Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture

Project by Shirin Adorbehi
Project by Shirin Adorbehi


Landscape Architects are concerned with the design, management, preservation, and use of the land.  The curriculum provides a foundation in all of these areas with a particular emphasis on design, along with the cultural and technical subjects that support it.  Coursework includes study of landscape design and planning processes, graphic communications, ecology, plants and planting design, construction methods and environmental history.  Instruction fosters the development of creative and problem-solving abilities, communication skills, technical knowledge, environmental awareness and professional attitudes.  In most courses, students develop design proposals or technical solutions for actual sites.

The Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA) is a general professional degree, nationally accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board and approved by the California Board of Landscape Architects as meeting part of the qualification requirements for licensure examination.


Admission to the undergraduate program is possible either as a first-time freshman or as a transfer student from a recognized college. Undergraduate admissions are processed and managed by the University.

Recently, the University has been designated as an impacted campus, altering the admissions process by instituting required filing periods and giving priority to students based on their geographical proximity to campus. This has limited enrollment of students who would have previously been admitted to the University.

If you do decide you want to study landscape architecture, we encourage you to submit an application to the University as early as possible. Refer to the the Office of Admissions & Outreach for more information about applying either on paper or online.  Students meeting the University admissions criteria will be admitted to the department on a first-come first-serve basis. The application period extends from November 1 until all available places are filled. Students admitted to the Landscape Architecture program must begin study during the Fall Quarter.

For specific information, and application instructions, please refer to the Office of Admissions & Enrollment Planning.

If you are admitted directly from high school, or if you have completed academic work at another institution, you will begin your study of landscape architecture with our sequence of courses in the first year design (ENV101 and LA 102 and l03). If you have taken courses in art or design at another college or university, we recommend that you apply for advanced standing. Guidelines for placement beyond the first year are as follows: 

Second Year
Demonstrated completion of a sequence of basic design courses (in art, architecture, or similar programs) to include, at a minimum, 2-dimensional design, 3-dimensional design, color theory and design, and perspective drawing. Transferrable design credit must total at least 12 quarter units. 

Third Year
Demonstrated completion of at least two years of design studies in an accredited program in landscape architecture or completion of studies equivalent to the requirements for placement at second year plus a minimum of three years of professional work experience under the supervision of a licensed Landscape Architect. 

Fourth Year
Demonstrated completion of at least three years of design studies in an accredited program in landscape architecture or completion of studies equivalent to the requirements for placement at third year plus a minimum of five years of professional work experience under the supervision of a licensed Landscape Architect. 

Selection of students to be admitted to advanced standing will be based on the following criteria: 

  1. Grades in college level work. 
  2. Review of portfolios that would include:
  • A statement of purpose 
  • Examples of work done in the above courses 
  • Other academic and work experience 

Freshman Applicants

Generally, admission of undergraduate students from high school to the university is determined by a formula that combines the high school grade point average and ACT (American College Test) or SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) score. In general, students in approximately the upper third of the high school graduating class are eligible for admission.

Freshman applicants must meet the minimum California State University eligibility requirements to be considered for admission. If you meet the minimum CSU requirements, Cal Poly Pomona will consider your application using supplemental criteria that may vary depending on the academic major you have chosen.

For additional information visit Cal Poly Pomona's Freshman Requirements and Deadlines page.


Transfer Applicants

Admission of transfer students from community colleges is based on college grade point averages and by a portfolio review of previous work. The Department is not involved in the selection or admission of incoming students, but does make decisions regarding requests for advanced standing. As of fall 2004 admissions, the University is only accepting upper division transfers.

Upper division transfers must complete 60 semester (90 quarter) units of transferable coursework, including 30 semester (45 quarter) units of courses equivalent to general education requirements, with a grade of “C” or better by the end of the spring quarter to be considered for the next fall quarter.

For additional information on Transfer Admissions, please refer to:


International Applicants

Known for its outstanding academic programs, Cal Poly Pomona offers excellent education for international students who wish to pursue a degree in the United States.

Current and future International Students in Cal Poly academic programs must contact the International Center for information regarding visas, guidelines for maintaining academic progress, and procedures for internships and post graduation work.

For additional information on Incoming International Students and requirements, please refer to:



For more information regarding admissions to the Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture, contact the Undegraduate Coordinator:

Kristopher Penrose
(909) 869-2673



As stated in the Department’s mission statement, our program prepares students to resolve the environmental and social challenges of the 21st century, by instilling an intellectual framework to make decisions based upon theoretical and technical knowledge of landscape architecture, creative and critical thinking skills, and social justice issues. The curriculum expresses this mission as a source of new and emerging influences that periodically refine and advance our profession.

The four-year design sequence fosters creative and critical thinking and develops a sense of responsibility toward environmental, social and professional issues. The sequence acquaints students with design issues at the manifold and relevant scales they will face in practice, and addresses ecological and cultural patterns and processes in different physical and social settings. Design projects challenge students to incorporate these issues within their design decision-making processes. Student projects present work that identifies individual and social needs, sustainability, and regeneration as a contemporary cultural expression. These projects typically draw upon actual sites within the region and often provide services that benefit local communities.

In addition to the design sequence, the professional curriculum integrates the body of knowledge of landscape history, professional practice, information technology and technical skills for design implementation. These critical elements expose students to various professional roles, past and present social needs, and issues of social responsibility, including the protection of the public health, safety and welfare.

The program consists of the following core curriculum sequences: design, graphics, plant identification and design, construction, history and information technology. These sequences are coordinated to the extent possible to enable mutual interaction and support while reducing conflict and duplication. Assigned faculty members coordinate each of these sequences in order to facilitate curriculum planning and project management among multiple course sections. Goals and objectives are defined for each sequence in terms of student comprehension and performance upon completion of each course.

Creative problem solving, critical thinking, communications, design, and organization occur in all four years as well, but are differently addressed in the lower and upper division. Lower division emphasizes a more fundamental/universal approach. It is a rigorous program of understanding the mechanics of design. The importance of posing questions (problem solving and critical thinking), articulating design strategies (communication) and presentation of work in multiple formats and media (design and organization) provide a strong foundation for engaging the discipline and practice of landscape architecture. The upper division, with a stronger emphasis on site, scale, system and function, is pushed to a professional level of work executed within the academic setting. Student work is expected to be at the highest level of professional execution and intellectual engagement. Juried presentations typically consist of licensed practitioners and professionals from related design and technical professions.