With the merger of the departments of Landscape Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning creating the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture with a new home in the College of Letters & Science, admissions to the CALS Landscape Architecture BSLA have been suspended as of spring 2018 and will be discontinued as of fall 2021. If you have any questions, please contact the department.

The department of Planning and Landscape Architecture offers a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, first available for declaration fall 2018.

Students who enjoy art, science, technology, problem-solving, and design should consider a career in landscape architecture. Graduates in landscape architecture influence the design and management of cities, parks, and open spaces. They often advise park managers, citizen groups, landowners, and state agencies. Landscape architects design public and private outdoor spaces, restore and help preserve natural areas, develop and implement regional planning and public policy, and revitalize urban neighborhoods. The Professional Landscape Architecture degree program focuses on form-giving design, design implementation, and professional practice. Emphasis is placed on principles of design theory and process; problem solving in relationship to human needs and aspirations, and environmental awareness and stewardship; and on the development of technical proficiencies required of professional practice. Students learn site analysis, graphic communication, design synthesis, construction technology, and planting design.

The Professional Landscape Architecture degree program provides professional education accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Completion of this program is the first step in becoming a licensed landscape architect. The program emphasizes the exploration and understanding of design processes and graphic and verbal communication skills. The program also develops a student's sensitivity to natural, physical, historical, and cultural contexts of landscape design.

Students completing the requirements for this program are granted a Bachelor of Science–Landscape Architecture degree.

Admissions to the Landscape Architecture BSLA have been suspended as of spring 2018 and will be discontinued as of fall 2021. If you have any questions, please contact the department.

All students interested in enrolling in the professional degree program are enrolled as pre–landscape architecture majors. Admission to the professional program is on a competitive basis.

  1. Admission to the Pre–Landscape Architecture Program. Applicants must satisfy the admission policies for the college (apply to the UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment); entering freshmen follow the instructions on the admissions application and list landscape architecture as their intended major. During the first year the student enrolls as a pre-landscape architecture student (PLA–1 classification) and concentrates on the completion of the prerequisite courses and university/college degree requirements.
  2. Eligibility for Consideration into the Landscape Architecture Accredited Professional Program. Eligibility for consideration into the Landscape Architecture Accredited Professional Program (landscape architecture degree program) depends on fulfillment of these requirements: students may apply for formal admission to the program during the spring semester of each academic year. Selections are made only once a year for the fall semester. The first round of selections takes place in early summer. All students will be notified of their status at least two weeks before the start of the fall semester. Students who plan to complete their prerequisite courses during the summer session must so indicate on their application. The department will admit up to a maximum of 22 students, as resources permit. Selection will be based on a letter of intent, written by the applicant, which addresses her or his reasons for wanting to enter the major, and on grades earned in the following six prerequisite courses:
    LAND ARC 250 Survey of Landscape Architecture Design (fall semester)3
    LAND ARC 210 Introduction to Landscape Architecture Design 14
    LAND ARC 211 Landscape Inventory and Evaluation Methods4
    M E 160 Architectural Graphics3
    Select one of the following:3
    Two-Dimensional Design
    Drawing I
    Design: Fundamentals I
    AND the applicant must have completed at least 24 credit hours. Cumulative GPA will be considered.
    Note: Application forms for consideration of admission to the Landscape Architecture professional program are available from the Department of Landscape Architecture, 1 Agricultural Hall, 1450 Linden Drive.
  3. Selection Policies. On-campus selections for admission will be made as soon as possible after spring semester grades are received. Advanced-standing transfer students and second degree majors must have their final transcripts on file (in Room 116 Agricultural Hall) as soon as possible after the close of their spring term, but no later than June 15. The department must be notified immediately if a grade report is incorrect, as selections must be made on the basis of information available at the time of selection.
  4. Notification of Status. Applicants who have completed their prerequisite courses at the end of spring semester will be notified of their status between June 1 and July 1 of each year for fall semester admission. Decisions on those applicants completing prerequisites during summer session will be made as soon as grades are received.
    Note: Students not selected for admission may enroll for a second time with a pre–landscape architecture classification (PLA–2) and seek admission for the following fall by reapplying during the spring semester. If not selected after a second application, students will need to transfer to another program on the Madison campus or to another institution. Students will not be able to register in pre–landscape architecture for a third year.
  5. Appeal Procedures. An appeal to the department's curriculum committee may be presented to clarify an error of fact or extenuating circumstances.
  6. Reentering Landscape Architecture Students. Note: Those students who are accepted and enroll in LAND ARC 261 Principles of Landscape Architecture Design and Graphics and drop the course during the fall semester must reapply for admission by April 15 if they wish to be considered for the following fall.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Requirements

In addition to the University General Education Requirements, all undergraduate students in CALS must satisfy a set of college and major requirements. Courses may not double count within university requirements (General Education and Breadth) or within college requirements (First-Year Seminar, International Studies, Science, and Capstone), but courses counted toward university requirements may also be used to satisfy a college and/or a major requirement; similarly, courses counted toward college requirements may also be used to satisfy a university and/or a major requirement.

College Requirements for all CALS B.S. Degree Programs

Quality of Work: Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.000 to remain in good standing and be eligible for graduation.
Residency: Students must complete 30 degree credits in residence at UW–Madison after earning 86 credits toward their undergraduate degree.
First Year Seminar1
International Studies3
Physical Science Fundamentals4-5
General Chemistry I
Chemistry in Our World
Advanced General Chemistry
Biological Science5
Additional Science (Biological, Physical, or Natural)3
Science Breadth (Biological, Physical, Natural, or Social)3
CALS Capstone Learning Experience: included in the requirements for each CALS major (see "Major Requirements")

Major Requirements

Courses may not double count within the degree (unless specifically noted otherwise), but courses counted toward the degree requirements may also be used to satisfy a university requirement and/or a college requirement. A minimum of 15 credits must be completed in the degree that are not used elsewhere.

Mathematics and Statistics
Select one of the following (or may be satisfied by placement exam):5-6
and Trigonometry
Algebra and Trigonometry
Select one of the following:3-5
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Select one of the following options:5-6
Option 1:
General Botany
Option 2:
Survey of Botany
And select one of the following:
Propagation of Horticultural Plants
or another 2 credits of lab or field-based botany, horticulture, agronomy, or landscape architecture
Select one of the following:3-4
Introductory Ecology
The Vegetation of Wisconsin
General Ecology
BSE 201 Land Surveying Fundamentals1
Select one of the following (or equivalent):3-4
Applications of Geographic Information Systems in Natural Resources
An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Contemporary Topics in Urban and Regional Planning (GIS for Planners)
Soil Science
SOIL SCI 301 General Soil Science4
or SOIL SCI/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  230 Soil: Ecosystem and Resource
Additional Foundation Courses
ENVIR ST/GEOG 127 Physical Systems of the Environment5
DS 221 Person and Environment Interactions3
Select 3 credits from any Art History class designated humanities3
Select 3 credits from any ANTHRO course, GEOG courses listed below, any HISTORY course, any PHILOS course, any PSYCH course, any SOC course3
LAND ARC 260 History of Landscape Architecture3
LAND ARC 261 Principles of Landscape Architecture Design and Graphics4
HORT/LAND ARC 263 Landscape Plants I3
LAND ARC 353 Landscape Architectural Technology I3
LAND ARC 354 Landscape Architectural Technology II3
LAND ARC 560 Plants and Ecology in Design4
LAND ARC 561 Housing and Urban Design4
LAND ARC 562 Open Space Planning and Design4
LAND ARC 563 Designing Sustainable and Resilient Regions4
LAND ARC 550 Professional Practice in Landscape Architecture3
LAND ARC 610 Landscape Architecture Seminar3
Select one of the following:3-4
Introduction to the City
Evolution of American Planning
Select one of the following:
Special Topics (2–3 credits required)
Plant Community Restoration and Management Workshop
Restoration Ecology
Cultural Resource Preservation and Landscape History
Contemporary Topics in Urban and Regional Planning
The Folklore of Festivals and Celebrations
Breadth or Depth Requirement
LAND ARC 321 Environment and Behavior Studio - Designing Health Promoting Environments3
Select 3 crs from option A, B, or C (see below)3
LAND ARC 611 Senior Capstone in Landscape Architecture4
Total Credits89-96

Additional Foundation Geography Courses

GEOG 101 Introduction to Human Geography4
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  139 Global Environmental Issues3
GEOG/​ASIAN/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI/​SOC  244 Introduction to Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines4
GEOG/​AFRICAN/​AFROAMER/​ANTHRO/​HISTORY/​POLI SCI/​SOC  277 Africa: An Introductory Survey4
GEOG 301 Revolutions and Social Change3
GEOG 302 Economic Geography: Locational Behavior4
GEOG 318 Introduction to Geopolitics3
GEOG 340 World Regions in Global Context3
GEOG 342 Geography of Wisconsin3
GEOG 344 Changing Landscapes of the American West3
GEOG 348 Latin America4
GEOG 349 Europe3
GEOG 353 Russia and the NIS-Topical Analysis3
GEOG 355 Africa, South of the Sahara3
GEOG 358 Human Geography of Southeast Asia3
GEOG 501 Space and Place: A Geography of Experience3
GEOG/​URB R PL  506 Historical Geography of European Urbanization3
GEOG 508 Landscape and Settlement in the North American Past3
GEOG 510 Economic Geography4
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  537 Culture and Environment4
GEOG 538 The Humid Tropics: Ecology, Subsistence, and Development4

Breadth or Depth Requirement

Must complete a professional depth or breadth requirement. Choose option A, B, or C, and select one course from the list of courses provided (Option A has six possible paths).

Option A

Choose one course from one of the following specialty areas:

Cultural and Historic Landscapes

Select one of the following:3
Cultural Resource Preservation and Landscape History
Directed Study in Folklore for Undergraduates
Field Methods and the Public Presentation of Folklore
Field School: Ethnography of Wisconsin Festivals
Space and Place: A Geography of Experience
HISTORY/​CHICLA  152 The U.S. West Since 18503-4
American Environmental History

Land-Use Planning and Sustainable Development

Select one of the following:
Community Development
Extinction of Species
Assessment of Environmental Impact
Special Topics
Environmental Conservation
Environmental Ethics
Modern American Communities
Applications of Geographic Information Systems in Natural Resources
Contemporary Topics in Urban and Regional Planning
Urban Design: Theory and Practice

Design, Conservation, Management: Native Plant Communities

Select one of the following:3
Grassland Ecology
Plant Systematics
Vascular Flora of Wisconsin
Field Collections and Identification
Midwestern Ecological Issues: A Case Study Approach
The Vegetation of Wisconsin
Special Topics
Adaptive Restoration Lab
Plant-Insect Interactions
Wetlands Ecology
Plant Community Restoration and Management Workshop
Restoration Ecology
Soil Biology

Ornamental Plants and Landscape Maintenance

Select one of the following:3
Propagation of Horticultural Plants
Sustainable Turfgrass Use and Management
Diseases of Trees and Shrubs
Environment of Horticultural Plants
Plant Nutrition Management
Turfgrass Nutrient and Water Management

Site Inventory Analysis 

Select one of the following:3
Field Ecology Workshop
Assessment of Environmental Impact

Design and Artistic Expression

Select one of the following:3
Sculpture I
The Computer in the Visual Arts
Digital Imaging Studio
Interdisciplinary Critique in the Visual Arts
Frank Lloyd Wright
Design: Fundamentals II
Design: Sketching and Rendering
Computer Aided Design: Architecture and Interiors

Option B: Second Major or Certificate in a Related Field

A student who is pursuing a double major or a certificate in a related field (horticulture, art history, art business, etc.) has the option to use the completion of the second major or certificate to fulfill the landscape architecture breadth or depth requirement.

Option C: Advisor-Approved Breadth or Depth Area

In special circumstances students may request a substitution for the additional breadth/depth course. The course may come from any department but must relate to some aspect of the profession. The course must be approved by the student’s advisor and by the Landscape Architecture Curriculum Committee. Students must provide an explanation of why they want to make the substitution.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Integrate social, cultural, ecological and technological dimensions in solving novel design and planning problems concerning the betterment of rural and urban natural and cultural landscapes.
  2. Demonstrate critical thinking and the ability to explore ideas and synthesize information, both independently and in collaboration with interdisciplinary team members.
  3. Demonstrate competence, creativity, and critical judgment in applying the intellectual and technical skills necessary to the professional practice of landscape architecture; in particular the skills of problem‐solving surrounding spatial, three‐dimensional design of outdoor spaces, including, in particular: site inventory and analysis; community participation; programming; synthesis; communication; implementation; evaluation; and management.
  4. Apply and evaluate the components of a professional curriculum as defined by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board, the accrediting organization for landscape architecture programs.
  5. Understand, apply and evaluate the principles, theories and recent research findings in the field of landscape architecture.
  6. Demonstrate advanced communication skills, including graphic, verbal, and written presentation skills.
  7. Be able to perform as an entry-level landscape architect in a public or private office or agency setting.

Four-year plan

Sample Landscape Architecture Four-Year Plan—Professional Degree

LAND ARC 2104DS 120, ART 102, or ART 11223
M E 16023BOTANY/​BIOLOGY  130 or 1003-5
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  1275MATH 11323
MATH 11213 
First Year Seminar1 
 19 13-15
Total Credits 32-34
LAND ARC 26114LAND ARC 35313
DS 22123SOIL SCI 30124
BSE 20111CHEM 108 or 10345
COMM A Course3LAND ARC 321 or 3753
 14 18
Total Credits 32
LAND ARC 35413Professional Breadth Course3
LAND ARC 56014Social Science Elective Course3
MATH 211 or STAT 3013LAND ARC 56114
GEOG/​URB R PL  3053LAND ARC 56214
Art History Elective3LAND ARC/​ENVIR ST/​SOIL SCI  695, GEOG 377, or URB R PL 5903
 19 17
Total Credits 36
LAND ARC 610 (Capstone 1)13LAND ARC 611 (Capstone 2)1,64
LAND ARC 55013Professional Breadth / Depth Course3
LAND ARC 5634Elective3
Botany / Horticulture / Agronomy Course52Ethnic Studies Course3
 15 13
Total Credits 28

Students are assigned to a faculty advisor once they declare the major. Prospective students should contact the undergraduate academic coordinator, Debi Griffin (, 608-263-7301) for more information.

The Professional Landscape Architecture degree program provides professional education accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). Completion of this program is the first step in becoming a licensed landscape architect.


Janet Gilmore, John Harrington,  Evelyn Howell, Janet Silbernagel

Associate Professors

David Bart, Sam Dennis (program chair)

Assistant Professor

Kristin Thorleifsdottir


Shawn Kelly

Associate Faculty Associate

Eric Schuchardt

Senior Lecturers

Doug Hadley, James Steiner


Landscape Architecture Registration Exam

Professional Certification/Licensure Disclosure (NC-SARA)

The United States Department of Education requires institutions that provide distance education to disclose information for programs leading to professional certification or licensure about whether each program meets state educational requirements for initial licensure or certification. Following is this disclosure information for this program:

The requirements of this program meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:


The requirements of this program do not meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:

The requirements of this program have not been determined if they meet Certification/Licensure in the following states:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming; District of Columbia; American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands


Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board

Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2019.