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Master of Landscape Architecture

The Master’s of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program at Texas A&M University teaches students to design and plan outdoor spaces. You’ll learn how to assess, protect and design landscapes for people to interact with and benefit from connections with the natural and built environment.

Landscape architecture is the regulated profession that ensures the health, safety, and welfare of citizens through landscape design. Through our accredited program, you’ll prepare to become a professional landscape architect.

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About the Program

The MLA program has been training entry level professional landscape architects since 1958. As part of a research institution, our students experience how research impacts design. Because research methods are woven into our MLA curriculum, students  learn important concepts about research that is relevant to professional practice. Some of our MLA graduates pursue a Ph.D.

The MLA program concludes with a final study where students apply design theories and create designs for real or theoretical projects. They take on the same responsibilities a project manager would in a firm, preparing them for professional practice. Our students have won prestigious awards for their projects.

Our Master of Landscape Architecture program is fully accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board. After completing your degree, you can pursue licensure to become a licensed landscape architect.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Spatial configuration
  • Environmental design
  • Land use planning
  • Construction
  • Site grading
  • Stormwater management
  • Critical thinking
  • Sustainable site planning
  • Graphic and verbal communication

Careers

Our graduates are motivated to be lifelong learners capable of independent and interdisciplinary leadership in the field of landscape architecture. Employment opportunities are found at the state, regional, and national level in private firms, governmental agencies, municipal planning and design offices, and interdisciplinary firms.


Curriculum

Our course curriculum focuses on design, construction, and planning components as well as the visual quality, theory, research, and technological aspects of the field. Digital and hand-drawn graphic communication, G.I.S., low-impact development, ecology, and plant material courses are also offered. In addition, the program offers professional practice, history, and research methods courses to round out the student’s education. Our students culminate their skills in a year-long final study, and a summer internship in private practice.

Our curriculum is structured so that our teaching and professional instruction foster critical analysis and critical thinking in our students from simple to complex. 

Total Credits for Career Change Candidate: 69
Total Credits for Advanced Degree Candidate: 50

Year 1 24 credit hours

Fall Semester – 15 credit hours

LAND 601 Design Theory 5 credit hours
LAND 612 Site Development 4 credit hours
LAND 645 Practice Diversity 3 credit hours
LAND 655 Landscape Architectural Communications 3 credit hours

Spring Semester – 11 credit hours

LAND 602 Design Application 5 credit hours
LAND 614 Site Construction 3 credit hours
Elective (degree related) 3 credit hours
Year 2 24-32 credit hours

Fall Semester – 12-16 ccredit hours

LAND 620 Open Space Development I 5 credit hours
HORT 608 Plants for Landscape Design 4 credit hours
ESSM 600 Ecology and Land Uses 3 credit hours
LAND 612 Site Development (2 year program only) 4 credit hours

Spring Semester – 12-15 credit hours

LAND 621 Open Space Development II 5 credit hours
LAND 681 Seminar 1 credit hour
LAND 640 Research Methods 3 credit hours
LAND 630 Development of Landscape Architecture 3 credit hours
LAND 614 Site Construction (2 year program only) 3 credit hours

Summer Semester – 0-1 credit hours

LAND 684 Internship 0-1 credit hour
Year 3 19 credit hours

Fall Semester – 9 credit hours

LAND 693 Professional Study 3 credit hours
Elective 3 credit hours
Elective 3 credit hours

Spring Semester – 10 credit hours

LAND 646 Professional Practice 3 credit hours
LAND 693 Professional Study 4 credit hours
Elective 3 credit hours

FAQ about the MLA

Am I automatically a professional landscape architect when I graduate?

No, in addition to the MLA degree, professional landscape architects also need to pass professional licensing exams and acquire two years of practice under the guidance of a licensed landscape architect. Our MLA degree is structured to prepare students in core knowledge and skills used in professional practice and covered in licensing exams. In addition, we require a summer internship. If a student works under the guidance of a licensed landscape architect, the time spent on the internship (2-3 months) can be counted as part of the two-year requirement to get licensed.

Do landscape architects only design residential gardens?

No, landscape architects work at multiple scales and for a variety of clients. This short video features some of our students while in our programs, and some work accomplished by landscape architects in Texas.

Do I need to know how to draw and design?

Yes, graphic communication and design are core skills of landscape architects. Although our curriculum includes courses to help develop those skills, it is helpful for applicants to have already developed some ability to design and draw. In addition to drawing by hand, some digital programs that our students use frequently include Adobe Suite programs (Photoshop, Illustrator), SketchUp, and AutoCAD. In the advanced courses, students may use GIS, Lumia, or Revit. While students can learn these programs while in their course of study, it is helpful for applicants to have experience with some of these programs.

How to Apply

All students admitted to the Master of Landscape Architecture program must hold a bachelor’s degree.

Learn more about the Master of Landscape Architecture application requirements

FAQ about the admissions process

If I don’t have a background in landscape architecture, can I apply to the MLA program?

Yes, our MLA program is a first-professional degree, which means an undergraduate degree from any allied field is good preparation for a career in landscape architecture and our MLA program (e.g. horticulture, arts, architecture, urban planning, geography, ecology, wildlife management, engineering).

How does the admissions process work?

Submit your application at Texas A&M GradCas along with a non-refundable application fee. The fee may be waived only in exceptional cases for low-income applicants and McNair Scholars.

Your application should include the following:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended
  • 3 letters of recommendation (academic references preferred)
  • Statement of intent essay
  • Résumé or Curriculum Vitae

An admissions committee reviews all applications and makes a recommendation for admission and for financial aid.

Read more about the Master of Landscape Architecture application requirements

Can I apply to the 2-year MLA curriculum?

Only students with a BLA from a US Accredited school are considered for the 2-year track in our MLA program. Some exceptions may be possible for applicants with a BLA from a non-accredited US school, but also have significant skill development (including site grading, construction, context-based design), and significant experience in professional practice as a landscape architect (1-2 years).

What financial aid and scholarships are available to students?

We offer competitive scholarships for applicants based upon GPA, prior experiences, test scores, and a portfolio. All applicants to the MLA program who meet the application deadline are considered for competitive scholarships. Many of our applicants receive anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 as a one or two-year scholarship which also secures in-state tuition. Top applicants compete for up to $10,000 two-year scholarships, and applicants that meet diversity requirements may be considered for the Lechner Graduate Diversity Scholarship, which varies from $10,000 to $20,000 as a two-year scholarship. We also offer two-year assistantships for to up to two first-year MLA students which secures $1,000 per month and in-state tuition. Applicants with U.S. military service experience may qualify for special housing provisions.

Can I apply for entrance to the MLA program any time of the year?

No, the MLA curriculum is based upon the development of skills semester by semester. We only offer the core courses once a year.

Can I complete an MLA degree online or virtually?

No, the development of skills and knowledge requires face-to-face contact with instructors and peers. Some online education within the courses and curriculum may be possible, as during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is required of the portfolio for the MLA program?

The portfolio should showcase recent, high-quality work, and will be judged on both content and overall design skills demonstrated. Applicants without professional training may submit work that shows other evidence of creativity (studio art, construction/renovation, furniture design, etc.) and clearly demonstrates interest in the proposed subject field. Any material that is not entirely the applicant’s own work must be clearly identified.

Who can I go to for questions?

For more information about the MLA program, please contact Bruce Dvorak, MLA Program Coordinator, at bdvorak@arch.tamu.edu.

Questions about application requirements and process can be directed to Brandi Blankenship at bblankenship@arch.tamu.edu.


Our Mission

The mission of the MLA program is to prepare students to become professional landscape architects in the private and/or public sector of practice. Our MLA graduates are educated to be competent in mastering landscape architectural knowledge in areas such as spatial configuration, environmental design, land use planning, construction, site grading, stormwater management, and communication of ideas. Our curriculum is structured so that our teaching and professional instruction foster critical analysis and critical thinking in our students from simple to complex. We strive to engage students to learn how humans investigate, interact with, and benefit from connections with the natural and built environment. We encourage our students to be lifelong learners and leaders in their field.


Accreditation

The Texas A&M Bachelor of Landscape Architecture program is four-year accredited by the Council of Landscape Architecture Registration Boards under the auspices of the American Society of Landscape Architects

Programs accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) are required to provide reliable information to the public. Programs must report on accreditation status and its performance (PDF). This information is to help potential students make informed application decisions.


Professional Licensure and Certification Disclosure Statement

Notice to students pursuing programs that may lead to a professional license or certification required for employment.

The following programs may lead to a professional license or certification that is required for employment. Professional licensure/certification requirements vary from state to state, which may affect a student’s ability to apply for a professional license/certification upon the completion of the program. The U.S. Department of Education regulation, 34 CFR 668.43 (a) (5) (v), requires an institution to disclose whether the program will fulfill educational requirements for licensure or certification for each state. The administrative departments that offer the programs have made the following determination regarding their curriculum.

ProgramMaster of Landscape Architecture
MeetsAL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY
Does not meetDC, VI, AS, CNMI, GU, MH, FM, PR, PW
A determination has not been made__

We recommend students contact the appropriate state licensing agency in their state or the state where they intend to work to seek the most up-to-date information about state licensure/certification requirements before beginning the program.

Pertinent information related to the importance of licensure in landscape architecture can be found here: https://www.asla.org/licensure.aspx

Pertinent information related to experience requirements for licensure for landscape architects can be found here: https://www.clarb.org/learn-about-licensure/how-to-become-licensed