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Master of Science in Landscape Architecture

Program Overview

The MS in LA program is a two-year research-focused degree program emphasizing advanced scholarship. It is designed to offer graduate-level research inquiry for students not seeking a professional degree. Applicants should already hold an accredited professional degree in landscape architecture as the program intends to build upon that professional degree and enhance the student's expertise through focused research.

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. 

Research Centers and Initiatives

Along with the resources available at a major research university (RU/VH rated), the department has direct access to a specialized Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library. Our facilities provide a permanent studio desk for each student, and 24-hour access to our own state-of-the-art computer studios. Opportunities provided by the research engines within the Stuckeman School enhance the experiences of all students.

Stuckeman Center for Design Computing: A collaborative research and teaching studio-lab focused on developing and testing innovative computational design techniques.

The Hamer Center for Community Design: Building on nearly 20 years of experience, the Hamer Center explores three key topical areas: design/build, community-based research, and public interest design. 

WATERxDESIGN: An interdisciplinary working collective of faculty, graduate students, and a wide range of academic and professional collaborators engaged in addressing issues of water.

A broad array of additional collaborative opportunities exists University-wide.


With a close-knit department of approximately twenty full-time faculty members, students really get to know their instructors over the course of their studies. Our faculty establish a supportive environment where students are active participants in learning and developing new skills and abilities. View the landscape architecture faculty.

Assistantships and Fellowship Opportunities

Teaching Assistantships: Teaching assistantships are awarded as available on a competitive, semester-by-semester basis. Criteria that are considered in making appointments include academic performance, prior TA proficiency (where applicable), and the match between the specific skills held by the graduate student and the task at hand. 

Research Assistantships: Quarter-time RAs are frequently available from our Research Centers or individual faculty on a competitive basis, as are grants-in-aid and graduate fellowships. Graduate students are apprised of these opportunities as they arise.

Fellowships: Fellowship opportunities exist both within Penn State and through external funding agencies. Our department had been particularly successful in garnering University Graduate Fellowships, providing stipend plus tuition for the first year for incoming students with outstanding credentials.

Please note: English Language proficiency information for TAs


Larch Graduate Programs Connections

MLA/MSinLA/PhD Program Contact
Dr. Stuart Echols
Phone: (814) 865-9511

Geodesign Program Contact
Kelleann Foster
Phone: (814) 865-9511

Visit Us

The best way to learn about a graduate program is to visit: meet with students and faculty, see student work, get a feel for the place. If you’d like to visit Penn State Landscape Architecture, feel free to contact Nina Bumgarner ( to schedule a day with us.

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Financial Aid: Graduate Programs

The department offers a limited number of teaching assistantships, which enables it to provide tuition and a stipend to about 60 percent of the students in residence. From time to time, the department is able to provide limited financial aid to others in the form of part-time employment. These assistantships are extremely competitive. Their recipients are chosen primarily on the strength of their applications, as well as on their ability to satisfy the teaching and/or research needs of the department. The University offers other sources of aid, which are described in the Graduate School Bulletin sections titled Summary of Financial Aids for Graduate Students and Information for Prospective Graduate Students. The Graduate School application form contains a section where you can indicate your intention to seek financial aid. If you wish to be considered, check the appropriate boxes; in addition, complete and return the financial aid application form. You do not need to submit a separate request to the department.

Financial Aid Resources