Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning (Ph.D.)

Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning

Designed for those wanting to teach landscape architecture and environmental planning at the university level. The mission of this STEM designated doctoral program is to (1) prepare future faculty members, and (2) engage students in creative intellectual work that contributes to the theory and practice of landscape architecture and environmental planning. Throughout this degree, students will create and apply critical theories and methods to address the dynamic issues and scales of natural and built landscapes in the context of human systems.

Applicants should have completed a master's degree in a field allied to landscape architecture or environmental planning. Given the interdisciplinary nature of these degrees, we welcome potential students from a range of different backgrounds in science and design disciplines.

Contact our Advisor

MLA Fast Facts

Graduate Credits Required: 60

Years to Complete: 3-4

Student Cost:

Salary Range: $60,000-100,000

Cohort Size: 3-5

Degree Timeline Recommendation:

  • Supervisory Commitee Approval Form Completed - End of 3rd Semester
  • Promotion to Candidacy - End of 2nd Year
  • Approved Dissertation Proposal (ABD) - No later than end of 3rd Year
  • Degree Completion - End of 4th Year

We strive to ensure our students are prepared to enter their profession after their fourth year. However, we understand that programs may need to be extended for various reasons. Students needing a one-time extension of the recommended timeline, may submit a request to Carlos Licon. The request will be reviewed by the department's Ph.D. committee. Extenuating circumstances can be discussed with the Ph.D. Committee.

Degree Requirements

A student may apply for candidacy once they have met the following requirements:

      • Completed 36 credits of coursework
      • Completed a writing product which has been reviewed and approved by the student's committee (LAEP 7940 or LAEP 7920 will likely be the basis of this work).
Note: Failure to produce an adequate writing product, as deemed by the student's committee, could necessitate an exam, extension to a writing product, or other measures deemed by the committee.

The Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning PhD program requires students to produce work in each of the following areas:

The PhD curriculum dictates that all students take ITLS 6760 Grant and Proposal Writing. This course is typically taught in the fall.

Most faculty members in research universities are expected to prepare grant applications to fund their research and training programs and often model/development/demonstration projects, technical assistance projects, etc. Thus, the purpose of this requirement is to ensure that graduates acquire some proficiency and experience in the domain of grant writing. Further, this requirement is intended to enhance the student's job marketability at graduation.

Reviewing literature is an extremely important scholarly skill. It is the key to critically understanding a body of literature. It is in the review of literature that the dots are connected and coherent patterns are identified; equally importantly, this is where weaknesses in a body of literature are identified. Systematic and critical understanding of bodies of literature is a necessary basis for drawing practical conclusions from research and for developing important questions for further research.

The literature review requirement has several purposes:

  1. It is intended to precede the literature review for the dissertation and ensure that students have experience with comprehensive reviews before taking on that project,
  2. Along with introduction of the publishable article and the dissertation, this product is intended to ensure that students have extensive experience with this important form of scholarship,
  3. It is intended to provide an additional publication for students so that upon (or shortly after) graduation, their record of scholarship shows at least one published literature review,
  4. It is intended to provide students with an additional content area in which they are well versed, broadening their scholarly expertise.


  • The literature review should be of publishable scope and quality, and be submitted for publication, if such papers are typically published in the student's discipline.

  • The literature review and article for publication may occur in either order or concurrently.

  • The literature review may be a collaborative project; however, the student's contribution must merit first authorship. 

  • Multiple types of literature reviews including meta-analyses, evidence-based practice reviews, and narrative reviews are acceptable. The style of review should be matched to the nature of the literature and the purposes of the review.

  • It is expected that students will complete the literature review by the end of their second year of full-time study. 

This requirement is intended to ensure that graduates have the critical scientific writing skills to be successful academicians and also to help students establish a record of publication that will enhance their marketability for academic positions upon graduation. 


  • The article must be of quality to be published in a referred journal and must be submitted for publication. However, the article does not need to be accepted for publication in order to meet the project requirement.

  • The article used to meet this requirement may be related to the student's prior research internship.

  • The article submitted to meet this requirement may not be the same as that used to meet the literature review requirement.

  • The article may be a collaborative project; however, the student's contribution must merit first authorship.

The purpose of the conference presentation requirement is to ensure that program graduates will be proficient at presenting papers at professional conferences as expected of professors and other Ph.D. level professionals. Further, this requirement is intended to enhance the student's job marketability at graduation.


  • There is a strong preference for these presentations to occur at national conferences. However, under some circumstances, a doctoral committee could approve a presentation at a state or regional conference to meet this requirement.

  • It is not required that this presentation be of research data; however, it must be a scholarly/academic presentation rather than a workshops or presentation for a non-academic audience.The advisor must approve the RFP and plan for the student's involvement prior to the initiation of this project.


The advisor and at least one additional committee member will evaluate this product based on two sets of information:

  1. Materials the student prepared for the presentation. These may include slides or other presentation media, written presentation narrative or notes, and/or handouts.

  2. The presentation itself. At least one faculty member who advises doctoral students must attend the presentation and write a brief evaluative statement. Generally, this observer will be the student's advisor or another member of their advisory committee. 

Almost all graduates of this program will assume positions that require teaching undergraduate and/or graduate students in higher education institutions. Thus, the purpose of this requirement is to ensure graduates will be proficient in college teaching. This requirement is also intended to enhance graduates' marketability for academic positions.


  • Students must have the primary instructor role for a semester-long course. This should include responsibility for planning and managing the course (e.g. syllabus, presentation of most materials, assignments, student feedback, grading, and other miscellaneous activities related to college teaching). Students enrolled in the course should see the doctoral student as the primary course instructor.

  • Since students will usually be teaching courses that have been extensively developed by faculty members, it is not reasonable to expect them to independently create a whole new course (at least not from scratch).

  • Students may demonstrate course development skills in a variety of ways such as developing new course content, course units/modules, assessment tools, interactive activities and hybrid courses.

  • In meeting this requirement, students will be required to engage in some web-based technological support system (such as Canvas).

  • The faculty member who is responsible for the course (and for whom it is part of load) is expected to attend at least 50% of the class sessions.

  • It is understood that in exceptional circumstances a student may be permitted to meet the college teaching requirement more independently. On these occasions, there are two issues to be considered. First, there is the question of whether the student has the experience and expertise to bypass the usual more intensive supervised teaching process. This decision is to be made by the student's advisory committee. Second, there is the question of whether those responsible for the program that is to receive the course are satisfied that it will meet their quality expectations. This decision is to be made by the appropriate Department Head in consultation with the relevant program faculty.


The faculty member responsible for the course will have primary responsibility to evaluate the student's teaching. Students will be evaluated at least twice during the semester-long course. Further, at the end of the semester, students will create a 1-3 page reflection paper about their teaching experience through which they will attempt to demonstrate their proficiency in college teaching. This paper should include data from course evaluations, their thoughts about the course and their teaching performance, and an explanation of how they would alter the course or the course delivery based on the feedback from student evaluations, from assessment instruments they used, and from the evaluative feedback of their faculty supervisor.

Unlike the College Teaching Internship for Seminar courses, the PhD candidate is not responsible for the entire teaching load of a studio course.

Students will be responsible for 2 credits of the course load, which is equivalent to 8 hours a week or 128 hours of time devoted to the course throughout the semester.

The PhD candidate may not be the primary instructor of record, but their role is to consult and support faculty, but not be used as a glorified teaching assistant.

PhD candidates are responsible for content delivery and student advising. They are not primarily responsible for grading of student work.

The instructor of record is responsible for preparing expectations and a schedule with the PhD candidate, providing mentoring and screening course content, and the instructor of record is responsible to conduct at least one peer-teaching evaluation during the course of the semester.

Dissertation Requirements

After promotion to approved dissertation proposal, a student may defend their dissertation. Dissertations are based upon student research, and follow the format provided by the School of Graduate Studies. A dissertation must be successfully defended, written and approved by the Graduate School before a student's degree will be awarded.