Landscape Architecture Distance Learning Program Options
Because of the intense studio design and observation necessary to learn landscape architecture, such programs are not offered through distance learning formats; however, students can earn landscape architecture degrees on-campus at universities. Landscape architecture degree programs are available at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels.
Landscape Architecture Online Programs
Online or distance learning degree programs in landscape architecture do not exist because the extensive hands-on studio training required cannot be duplicated in a distance learning setting. However, students can earn degrees in landscape architecture through traditional campus-based programs across the country.
Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
Students who wish to enter bachelor's degree programs in landscape architecture may have to submit personal statements and portfolios and attend interviews. Unlike most other bachelor's degree programs, undergraduate landscape architecture programs are usually five years in length, with the average course of study consisting largely of courses in landscape design and environmental science. In addition, many undergraduate landscape architecture programs culminate in internships or capstone projects that give students the chance to practice their skills in real-life situations. Bachelor's degree programs in landscape architecture may include the following:
- Design studio
- Environmental site analysis
- City planning
- Landscape construction
Master of Landscape Architecture I
Two types of Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) degrees exist. The first type, MLA I, is for students with bachelor's degrees unrelated to landscape architecture. MLA I degree programs take three or more years for full-time students to complete; the program's length is partially attributable to the undergraduate landscape architecture coursework that students must take before progressing to graduate-level courses. Most MLA I degree programs require each student to complete a thesis paper about a landscape architecture topic of interest. Coursework may include the following:
- Landform design
- Communication in design
- Site engineering
- Ecological design
Master of Landscape Architecture II
A MLA II is a post-professional degree intended for students who have already completed 5-year bachelor's programs in landscape architecture. The curriculum of a MLA II degree program is similar to the later years of the MLA I curriculum; in fact, some schools combine the two programs in the final year of the MLA II program. Because MLA II students have already learned much of the content covered in MLA I programs, MLA II degree programs are significantly shorter, often 1.5 years in length, than MLA I degree programs.
Doctor of Philosophy in Landscape Architecture
A doctorate in landscape architecture is the highest level of education one can achieve in the field. Doctoral programs in landscape architecture take at least three years to complete, with some students taking as much as six years to complete the necessary coursework and dissertation. Ph.D. students are not required to have master's degrees in landscape architecture; however, an MLA degree can result in the waiver of as much as one-third of the required credits. While much of a doctoral program in landscape architecture is dedicated to the research and formulation of a dissertation, students must also complete several traditional courses, some of which may include the following:
- Landscape architecture research
- Design theory
- Cultural design issues
- Landscape architecture history
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