Design and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the landscape architecture graduate program is the only program of its kind in the state.

More than 30 students applied, from which 10 were selected. Five women and five men make up the class, with an average undergraduate grade point of 3.5. Of the 10 students, six attended undergraduate programs at UT Knoxville, including five who graduated from the plant sciences landscape design program and one who graduated from the bachelor of architecture program. Two students have come from across the world to study — one born and educated in Indonesia, the other in China.

“This group of students brings intelligence, excitement and a diversity of life experiences to their studies here at UT,” said UT professor Tracy Walker Moir-McClean, interim coordinator of the landscape architecture graduate program. “I am looking forward to watching their potential develop as we move through these three years together.”

This inaugural class brings Tennessee one step closer to meeting the need for well-trained and licensed landscape architects in the state, Moir-McClean said. Several institutions in Tennessee, including UT, offer landscape architecture-related programs at the undergraduate level. Unfortunately, many graduates of those programs have been lost to institutions in other states that offer advanced degrees in landscape architecture. Offering this program at UT Knoxville will help keep graduates in state to work and help companies recruit employees more easily.

Moir-McClean said the program is in the process of applying for candidacy status with the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB). This year the program will file a self-evaluation report with LAAB and will host a visit by an LAAB representative to review facilities and resources UT offers to support the new program. Completing these two steps formalizes candidacy status for the program.

The program then remains a candidate program until the first class graduates. After the first class completes its course of study and graduates in spring 2011, the professional degree program will be reviewed for accreditation.

LAAB considers graduates of a program that achieves accreditation from candidacy status to have graduated from an accredited program.

The program at UT offers four degrees: the Master of Landscape Architecture first-professional degree, the Master of Landscape Architecture post-professional degree, the Master of Arts in Landscape Architecture, and the Master of Science in Landscape Architecture. The first-professional Master of Landscape Architecture degree prepares students to seek licensure, whereas the other master’s degrees are for those who want to conduct research in landscape architecture but do not seek to be registered professional practitioners.

All 10 members of the inaugural class are seeking the professional degree.

Though the program is administratively housed in the College of Architecture and Design, it is cross-disciplinary in its scope of studies and in the composition of its faculty.

Establishment of the program took several years and the support of many in and around the region, including the Tennessee American Society of Landscape Architects (TN ASLA), the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board, the Tennessee State Board of Architectural and Engineering Examiners and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission gave final approval in late July 2007 for the program.

Coinciding with the beginning of this new program, TN ASLA will hold its 2008 annual conference in Knoxville on Sept. 11. One of the main reasons for choosing Knoxville as the conference location was to celebrate the start of the landscape architecture graduate program at UT Knoxville. Both the university and the TN ASLA are looking forward to students joining the Tennessee chapter as student members this academic year.

For more information on the program, please contact Tracy Walker Moir-McClean at (865) 974-5265 or at

Kristi Hintz, Media Relations, (865) 974-3993,

Tracy Walker Moir-McClean, (865) 974-5265,