Landscape Architecture Graduate Programs with Course Information

Graduate studies in landscape architecture are available at the master's and doctoral degree levels. Master's programs are for those seeking professional licensure, while doctoral programs focus on research. Students may choose specializations, like sustainable design or design technology.

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Essential Information

There are two types of landscape architecture master's programs. Students without a design or architecture background typically enroll in a three-year Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program. Applicants with a first-professional degree in architecture or landscape architecture may enroll in a two-year MLA, or post-professional master's. Both types of programs prepare students for initial licensure.

Admission requirements for doctoral programs in landscape architecture include a bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture or a closely related subject. Submission of a professional portfolio may be required at every graduate level.

Master's Degree in Landscape Architecture

There are more than 60 landscape architecture programs that have been accredited by or have candidacy with the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

Landscape architecture degree programs at the master's degree level train students in watershed management, environmental ethics and urban infrastructure design. Students learn to plan spaces with regards to the environment, usability, and sustainability. Time is divided between learning theory and working in a studio to gain hands-on experience in architectural design. Students can also spend a significant amount of time in the field at active building sites. Course topics include:

  • Landscape architecture theory
  • Landscape planning
  • Plants and ecology
  • Urban ecology
  • History of landscape architecture

Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture

Ph.D. programs in landscape architecture are research-based degrees in which students pursue highly specialized tracks of study. Common areas of specialization include environmentally sustainable design, cultural factors in design, and the technology of design. Many programs offer joint studies in landscape architecture and architecture. Ph.D. programs in landscape architecture are not accredited by the ASLA, which only accredits professional programs in landscape architecture.

Prior to beginning work on the research and writing of a dissertation, students in landscape architecture Ph.D. programs survey the history and theory of landscape architecture. Common courses include:

  • History of landscape architecture
  • Social factors in landscape architecture
  • Landscape architecture theory
  • Environmental design
  • Research methods in landscape architecture

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Landscape architects held 22,500 jobs in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Between 2014 and 2024 jobs for landscape architects are expected to grow 5%, which is the average growth rate across all job markets. Across the field of landscape architecture the median annual salary was $63,810 in May 2015, per the BLS.

Continuing Education

Nearly every state requires landscape architects to earn licensure. Common requirements for a landscape architect's license include earning a bachelor's or master's degree and several years of work experience under the supervision of a licensed landscape architect. To complete licensure, landscape architects must pass the Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE). Additionally, 13 states require aspiring landscape architects to pass a state exam covering topics such as local laws, native flora, and local soils.

Graduate landscape architecture programs cover a wide variety of topics and work modes to prepare students for professional careers in either building or research.

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