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As described by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), "landscape architecture is the art and science of analysis, planning, design, management, preservation and rehabilitation of the land.

"Landscape architects design the built environment of neighborhoods, towns and cities while also protecting and managing the natural environment, from its forests and fields to rivers and coasts. Members of the profession have a special commitment to improving the quality of life through the best design of places for people and other living things.

"In fact, the work of landscape architects surrounds us. Members of the profession are involved in the planning of such sites as office plazas, public squares and thoroughfares. The attractiveness of parks, highways, housing developments, urban plazas, zoos and campuses reflects the skill of landscape architects in planning and designing the construction of useful and pleasing projects.

"Depending on the scope of the project for clients, ranging from a local developer to the federal government, landscape architects may plan the entire arrangement of a site, including the location of buildings, grading, stormwater management, construction and planting. They may also coordinate teams of design, construction and contracting professionals.

"Already, federal and state government agencies ranging from the National Park Service to local planning boards employ a large number of landscape architects. More and more private developers realize that the services of a landscape architect are an integral part of a successful, more profitable project."

Learn more about the profession of landscape architecture from the ASLA.

Program Mission

The OU MLA program is an interdisciplinary learning context to think critically and creatively in addressing environmental issues related to human use of the land.  Projects are rooted in the physiographic region of the Great Plains, the urban design context of metropolitan Oklahoma City, and smaller communities around the state. Graduates are expected to be versatile and ready to enter the landscape architecture profession in both public and private practice. We seek to imbue our students with a committed environmental ethic, strong design communication skills and awareness of changing resource constraints confronting designers in the 21st century.  Graduates of the OU MLA will be aware of effective design and planning processes, appropriate project management at multiple scales and emergent areas of design and planning research.

Curriculum Objectives

Graduates of the First Professional Degree Program:

  • Are qualified to enter the profession of landscape architecture
  • Possess theoretical and conceptual insight in the field and practice of the profession
  • Are interdisciplinary by training and conversant with the professions related to landscape architecture
  • Are prepared to exercise leadership
  • Possess a specialization relevant to particular student interests and the needs of both society and the profession of landscape architecture

Benefits of the Landscape Architecture Program

The First Professional Degree curriculum, i.e., for those not having a degree in landscape architecture, includes technical as well as theoretical courses and design studios that utilizes the state and region as a learning laboratory. Of particular interest to the program are sustainable urban landscapes and their importance in the global arena. Overall, students will be prepared to design and manage landscapes that are environmentally sound and socially responsible. Design projects are a balance of real and theoretical programs ranging from small to large scale.

The Masters in Landscape Architecture Program at OU is a small, dynamic, accredited program that aggressively pursues innovative and cutting-edge projects.  Studio projects focus on sustainability, land stewardship and "real-world" community outreach that enable students to learn how to interact effectively in a public forum to express their ideas.

The MLA Career-Change curriculum is comprehensive; we offer students a strong foundation in preparing to enter the landscape architecture profession with opportunities for students to customize their education.  Design communication is emphasized with the integrated use of computers and traditional forms of design development and presentation.

The College of Architecture is a multi-disciplinary setting with opportunities to take courses in architecture, regional and city planning as well as across the university in geography, geosciences, botany, management and public administration.

The OU MLA welcomes students with undergraduate degrees from other fields such as geography, zoology, botany, horticulture, geology, environmental sciences who are motivated to be active designers, planners and managers of the built and natural environment. Students work closely with faculty engaged in research activities concerning urban design, urban ecology, sustainability, green roofs, water conservation, pedestrian and cycling mobility as well as a broad range of theoretical perspectives to the profession.

The University of Oklahoma is a doctoral degree-granting research university serving the educational, cultural and economic needs of the state, region, nation and hemisphere. More than 25,000 students and 1500 full-time faculty create a lively atmosphere of learning on OU's original campus in Norman and Health Sciences Center campuses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. A comprehensive university, OU offers 160 undergraduate, 125 master's, 79 doctoral, 4 professional and 20 dual professional/master's degree programs.

The Landscape Architecture program is in the College of Architecture on OU's Norman campus. The College of Architecture offers a comprehensive planning and design curriculum leading to degrees in Architecture, Construction Science, Interior Design, Regional and City Planning, as well as Landscape Architecture. Norman is a town of 90,000 that boasts award-winning public schools, a caring community, low crime rate, and a diversity of cultural and recreational events. Norman is eighteen miles south of Oklahoma City, and is considered part of the metropolitan area with a population of over one million and the various resources and amenities one associates with such a population. The Dallas-Fort Worth metro-plex is three hours to the south offering a broad range of resources associated with a large and diverse area, as does the Tulsa metro area less than two hours to the east.

In addition, the cultural and natural landscapes of Oklahoma are rich and varied with ten major ecological provinces, fourteen vegetation associations, and a unique settlement history. The state's population is largely urbanized and presents numerous opportunities for community based initiatives in support of teaching, research, and service.