Degree Requirements

Year 1: Students spend their first year developing an understanding of how designers make decisions and how landscape architecture determines the built environment via lectures, assigned readings and design-related projects. At the end of year one, students are selected, based on their GPA and performance in first-year environmental design courses, plus additional submissions, for admittance to the landscape architecture program. 

Year 2: Year two marks the beginning of intense landscape architectural design studio work that lays the foundation for successfully completing an Master of Landscape Architecture Degree. All classroom learning gets directly applied in the studio through individual and group projects. Students must buy a laptop in the fall semester of their second year. 

Year 3: The third-year curriculum focuses on technical aspects of landscape architecture and early graduate-level work. Students are expected to apply these concepts in their studio projects. Students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 after completion of the third-year apply to the NDSU Graduate School to complete their Master’s degree coursework.

Year 4: Students develop their capstone project (LA 672 and LA 642) and begin full-time graduate-level coursework in preparation for a research and design thesis project. . Landscape architectural knowledge, ability, and self-reliance reach their peak as students approach graduation.  

Year 5: The fifth-year of study is an intensive research and design year culminating in the development and implementation of an individual design thesis program, project, and report.


Master of Landscape Architecture

The landscape architecture program is a first professional course of study leading to a Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) degree. North Dakota State University landscape architecture is the only landscape architecture program in North Dakota, and is located in the vibrant, walkable, and growing downtown of Fargo, ND. During the first year of study, the curriculum addresses the understanding of the environment and our impact on nature. In addition to meeting General Education and departmental requirements, students take five environmental design courses (ENVD 101, 102, 104, 130 and 172) comprising lecture courses, a drawing course and a design fundamentals course. Beginning at the sophomore level, through a selective admissions process, students begin their landscape architecture course of study. Studio courses are limited in enrollment to maintain a high level of student faculty contact. The landscape architecture program is based on a studio model of education providing high contact hours between students and their professors as they learn problem-solving techniques and design methodologies. The primary focus is on design thinking, students engaging in individual and group projects that represent a wide array of design challenges. In this studio format, students have opportunities for public service projects requiring real-world solutions benefiting both the students and the ethical requirements of outreach within the profession. Other courses in the curriculum include the history of landscape architecture, grading and drainage, materials and methods, construction documentation, and professional ethics and practices. The program emphasizes the importance of critical thinking, the communication of ideas through writing, public presentation of models, drawings, renderings and computer animation. Field trips, lecture series, invited outside professionals and a laptop computer requirement in the second year help students develop their own interests and craft their own unique career path.



Download Professional Curriculum →

The Master of Landscape Architecture degree curriculum is made up of three components:

General Studies: (34 credits, not including 6 credits from the Professional curriculum)

University General Education Requirements:

The following statement is from the NDSU Undergraduate Bulletin:

The purpose of general education at NDSU is to ensure that students acquire knowledge, perspectives, and skills associated with a university education. The program is designed so that graduates will be able to adapt to and anticipate changes in their profession and in society. Graduates also will be able to integrate and use the knowledge and perspectives they have gained to live productive, intellectually rewarding, and meaningful lives.

  • First Year Experience: 1 credit
  • Communication: 12 credits
  • Quantitative Reasoning: 3 credits
  • Science and Technology: 10 credits (includes 1-credit lab)
  • Humanities and Fine Arts: 6 credits (double counted from professional curriculum)
  • Social & Behavioral Science: 6 credits
  • Wellness: 2 credits

University General Education Requirements met with no additional credits:

  • Cultural Diversity: ANTH 111
  • Global Perspective: (ARCH 321: Architectural History I) 
  • Computer Usage in all Majors: (LA 232: Design Technology) 
  • Communication in Upper Division: (LA 772: Design Thesis)
  • Personal & Professional Ethics: (LA 781: Professional Practice)
  • Capstone Experience: (LA 572: Design Thesis)

Electives: (25 credits)

Professional Studies: (101 credits, including 6 credits double-counted from General Studies)

Our curriculum is designed to build knowledge and ability in our students in an incremental way as they move through the program. Expectations for increased knowledge, ability and self-reliance continue to rise as students approach graduation. This, along with our emphasis on the transfer of knowledge from lecture and seminar courses to active employment in studio and community service projects, constitutes the framework for our professional studies.

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