Master of Landscape Architecture | Curriculum and Degree Information
The University of Arizona Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) Program is a three-year accredited graduate professional degree program that prepares students for professional practice as scholars of the discipline.
This three-year professional degree offers a curriculum designed for students without prior training in landscape architecture. Students who are degreed in landscape architecture or architecture receive advanced standing on a case-by-case basis. The MLA curriculum includes sequential design studios; courses on landscape construction and implementation; GIS and landscape planning; plant materials, planting design, and landscape ecology; history, theory, and contemporary practices; and design scholarship. The curriculum provides students with opportunities to engage with real community clients in a variety of project types and scales. Emphasis is placed on preparing students for practice by advancing their design skills in ideation, synthesis, and processes; oral, visual, and graphic communications; materials and construction methods, creative problem finding and solving; and ethics and criticism.
The design studios are coordinated to build upon one another. Students learn incrementally as they advance from fundamental design toward more complex projects (year two) and advanced design projects (year three) where applied research informs decision-making. The first studio focuses on basic design skills, design literacy and processes, and both hand and digital communication tools. As students advance through the studio sequence, they become more independent with well-versed understandings of the nuances of place making. In the final “finishing” studio, students demonstrate a professional level expertise with the execution of a design competition.
Students are able to pursue specific interests by choosing elective courses from various departments at the University. The School has well-established relationships with several departments including Architecture, Planning, Geography, Soil, Water & Environmental Science, and the School of Natural Resources and the Environment.
During their final year in the program, all MLA students complete either a Master’s Report or Master’s Thesis. This capstone experience allows students to pursue a specific area of interest while integrating and applying the skills and knowledge they have gained throughout their time in the program.
MLA students who are interested in broadening their professional training may earn a concurrent professional certificate in one of several different programs on campus, including:
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