Landscape Architecture

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

To be admitted to the program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • For admission to the M.L.A. program, applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree from any discipline prior to entry into the M.L.A. program.
  • For admission to the M.S. in Landscape Architecture, applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture or a closely related discipline.

All submissions for admission must include:

Scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), or from a comparable substitute examination, are required for admission.

Students with a 3.00 junior/senior average (on a 4.00 scale) will be considered for admission. The best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces available for new students. Exceptions to the minimum 3.00 grade-point average may be made for students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests, at the discretion of the program.

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. English proficiency test scores (TOEFL/IELTS) may be required for international applicants. See GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students for more information.

Degree Requirements

Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

The M.L.A. curriculum develops creative insight and the knowledge, skills, and abilities essential to professional practice, fulfilling the education requirement needed in all states to be eligible to take the Landscape Architecture licensing examination. Students in the M.L.A. degree program must also develop research understanding characteristic of graduate education, undertaking a research-based design project as a final cumulative experience to demonstrate their understanding and application of appropriate and professional research and design expertise.

The M.L.A. curriculum requires completion of 57 credits of graduate work at the 400, 500, or 800 level, including a minimum of 47 credits at the 500 or 800 level, with at least 6 credits at the 500 level. In addition, to fulfill the requirements of professional accreditation, students must undertake 15 credits of prerequisite courses that do not count towards the M.L.A degree requirements.

Requirements for Professional Accreditation (Prerequisites):
LARCH 60Cultural History of Designed Places Keystone/General Education Course3
LARCH 145Ecology and Plants I3
LARCH 276Human Dimensions of Design: History & Theory3
LARCH 365WContemporary Trends in Landscape Architecture3
LARCH 386Professional Practice3
Total Credits15
Required Courses
LARCH 414Design and Theory V: Advanced Landscape Architectural Design10
LARCH 815Grad Studio I6
LARCH 816Grad Studio II6
LARCH 817Grad Studio III6
LARCH 835Grad Implementation I: Grading3
LARCH 836Grad Implementation II: Materials3
LARCH 837Grad Implementation III: Plants3
LARCH 838Grad Implementation IV: Stormwater3
LARCH 501Research and Writing in Landscape Architecture3
LARCH 502Intellectual History and Theory of Landscape Architecture3
LARCH 510Graduate Seminar in Landscape Architecture3
LARCH 590Colloquium1
Culminating Experience
LARCH 551Final Culminating Experience Proposal 11
LARCH 552Final Culminating Experience Production 14
LARCH 553Final Culminating Experience Documentation & Presentation 12
Total Credits57

Master of Science (M.S.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

The core curriculum is a two-year research-focused program requiring a minimum of 40 credits including a minimum of 18 credits at the 500 or 600 level. Students are required to take graduate level coursework, including 12 credits of Graduate Seminar, 4 credits of Graduate Colloquium, 3 credits of Research Writing in Landscape Architecture, 3 credits in Intellectual History and Theory of Landscape Architecture, 3 credits in quantitative/qualitative analysis at the 500 level (which must be approved in advance by the student's adviser and/or the graduate program professor-in-charge), and at least 6 credits in thesis research (600 and 610). The student and the student's adviser, subject to the approval of the departmental Graduate Program Committee, determine specific course requirements. The thesis must be accepted by the adviser(s) and/or committee members, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School, and the student must pass a thesis defense.

Required Courses
A 500-level course in quantitative/qualitative analysis 3
LARCH 501Research and Writing in Landscape Architecture3
LARCH 502Intellectual History and Theory of Landscape Architecture3
LARCH 510Graduate Seminar in Landscape Architecture12
LARCH 590Colloquium4
Electives
The remaining elective credits may be chosen from a list of approved electives maintained by the program office.9
Culminating Experience
LARCH 600Thesis Research (On Campus)6
Total Credits40

Dual-Titles  

Dual-Title M.S. in Landscape Architecture and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

Graduate students with research and educational interests in landscape architecture or a closely related discipline (e.g., architecture, geography, ecology, anthropology, etc.) may apply to the dual-title M.S. degree in Landscape Architecture and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment Program. The goal of the dual-title M.S. degree Landscape Architecture and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment is to enable graduate students from Landscape Architecture to acquire the knowledge and skills of their major area of specialization in Landscape Architecture, while at the same time gaining the perspective and methods of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Landscape Architecture and The Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the HDNRE dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the HDNRE Bulletin page.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for this dual-title degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the Landscape Architecture Master of Science degree program, listed on the Degree Requirements tab. In addition, they must satisfy the HDNRE program requirements for the dual-title master’s degree. Refer to the Master’s Degree Requirements section of the HDNRE Bulletin page. Some courses may satisfy both the graduate primary program requirements and those of the HDNRE program. Final course selection is determined by the student after consulting, in advance, with their Landscape Architecture and HDNRE advisers.

For the dual-title M.S. degree in Landscape Architecture and HDNRE, the thesis must reflect the student’s education and interest in both Landscape Architecture and HDNRE. All members of the student’s committee must be members of the Graduate Faculty. The master’s committee must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from HDNRE. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role.

Integrated Undergrad-Grad Programs

Integrated B.L.A. in Landscape Architecture and M.S. in Landscape Architecture

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs.

The integrated undergraduate-graduate (IUG) degree program (B.L.A. in Landscape Architecture/M.S. in Landscape Architecture) provides an opportunity for strong students in Penn State’s Landscape Architecture B.L.A. program to complete a master’s degree with 6 total years of study (the B.L.A. is a 5-year program).

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

The number of openings in the integrated B.L.A. /M.S. program is limited. Admission is selective based on specific criteria set by the Department of Landscape Architecture (see below). Before applying to the Graduate School, students must have completed entrance to their undergraduate major and have completed no less than 60 credits. Students must be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG.

Admission Requirements:

  1. Must be enrolled in the Landscape Architecture B.L.A. program. 
  2. Must apply to, and be accepted into, The Graduate School and the M.S. program in Landscape Architecture. Students must complete the Graduate School application.
  3. All applicants will submit GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement addressing their reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in Landscape Architecture and discussing their plans and goals.
  4. An applicant will be expected to have a minimum overall GPA of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in undergraduate coursework and a minimum GPA of 3.5 in all coursework completed for the major. 
  5. A plan of study must be included identifying undergraduate credits to be applied to the M.S. degree elective requirements.

In consultation with both the Undergraduate Academic Advisor in the Stuckeman School and the Graduate Coordinator in Landscape Architecture, the applicant should prepare a plan of study that covers the entire time period of the IUG program. The plan should be reviewed periodically with both the Undergraduate Academic Advisor in the Stuckeman School and the Graduate Coordinator in Landscape Architecture.

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the B.S. in Landscape Architecture are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Degree requirements for the M.S. degree are listed on the Degree Requirements tab. The program will accept 5 credits of LARCH 414 from students in the IUG program, in lieu of 3 credits of LARCH 510 and 3 credits of LARCH 590. Students in the IUG program must also take an additional 1 credit elective to meet the 40 credit minimum required for the degree.

Up to 11 credits may be double-counted towards the degree requirements for both the graduate and undergraduate degrees; a minimum of 50% of the double- counted courses must be at the 500 or 800 level. Independent study courses and credits associated with the culminating experience for the graduate degree cannot be double-counted.

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
LARCH 414Design and Theory V: Advanced Landscape Architectural Design5
LARCH 501Research and Writing in Landscape Architecture3
One elective from the following list:
Human Ecology
Classical Ecology
GIS Based Socio-Ecological Landscape Analysis
Geodesign History, Theory, Principles
Wetlands Ecology and Management
Integrated Perspectives in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment
Ethical Issues in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment
Human Dimensions of Natural Resources

Students must sequence their courses so all undergraduate degree requirements are fulfilled before taking courses to count solely towards the graduate degree. Students must complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for the undergraduate major. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement. If students accepted into the IUG program are unable to complete the M.A. degree, they are still eligible to receive their undergraduate degree if all the undergraduate degree requirements have been satisfied.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Landscape Architecture (LARCH) Course List

Professional Licensure/Certification

Many U.S. states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.

Contact

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Eliza Pennypacker
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Stuart Patton Echols
Program Contact

Nina Diez Bumgarner
121 Stuckeman Family Building
University Park PA 16802
ndb2@psu.edu
(814) 865-0991

Program Website View