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Landscape Architecture

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

School: Architecture

Landscape architecture is a discipline at the intersection of design and ecology. Landscape architects recognize the significant role the environment plays globally in the health of growing populations, expanding cities and fragile ecosystems.

Students in the landscape architecture program in the Knowlton School combine critical thinking skills with artistic principles, environmental consciousness and construction technology to address people’s relationship to the land in a range of situations. They develop practical and evolving knowledge and skills as the foundation for professional competence, academic scholarship and individualized enrichment. 

Ohio State's Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA) is a four-year accredited professional degree leading to licensure. It is the only such program in Ohio and has an established reputation going back over 100 years.

Upon admission to the university, first-year students who declare a major in landscape architecture within the Knowlton School are directly admitted to the major. No prior experience or portfolio is required. 

In the first year, students enroll in Landscape Architecture 2300: Outlines of the Built Environment and Landscape Architecture 2310: Seeing and Making. These foundation courses introduce fundamental knowledge, language and skills to prepare students for the landscape architecture major.

First-year students who begin at Ohio State as landscape architecture majors are eligible to continue into the second year upon earning a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above and earning a B+ or higher in both architecture foundation courses. Additional seats in the cohort may be available to transfer students from other institutions or to major change students on a space-available basis.

This program operates on a cohort model. Students should expect four years to complete the Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture degree regardless of previous credit earned.

The landscape architecture curriculum is structured around studio—an intense one-on-one pedagogy modeled after a traditional apprenticeship—supported by lectures, seminars and courses in technology, ecology, digital representation and history/theory. Projects range from the design of small gardens to regional agricultural and ecosystems planning. 

During the first year, students gain a foundation in design and an awareness of the built environment. Through a process of drawing and making models, students learn to develop and communicate ideas across landscape architecture, architecture and urban design.

Second-year students participate in studios that emphasize drawing by hand and computer and model-making abilities by exploring terrain and ecology through conceptual exercises and design interventions on small local sites. 

Third-year students delve into the programs, systems and details of landscape practice. Students participate in studio projects that engage the medium of landscape architecture (topography, vegetation and water).

Fourth-year students take advanced seminars and electives and explore special topics with faculty. In studio, they tackle hybrid programs on complex sites and conduct design and material research to prepare for professional practice and graduate studies.

Students are encouraged to participate in a Knowlton-led education abroad program during their time as a student. Knowlton programs are traditionally offered during academic breaks, allowing for the greatest flexibility and participation. Recent programs have taken place in Cuba, Chile, Ghana, Italy, Japan, Taiwan and multiple European countries, with a focus on topics from the development of modern architecture and landscape architecture to sustainable urban planning practices.

Students may apply for one of the Knowlton School’s Architecture Research Travel Awards (ARTA) in order to pursue independent travel and research abroad.

Learn more about study abroad opportunities.

Many landscape architecture students pursue internship opportunities. 

Many landscape architecture students also participate in the Knowlton Landscape Co-Op Program during their junior year. In this program, students gain valuable professional experience directly in the field while earning credit toward their degree and a competitive hourly wage.

Students are encouraged to pursue internships using resources such as the Knowlton School Career Fair and the Knowlton School's mentor program that connects students with professionals.

Students can join the Student Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (SCASLA) to connect with professionals and gain professional development through firm visits, portfolio and resume reviews, and mock interviews.

Students can also participate in SERVitecture, which links students with design-based service experiences such as Habitat for Humanity. SERVitecture’s annual Fashion Schau is a highlight for students of all majors.

Students in the landscape architecture program are prepared to enter a range of professional fields or graduate programs. Graduates of Ohio State’s landscape architecture program are successful in finding positions at regional, national and global landscape architecture firms; architecture, urban design, engineering and planning firms; development and design/build; environmental management; public sector roles with metropolitan park systems, recreation and parks departments; state and federal agencies of environmental law, policy and management; and academic careers.

In these fields, common project types include designing and managing gardens, parks, neighborhoods, urban systems, bikeways, transit systems, streetscapes, community gardens, campuses, recreation zones, playgrounds, zoos and golf courses, residential developments, urban plazas, green roofs, brownfield reclamation, stream and wetland restoration, ecosystem management, wildlife conservation, and much more.

In addition, graduates of the landscape architecture program consistently enroll in leading graduate programs in landscape architecture and in other fields, including graduate programs of architecture, planning and urban design and career paths in areas of law, business, art, education and more.

New graduates report entry-level salaries between $45,000 and $60,000. Those who have completed experience requirements and registration exams may earn salaries of $70,000 or more. Partners and senior associates in large firms may earn considerably more, often exceeding $200,000.

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The Knowlton School's undergraduate landscape architecture program consistently ranks highly in the DesignIntelligence rankings of America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools.

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