This weekly seminar is required for MLA candidates electing to pursue a design thesis. The intent is to define the parameters of the design thesis and help students to frame their individual thesis statements and proposals. The course addresses a series of broad themes essential to developing a cogent thesis proposal. It includes the study and critique of precedents and representational techniques in landscape architecture; questions of site and program; and the identification of sources for research. The course also addresses practical necessities such as writing a thesis statement; site selection; base documentation; and data collection and analysis.
The course meets weekly for three hours; the usual format includes a one-hour session held with all students, followed by work in two or three groups for the purpose of reviewing assignments and work in progress. In addition to the class sessions, pin-ups, reviews, and individual meetings with instructors are an important aspect of the pedagogy of the course. Students are expected to identify and secure a thesis advisor during the first weeks of the semester. By the end of the semester students should have prepared individual thesis proposals and be able to present and defend their proposals verbally and on paper.