10 Great Places to Study Landscape Architecture in the USA

A guide to places in the USA, which are world renowned centres to study landscape architecture. 

10 Great Places to Study Landscape Architecture in the USA

Have you decided that you want to be a landscape architect but aren’t sure about where to get the most bang for your college bucks? The following list of ten schools (in alphabetical order) offers the best and most comprehensive education money can buy for either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in landscape architecture.

10. California State Polytechnic University

Study Landscape Architecture - Memorial Glade and Sather Tower on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California, United States. Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0, by Gku

Memorial Glade and Sather Tower on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California, United States. Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0, by
Gku

One of five departments in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, the landscape architecture “curriculum is structured to help students develop the values, knowledge, and skills necessary to address human and societal needs within a broad range of project types and environmental scales.” This program has bragging rights for their professor emeritus and former associate dean, K. Richard Zweifel, who will be sworn in as the president of ASLA at their national meeting in Denver (2014).

9. Cornell University

Study Landscape Architecture - View of Cornell Arts Quad from Johnson Art Museum, Arts Quad of Cornell University. Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0, by Alex Sergeev

View of Cornell Arts Quad from Johnson Art Museum, Arts Quad of Cornell University. Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0, by Alex Sergeev

When they opened their doors in 1904, Cornell became the only Ivy League university to offer an undergraduate degree in landscape architecture, along with an accredited graduate degree. Here, students are encouraged to interact with other academic fields, including horticulture, architecture, city and regional planning, and fine arts. “The Department of Landscape Architecture at Cornell views the art of landscape design as an expression of cultural values reinforced by many related disciplines.”

8. Harvard University

Study Landscape Architecture - Hollis Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Credit: CC 3.0, by Daderot

Hollis Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Credit: CC 3.0, by Daderot

Founded in 1900, The Department of Landscape Architecture at Harvard is the oldest and one of the most distinguished programs in the world. MLA students are privy to an internationally recognized faculty, along with the Advanced Studies Programs, the Aga Khan Program, the Joint Center for Housing Studies, the Loeb Fellowship, as well as, the Harvard Forest, the Arnold Arboretum, the Harvard Center for the Environment, and Dumbarton Oaks.

7. Kansas State University

Study Landscape Architecture - KSU Bluemont Bell and Dickens. Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0

KSU Bluemont Bell and Dickens. Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0

The Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning offers “an unparalleled opportunity for students to work across the scales of design and planning from site design to regional planning.” This interdisciplinary approach proved successful when the department was awarded first place in the Urban Land Institute’s Hines Competition, and it also “leads to inspired and thoughtful solutions for the future.”

6. Louisiana State University

The landscape architecture program at LSU is credited to one man, Dr. Robert S. Reich, affectionately known as “Doc.” He taught his first class in 1941 and the undergraduate program received its accreditation in 1960. He retired in 1983 after getting the graduate program accredited in 1982. Throughout its history, LSU’s landscape architecture program has sought to generate, preserve, disseminate, and apply knowledge to not only its students but also its faculty and the community of Baton Rouge. “As academics and professionals, we embrace our societal responsibility and welcome leadership roles in maintaining ethical and just behavior as it relates to the environment.”

5. Pennsylvania State University

Study Landscape Architecture - The Pattee Library and mall at Penn State University. Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0, by Nathaniel C. Sheetz

The Pattee Library and mall at Penn State University. Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0, by
Nathaniel C. Sheetz

Founded in 1907, the Stuckeman School of Landscape Architecture boasts over 1,500 living alumni working in Pennsylvania and around the globe. Their program is a studio-based one that offers a low student/teacher ratio and is often referred to as a “family-like” setting, and is located in a building that received the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold-rating.

4. Purdue University

Study Landscape Architecture - Purdue University Liberal Arts fountainCC BY-SA 3.0 by Quinn Thomson

Purdue University Liberal Arts fountainCC BY-SA 3.0 by Quinn Thomson

Also see: 
What is Landscape Architecture?
10 Mistakes Every Landscape Architecture Student Makes and How to Avoid Them

The Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture enjoys a worldwide reputation for excellence in research related to horticultural crops as well as in the design area of landscape architecture. They are continually ranked among the top schools by various design organizations and strive to become the top program based on its “emphasis on creativity, science, and technology.”

3. Texas A&M University

TAMU Rec.Credit. CC BY-SA 3.0 by Oldag07

TAMU Rec.Credit. CC BY-SA 3.0 by Oldag07

As one of the oldest departments of its kind in the southern United States, the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning offers six undergraduate, professional, and research degree programs. The school is home to over 150 undergraduate students, 100 master’s students, and 50 doctoral students that are enrolled full-time in one of the programs. “LAUP’s mission is to create, apply, and disseminate knowledge to enhance functional, healthy, and sustainable human environments through instruction, research, and service in landscape architecture, urban planning, land development, and allied disciplines.”

2. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Study Landscape Architecture - Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. Credit: CC BY 3.0, by  Eric T Gunther

Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. Credit: CC BY 3.0, by
Eric T Gunther

This program has been recognized for both its undergraduate and graduate degree programs, both of which stress “the importance of mutual responsibility within the learning community and favors students who are devoted to actively pursuing their education.”

1. University of Georgia

Study Landscape Architecture - University of Georgia students in front of Old College  Credit: Public Domain, University of Georgia - University of Georgia photo services

University of Georgia students in front of Old College Credit: Public Domain, University of Georgia – University of Georgia photo services

Landscape architecture has been taught at UGA since 1928, and has offered a graduate program since 1954. In 2001 the program became part of the College of Environment and Design, which was the first new college at UGA since 1969. Around 300 students take part in the small studio classes as well as the many opportunities to study abroad or to spend a semester at the Covington Studio outside Atlanta for an urban studies experience. The college boasts that they offer approximately $100,000 in scholarships from alumni, friends, and organizations.

Still not sure where you should go? Visit each school’s website, most offer a virtual tour of their studios and offer a gallery that displays the work of both students and faculty. In the end though, you really won’t go wrong with any of the schools on this list.