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Landscape Architecture Degrees: Online and Campus-Based Programs

By earning a bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture, you can learn to design parks, identify plant characteristics and understand landscape formation. Associate's degrees are also available, although not as common. Careers in this field include sustainable design, site planning or landscape design. Read on to learn more on the types of degree programs available and what you can learn from them.

What Will I Learn?

By pursuing a bachelor's degree, you will learn to design and plan outdoor areas through coursework that includes urban design, landscape preservation and physical design. Your courses will cover the fundamentals of landscape architecture, including drawing, basic design and history. After receiving education in the basic principles of landscape architecture, you'll participate in more intensive coursework that can include engineering, planting designs, horticulture and construction.

Master's degree programs include design studios where you will work on real landscape architecture projects and gain hands-on experience. You will also learn about research methods and conduct research in a variety of topics. As a master's degree student, you can take advanced courses in landscape remediation, plant ecology, entomology and garden design. Most programs offer guided independent study, and at some schools you will research and prepare a thesis. You can expect to learn about teamwork, common research methods and landscape architecture theory.

Program Levels Bachelor's degree, master's degree
Other Bachelor's Requirements Complete general education units
Other Master's Requirements Master's program may require a thesis
Career Options Landscape architect, project manager

What Will I Learn in a Landscape Architecture Bachelor's Degree Program?

If you choose a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture, you can expect to complete the program in five years. You can earn a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture or a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture. While bachelor's degrees in this field can't be completed online, you can complete some general education requirements through online study.

Examples of courses that can be completed online include English composition, math and history. These general requirements may not be offered via online study at the same schools that offer landscape architecture degrees. You have the option of completing these courses prior to enrolling in a landscape architecture program and having the credits transferred.

What Can I Expect From a Master's Degree Program?

If you have graduated from a bachelor's degree program, you can earn a Master of Landscape Architecture through on-campus study. A Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) in Landscape Architecture are also available, but are tailored towards individuals interested in conducting research. Master's degrees are not available online in the field of landscape architecture. You can expect to complete your curriculum in 1-3 years, depending on your undergraduate experience. You will engage in independent study and prepare a portfolio as part of your master's degree experience.

To complete a master's degree in landscape architecture you must have completed a bachelor's degree program in any field. However, if your undergraduate education is in an unrelated field, you may be required to complete more credit hours in the field of landscape architecture and your program will likely take the full three years for completion. If you have a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture, you will not be required to take as many courses and can complete a master's degree in two years.

What Career Opportunities Can I Pursue?

In order to pursue a career as a landscape architect, most states require that you are certified by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB). Requirements vary by state, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you can expect to take an exam after completing your degree and working with a licensed landscape architect for at least 1-4 years.

Both a bachelor's and a master's degree can prepare you for a career as a project manager, a partner in an architectural firm or a landscape consultant. A master's degree will provide you with the skills needed to pursue leadership positions at private firms, universities or public companies. Your career can focus on environmental concerns, historical preservation or wetlands restoration. The BLS indicates that job opportunities in this field are expected to grow 6% between 2016 and 2026. In 2018, the BLS determined that the median annual salary for landscape architects was $68,230.