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 the social and environmental factors that are part of 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 landscape architecture degree.

Admission to the professional program during the sophomore year, or  in the second year of the degree plan, is on a competitive basis.

  1. Eligibility for Consideration into the Landscape Architecture Accredited Professional Program. Eligibility for consideration into the Landscape Architecture Accredited Professional Program depends on fulfillment of these requirements: students  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 will address their reasons for entering the major, submission of portfolio, and on grades earned in the following three prerequisite courses: LAND ARC 250, LAND ARC 211, and LAND ARC 210.
  2. AND the applicant must have completed BOTANY 100, or equivalent, as well as a minimum of 24 credit hours. University GPA will be considered.
    For more information on the professional design degree program and the application process please go to this link.
  3. Selection Policies. On-campus selections for admission will be made as soon as possible after spring semester grades are received.
  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.
  5. Appeal Procedures. An appeal to the department's curriculum committee may be presented to clarify an error of fact or extenuating circumstances.

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

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.

Requirements for the BLA

Introduction and Foundation
LAND ARC 210 Introduction to Landscape Architecture Design4
LAND ARC 211 Landscape Inventory and Evaluation Methods4
LAND ARC 250 Survey of Landscape Architecture Design3
LAND ARC 260 History of Landscape Architecture3
Other Required Foundation Courses
BOTANY 100 Survey of Botany3-5
or BOTANY/​BIOLOGY  130 General Botany
DS 221 Person and Environment Interactions3
HORT/​LAND ARC  263 Landscape Plants I3
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  260 Introductory Ecology3
SOIL SCI/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  230 Soil: Ecosystem and Resource3-4
or SOIL SCI 301 General Soil Science
Intermediate Studio Sequence
LAND ARC 261 Principles of Landscape Architecture Design and Graphics4
LAND ARC 321 Environment and Behavior Studio - Designing Health Promoting Environments3
LAND ARC 353 Landscape Architectural Technology I3
LAND ARC 354 Landscape Architectural Technology II3
Professional Theory and Practice Core
LAND ARC 460 Advanced Visual Communication in Landscape Architecture3
LAND ARC 397 Internship in Landscape Architecture1
LAND ARC 550 Professional Practice in Landscape Architecture3
LAND ARC/​ENVIR ST/​SOIL SCI  695 Applications of Geographic Information Systems in Natural Resources3
Advanced Studio Sequence
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
Capstone Sequence
Landscape Architecture Seminar
and Senior Capstone in Landscape Architecture
Total Credits73-77

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.
First Year
Communication A3Quantitative Reasoning A4
Foreign Language if necessary4Ethnic Studies4
LAND ARC 2503BOTANY 100 or 1303
 14 15
Second Year
Quantitative Reasoning B3LAND ARC 3533
DS 2213SOIL SCI/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  230 or 3013
 16 15
Third Year
LAND ARC 5604Physical Science Breadth3
 15 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 120

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.

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, John Harrington, Evelyn Howell, Janet Silbernagel

Associate Professors

David Bart, Sam Dennis

Assistant Professor

Kristin Thorleifsdottir

distinguished faculty associate

Shawn Kelly

Associate Faculty Associate

Eric Schuchardt

Senior Lecturers

Doug Hadley, James Steiner


Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board

Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2019.


Landscape Architecture Registration Exam