Master of Landscape Architecture

Our curriculum emphasizes understanding landscapes across multiple scales and contexts to support innovative design, critical thinking, and real-world problem solving. We approach design as a process of discovery, characterized by questioning, creating, testing and evaluating. We strive to create environments that fulfill human needs and potential, and are ecologically responsive and socially just.

The department offers two master's degrees:

  1. An accredited first-professional Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) degree
  2. A post-professional Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) degree

Our MLA programs prepare students for careers in:

  • professional firms
  • city, state, regional and federal agencies
  • non-governmental organizations
  • faculty at major universities

For detailed information about both Master of Landscape Architecture degrees, see the Master’s Program Handbook.


Two Professional Degree Programs

First-Professional Degree Program

The first-professional degree program is for students who have little background in environmental design. Students in this program can expect to spend a minimum of three years (10 terms) earning an accredited, first-professional MLA. The program begins in the summer term.

Most of the coursework for this degree can be completed mostly in the first two years, which includes required courses related to professional knowledge and skills. In the third year, you will complete required coursework while also taking elective courses in an area of concentration that supports your master's thesis or project.

Based on your undergraduate courses, work experience, and background in design-related disciplines, adjustments to the typical program of study may be made through course waivers or substitutions in consultation with your faculty advisor.


Post-Professional Degree Program

Students who have already completed an accredited Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree (BLA) and want to research an aspect of landscape architecture in depth enter the post-professional MLA program. This program begins in the fall term, and students generally spend two years completing their degree, depending on their background and prior coursework. Your individual schedule of courses will be determined on a case-by-case basis in consultation with your faculty advisor.

Students entering with an accredited Bachelor or Architecture (BArch) or other accredited professional environmental design degree and substantial professional experience are eligible to enter the post-professional MLA program with some additional course requirements, or they may opt to earn a first-professional MLA degree with waivers of some course requirements, as decided on a case-by-case basis in consultation with their faculty advisor.

Most coursework for this program can be completed in the first year, leaving the second year to focus on your master's project or thesis. As part of your required coursework, you will take a series of elective courses in an area of concentration that supports your master's project or thesis.

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Master's Projects and Theses

At the culmination of either master’s degree program, all School of Architecture & Environment MLA students complete either a master’s project or a thesis as an independently conceived project presenting original work that contributes to the body of knowledge in Landscape Architecture.

The topic may be selected from a wide range of theoretical to practical design issues. It may be an original investigation, an original interpretation of existing scholarship, or an application of innovative strategies for the solution of a specific design challenge. Most importantly, the project should demonstrate a creative engagement in environmental transformation. You can view recent master’s projects and a list of all completed projects, as well as completed Landscape Architecture MLA Theses and PhD dissertations.


Graduate Certificates

Master of Landscape Architecture students may add a graduate certificate to their degree if they wish, though this is completely optional.

Further details on completing graduate specializations and certificates are available with the departmental academic advisor.


Concurrent Degree Options

Visit our Concurrent Master's Degrees page to learn about how to complete a concurrent master’s degree in Landscape Architecture and Architecture or Interior Architecture.