Grounded in our departmental mission of “environmental and social good,” we find it useful to clarify our degree offerings through reference to two different foci: the Profession of Landscape Architecture and the Discipline of Landscape Architecture, as follows:
Education focused on the Profession of Landscape Architecture addresses KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities) required to effectively practice the profession of Landscape Architecture
Education focused on the Discipline of Landscape Architecture philosophically addresses topics in Landscape Architecture by asking questions, questioning assumptions, and expanding thinking about the field of Landscape Architecture
With these broad definitions, we characterize our four degrees in the following way:
- The BLA addresses the Profession of Landscape Architecture;
- The MLA primarily addresses the Profession of Landscape Architecture, but also engages in some meaningful exploration, through research and independent projects, of the Discipline of Landscape Architecture (note that this is a requirement of LAAB accreditation for the MLA);
- The MSinLA addresses the Discipline of Landscape Architecture, with the goal of creating new ways of thinking about topics, or even creating new knowledge.
- The MPS in Geodesign addresses professional skills to practice this groundbreaking new approach to sustainable landscape planning and design.
- The PhD in Architecture may be attained with a research focus in landscape architecture if the intended dissertation strategy would advance and/or be founded in the Discipline of Landscape Architecture.
The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture is a five-year curriculum leading to a professionally accredited Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) degree. It is designed to prepare graduates for either advanced study or professional careers.
This graduate track seeks individuals with undergraduate baccalaureate degrees in any discipline. The three-year Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program helps students prepare to become leaders in the profession of landscape architecture. Students enroll in a professional curriculum that prepares them with techniques, principles, histories, theories, and technologies to practice in the field. In the final semester of the program, students undertake a culminating capstone project that integrates scholarly research with design inquiry.
Penn State's Master of Science in Landscape Architecture (MSinLA) is designed for a student who already holds an accredited professional degree in landscape architecture. The intent is to provide such a student the opportunity for focused research that builds upon the professional degree and enhances his/her expertise.
On occasion, the MSinLA degree may prove useful to someone who holds a bachelor's degree in a closely related professional design field, however the MSinLA is a post-professional research degree. The MSinLA does not prepare students for professional practice in landscape architecture (please see the MLA information for our accredited graduate professional degree program). The appropriateness and potential for someone who does not hold an accredited professional degree in landscape architecture to undertake the MSinLA is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Students in the MSinLA program have the opportunity to participate in sponsored research within our school's centers as well as in centers and intitutes University-wide. MSinLA students also may pursue a dual-title Master of Science degree in Landscape Architecture and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment (HDNRE).
The graduate programs in geodesign, developed by Penn State's nationally renowned Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in collaboration with the University's top-ranked Department of Geography, offer you the opportunity to advance your knowledge and learn from leading experts. These programs are for professionals who realize the limitations in current design and planning processes, and seek new skills to effectively address complex environmental design problems for situations ranging from urban design to conservation planning.
Geodesign Degree Options:
Master of Professional Studies in Geodesign (35 credits)
Graduate Certificate in Geodesign (14 credits)
The Penn State Ph.D. in Architecture may be attained with a research focus in landscape architecture and is a research-centered degree supporting concentrated inquiry and pedagogy. This program is distinguished by students’ expansive opportunity to collaborate with our award-winning faculty, as well as to draw upon the resources of a major research university (RU/VH rated) to enrich and broaden their scholarship.
PH.D. students focusing in landscape architecture also can apply to pursue a dual-title degree in Architecture and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment (HDNRE).
Note: For all graduate degree programs, teaching and research assistantships are available competitively.
High School Summer Camp
Penn State Department of Architecture hosts an annual Architecture/Landscape Architecture Summer Camp during the summer. The program provides campers the opportunity to utilize the new facilities of the Penn State School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and be mentored by faculty, alumni and experienced undergraduate students.