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Landscape Architecture (BS)

Patricia McGirr Program Director

BSLA Handbook    BSLA Curriculum    Apply

The Bachelor of Science Program in Landscape Architecture at the University of Massachusetts is strongly influenced by its unique New England setting. Massachusetts is now the fifth fastest growing state in the nation--it is a sunbelt state in terms of its growth needs and problems--and this pattern characterizes much of our region as well. Because of this, landscape and planning issues assume critical significance for both the immediate and long-term future.

Our program focuses on visual, physical, ecological and cultural problems encountered in the urbanizing landscape. Its primary objective is to educate and train professionals who are prepared to engage future design problems and advance the state of the art. A diverse and internationally recognized faculty is involved with education and research activities in Landscape Planning, Design, and Computer Applications.

Our fundamental concern is the wise use of land and natural resources. As the public becomes increasingly aware and sophisticated about environmental issues, opportunities for professional landscape architects increase rapidly. The landscape industry across the state is booming through historic preservation, recreation and other public construction; in addition, there is extensive business and residential building in the private sector. Each of these developments requires professional expertise in landscape architecture, and our program is designed to meet this tremendous need.

The BSLA is a STEM-designated program.


Landscape architecture at the University of Massachusetts is a professional degree program. Upon graduation you will have the knowledge and skills necessary to work in private or public practice. There you will apply the information, processes, and techniques of landscape architecture to design future landscape settings which are aesthetically pleasing and environmentally suited for implementation. Specifically, the program seeks to provide:

  • A working knowledge of the information, processes and techniques used in the landscape design and planning professions.
  • The capacity to verbally and graphically communicate with specialists in other arts and relevant social, natural and physical sciences.
  • An understanding of the cultural determinants of human behavior and the social, political, economic and legal institutions which influence land use and design decisions.
  • An understanding of the essential physical and ecological determinants which shape appropriate land use and design decisions.

Degree Requirements

Design Studio Sequence (11 courses)
This is the core of the landscape architecture program. Students learn the principles, methods, processes, and techniques of landscape architecture design. Each studio provides progressively more complex problems with all studios divided into two seven week segments per semester. Each segment has a different instructor to insure a diverse range of project types, scales, and points of view.

  • LandArch 297A Studio I: Fundamentals: Spaces & Landscape Media
  • LandArch 297B Studio II: Spaces & Places in Context
  • LandArch 297C Studio III: Designing with Plants
  • LandArch 297D Studio IV: Designing with Landform
  • LandArch 397A Studio V: Recreation and Open Space Design
  • LandArch 397B Studio VI: Residential Garden Design
  • LandArch 397C Studio VII: Toward Sustainable Multi-Family Housing & Significant Open Space
  • LandArch 397D Studio VIII: Sustainable Commercial and Institutional Design
  • LandArch 497A Studio IX: Urban Design: Sustainable Urban Systems
  • LandArch 497B Studio X: Urban Design: Development Design
  • LandArch 494LI Studio: Senior Capstone (14 weeks)

Natural and Cultural Factors Sequence (3 courses)
This set of lecture classes acquaints students with the natural and cultural processes that shape the landscape. They cover the theories and knowledge that explain and inform how planning and design can better serve human and environmental goals in regards to ecological, economic and social concerns.​

  • SUSTCOMM 335 Plants in the Landscape
  • LANDARCH 547 Landscape Pattern and Process
  • SUSTCOMM 574 City Planning

Professional Skills Sequence (6 courses)
Teaches students the skills and knowledge required to implement landscape architectural projects. Includes courses in graphic and written communications, landform manipulation, construction materials, site engineering, and professional practice.

  • LANDARCH 191A Graphics
  • LANDARCH 294A/B Construction Materials
  • LANDARCH 397E Site Engineering
  • LANDARCH 494A Professional Practice
  • SUSTCOMM 314 Writing in Landscape Architecture
  • SUSTCOMM 597A Computers in Environmental Design

History Sequence (2 courses)
This sequence provides students with the knowledge of built works of the past and present, and the social, economic, technological, and aesthetic forces that influenced their design and construction.

  • SUSTCOMM 543 History I Ancient to Medieval World
  • SUSTCOMM 544 History II Renaissance to the Present

Departmental Honors (DH)

Departmental Honors (DH) tracks are Advanced Scholarship Tracks of Commonwealth Honors College, available in most majors.  The are recommended for students who wish to undertake advanced research within their majors, especially those who intend to pursue graduate study in the discipline of their major.  Students may complete DH as part of the full CHC curriculum, which includes Honors General Studies, or they may complete DH alone. All DH students are members of CHC. For information about DH, please check: https://www.honors.umass.edu/dhreqs/landscape-architecture-departmental-honors


Students might want to consider an academic minor to complement their Landscape Architecture major. Minors that BSLA students have completed in recent years include: 

Explore more minors on the UMass Undergraduate Admissions website: http://www.umass.edu/admissions/undergraduate-admissions/explore/academics/minors

Study Abroad

Get a global perspective on design and culture! Study abroad is an excellent opportunity to exapnd your understanding of landscape architecture - and the world. Spending the semester abroad will expand your horizons and your knowledge. Nothing will look the same again!

The best place in the BSLA curriculum to study aborad is teh junior year or fall semester of the senior year. Generally, the study abroad courses must include a design studio to replace the studio that you would have been taking at UMass that semester. Other classes taken abroad may vary depending on what program you are attending and what courses they offer. 

You have options of where to study. Places where our students have studied in the past are: 

Discover other programs and find out how to apply at the International Programs Office.

The cost of each program may vary.


For a complete list of student fees and a per-credit hour breakdown of tuition rates, please refer to the Bursar's Office Undergraduate Tuition and Fees Page.

Financial support is available through the University and through the College. Information can be found at the following links: 




The Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst qualifies you to become a licensed landscape architect. The requirements for licensure may vary from state to state. See more about the licensing requirements at the ASLA website or Massachusetts Board of Statutes and Regulation

The Landscape Architecture program at UMass Amherst currently has 4 faculty that are licensed landscape architects. See faculty profiles.

Public Information

Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) accredited programs are required to provide reliable information to the public. Programs must report on accreditation status and its performance. This information is to help potential students make informed application decisions.  BSLA Public Info