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Landscape Architecture Degree

Landscape architecture is a combination of art and science channeled towards planning and designing outdoor areas, from residential walkways to city parks, from campuses to corporate centers, from cemeteries to the restoration of natural places. Function and aesthetic appeal are the two top priorities in this area of study. State certification is required in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to work as a Landscape Architect.


Landscape architecture programs will include the theory and history of landscape design, complemented by computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) systems training. Soil science and management of sites or projects will also play significant roles in the position. There are two types of degrees available at this level, both taking between 4 to 5 years to complete. Students can opt for a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA) or a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA), depending on career goals.

A BSLA is considered a non-professional degree and does not lead to licensure. The world of academia or research is usually the end-goal for students working towards this degree type. The curriculum will include graphic design, ecology, and landscaping plans.

The BLA is considered a pre-professional degree, leading to licensure, and, ultimately, a job as a Landscape Architect. The curriculum will be more focused and include site construction and engineering, urban design, and landscape preservation.

Careers for graduates with a baccalaureate in landscape architecture include: Landscape Architect, Planning and Development Surveyer, Field Trials Officer, Nature Conservation Officer. The median annual salary for Landscape Architects is $63,000.

Master Level

There are a few degree options at this level, depending on the bachelor’s degree obtained and career goals.

For students with a bachelor’s in something other than landscape architecture, the first-professional Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) is an option. It can typically be completed within 3 years and is for individuals intending to become landscape architecture practitioners. When choosing a program for this degree type, look for accreditation from the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB).

The second-professional Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) is for students with a baccalaureate already in the area of study. It’s able to be completed within 2 years. The scope of the program will delve deeper into a specific area, such as environmental technologies or design research.

To conduct research, the typical options are a Master of Arts (MA) in Landscape Architecture or a Master of Science (MS) in Landscape Architecture.

Doctorate Level

At this level of education, institutions will typically ask students to focus in on a specific facet of landscape architecture, such as research in advanced technology, urban form, development of cities and regions, or to put an emphasis on the social, economic, or ecological impacts of landscape architecture. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees can be found under a few different names, including as a PhD in Design, Construction, and Planning, a PhD in Landscape Architecture, or a PhD in Urban Planning (if that’s the desired focus).

PhD programs in this area of study typically require a completed professional baccalaureate degree for entry.

Careers for graduates with a PhD in Landscape Architecture: Professor, Researcher, Leader in the landscape architecture industry

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