Skip To Main Content
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Select where to search:


M.S. in Landscape Architecture (+Dual M.S. +IUG)

Build on your professional knowledge.
Develop research expertise.
The Master of Science in Landscape Architecture is a two-year program that provides research expertise to individuals who already hold a professionally-accredited degree in landscape architecture or architecture. The M.S. degree program is a great opportunity for those who seek to gain research skills for success in professional practice or academic positions.
Earn a Master of Science in Landscape Architecture at Penn State

Our mission is to do inspired work grounded in environmental and social good. Are you ready to join us?

In this research-focused degree, you team up with outstanding faculty across Penn State on a targeted research agenda that may range from developing an app for participatory resilient landscape design to studying the impact of socio-cultural context on environmentally responsive behavior. You and your adviser develop your topic and a tailored curricular path to meet your goals.

Students in this program have the opportunity to participate in sponsored research within our school’s centers, as well as in centers and institutes across the University.

Our M.S. program also offers opportunities to expand your education by earning a certificate in Geodesign or by pursuing a dual-title degree in landscape architecture and human dimensions of natural resources and the environment.

Is the M.S. in Landscape Architecture right for you?

The M.S., which can be completed in two years, focuses on building expertise and research skills within a highly flexible curricular structure.

Our M.S. provides outstanding opportunities for students who already hold a professionally accredited degree in architecture or landscape architecture. If you seek to develop advanced expertise through rigorous scholarly inquiry, take advantage of the impressive range of experts and topical areas you can pursue at Penn State.

Within our inspiring, LEED Gold-rated building, students have access to a specialized Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library, 24-hour access to our own cutting-edge computer studios, as well as a permanent studio desk for each student. All of this plus the additional benefits of attending a Tier 1 research institution.

A student moving sand in a sandbox with an overhead projection effect of contour lines and water effect reflecting on the sand during a landscape architecture student display event.
Group of three students reviewing a series of digital maps and overlays on-screen.

Degree Options

The M.S. in LA program provides opportunities to expand and focus studies through the dual-title M.S. in Landscape Architecture and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment option, or by adding a graduate certificate in Geodesign.

Advanced undergraduate B.L.A. students can apply to integrate undergraduate and graduate courses of study, thereby earning a B.L.A. + M.S. in LA degrees.

Dual-Title M.S. + HDNRE

The Department of Landscape Architecture and the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment (HDNRE) program offer a dual-title masters degree program in Landscape Architecture and HDNRE. The HDNRE program is a transdisciplinary, intercollege program that exposes students to issues including, but not limited to global climate change; sustainable energy, food, and fiber supplies; threats to biodiversity; water pollution and availability; genetic modification; and sustainable design.

The goal of the dual-title M.S. degree Landscape Architecture and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment is to enable graduate students from Landscape Architecture to acquire the knowledge and skills of their major area of specialization in Landscape Architecture, while at the same time gaining the perspective and methods of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment.

For admission to the dual-title degree under this program, students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Landscape Architecture and The Graduate School before applying for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to the primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the HDNRE dual-title program.

Students must satisfy the requirements of both the Landscape Architecture and the HDNRE programs. The student prepares one integrated thesis reflecting the student’s education and interest in both Landscape Architecture and HDNRE. The student’s thesis committee for the dual-title M.S. degree include at least one graduate faculty member from the HDNRE program.

Graduate Bulletin Links

M.S. + Geodesign Certificate

Geodesign weds the analytical power of geographic information systems (GIS) with a robust design process to ensure land use design and planning that is socially, environmentally, and economically responsible.

The purpose of the graduate certificate in Geodesign is to provide students with a foundation in geospatially-oriented design through investigating interdisciplinary methods and the collaborative nature of the Geodesign process.

Geodesign Certificate Links

Integrated B.L.A. + M.S.

The integrated undergraduate-graduate (IUG) degree program (B.L.A. in Landscape Architecture + M.S. in Landscape Architecture) provides an opportunity for strong students in Penn State’s Landscape Architecture B.L.A. program to complete a master’s degree with 6 total years of study (the B.L.A. is a 5-year program).

The number of openings in the integrated B.L.A. + M.S. program is limited, and admission is selective.

Graduate Bulletin Links

Level Up

Make the most of your time at Penn State exploring the opportunities.

Research Centers and Initiatives
Stuckeman Center for Design Computing

A collaborative research and teaching studio-lab focused on developing and testing innovative computational design techniques.

Hamer Center for Community Design

The Hamer Center explores three key topical areas: design/build, community-based research, and public interest design.

E+D (Ecology plus Design)

A collaborative of designers and ecologists who undertake research activated design intervention that improves the ecological health of the designed world.

Assistantships and Fellowship Opportunities

Awarded as available on a competitive, semester-by-semester basis.

RAs are frequently available from our research centers or individual faculty on a competitive basis, as are grants-in-aid and graduate fellowships.

Fellowship opportunities exist both within Penn State and through external funding agencies.

Student Organizations
Landscape Architecture Student Society (LASS)

Focused on advancing the future of design within the community and the profession.

National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS)

Student branch of the National Organization of Minority Architects

Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA)

Officially recognized by the University as the collective voice of the graduate and professional student body.

video Bianjie Ji Lara Nagle Nastaran Tebyanian Matt Dallos Qixiang Qin Vasiliy Lakoba Sukanya Ranade Nick Decker Aastha Singh Paula Neder

Alumni Spotlight

Demetrios Staurinos

Alumni Spotlight

Demetrios Staurinos

B.L.A. in Landscape Architecture 2002

Demetrios Staurinos, RLA, ASLA, is an associate at OLIN, a landscape architecture, urban design, and planning firm with studios in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Demetrios has received awards from, among others, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the American Planning Association, and the American Institute of Architects and American Public Works Association. He is driven to improve the built environment by embellishing the “happy accidents” that occur when a thoughtful design meets the playful interactions of daily life.

Overhead view of people walking on pathway through landscape architecture design by Demetrios Staurinos.
Overhead view of riparian landscape architecture design by Demetrios Staurinos.
Large group of people enjoying a sunset gathering in an urban landscape architecture design by Demetrios Staurinos.

Faculty Spotlight

Stephen Mainzer points at a student's pinned up work while she watches at right.
Stephen Mainzer points at a student's pinned up work while she watches at right.

Stephen Mainzer

Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture

Stephen Mainzer’s research focuses on how human and natural systems intersect to inform how we govern, plan, and access natural resources, particualrly energy resources. As a key collaborator to the E+D (Ecology + Design) research initiative, he is leading the DDREAM (Deep Decarbonization and Renewable Energy in the Appalachian Mountains) project, which attempts to explore how the socio-ecological structure of Pennsylvania might inform a transition from fossil fuels to renewable solar energy, especially in post-coal Appalachian areas.

Portrait of Stephen Mainzer

News from A&A

Stuckeman School graphic design students win UCDA Vote 2020 design awards

Two graphic design students in the Stuckeman School recently earned awards in the University and College Designers Association Vote 2020 Student Poster Design Initiative.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two graphic design students in the Stuckeman School recently earned awards in the University and College Designers Association (UCDA) Vote 2020 Student Poster Design Initiative. Scottie


Read More

New podcast engages research to improve the world’s ecological health

A new E+D podcast series addresses the areas of biodiversity, energy, risk and hazard and water systems in order to bring light to the importance of the world.
Read More

Architecture faculty project awarded Global Smart Cities Urban Innovation Award

The Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform, which was founded by architecture faculty members DK Osseo-Asare and Yasmine Abbas, has been awarded the Smart Cities Urban Innovation Prize.
Read More