Master of Landscape Architecture

The Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program at the University of Arizona prepares students for the practice of landscape architecture and engages them in applied scholarship with an emphasis on sustainable strategies. The MLA program fosters a culture of creative thinking and collaborative learning through innovative teaching, design studios, interdisciplinary coursework and community-based projects.  The program prepares students for professional practice through integration of scientific knowledge and artistic intervention to achieve design outcomes that demonstrate sustainable technologies, sociocultural preservation, and aesthetic experiences which creates healthful, livable, and meaningful outdoor environments. 
 
Within this context, the central theme of sustainable design is characterized by the study of landscape ecology, landscape planning, cultural landscapes, design history and theory, and technical, graphic and digital media training.  Students are prepared for entry-level practice through involvement in a variety of project types and scales including community and campus master plans, urban park systems, plazas and green streets, industrial restoration, habitat creation, neighborhood design, and more.  The program utilizes Tucson and the unique Sonoran Desert environment as a learning laboratory for applied research and community-based projects involving a variety of stakeholders. The MLA degree is designed for individuals without prior training in landscape architecture, but students with a prior degree in landscape architecture can enter the program with advanced standing. Students graduate fully prepared for professional practice and for scholarship within the discipline. 
 
The MLA program is located within the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (CAPLA), a national leader in sustainable design, planning, and management. As a professional college, CAPLA’s Core Mission and strength is training architects, landscape architects, and urban planners to work effectively within a challenging array of social, economic, and environmental conditions. As a campus leader in community engagement, CAPLA advances the University’s historic land-grant mission through design and planning assistance to diverse communities throughout the state of Arizona, the United States, and beyond. 
 
The School’s facilities are considered extraordinary with bright, spacious studio space, and state-of-the-art computer facilities and a GeoDesign lab. The building has won multiple awards for sustainability and people from across the country flock to the Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory, a model for the arid design principles of water harvesting, water reuse, and the creation of desert microclimates.
 
Tucson is a welcoming, diverse and family-friendly community surrounded by five majestic mountain ranges. The Tucson basin boasts a rich cultural heritage and offers nationally renowned events such as the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, All Souls Procession/Day of the Dead and the Tour de Tucson bike race. The SunLink Streetcar connects The University of Arizona’s north campus to the main campus, Tucson’s downtown and the Westside Mercado District. Southern Arizona, with 350 days of sunshine a year, is known for its abundant outdoor opportunities including hiking, biking, birding, and rock climbing. 
 
The MLA program is fully accredited through the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB). Public information on the UA MLA program is available.
 
Curriculum 
The Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) is a three-year accredited professional degree program. Courses emphasize landscape and human ecology, socio-cultural & behavioral factors, landscape aesthetics, and artistic principles in a variety of design, planning, and management applications. The context in which design and planning studios operate closely simulates the profession and includes study of a variety of landscape types: wilderness, rural, suburban, urban, and historic landscapes. Special attention is given to the ecology, culture, and history of the arid Southwest and to international planning and design practice. 
 
In addition to required coursework, students are able to choose up to three elective courses at the University. The School has well-established relationships with the departments of Architecture, Geography, Soil, Water & Environmental Science, Planning, and the School of Natural Resources and the Environment where students often find elective courses. Students will also complete a master’s thesis or report submitted during the last semester of the program. The thesis or report allows the student to conduct independent research or engage in an independent design project which showcases the student’s learning. All MLA students are expected to develop computer and graphic skills to current industry standards.
 
Graduate Certificates
MLA students who are interested in broadening their professional training may earn a concurrent professional certificate in one of several different programs on campus. These programs include Certificates in:  Heritage Conservation, Geographic Information Science, and Water Policy
 
Admission to the Program, Costs, and Financial Aid
The admission process is based on a competitive analysis of the applicants in any given year with priority given to those whose apparent abilities, as determined by the School's MLA Admission Committee, will enable them to complete the program in a timely fashion, attain a high level of academic and professional achievement and make significant contributions to society through private, public or academic practice.
 
Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited United States college or university, or equivalent in a non-US institution of higher learning. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in the last 90 graded quarter credit hours or last 60 graded semester credit hours is required. The undergraduate degree can be in any field of study. Those applicants who possess a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture or a closely related professional field may apply for advanced standing. In addition, international students must demonstrate English language proficiency and submit scores from the TOEFL exam. 
 
The application deadline for priority consideration for domestic applicants is February 1, however, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis after this date. The application deadline for international students is February 1. Applicants who apply by the February 1 deadline are given priority consideration both for admission and financial aid. Learn more about admissions requirements and how to apply. 
 
Financial aid is available to qualified students based on the program, merit, and financial need. Many of our students receive some form of financial aid excluding loans. To see a breakdown of tuition and fees and learn more about applying for financial aid, click here.
 
Landscape Architecture Faculty
Faculty in the MLA program are diverse in their backgrounds, experience, and professional and scholarly interests. They provide a wide range of expertise in landscape architecture and allied fields (architecture, planning, natural science), creating an integrative environment in which students are exposed to a broad array of landscape architectural practice. Faculty hold degrees in fine arts, environmental planning, horticulture, landscape architecture, plant sciences, and natural resources. Several are interdisciplinary in education, experience, and activity. Faculty engage in research and scholarship in fields that include water and natural resource management, GeoDesign and landscape planning, health, educational environments, arid lands ecology, artistic and cultural landscapes, and sustainable design and development.
 
To learn more about faculty teaching and research interests, click on the faculty names to the right. 
 
Landscape Architecture Students
Landscape architecture students enter the program with diverse academic backgrounds. These include degrees in architecture, business, environmental sciences, performance, geography, health sciences, humanities, landscape architecture, planning, political science, public health, regional development, fine arts, and other disciplines. Student interaction and interdisciplinary learning are important values in studio culture.  Each MLA student has a desk in the spacious studio which is shared with graduate planning and architecture students. Class size is small with 15 MLA graduates, on average, each year. 
 
Careers and Employment in Landscape Architecture
MLA students are highly employable with 100% of our students employed within one year of completing the program. Our graduates accept internships and employment with governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, private sector firms, or some continue on pursuing doctoral degrees. 
 
Professional Organizations and Partnerships
The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has a mission to lead, to educate, and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments.  The University of Arizona Student Chapter ASLA is the official student body organization recognized by ASLA and the Arizona ASLA state chapter. Elected officers of the Student Chapter ASLA are chosen annually to represent the Landscape Architecture student body.  As a liaison between students, ASLA and practicing professionals, the student chapter works to promote the field of landscape architecture, makes recommendations about the program and studio to the Director, hosts visiting speakers and scholars and organizes various scholarly and social activities. All students are encouraged to participate. 
 
ALSA 3rd Floor Studio
3rd Floor Studio is a student-run organization that offers professional development opportunities to graduate landscape architecture students while providing pro bono design and consultation to the Tucson community. Started in September of 2010, 3rd Floor Studio members have worked on several projects including design of a playground, a schoolyard garden, part of Tumamoc Hill (a natural and historic landscape), a community garden, and an ADA accessible backyard. 
 
Interdisciplinary Partnerships
 
The MLA Program has built interdisciplinary relationships with academic departments, centers, and institutes across the campus as well as community groups, public agencies, and private corporations around important topics of urban revitalization, landscape performance, water and habitat conservation, cultural heritage and interpretation, visual quality, outdoor learning, transit, and health and well-being. 
 
Faculty and students have been engaged with other UA units including: Institute of the Environment, College of Science, School of Natural Resources, College of Education, Eller College, College of Public Health, and the Water Resource Research Center to name a few. Faculty members have collaborated with other universities; examples include: the University of California, Maryland University, and Idaho State University. Research and outreach partnerships have included the National Park Service, the Navajo Nations, and local government agencies including: Pima County, City of Tucson, and Arizona towns of Greer, Bisbee, Springerville, Show Low, Marana, and Pinetop. Faculty and students have partnered with organizations including: Biosphere 2, Rain Bird, and the Raytheon Corporation. International relationships have been developed in Sonora including: Puerto Lobos, San Carlos, Mexico; Amman, Jordan; Panama City, Panama; Birzeit; Palestine; and Muscat, Oman.
 
For more information about the MLA program, please contact Amy Moraga at amoraga@email.arizona.edu or 520-621-9819.
 
Diversity and Inclusion

The University of Arizona and the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning is committed to creating and maintaining an environment free of discrimination. In support of this commitment, the University prohibits discrimination, including harassment and retaliation, based on a protected classification, including race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. We are dedicated to inclusive excellence; the recognition and acceptance of the talents, worldviews, perceptions, cultures, and skills that diverse communities bring to the educational enterprise that can be harnessed to prepare students for leading, living, and working in a diverse world.

Please refer to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for more information and resources.

 

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