Landscape Architecture (MLA)

The three-year professional master of landscape architecture degree (MLA) is accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board. The MLA prepares students for professional careers in environmental design with a core in design studio course work and curricular areas in land analysis, land planning, ecological systems, and planting design. The program’s goal is to produce visually literate, technically skilled, ecologically knowledgeable, and socially responsible designers—innovators and leaders in solving the difficult problems of the built environment.

The curriculum is structured on a sequence of 10 design studios, advancing through design fundamentals to advanced research studios and leading to an independent capstone research project. Core curricular areas support the development of design skills, and elective courses allow each student to develop expertise in topics such as ecological restoration and design, ecological urbanism, climate-change-resilient design, environmental justice, landscape aesthetics, healthy built environments, natural resource analysis and planning, urban design, food systems and urban agriculture, landscape history and preservation, and environmental design research methods.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the depth and complexity of landscape architecture and its commitment to critical social analysis, environmental stewardship, and place making.
  • Demonstrate facility with the design of responsible, supportive, sustainable, socially equitable, and life-enhancing places for diverse communities.
  • Demonstrate facility with the technical skills of landscape architecture.
  • Demonstrate competence in a range of representational techniques and an understanding of when to optimally employ these techniques.
  • Demonstrate facility in reading, critically analyzing, and applying research methods from the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, design, and the arts.
  • Demonstrate recognition of the multifaceted character of research as a fundamental aspect of the profession and the many ways it can inform and enhance landscape design and management.

The department offers two tracks of study, both of which lead to the MLA. The Track I MLA typically takes ten terms to complete and requires 140 credits. The Track II MLA is a six-term advanced placement program that requires approximately 56 credits (the exact number is determined through individual evaluation of prior course work at the time of admission.)

Track I MLA students typically complete all or most of the degree program requirements at the University of Oregon and begin the program the summer before their first full academic year of study. Students with bachelor’s degrees other than a professional degree in landscape architecture must apply to the first professional degree program.

Students with degrees in related design disciplines (e.g., architecture, interior architecture, environmental design, or non-accredited landscape architecture degrees) may be given advanced standing, up to a maximum of four terms of studio credit for equivalent prior studio work. Studio placement will be based on a portfolio review; required core course work will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Track II MLA is for applicants who have an accredited professional degree in landscape architecture. Students admitted into the Track II MLA begin their studies fall term. Track II students must fulfill the same professional curriculum requirements as first professional students, but are admitted with advanced standing in studio and subject-area courses. The extent of this advanced standing is determined by the department before beginning the program.

First Professional Master's Curriculum

Landscape Architecture Design Studios
LA 639 Foundations Studio
LA 539Landscape Architectural Design and Process (three studios)18
LA 589Site Planning and Design (three studios)18
LA 594Land Planning and Design6
Landscape Architecture Materials + Construction
LA 562Professional Practice of Landscape Archtecture2
LA 564Landscape Materials and Construction I4
LA 565Landscape Materials and Construction II4
LA 566Landscape Materials and Construction III4
Landscape Analysis + Planning
LA 513Analyzing Landscape Systems4
LA 515Computers in Landscape Architecture4
LA 540Introduction to Landscape Planning Analysis4
LA 541Principles of Applied Ecology4
History + Theory of Landscape Architecture
LA 574History of Landscape Architecture I4
LA 575History of Landscape Architecture II4
LA 572Landscape Architectural Theory: [Topic]4
Landscape Architecture Media
LA 551Landscape Media I2
LA 552Landscape Media II2
LA 553Landscape Media III2
LA 550Advanced Landscape Media: [Topic]2
Research and Master's Project
LA 620Landscape Research Methods I2
LA 621Landscape Research Methods II2
LA 699Master's Project 118
or LA 503 Thesis
4 credits Research Elective 24
Area of Concentration Electives
Five courses approved by advisor20
Total Credits138


Postprofessional Master’s Program

The two-year graduate program leading to the master of landscape architecture (MLA) degree is intended for students prepared to do advanced work in the field. Students entering the postprofessional MLA program must have a professionally accredited bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture. Students are typically interested in pursuing an advanced independent research project with an interest in an academic career.

Students with professional landscape architecture degrees typically spend two years in residence satisfying course requirements.

Required course work includes one design and planning studio [Land Planning and Design (LA 594)], one course in landscape analysis and planning [Introduction to Landscape Planning Analysis (LA 540)], one course in history, literature, and theory, Landscape Research Methods I (LA 620), Landscape Research Methods II (LA 621), and mentored research with a faculty member. In addition, students must complete five courses (20 credits) in an area of concentration.

Postprofessional Master's Curriculum

Planning and Design
LA 594Land Planning and Design6
Landscape Analysis and Planning
Choose one of the following, or a course approved by advisor: 14
Analyzing Landscape Systems
Computers in Landscape Architecture
Introduction to Landscape Planning Analysis
Principles of Applied Ecology
History and Theory
Choose one of the following, or a course approved by advisor: 14
Architectural Contexts: Place and Culture
History of Landscape Architecture I
History of Landscape Architecture II
LA 617
Area of Concentration
Advisor-approved courses in one area of concentration from list above20
Research Methods and Master's Project 1,2
LA 601Research: [Topic]2
LA 620–621Landscape Research Methods I-II4
LA 699Master's Project 316
or LA 503 Thesis
Total Credits56