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 Bachleor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) 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 the social and environmental factors that are part of design.

The BLA 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 BLA degree. Please note that students completing the BLA special degree cannot pursue an additional major; however, students are able to do certificates.

Admission to the professional Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) degree program during the sophomore year, or in the second year of the degree plan, is on a competitive basis. The department will admit up to a maximum of 22 students, as resources permit.

Eligibility. To be eligible to apply to the professional BLA program, a student must fulfill the following prerequisites: (1) complete LAND ARC 250, LAND ARC 211, LAND ARC 210, and BOTANY 100 or equivalent and (2) complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of coursework. 

Selection Policies. Students wishing to apply to the BLA professional design program must submit an application in the spring of the academic year during which they will complete the prerequisites. Selection will be based on a letter of intent which will address their reasons for entering the major, a portfolio of creative work, and on grades earned in the 3 prerequisite landscape architecture courses: LAND ARC 250LAND ARC 211, and LAND ARC 210.

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.

Appeal Procedure. An appeal to the department's curriculum committee may be presented to clarify an error of fact or extenuating circumstances.

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 Letters and Science Breadth Requirements: BLA

Mathematics Fulfilled with completion of university general education requirements Quantitative Reasoning A and Quantitative Reasoning B coursework
Foreign Language Completion of the 3rd unit of one language
L&S Breadth Humanities, 12 credits: minimum 3 credits in Literature
Social Sciences, 12 credits
Natural Sciences, 12 credits: 6 in Biological Sciences and 6 in Physical Sciences
Liberal Arts & Science credits (C) 108 credits

Requirements for the BLA

Introduction and Foundation
LAND ARC 210 4
LAND ARC 211 4
LAND ARC 250 3
LAND ARC 260 3
Other Required Foundation Courses
BOTANY 100 undefined
or BOTANY 130
DS 221 undefined
HORT 263 undefined
BOTANY 260 undefined
SOIL SCI 230 undefined
or SOIL SCI 301
Intermediate Studio Sequence
LAND ARC 261 4
LAND ARC 321 3
LAND ARC 353 3
LAND ARC 354 3
Professional Theory and Practice Core
LAND ARC 460 3
LAND ARC 397 1
LAND ARC 550 3
LAND ARC 695 3
Advanced Studio Sequence
LAND ARC 560 4
LAND ARC 561 4
LAND ARC 562 4
LAND ARC 563 4
Capstone Sequence
& LAND ARC 611

Total Credits53

Quality of Work

  • 2.000 GPA in all LAND ARC courses and courses that count toward the BLA program
  • 2.000 GPA on 15 Upper Level credits, taken in Residence 1
  • 15 credits in LAND ARC, taken on the UW–Madison campus

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. Demonstrate competence and critical judgement in applying intellectual and technical skills necessary for site and landscape-scale design, in particular skills of problem-solving using site inventory/analysis; spatial/temporal analysis; programming; synthesis; oral, written, and visual communication; construction implementation; and post-occupancy evaluation.
  2. Demonstrate critical thinking and the ability to explore ideas and synthesize information, both independently and in collaboration with interdisciplinary team members to identify and solve complicated landscape design and planning problems.
  3. Understand, apply, and evaluate the principles, theories, and recent research findings in the discipline of landscape architecture.
  4. Integrate humanistic, scientific, legal, political, economic, social, ecological, and technological dimensions in solving novel design and planning problems concerning the betterment of rural and urban natural and cultural landscapes.
  5. Understand, analyze, and apply design and planning theories and principles to urban and rural landscapes to benefit human living conditions.

Sample Four-Year Plan

This Sample Four-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it—along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools—to make their own four-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests. As students become involved in athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, volunteer experiences, and/or work, they might adjust the order of their courses to accommodate these experiences. Students will likely revise their own four-year plan several times during college.

First Year
Communication A3Quantitative Reasoning A4
Foreign Language if necessary4Ethnic Studies4
LAND ARC 2503BOTANY 100 or BOTANY 1303
 14 15
Second Year
Quantitative Reasoning B3LAND ARC 3533
LAND ARC 2614LAND ARC 321undefined
DS 2213SOIL SCI 230 or SOIL SCI 3013
HORT 2633INTER-LS 2101
 16 12
Third Year
LAND ARC 397undefinedLAND ARC 5624
LAND ARC 5604Physical Science Breadth3
 14 14
Fourth Year
LAND ARC 5634LAND ARC 611 (also meets Communications B)4
LAND ARC 5503Literature Breadth3
LAND ARC 6101-2Electives9
Literature Breadth3 
 15 16
Total Credits 116

Students are assigned to a faculty advisor once they are admitted to the major. Prospective students should contact the undergraduate academic coordinator, Debi Griffin ( for more information.

The BLA degree program provides professional education accredited by the the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB).

Completion of this program is the first step in becoming a licensed landscape architect through the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB)

L&S career resources

SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students leverage the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and liberal arts degree; explore and try out different career paths; participate in internships; prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications; and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers). In short, SuccessWorks helps students in the College of Letters & Science discover themselves, find opportunities, and develop the skills they need for success after graduation.

SuccessWorks can also assist students in career advising, résumé and cover letter writing, networking opportunities, and interview skills, as well as course offerings for undergraduates to begin their career exploration early in their undergraduate career. 

Students should set up their profiles in Handshake to take care of everything they need to explore career events, manage their campus interviews, and apply to jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers around the country.


Janet Gilmore, Evelyn Howell, James A. LaGro Jr., Janet Silbernagel

Associate Professors

David Bart, Sam Dennis, Carey McAndrews, Kurt Paulsen

Assistant Professors

Edna Ledesma, Kristin Thorleifsdottir

distinguished faculty associate

Shawn Kelly

Associate Faculty Associate

Eric Schuchardt

Senior Lecturers

Doug Hadley, James Steiner


Deborah Griffin


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: 2025.