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Landscape Architecture Program Accreditation

Penn State has a professionally accredited undergraduate degree (B.L.A.) and a professionally accredited graduate degree (M.L.A.).  Both provide students the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to pursue professional practice and licensure in landscape architecture.

Our B.L.A. undergraduate curriculum and our M.L.A. graduate curriculum both are accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB). The mission of LAAB is to evaluate, advocate for, and advance the quality of education in landscape architectural programs. LAAB establishes standards that ensure that current and future practitioners understand, obtain and maintain the knowledge, skills and abilities required to practice landscape architecture in the future.

Students in the B.L.A. program can complete the degree in 4.5 years (139 credits). Students in the M.L.A. program can complete the degree in three or fewer years, depending on whether they have a professional undergraduate degree or majored in a non-afilliated program.

As with other professionally accredited landscape architecture programs, Penn State’s B.L.A. and M.L.A. undergo accreditation review every six years. The B.L.A. was most recently reviewed in spring 2017, and obtained glowing praise from the accreditation team. Our M.L.A. program was initially accredited by LAAB in 2013, and the next accreditation visit is scheduled for spring 2020.

More information on LAAB can be found via asla.org/accreditationlaab.aspx.

Program Rankings

DesignIntelligence 2019-20 Design Program Rankings
Penn State B.L.A. – #1 nationwide

DesignIntelligence 2019-20 Design Program Rankings
Penn State M.L.A. is – #7 nationwide

Penn State 2019-20 Landscape Architecture skills assessment nationwide rankings

Skills B.L.A. M.L.A.
Project planning and management #1 #9
Interdisciplinary studies #1 #9
Research #1  
Engineering Fundamentals #2 #6
Communication and presentation #2 #10
Construction methods and materials #2 #5
Design Technologies #3 #8
Design, theory, and practice #3  
Practice management #3 #9
Sustainable built environments #3  
Transdisciplinary collaboration #3  

All focus  areas

Student Achievement

The B.L.A. and M.L.A. programs at Penn State have awarded the following number of degrees over the past five years. 

Degree Level 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
B.L.A. 33 27 25 26 28
M.L.A. 2 5 6 2 3
  35 32 31 28 31

Demographics

Gender Undergraduate Graduate
Female 54% 78%
Male 46% 22%
Race/Ethnicity Undergraduate Graduate
Mixed (Two or more races) 2% 0%
Unknown 3% 6%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 0%
Asian 7% 47%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Island 0% 0%
Black/African-American 3% 0%
Hispanic/Latino 6% 0%
White/non-Hispanic 79% 47%

NOTE: Race/ethnicity percentages only reflect domestic students. 

Residency Undergraduate Graduate
PA Resident 51% 25%
Non-PA Resident 49% 75%
Origin Undergraduate Graduate
Domestic 75% 42%
International 25% 58%

Graduation Statistics

Graduation Rates B.L.A. M.L.A. M.S. in L.A.
Number of semesters to complete degree (regular) 9 6 4
Graduated within regular timeframe 92% 100% 50%

Graduate Employment Statistics

B.L.A.

  • 65% – Private LARCH Employment
  • 20% – Higher Education (study or employed)
  • 15% – Unknown

M.L.A.

  • 18% – Higher Education
  • 73% – Private LARCH Employment
  • 9% – Unknown

Costs of Attendance

B.L.A. – estimated cost of full-time attendance for one year

  Resident Non-resident
Tuition and fees $18,454 $34,858
Room and board $11,570 $11,570
Books and supplies $1,840 $1,840
TOTAL $31,864 $48,268

M.L.A. – estimated cost based on a full credit year for one year

  Resident Non-resident
Tuition and fees $21,960 $37,694
Books and supplies $1,840 $1,840
TOTAL $23,800 $39,534

Note: These are estimates. For a personal estimate, students are encouraged to use the Tuition and College Cost Estimator.

Student Accomplishments

2019

Landscape Architecture Foundation National Olmsted Scholar Program
Undergraduate Olmsted Scholar (one chosen nationwide): Anjelyque Easley

PA–DE American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Awards
Understanding Rio de Janeiro’s Favelas: A Plan for Santa Marta’s Future Expansion
Cristina Frass, Hannah Claire Winn, Kyle Sven Johnson, and Bernardo Almeida Barra, Honor Award, Student Collaboration Category

Softening the Edge: A Strategy to Reduce Air Pollution in Houston’s Fence-Line Communities
Cristina Frass, Merit Award, General Design Category

2018

National Society of American Registered Architects (SARA) Award
Marsh Morphosis
Sadiqua Ansari, Award of Honor

PA–DE ASLA Awards
‘Memorial’ A Place-Based Documentary of National September 11 Memorial and Irish Hunger Memorial
Xiaoji Zhou, Honor Award, Communications Category

Marsh-morphosis: A climate-responsive and adaptive design framework for habitat restoration and recreation for Rumney Marsh
Sadiqua Ansari, Honor Award, Analysis and Planning Category 

The Dancing Landscape
Jingyin Zhu, Merit Award, General Design Category

Newport on the Levee 2.0
Tongton Zhou, Merit Award, Analysis and Planning Category

2017

National ASLA Award
Urban Landscape Metrics: Re-Imagining the Class Field Trip in New York City
Quinn Pullen, Honor Award, Communications Category

PA–DE ASLA Awards
Broadway Avenue, Beechview (Pittsburgh, PA): Green Infrastructure Concept Plan
Lauren Shoats, Honor Award, General Design Category

Future Ground: The South Area of the Philadelphia Zoo Masterplan
Tongtong Zhou, Honor Award, General Design Category

2016

National ASLA Award
Dan Kiley Landscapes in Bartholomew County, Indiana and Planting Typologies at the Miller Garden and North Christian Church
Zhen Tong, Honor Award, Communications Category

2014

PA–DE ASLA Awards
Crossroads Park: A Community Revitalization and Ecological Regeneration Catalyst, Hazelwood, Pittsburgh, PA 
Andrew Michael Madl, Honor Award, Community Service Category

2013

National ASLA Award
Dredge City: Sediment Catalysis
Matthew Moffitt, Award of Excellence, General Design Category

PA–DE ASLA Awards
Revival of the Wooland Ave. Corridor, Pittsburgh, PA
Christopher Chiampi, Honor Award, Community Service Category

Flexible Futures, Sullivan County, PA
Christoper Maurer and Michael Humes, Honor Award, Analysis and Planning Category

Connect5,  Mang’ula, Tanzania
Sean Lyons and Chris Maurer, Merit Award, Analysis and Planning Category

Examining Sustainable Development Options in Jersey Shore: A Community Engaged Process, Jersey Shore, PA
Preston Linck, Kirsten Hardy, Thomas Kyd, and Dina Mahmoud, Merit Award, Community Service Category

Links

"Folded Section" by Alec Spangler

The large charcoal and graphite drawing on display at the Woskob Family Gallery is an artistic re-envision of the Central Pennsylvania landscape, blending the two passions of Alec Spangler, assistant professor of landscape architecture, into one exhibit – art and the study of an area’s landscape. Read the story.

INAUGURAL ECOLOGY + DESIGN Publication

This document is a summary of the E+D: Ecology + Design Symposium that was held in November 2017 at Penn State. Included are reflections on the conference by participating academics and practitioners, transcripts of their conversations with the community (and links to videos), and next steps to move this important initiative forward at Penn State and beyond. 

Upcoming Events

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Facilities tours and studio visits are offered most Fridays (by appointment) at 1:30 p.m. 

Please contact Kelly Praskovich, College of Arts and Architecture, Director of Enrollment, 814-865-9523, to schedule a visit so we may ensure students and faculty are available.

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