What Are the Top Landscape Schools?

Find out about three top schools that offer undergraduate and graduate programs in landscape architecture and design. Learn about program accreditation and landscape architect licensure requirements. Schools offering Landscape Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look For in a Top Landscape School?

Look for schools that have special campus facilities devoted to landscape architecture. You might consider programs that offer extensive study abroad opportunities. The best landscape architecture programs are accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Licensure requirements for landscape architects vary, but most states expect license applicants to hold a degree from an accredited school.

What Are Three Top Landscape Schools?

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

Harvard was ranked first in the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2016 (www.arwu.org). Harvard's graduate landscape architecture program was rated first among master's programs in the annual DesignIntelligence survey for 2016 (www.di.net).

The specialized Frances Loeb Library, with holdings of over 270,000 volumes and 900 periodical subscriptions related to architecture and design, provides services to students and faculty. The Graduate School of Design publishes Harvard Design Magazine; topics explored include new developments in the landscape architecture and urban planning fields. Research groups like TransUrban: Design and Environmental Sustainability explore the principles of sustainable design.

The Department of Landscape Architecture offers four master's programs that take 1.5-3 years to complete, based on previous educational preparation. For example, the Master in Landscape Architecture (MLA) I program is designed for individuals who've earned a bachelor's degree in any field. The MLA II program is for applicants who've completed an undergraduate program in professional landscape architecture. Prizes, awards and fellowships may be available for tuition support and travel costs. You could earn one of the following degrees:

  • MLA I, Professional Degree
  • MLA I AP, Advanced Placement
  • MLA II, Postprofessional Degree
  • MLA in Urban Design, Postprofessional Degree

Texas A&M in College Station

Texas A&M was among the top 150 schools in the Academic Ranking of World Universities for 2016. The university was in the top 5 for its undergraduate landscape architecture program and ranked at #9 for its graduate landscape architecture program in the 2016 DesignIntelligence rankings.

As an undergraduate student in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, you'll be required to spend one semester away from campus. You could study in Italy, Germany or Spain with affiliated faculty. To be admitted to the master's program, you'll need a portfolio showing evidence of design skills. Master's program students work under a landscape architect in a summer internship following completion of the first year's curriculum.

The interdisciplinary Center for Heritage Conservation has conducted projects involving both natural and built environments. The Partnership for Community Outreach supports departmental service activities. Texas A&M maintains an online archive of award-winning landscape architecture projects for the Texas Chapter of the ASLA. These degrees are available:

  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA)
  • MLA

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg

Virginia Tech tied for 74th in U.S. News & World Report's 2017 national university ratings. In the 2016 DesignIntelligence rankings, its undergraduate landscape architecture program was ranked #13.

An interdisciplinary summer abroad tour of Western Europe - including stops in France, Switzerland and the Netherlands - is offered to fourth-year undergraduate and graduate landscape architecture students. Fourth-year undergraduates may also enroll in a studio course at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC) or pursue an internship. Courses in the 1-, 2- or 3-year master's programs are taken at the Blacksburg campus and the WAAC. Master's program length is determined by undergraduate experience in the field.

The School of Architecture and Design hosts the Community Design Assistance Center (CDAC) and the International Archive of Women in Architecture. The CDAC assists with community and non-profit projects that enhance natural and built environments. Available degree programs include:

  • BLA
  • MLA
  • MLA/Master of Natural Resources
  • MLA/Master of Urban and Regional Planning
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture and Design Research

Ten More Top Schools with Landscape Architecture Programs

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College4-year, PublicBaton Rouge, LA
Pennsylvania State University4-year, PublicUniversity Park, PA
Cornell University4-year, PrivateIthaca, NY
University of Georgia4-year, PublicAthens, GA
California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo4-year, PublicSan Luis Obispo, CA
Purdue University4-year, PublicWest Lafayette, IN
Ball State University4-year, PublicMuncie, IN
Iowa State University4-year, PublicAmes, IA
Ohio State University4-year, PublicColumbus, OH
University of Pennsylvania4-year, PrivatePhiladelphia, PA

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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