Studying with UCD Landscape Architecture - James Whelan

My name is James Whelan and I am currently beginning third year studying Landscape Architecture in UCD. I was never dead set on a career path leaving school. I knew I had a natural ability for design and creativity but when I came across this course, I have to admit I knew very little about it. What I found out seemed to tick a lot of boxes and two years on, I can safely say it was an excellent choice. There are a lot of misconceptions about the profession in Ireland. It is an up and coming profession that isn’t practiced here to the extent of other European countries despite the fact we’re in desperate need. A type of glorified gardening were many people's interpretation but this could not be further from the truth, my favourite aspect of the course is actually computer aided design and finding creative and practical solutions for site specific projects. The course covers modules from a range of disciplines such as Architecture, Biology, Horticulture and Planning. In general, Landscape Architecture was way more multidisciplinary than even I had thought upon starting the course and  it has opened my eyes to the area of environmental conservation and working with nature to create and enhance human habitats in cities and rural areas.

We have a small year size and this makes it easier to arrange more site visits which naturally are incredibly valuable. Last October we were brought to Bordeaux to experience sites and schemes that would otherwise only be available through pictures in books and online. Our two years together so far have made us a very tight group although I’ll have to wave goodbye when I head to Virginia Tech next semester  to continue my studies, an opportunity I know I’m very lucky to have in UCD. Upon completing my degree I hope to gain experience straight away with one of many Landscape Architecture firms that have great ongoing projects throughout the country. The idea of working abroad and learning the craft in another environment especially across Europe really appeals to me also so decisions will have to be made down the line!

If you choose to study this bachelors a lot of your time will be spent working in studio on various design and research projects amongst your classmates and tutors. As a result, it has a strong social aspect and encourages working as part of a team. I also have to praise how the course develops your ability to speak and present to large groups of people. I’ve been given such a bedrock of confidence in this area which I believe is a priceless skill for anyone in any profession.

UCD as a University is always buzzing with energy and although our landscape home in Newstead is on the outskirts, we make regular trips to the main campus for various modules where we can mingle with other students. I love the atmosphere the college creates. There’s so much opportunity for students to get involved in anything and everything and meet new people. I have made friends through the L&H Society as well as through various sports such as tag rugby and table tennis. I would recommend every new student to try something new. See where it takes you and what friends you meet along the way. I can’t flaw the social aspect of the college, nor the Landscape Architecture course itself which I would highly recommend to anyone looking for an exciting and rewarding college experience.