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Best Landscape Architecture and Design Programs

Read on for information about some good schools that offer landscape architecture and design programs. Get an idea of what you can look for in a school to see if it's the right one for you. Learn about schools and their distinctions. Find out what degree programs entail, including internships and study abroad opportunities.

What Makes a Top Landscape Architecture and Design Program?

As a landscape architect, you'll frequently work with other design professionals, so look for collaborative opportunities such as workshops and real-world projects supervised by faculty. You'll want first-rate computing facilities and equipment to support intensive drawing, modeling, and geographic information systems computer software applications. Travel options can develop your aesthetic repertoire and skills. Campus facilities like specialized labs and arboretums will also be available.

You'll need a license to work as a landscape architect in most states. In some cases, this entails graduating from an accredited landscape architecture degree program. All of the following schools are accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects' (ASLA) Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB).

What Are Three of the Best Landscape Architecture and Design Programs?

Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge

LSU is a federal sea, land and space grant research university. It was ranked 140th among national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2019. Travel opportunities in the U.S., Mexico, Europe and Asia are frequent and encouraged. Special facilities include the Hilltop Arboretum, a Computer Aided Design and Geographic Information Systems lab, the Urban Landscape Lab, the Coastal Sustainability Studio and a unique Terrain.Interaction.Kinetics (TiKi) Lab for research on interactive environments. The following degrees are available:

  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
  • Master of Landscape Architecture

University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

Penn is an Ivy League university tied for 8th among national universities, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2019. You can also participate in a design studio that addresses the Mississippi Delta's unique landscape design challenges. Penn's resources include the Morris Arboretum, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and PennPraxis, which provides landscape architecture students with opportunities to work on external projects under faculty supervision. You'll develop comprehensive interdisciplinary skills through collaboration opportunities with the School of Design's architecture, fine arts, historic preservation and city planning students. A master's degree and three joint degrees are available:

  • Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.)
  • M.L.A./Master of Architecture
  • M.L.A./Master of City Planning
  • M.L.A./Master of Fine Arts

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

Virginia Tech was tied for 76th among national universities in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 rankings. The Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center permits one semester in residence for landscape architecture undergraduates and offers professional master's degree programs to candidates with varying experience levels.

You'll have an assigned studio desk, joining other students in a facility equipped with a reading room, wireless Internet, plotters, scanners and a laser cutter. Each summer, an interdisciplinary tour of Europe is offered to juniors and graduate students. Foreign exchange programs with universities in Germany, England and China are available to fourth-year undergraduates. Internships are also available.

Virginia Tech hosted the KEM Studio design firm's Integrated Design Studio, which provided opportunities to complete projects with cross-major teams drawn from the architecture and design fields. Virginia Tech grants the following landscape architecture degrees:

  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
  • Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.)
  • M.L.A./Master of Natural Resources
  • M.L.A./Master of Urban and Regional Planning

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
Harvard University4-year, PrivateCambridge, MS$47,000
University of California-Berkeley4-year, PublicBerkeley, CA$14,000
Washington University4-year, PrivateSt. Louis, MO$53,000
Rhode Island School of Design4-year, PrivateProvidence, RI$51,000
Illinois Institute of Technology4-year, PrivateChicago, IL$31,000
Clemson University4-year, PublicClemson, SC$10,500
Utah State University4-year, PublicLogan, UT$7,000
University of Delaware4-year, PublicNewark, DE$33,000
Temple University4-year, PublicPhiladelphia, PA$17,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education