Landscape Architecture

terraceA Blend of Art and Science

Landscape architecture encompasses the analysis, planning, design, management and stewardship of the natural and built environment. The profession is a unique blend of the arts and sciences and is responsible for public spaces such as the Memorial Union Terrace.

Designing, Planning and Managing the Landscape

Landscape architects plan and design traditional places such as parks, residential developments, campuses, gardens, cemeteries, commercial centers, resorts, transportation facilities, corporate and institutional centers and waterfront developments. They also design and plan the restoration of natural places disturbed by humans such as wetlands, stream corridors, mined areas and forested land. Their appreciation for historic landscapes and cultural resources enables landscape architects to undertake preservation planning projects for national, regional and local historic sites and areas (

Here’s what you might do with your landscape architecture training:

  • Design landscapes on small and large sites in both urban and rural areas
  • Plan the use of wilderness areas
  • Assess environmental impacts
  • Restore and manage natural ecosystems
  • Direct public policy in regional land-use planning
  • Create and revitalize urban neighborhoods, commercial districts and open space systems
  • Design to promote public health
  • Work internationally

Two Study Programs

The UW-Madison offers undergraduates two ways to study landscape architecture:

  • Professional Design Program
    This is the way to go if you think you’d like to work as a professional landscape architect. This program provides a professional education accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects. It’s a good choice if you want to work for a private firm specializing in landscape architecture or architecture, engineering or landscape contracting firms, or in a governmental design and planning agency. Coursework focuses on design processes, technical knowledge and graphic and verbal communication skills.
  • Landscape Studies
    This option focuses more on integrating the social, physical and natural sciences for conservation planning, policy and management. It’s a good choice if you are interested in visual resource management, environmental impact assessment, ecological restoration, landscape reclamation, natural areas management, or cultural resource conservation. The core curriculum includes courses in site analysis, computerized land-information systems, historic preservation and conservation ecology, as well as a series of issue-oriented, problem-solving workshops.

Experience Outside of Class

As a landscape architecture major, you’ll get a lot out of your classes by leaving the classroom. The expertise you gain during independent study projects, field trips, site visits and professional internships will build on the foundation of knowledge garnered in classroom and studio.

You’ll have a unique opportunity for personalized learning through projects directed by a nationally recognized faculty – not only our own landscape architects, but also specialists from closely related disciplines such as architecture, art, botany, geography, horticulture, and urban and regional planning.

You’ll also get field experience through summer courses in such areas as native plant communities and rural historic preservation. These provide students with first-hand experience of the diversity of such natural and cultural landscapes as Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands and rural Door County.

Where You’ll be Learning

The Department of Landscape Architecture has highly visible undergraduate and interdisciplinary graduate level programs. Its Faculty are well known nationally.

Located in Agricultural Hall, the landscape architecture department’s facilities include large studio areas for instruction, project development workspaces for each student, and numerous computer workstations. Steenbock Library is one block away. Classes are also held at the UW-Madison Arboretum, the Wisconsin Historical Society and other locations throughout the state.

Financial Assistance

The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences offers many scholarships that are granted based on academic performance, need or extracurricular activities. For more information on scholarships, loans and work-study programs contact the UW-Madison Office of Financial Services.

For more information contact the Department of Landscape Architecture:

Prospective Student Services: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Office of Academic Affairs

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is an AA/EEO institution. University policies create additional protection that prohibits harassment on the basis of cultural background and ethnicity. Inquires concerning these policies may be directed to the appropriate campus admitting or employing unit or to the Equity and Diversity Resource Center, 179-A, Bascom Hall, (608) 263-2378, TTY (608) 263-2473.