Preparation of MLA Design Thesis

A thesis is a thematic proposition offered for discussion and debate. A thesis is typically developed through a piece of original research specific to an academic discipline, often at the culmination of a program of study. Design theses are pursued through the methods and media specific to the design disciplines, through design research. Candidates in the Master in Landscape Architecture program elect to pursue independent design theses at the culmination of their graduate work. 

This research seminar is intended for Master in Landscape Architecture candidates electing to pursue a design thesis in their final year of study. The course defines the parameters of a design thesis and assists candidates in the development of their own individual design thesis proposals. The course addresses a series of broad themes essential to developing a cogent thesis proposal including design research, projective practices, discursive agendas, site contexts, programmatic drivers, and representational strategies. The seminar examines the role of precedent projects and design methods in thesis, as well as the status of design and design research as forms of knowledge production in the research university. 

The seminar meets weekly for three hours, beginning with a presentation and seminar discussion followed by tutorial workshops with smaller groups. In addition to the regularly scheduled class sessions, tutorial workshops, and formal reviews, individual meetings with faculty advisors are an important aspect of the course. Students will be invited to identify and secure a GSD faculty thesis advisor during the first half of the term. By the end of the term, candidates will have prepared a proposal for their individual design thesis through word and image.