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Landscape Architecture


Landscape architecture programs prepare people to work as landscape architects. They learn to design gardens, parks, and natural settings.

Landscape architecture programs prepare people to design gardens, parks, and natural settings to add beauty to open spaces or structures. Students learn about soils, plants, geology, and hydrology. They study building codes, land use laws, and conservation techniques.

Landscape architecture covers topics such as:


Internships allow students to develop skills at companies or organizations. An internship in landscape architecture helps students develop a portfolio. An internship may also be required by a state licensing board.


Many colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs in landscape architecture. The professional bachelor's degree generally takes four to five years of full-time study.

Many colleges and universities also offer graduate degrees in landscape architecture. The professional master’s degree requires two years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree in architecture or landscape architecture. Students who have their bachelor's degree in another major usually need about three to four more years to complete this master’s degree.

A few colleges and universities offer a non-professional master's degree or a doctoral (PhD) degree program in landscape architecture. These programs are designed for people who are currently practicing in a related field such as architecture or historic preservation. A PhD usually requires two or more years of study after the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

For this program, schools recommend that you also focus on graphic arts and natural sciences. Some colleges require both a letter of intent from you and your portfolio of creative work.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree and good grades. You also need to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

Many graduate programs offer what's called a "first professional master's degree." This is a degree for someone who has no undergraduate background in landscape architecture. For these programs, your bachelor's degree does not have to be in any particular field. However, you should take as many visual arts and design courses as possible.

At schools that offer a "second professional degree," you must have a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture and work experience in the field.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

In this undergraduate program, you typically take courses such as the following:

You also take general courses in the natural sciences such as biology, chemistry, and physics.

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate course work tends to vary. In a first professional degree program, you generally take courses similar to the undergraduate courses shown above. In a post-professional degree program, you may take some core courses and then focus on a particular area of interest.

The outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

In both undergraduate and graduate programs, you typically complete a final project that requires you to combine your design, research, and analysis skills.

Some programs require you to complete an externship with an architecture firm, which exposes you to the day-to-day operations of landscape architecture. You might help conduct research on the geography of a potential site or help plan a design for a client. Whatever the application, you benefit from the direct supervision and guidance of a professional landscape architect.

Things to Know

Many schools require that students buy their own computers and drawing tools.

You need a license from your state in order to practice landscape architecture.

When an undergraduate program asks you to submit a portfolio, you may include many types of creative work from school, hobbies, clubs, volunteer work, and community projects. You want the portfolio to demonstrate your creative vision and awareness, especially in fine arts, natural science, and the environment.

Your professional portfolio begins with projects you complete as an undergraduate. It may include design studio projects, independent and team projects, and projects that you complete during an internship.

Many landscape architects are self-employed. If you're interested in starting your own firm, you should take business and marketing courses in college.


East Side Area

Washington State University - Pullman

King-Snohomish Area

Bastyr University

University of Washington - Seattle