Ten (10) Best Schools for Landscape Architecture

Ten (10) Best Schools for Landscape Architecture

Over the next few years, the landscape architecture field is expected to expand. According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor, landscape architects’ employment is expected to rise by 5% between now and 2024. There is an ever-increasing demand for resources and an ever-increasing supply of people capable of balancing this demand without harming the natural environment or the available resources.

A landscape architect is one of the many professionals involved in these areas. Working with other experts, the landscape architect develops practical plans. Whereas some architects and engineers are more concerned with making a project function properly, landscape architects are tasked with creating a visually stunning design while ensuring the long-term sustainability of local resources and ecology.

The field of landscape architecture has risen to prominence in recent years and is now considered one of the most desirable professions to pursue. It’s a rewarding and challenging job that allows you to positively impact the environment and natural resources while providing a vital service. The field necessitates candidates with diverse abilities, including the ability to think creatively, scientifically, collaboratively, and technologically. Those who want to work in the field will need a wide range of skills and knowledge.

Developing an in-depth understanding of the field requires hands-on experience. Landscape architecture is a highly competitive field, with many employers and clients preferring to hire people who have worked in the field before. You must attend an accredited college or university with a landscape architecture degree program that includes hands-on training and academic instruction. Accreditation by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board is your best bet for a top-notch education. We give you the best ten schools you can study landscape architecture in.

Ten (10) Best Schools for Landscape Architecture 

  • University of Florida

The University of Florida’s Department of Landscape Architecture offers a professionally accredited bachelor’s degree program in landscape architecture and is widely regarded as one of the best in the country. Established in 1933, the Department’s mission is to research to improve the field of landscape architecture’s knowledge and practice while also addressing societal issues. Their professors’ research focuses on a wide range of topics in both practice and theory.

There are numerous summer study abroad options available to students in the programs, including Nantucket, Mexico, Prague, and China. Longer-term study abroad programs are also available, lasting up to a semester. The Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board has given full accreditation to the degree programs.

In addition to 50,000 students, the University of Florida at Gainesville has more than 120 departments and numerous research centers. The university system has set national standards for attaining excellence. By actively recruiting faculty and students from all over the world, the university has achieved this objective. Design Construction and Planning is a five-discipline college. Since it has such a wide range of specialties, the School of Architecture is well-suited to help shape the built environment, initiate research, and protect the surrounding environment through its teachings. It has its building on campus for the College of Design, Construction, and Planning.

University of Florida's Department of Landscape Architecture

With over 750 students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate programs, the School of Architecture is one of the largest in the country. There are many different approaches to the architectural design presented by the architecture faculty, which are internationally recognized and diverse. International faculty and lecturers are an essential part of the educational process. In the north of the state, just one hour from both the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, the city of Gainesville has a population of around 250,000.

The University of Florida’s five-year bachelor’s degree program in landscape architecture is taught in the classroom and the student’s design studio. Capstone projects are required for all fifth-year students to demonstrate the culmination of their academic achievements. After the third year of college, students are also encouraged to pursue internships.

The university offers a first professional master of landscape architecture program, a post-professional master of landscape architecture program, and an interdisciplinary program leading to the doctorate of philosophy degree in design, construction, and planning at the Master’s degree level. For Master’s students, there is the option of producing a thesis or a final project, which allows for greater formatting flexibility.

  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Frank A. Waugh established this undergraduate program in landscape architecture in 1903 at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The Department has grown and now has a variety of programs. As a result of these positive developments, the division recently relocated to a brand-new, environmentally friendly building in January 2017.

Community engagement, technological innovation, regional economy, cultural heritage, and society are all areas of research and instruction within the Department, as designs exploration, regenerative urbanism, and regional/greenway planning. Graduate certificates are awarded in these areas. Professional accreditation is granted to every one of the university’s degree programs.

UMAS Amherst is the only New England public university to offer a Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.). The Landscape Architecture Program was established in 1903 and is fully accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board, making it the second-oldest in the country.

With two bachelor’s degrees and an associate’s degree in two years, the Department of Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning offers more degree options than other landscape architecture schools. A Master’s in landscape architecture, a master’s in regional planning, and a doctorate in regional planning are all available at the graduate level. Various certificate and dual degree options are available, as are numerous study abroad opportunities.

  • University of Connecticut

The Plant Science and Landscape Architecture program at the University of Connecticut aims to prepare students for careers in landscape architecture through classroom instruction and fieldwork. The Department sponsors several public programs and events to help engage the local community, including Master Gardeners, Invasive Species, and Integrated Pest Management (I.P.M.).

Program directors and students draw on their own experience and education to provide the community with valuable resources. Frederick Law Olmsted, a Connecticut native, was a significant influence on the preservation of Yosemite Valley, Central Park, Boston’s Back Bay Fens, and numerous college campuses across the country about 150 years ago. As a result of his pioneering work, the University of Connecticut’s Department of Landscape Architecture continues to draw inspiration from it today.

The University of Connecticut was established as a state-funded institution in 1881. More than 18,000 incoming freshmen will join the school’s 4,057-acre campus, located in the rural countryside. It makes use of a school calendar based on semesters. According to the 2022 edition of Best Colleges, the University of Connecticut will be ranked 63rd among all national universities. Out-of-state tuition and fees are $41,192 for in-state students and $18,524 for out-of-state students.

The Storrs Agricultural School was the original name for the University of Connecticut, located in Storrs, Connecticut. It’s about 30 minutes from Hartford, 60 minutes from Providence, R.I., and 90 minutes from Boston. Storrs is a sleepy town. Over 450 clubs and organizations, including more than 30 fraternities and sororities, are available to students on campus without getting involved.

Plant Science and Landscape Architecture program at the University of Connecticut

Students have free access to the school’s ice rink and on-campus movie theater. The American Athletic Conference, where the UConn Huskies compete, is a primary focus for students, and the Huskies’ basketball teams are particularly fierce. There is no requirement for first-year students to live on campus, but more than 70% of all undergraduates prefer to do so. In the 1940s, the school’s Campus Community Carnival was transformed into a multi-day celebration known as Spring Weekend.

A bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture is available at the University of Connecticut, and master’s and doctoral degrees. In terms of outreach, the Department focuses on landscape architecture and plant sciences, so there are a lot of crossovers. Solving community planning issues and safeguarding and restoring natural resources are essential to them.

Before taking landscape theory and graphics courses, all undergraduates must take an introductory biology and chemistry course. Students will be expected to complete and present a capstone project in their final year of college. Aspiring graduate students should expect to work closely with a faculty member on independent research projects. There are two ways to earn a master’s degree. Graduate assistantships are available as part of the Plan A research component. Plan B consists of more coursework and less research than Plan A.

  • North Carolina State University at Raleigh

The College of Design at North Carolina State University at Raleigh houses the university’s Department of Landscape Architecture. Educate, learn, research, and put cutting-edge landscape practices that promote human and ecosystem health, social equity, and a high standard of living.

Students in landscape architecture programs learn to think strategically about design and are encouraged to stay current with the field as it changes to meet the demands of ever-evolving environments. As a result, students have access to more “laboratories” in North Carolina’s Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains regions, and Prague, Czech Republic. The Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board has confirmed that all landscape architecture programs are fully accredited.

Raleigh’s North Carolina State University has discontinued its undergraduate landscape architecture program, but it continues to offer graduate programs, including the first professional Master’s of landscape architecture, the post-professional 48 credit hour master’s of landscape architecture, and the post-professional 30 credit hour master’s of landscape architecture degree programs. The school will provide core knowledge and tools in the first half of all degree programs; students will then have the opportunity to conduct their research and study to become proficient in their chosen field of study.

Design issues related to urban growth and (re)development, the integration of resource-conserving urban infrastructure systems, place-making that incorporates cultural and economic vitality, climate change adaptation, and the promotion of environmental justice are all addressed by the Department’s multidisciplinary approach.

Every semester, N.C. State University students and faculty can take advantage of a wide range of educational opportunities throughout the Research Triangle, the South East, Prague, Ghana, and N.C. State University European campus and other exciting locales. Sustainable design, site planning, the environment and behavior of landscapes, historical and theoretical perspectives on the landscape, media production, landscape planning, research methods, and professional practices are all covered in various seminars. Our goal is to prepare students for current practice and leadership roles in a dynamic and transformative profession.

Programs offered by the Department include:

  1. Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) degree program is an 84-credit hour program accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board. Depending on previous coursework in landscape architecture and other design disciplines, students may be granted advanced standing in the program. Applications to the undergraduate Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (B.L.A.) program are no longer being accepted as the program is currently in its third year of a planned 5-year phase-out).
  2. Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) degree program – Students who already have a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (B.L.A.) degree can enroll in this 48-credit program.
  3. Graduate Certificate in City Design – An interdisciplinary program offered in conjunction with the School of Architecture, focuses on current and emerging planning and design issues and opportunities confronting small and large communities and cities.
  4. Design of Intergenerational Landscapes Graduate Certificate – focused on designing and managing outdoor spaces for children and families in various disciplines.
  • Cornell University

One of the best landscape architecture schools globally, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University is well-known for its education and research quality. Its research has made significant contributions to the advancement of plant and animal health knowledge.

Since its inception in 1904, the Department of Landscape Architecture has sought to educate students who are both socially conscious and creative. Allows students to tailor the course of study to their interests. Innovative and functional solutions are encouraged for the profession’s challenging problems by students. The importance of conservation is stressed. Experts and educators from around the world teach the courses. The college’s extensive resources and cutting-edge facilities, including state-of-the-art technology and tools, are available to students.

Graduate and undergraduate degrees are available in landscape architecture from the Department. Both theory and practice are taught to students in the bachelor’s program. It is necessary to take courses in theory and practice integration, landscape medium, foundations of landscape architecture, American landscape photography, site construction, site engineering, urban design, and landscape architecture computer applications.

Undergraduates can earn academic credit for research and teaching, take studio courses, and go on field trips. Courses in written and oral expression, social sciences, humanities, physical sciences, and biological sciences are part of the general core curriculum. Students design their specializations, including fine arts, design studios, urban remediation, green architecture, landscape art, history, and historic preservation.

  • Purdue University

Since its humble beginnings in 1884, Purdue University’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture has gained national recognition for the high quality of its degree programs and is consistently recognized as one of the top landscape architecture schools. Purdue University endeavors to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to become responsible professionals capable of developing innovative and aesthetically appealing solutions to the challenges of the landscape architect profession.

Students who choose to pursue a degree in landscape architecture at Purdue University will have the opportunity to study abroad and participate in groundbreaking research and outreach projects and the highly regarded and unparalleled cooperative education program. As a result of Purdue University’s programs, students have become world-renowned educators and researchers in their respective fields.

Purdue University was founded in 1869 and is a public university. With 34,920 students (fall 2020), a city location, and a campus area of 2,468 acres, it is one of the largest in the country for undergraduates. The academic year is divided into two semesters. In the Best Colleges ranking for 2022, Purdue University is listed as the 49th best national university. Tuition and fees for in-state students at the university are $9,992; out-of-state students pay $28,794.

Purdue University

Purdue University’s West Lafayette, Indiana, is the main campus in the Purdue University system, encompassing four other campuses throughout the state. Purdue has a wide variety of organizations and activities for students to participate in, and about 20% of students are members of Greek life. Performance groups include the “All American” Marching Band, six jazz bands, and two symphony orchestras.

Purdue’s athletic teams, known as the Boilermakers, compete in the Big Ten Conference and are known for their dominant men’s and women’s basketball teams. Purdue’s official mascot, the Boilermaker Special, is a railroad locomotive cared for and maintained by the student-run Purdue Reamer Club. Some students choose to live on campus, although they are not obligated to do so.

Purdue University offers undergraduate and graduates degree programs in landscape architecture. The goal of the five-year undergraduate professional landscape architecture degree program is to design beautiful and functional outdoor spaces while also respecting and harmonizing with the environment. Planning and communication skills and knowledge of regulations and drafting are emphasized in the curriculum.

There is a four-year academic requirement and one year of work experience for students in the program. It is possible to take a survey in landscape architecture or a variety of electives in design, graphics, and science if you want to learn more about the history and theory of the field or if you want to learn more about the woody landscape plants or site systems.

  • Clemson University

Founded in 1987, the Clemson University Department of Landscape Architecture is part of the university’s College of Architecture Arts and Humanities, which aims to provide transformative education, knowledge development, and creative expression in rapidly changing environments locally and globally. The Department places a high value on creativity, innovation, civic engagement, environmental stewardship, placemaking, and global education.

Within the Department, students are urged to pursue multidisciplinary studies in fields such as forestry, sociology (including historic preservation), engineering (including sustainable design), as well as tourism (including ecotourism). While in Charleston, Genoa, or Barcelona, students can continue their education away from campus. The Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board has granted accreditation to all three-degree programs.

Clemson University offers both a B.L.A. and an M.L.A. degree in landscape architecture (M.L.A.). It includes two professional degrees: a first professional degree for students who have no design background and a second professional degree for those who want to pursue an advanced degree in landscape architecture. After five years in the program, students will be required to present a portfolio of their work that shows the culmination and progression of what they have learned. Design-build and research projects are examples of exit projects. It’s the culmination of what you’ve learned in the course.

Three years is the standard length of time for the first professional M.L.A. program, which is intended to provide students with both professional education and the opportunity to conduct extensive research or work on projects. Applicants must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in any field of study. A five-year bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture is required for admission to the second professional M.L.A. program.

Graduate students in the Master of Landscape Architecture program are encouraged to focus on the Department’s strengths, including urban and community design, historical and ecological landscape restoration, and health-and-design-related issues. Historically, Clemson M.L.A. graduates have had a wide range of employment options across the United States.

Landscape architects are primarily employed in urban and suburban areas across the United States, but many also work in rural and wilderness areas (particularly landscape architects employed by the federal government engaged in the design and management of parks, recreation, and natural resource areas). Graduates of Clemson’s M.L.A. program will be qualified to teach in landscape architecture programs across North America, influencing future generations of landscape architects.

  • University of California-Berkeley

Students at the University of California-Department Berkeley of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning study all aspects of landscape architecture and management, from conception to restoration. The Department was established in 1913. The Department places a high value on hands-on learning experiences outside of the classroom and encourages its students to work with a diverse group of faculty members to learn about the local environment.

Small-scale green spaces, streetscapes, public plazas, and parks are among the Department’s many research interests, ecological infrastructure, resource-efficient community design, urban forestry, environmental restoration, and ecological landscapes. Studies of the program’s field have taken place in California and other states in the U.S. and other countries such as the United States of America, Egypt, France, Portugal, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Ecuador, and China.

In the Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning, students can earn a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture, a master’s degree in landscape architecture, or a Ph.D. in landscape architecture and environmental planning. The undergraduate program provides a liberal arts perspective and pre-professional training for those who wish to pursue a career in academia.

Before enrolling in major courses, students must complete both a physical and a biological science course as part of the B.A.’s core curriculum. To earn an M.L.A. degree, students must choose between Plan I – Thesis or Plan II – Comprehensive Exam (professional project or designated studio). Students must conduct original research on a topic related to landscape architecture or environmental planning for their thesis project.

For the comprehensive exam, you can use either a professional project or a designated studio to demonstrate a wide range of expertise and the concepts and skills required in landscape architecture as a career. Internships are also highly recommended, but professional experience can take their place. The College of Environmental Design offers introductory summer programs for students who want to learn more about environmental design.

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Department Madison of Landscape Architecture is a part of the school’s College of Agricultural & Life Sciences. In 1888, the College of Agriculture began teaching landscape architecture, like many land grant universities in the United States. The University of Wisconsin made landscaping architecture an official bachelor’s degree program in 1926. It was not long before the university established the Master’s degree in 1929.

As an academic unit dedicated to studying and advancing landscape architecture, the Department of Landscape Architecture aims to provide a conducive learning environment for its students and faculty members alike. With a focus on interdisciplinary education and problem solving, the University of Wisconsin’s landscape architecture program follows many other programs’ footsteps.

Students can earn a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture or a bachelor’s degree in science, depending on their interests (Landscape Studies). To become licensed landscape architects, students must complete the BSLA program, which the American Society of Landscape Architects accredits. They’ll be ready to go on to graduate school with either program.

The university offers a Master of Science in Landscape Architecture (MSLA) degree, distinct from most M.L.A. degrees offered by other programs. Students can also pursue a specialization in community and urban landscape studies or restoration ecology and ecological design if they so desire. A 1,200-acre greenhouse at the University of Wisconsin serves as an example of Wisconsin’s native plant communities for all programs.

  • The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

In 1907, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign became one of the first universities in the United States to offer a formal degree in landscape architecture. Students at the school aim to study how human activity affects our planet’s natural resources and how natural and historical factors affect our lives. The Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board has accredited the Department’s degree programs (LAAB).

In 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was established as a state-supported institution of higher learning in Illinois. Total undergraduate enrollment was 33,683 in the fall of 2020, and the campus is 1,783 acres large.

Located in the cities of Urbana and Champaign in east-central Illinois, just a few hours away from Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis are the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign, the University of Illinois. As a Big Ten Conference member school, the University of Illinois’ Fighting Illini competes in more than 20 NCAA Division I varsity sports. A quarter of the student body is involved in the Greek system at the university, making it one of the largest in the country. Over 1,600 student organizations on campus, including professional, political, and philanthropic clubs, so finding something to do isn’t difficult. All first-year students must live on campus.

The University of Illinois’ Department of Landscape Architecture offers undergraduate, Master’s, and Ph.D. programs in landscape architecture. Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (B.L.A.) is a 124-semester-hour degree program. In addition, 65 hours of landscape architecture courses are required, including design studio, construction, plant materials, design, history, design communication, and a professional internship. Students must complete a foreign language requirement and requirements in art and rhetoric because this program is part of the College for Fine and Applied Arts.

The landscape architecture master’s degree can be completed in two or three years, depending on whether or not the student also studies design. A mix of studios, coursework, and possible thesis research/development is expected. Joint M.L.A./Master of Urban Planning or MLA/MBA programs are also available to students. In addition to the required summer internship, design students will spend their final fall semester at the Chicago Studio, where they will deepen their understanding of the city’s built environment.

Conclusion 

Because landscape architecture is heavily research-based and necessitates on-the-job training, most universities do not currently offer accredited online degrees in the field. While some schools may offer online courses tailored to meet the needs of specific students, distance learning programs cannot yet be completed in their entirety. Look into individual departments and low-residency programs for students who want to learn in a more flexible setting.

This article provides a new perspective on the best landscape architecture schools and colleges.

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