What Was Your Favorite Subject in School?

Manassas Park Elementary School Landscape – 2011 General Design Honor Award Winner image: Siteworks
Manassas Park Elementary School Landscape – 2011 General Design Honor Award Winner
image: Siteworks

The opening question of the 2014 survey of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) asked members to think back to their time in school to tell us about their favorite subjects to study. Though most respondents did not discover landscape architecture until later—either during college or afterwards—in many cases, their academic preferences earlier on foreshadowed their subsequent inclination to the field.

Here is the breakdown of responses, in order of popularity:

  1. Art – selected by 32.8% of respondents
  2. Science – 23.5%
  3. Social Studies – 15.7%
  4. Math – 14.6%
  5. English – 9.5%
  6. Music – 3.9%

It seems appropriate that art and science came out on top in a survey of landscape architects, whose practice deftly combines the two.

Several respondents chose “Other” as their answer, and wrote in their own response. In addition to “none of the above” and “all of the above,” these responses included:

  • Wood shop
  • Drafting
  • Geography
  • Foreign languages: German, French, and Latin
  • Gym

A follow-up question also asked about minors or degrees earned in fields other than landscape architecture—nearly two-thirds of respondents have studied different subjects. In some cases, the connection to or possible applications within landscape architecture are clear:

  • Horticulture
  • Botany
  • Environmental Studies
  • Planning
  • Architecture
  • Forestry & Wildlife
  • Natural Resources Management
  • Agriculture
  • Biology
  • Geology
  • Historic Preservation
  • Business
  • Art
  • Graphic Design

In other cases, the connection is more intriguing:

  • Electrical Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Psychology
  • English
  • Comparative Literature
  • East Asian Studies
  • Film Studies
  • Theater Design
  • Textile History and Design
  • Music
  • Aviation

Given its multidisciplinary nature, landscape architecture clearly appeals to people with a diverse range of academic backgrounds, resulting in an exceptionally varied group of professionals whose many areas of expertise no doubt broaden and enrich their understanding of landscapes.

Interested in learning more about landscape architecture? Check out ASLA’s Your Path to Landscape Architecture website.

At the start of 2014, a questionnaire was sent out to members of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). The theme: career paths in landscape architecture. As you can imagine, responses were varied, and included many insightful comments and suggestions. Synopses of the survey results were originally shared in LAND over the course of 2014, and we are now re-posting this information here on The Field. For the latest updates on the results of the annual PPN Survey, see LAND’s PPN News section.

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