How to become a landscape architect?

Being a landscape architect is a rewarding career that allows you to be creative and work with various people in different places. To become a landscape architect has varied pathways depending on your aspirations and country’s requirements.

Traditional approach

After completing high (secondary) school, many landscape architects attend an accredited university or college to study landscape architecture in a graduate or bachelor’s degree for 3 to 5 years, depending on the program. You can find a list of schools/universities on Wikipedia.

On Thin Ice – Ambika Pharma, University of Toronto
Supervisor:  Fadi Masoud, Professor, University of Toronto

Indirect Pathway

Other students may not have completed high (secondary school), and do not meet the entry requirements for the university. The alternative is to study for an allied certificate or diploma (landscape design, horticulture, environmental studies, etc.) that provides you with a pathway to enter the landscape architecture program.

Students – Planting swale demonstration; Image Credits: UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden

Mature and Masters (postgraduate) programs

Some people have completed a degree or university qualification in a similar or different area of study (architecture, planning, engineering, etc.) and wish to study landscape architecture. It is possible to do this by joining a Masters’ program. These programs can be 2-3 years, depending on the university requirements. Many postgraduate landscape architecture programs offer (require) a foundation year (introduction to design) to provide a basic level of knowledge prior to joining the Masters’ program.

Lecture at Columbia GSAPP; Image Credit: Flickr Neil Brenner

Work Experience

To call yourself a landscape architect, you may have to gain work experience as a landscape designer or landscape technician (dependent on country requirements) to then be able to become registered.


Some countries require you to be registered to call yourself a ‘landscape architect’. To become registered requires you to go through several steps, including application, work experience(1-3 years depending on the country), studying, mentorship, exams, interviews, and fees. Check with your local institute or society on the requirements.

The article is a summary of how to become a landscape architect. There are other pathways, and it would be best to speak to your local landscape institute or society or university about what may best suit your current situation.

The article was written by Damian Holmes, WLA Founder and Editor

Image Credits: as captioned


DISCLAIMER: This article is for educational purposes only. The content is intended only to provide a summary and general overview of matters of interest. It’s not intended to be comprehensive, nor to constitute advice. You should always obtain professional advice, appropriate to your own circumstances, before acting or relying on any of that content. This advice is general in nature.

About Damian Holmes 3308 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at