Dec 02, 2022  
Graduate Record 2022-2023 
    
Graduate Record 2022-2023

Master of Landscape Architecture


Return to: Graduate School of Architecture: Departments/Programs  


Mission

The field of Landscape Architecture is rapidly evolving to address and redress contemporary environmental and societal issues. The next generation of practitioners, scholars, and educators are facing important problems and challenges. Landscape Architecture at UVA strives to educate and inspire the next generation of landscape architecture leaders. As a department, we develop innovative ideas, critical perspectives, synthetic frameworks, and new techniques to address landscape problems through design across a broad range of contexts and scales, from the garden to the region. In this design approach, we emphasize issues of ecology, social and environmental health, technology, and cultural expression. Drawing on the skills, expertise, and varied perspectives of internationally recognized academics and practitioners– the Landscape Architecture Faculty– we promote a broad perspective on socio-ecological contexts, innovation and tradition, inter-species articulation, cultural and artistic expression, ecological health, and the challenges of living in a rapidly changing environment.

–We construe the design of the environment as a critical expression of what it means to be human in our time. In the 21st century, it is necessary to re-define the role of humanity as a co-creator of the environment, collaborating with other and diverse communities, considering multiple species, and curating novel landscape relationships.

–We explore landscape’s role in enriching our world by emphasizing deep linkages between sites and systems, form and process, practices, and values. Through teaching, research, and practice our department positions landscape-making as a primary means to build a more common ground.

–We are committed to preparing our graduates to be critical thinkers who will lead the next generation of design leaders in practice and academia. Methodologically, students are challenged to imagine new landscape systems through rigorous research, design speculation, and the deployment of nascent technologies while remaining grounded in the discipline’s professional practices and methods of material construction.

–We challenge students to envision landscapes that simultaneously contribute to public life and embody an ethic towards the bio-physical world. Our design studios confront the most pressing environmental and social issues of our day – social justice for marginalized communities, renewal strategies for shrinking post-industrial cities, and urban adaptation to global climate change.

From the time students enter their studies, they are encouraged to shape their own individual educational trajectories by integrating their design or non-design undergraduate backgrounds, intellectual interests, and skills into their studies in landscape architecture. We aim to cultivate the passions and individual insights of students while preparing them with the conceptual and technical tools to work across disciplinary boundaries, with human and non-human communities, to help make a more inclusive and resilient world.

Admission

 

Our students come from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, both with and without prior studies in landscape architecture. Applicants are required to submit an application that includes a series of essays and a digital portfolio of their creative work. The work in the portfolio can range widely from personal design explorations to professional work to creative work produced in art or design classes. Prior to enrollment, students are encouraged to become familiar with the discipline through work experience along with reading and/or coursework in the history of landscape architecture, representation, and ecology. For more information, go to UVa School of Architecture Office of Admissions.

Curriculum

 

Our curriculum is a structured series of semesters that build incrementally from a core base of knowledge and skills laid out in the first year. While the first year is fully prescribed in its course requirements, later semesters leave elective options that allow students to pursue their own individual interests that can lead to a final independent design research studio or thesis.

DESIGN STUDIOS The core of each semester is the design studio (6 credit hours), where students are introduced to fundamental design methodologies and are asked to pursue and develop their own research. The studio sequence exposes students to the range of scales and topical issues in landscape architecture. In emphasizing the ability to read and interpret a site within its context and shape its future based on those findings, the initial studios are based locally and emphasize on-site experience and documentation of place. Studios in the second and third years offer students opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary studios in cities and locations around the country and abroad. These advanced studios are research-based, which encourages students to investigate the broader issues beyond a specific design problem and arrive at innovative and bold proposals.

In the final semester of all four-degree programs, students have the option to take the research studios where they develop an individual line of inquiry or elect to undertake an independent research ‘Thesis’ studio. Both a design research methods class, as well as a design research seminar, must be taken in advance in order to develop a theoretical basis for independent research.

Supporting the design studios, we have developed three tracks of curricula in related technical and theoretical content:

ECO-TECH Our Eco-Tech or “ecology and technology” sequence integrates the content of plants, landform, water systems, bio-engineering, and regenerative technologies, all focused on innovation through living systems.

DESIGN Computation The Design Computation track presents a broad range of design tools from hand drawing and modeling to digital drawing, simulation, and fabrication.

HISTORY AND Theory Finally, the History and Theories sequence establishes the conceptual underpinnings of ancient to contemporary precedents, challenging students to put their work into an evolving body of critical thinking and knowledge. These three tracks in the curriculum are integrated with projects carried out in studios.  

Our curriculum also offers a series of LAR Advanced courses from which students choose to allow for further concentration in one of the three tracks. Finally, students have a range of open electives that can be taken in the department, school-wide, and across the university to explore special topics in landscape architecture and issues in the related disciplines.

Courses taken previously at other institutions are normally not accepted as substitutions for required courses in any of the degree programs. Under exceptional circumstances, a petition along with supporting materials (i.e. syllabus and work samples) may be submitted to receive an exemption from taking a required course. Candidates are required to fulfill the total degree credit requirement regardless of course exemptions granted.  Petitions are to be submitted to the department chair or graduate program director for consideration and final decision.

Accreditation

 

The Master in Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) program is accredited by the National Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board. The program received its last six-year term of accreditation in the Fall of 2018. The March 2018 visit of the LAAB Accrediting Team resulted in zero recommendations affecting our accreditation. Our next reaccreditation is scheduled for spring 2023.

Master of Landscape Architecture Curricula


There are four paths to earn a Master of Landscape Architecture at UVa. Our Path 3.0 program is for students coming from non-design undergraduate degrees and can be completed in six semesters plus a prerequisite introductory summer session. There are also shorter intensive paths of study for students with degree backgrounds in landscape architecture, and architecture. Please refer to our four curricular paths below:

MLA Path 3.0 program is designed for a student who holds a non-design undergraduate degree and whose educational background is not in landscape architecture or a student without a pre-professional undergraduate landscape architecture degree.

The Master of Landscape Architecture Path 3.0 program allows students with undergraduate accredited degrees in any non-design field to obtain a professional degree in landscape architecture. The curriculum follows a prescribed core of foundational courses carried out in three years and begins with our introductory Summer Design Institute (SDI). Each of the six semesters is devised around a design studio with supporting history, theory, design computation, and ecology/technology courses.  Students also are able to select from an array of open electives from within the Department of Landscape Architecture and the Architecture School, and from departments across the university.  The self-tailored choice of electives encourages students to explore the discipline’s allied fields, and/or develop an area of expertise, such as design theory, historic preservation, or socio-ecological urbanism. Students are encouraged to undertake self-directed research in the form of independent studies or an independent design research studio, both with Landscape Architecture faculty as advisors.

MLA Path 2.5 program is for students with pre-professional undergraduate landscape architecture degrees, such as a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture or Environmental Design. It is also designed for students holding degrees in landscape architecture from programs outside the U.S. that are not professionally-accredited in the United States.

The MLA Path 2.5 program is a five-semester program for those with a design background in a program that has not been U.S. accredited. Path 2.5 Applicants must have completed at least six design studios with a minimum 5-credit hour for each, or equivalent. A minimum of three studios must be in landscape architecture with the remaining studios in architecture or urban design. In addition, potential candidates must have completed a minimum of two landscape architecture history or theory courses.

As with the Path 3.0 Curriculum, each semester is devised around a design studio with supporting history, theory, design computation, and ecology/technology courses. As a way to ground Path 2.5 students in our program’s pedagogy and methods, these students pursue the same studio and course track as entering Path 3.0 students in their first year. The last three semesters include electives that allow for students to pursue specialization and individual interests through an array of courses that are offered in the Department of Landscape Architecture, and from within the A-School and across the university.

International Path 2.5 students must enroll in the introductory SDI/ Summer Design Institute in advance of their required five semesters as a way to acclimate to graduate studies and immerse themselves in the culture of the school and university. Path 2.5 students must matriculate in the fall semester (i.e. cannot begin studies in the spring semester).

Non-native English-speaking students are highly encouraged to take the ‘English for Academic Purposes’ (EAP) course in the summer prior to beginning graduate courses in the fall semester. All international students are required to take English language skills tests upon entering the university. Based on their scores, some will be required to take English communications courses offered during the school year through UVA’s Center for American English Language and Culture (CAELC) based on the results of required language testing for all incoming international students. For more information, see https://caelc.virginia.edu/.

MLA Path 2.0 Advanced Program is designed for students with a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree.

The Master of Landscape Architecture Path 2.0 Advanced program allows students with a landscape architecture undergraduate degree from a U.S. accredited program to earn an MLA degree in landscape architecture in four semesters. Path 2.0 Advanced applicants must have completed the equivalent of eight studios with a minimum of five credits each,  A minimum of six studios must be in the discipline of landscape architecture, and the remaining in architecture or urban design. In addition, potential candidates must have completed a minimum of two landscape architecture history or theory courses.

With a substantial amount of previous course credits fulfilled in landscape architectural history and technologies, Path 2.0 Advanced students have the opportunity to create a more-open self-devised program of studios and electives which gives them the opportunity to pursue their individual interests and specialization in the field. Because of their advanced education background in the discipline, students in the Path 2.0 Advanced curriculum are highly encouraged to pursue advanced independent design research in close consultation with a faculty advisor and mentor.

MLA Path 2.0 Program is for students holding a U.S.-accredited Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree.

The MLA Path 2.0 program is an intensive two-year/four-semester immersion in the core theory and practical knowledge of the landscape architecture profession for students with architecture undergraduate degree backgrounds.  Each semester focuses around a design studio with a full complement of supporting landscape history, theory, computation, and ecology/technology courses. Because of the compressed period of studies, the curriculum allows for only a limited number of electives that can be taken within the department or school.

MLA Path 3.0 Curriculum


This program is designed for students who hold a non-design undergraduate degree and whose educational background is not in landscape architecture and for students without a pre-professional undergraduate landscape architecture degree.

The curriculum follows a prescribed core of foundational courses carried out in three years and begins with our introductory Summer Design Institute (SDI). Each of the six semesters is devised around a design studio with supporting history, theory, visualization, and ecology/technology (eco-tech) courses.  Students also are able to select from an array of open electives from within the Department of Landscape Architecture and the Architecture School, and from departments across the university.  The self-tailored choice of electives encourages students to explore the discipline’s allied fields, and/or develop an area of expertise, such as design theory, historic preservation, or socio-ecological urbanism. Students are encouraged to undertake a self-directed research in the form of independent studies or an independent design research studio, both with Landscape Architecture faculty as advisors.

Path 3.0 students must satisfy a total of six electives. Of these, 4 electives must be a mix of LAR Advanced electives and LAR department electives. Remaining elective credits may be taken at the graduate level within any department in the University of Virginia. Up to one elective may be an independent study advised by a faculty member of the LAR program. All incoming international students, whose first language is not English, are required to take the English Language Proficiency Exam administered by the UVA Center for American English Language and Culture (CAELC) unless they have been exempted from the TOEFL or IELTS.  Based on the CAELC assessment of the test results, students who demonstrate a need for additional instruction in English communications are required to take courses specified by CAELC during their first school year.  A grade of “S” (Satisfactory) is required to pass the course(s).

Summer Design Institute/SDI Session - Credits 3


The Summer Design Institute prepares graduate students admitted to the Master of Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture Programs for rigorous professional study in these design disciplines. Three courses comprise the full-time course of study over a four-week period during the University of Virginia’s Summer Session. 

  • ALAR 5010 – Introduction to Design - Credits: 1
  • ALAR 5020 – Introduction to Design Visualization - Credits: 1
  • ALAR 5030 – Introduction to Design Theory and Analysis - Credits: 1

First Year


Fall Semester - Credits: 16 Spring Semester - Credits: 16

Second Year


Fall Semester - Credits: 16 Spring Semester- Credits: 16

Third Year


Fall Semester - Credits: 15 Spring Semester - Credits: 15
  •    
  • ALAR 8100 - Thesis I*,  Credits: 3 
    or  Open Elective, Credits: 3 
  • LAR Advanced Course or LAR Department Elective or Open Elective, Credits: 3
  • LAR Advanced Course or LAR Department Elective or Open Elective, Credits: 3

Path 3.0 Degree Total - Credits: 97


Note:

  1. * Required only for students who want to pursue ALAR 8040 - Thesis Studio.
  2. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) credit received for summer or fall break internships cannot be applied toward overall credits for degree requirements.  Course credits are applied to allow the student to participate in an internship/externship per the F-1 eligibility requirements and regulations.

MLA Path 2.5 Curriculum


This program is for students with U.S. pre-professional undergraduate landscape architecture degrees, such as Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture or Environmental Design. It is also designed for students holding degrees in landscape architecture from programs outside the U.S. that are not U.S. professionally accredited.

As with the Path 3.0 Curriculum, each semester is devised around a design studio with supporting history, theory, plants, visualization, and ecology/technology (eco-tech) courses. As a way to ground Path 2.5 students in our program’s pedagogy and methods, these students pursue the same studio and course track as entering Path 3.0 students in their first year. The last three semesters include more electives and allow for students to pursue specialization and individual interests through an array of courses that are offered in the Department of Landscape Architecture, and from within the A-School and across the university.

Path 2.5 students must satisfy a total of four electives. Of these, three electives must be a mix of LAR Advanced electives and LAR department electives. Remaining elective credits may be taken at the graduate level within any department in the University of Virginia. Up to one elective may be an independent study advised by a faculty member of the LAR program.

NOTE: In advance of the following required five semesters, incoming Path 2.5 international students must enroll in the SDI/ Summer Design Institute which is our introductory program designed to acclimate them to graduate studies and immerse them in the culture of the school and university.  Path 2.5 students must matriculate in the fall semester (i.e. cannot begin studies in the spring semester).

Incoming international students, whose first language is not English, are required to take the English Language Proficiency Exam administered by the UVA Center for American English Language and Culture (CAELC) unless they have been exempted from the TOEFL or IELTS.  Based on the CAELC assessment of the test results, students who demonstrate a need for additional instruction in English communications are required to take courses specified by CAELC during their first school year.  A grade of “S” (Satisfactory) is required to pass the course(s).

Summer Design Institute/SDI Session - Credits 3


The Summer Design Institute prepares graduate students admitted to the Master of Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture Programs for rigorous professional study in these design disciplines. Three courses comprise the full-time course of study over a four week period during the University of Virginia’s Summer Session.

  • ALAR 5010 – Introduction to Design - Credits: 1
  • ALAR 5020 – Introduction to Design Visualization - Credits: 1
  • ALAR 5030 – Introduction to Design Theory and Analysis - Credits: 1

First Year


Fall Semester - Credits: 16 Spring Semester - Credits: 16

Third Year


Fall Semester - Credits: 14  
  •     
  • LAR Advanced Course or LAR Department Elective or Open Elective, Credits: 3
  • LAR Advanced Course or LAR Department Elective or Open Elective, Credits: 3 
  • LAR Advanced Course or LAR Department Elective or Open Elective, Credits: 2
 

Path 2.5 Degree Total - Credits: 78


NOTE:

  1. Path 2.5 students are required to take two electives. The two electives must be taken within the Department of Landscape Architecture. Remaining elective credits may be taken at the graduate level within any department at the University of Virginia. Up to one elective may be an independent study advised by a faculty member of the LAR program.
  2. All incoming international students, whose first language is not English, are required to take the English Language Proficiency Exam administered by the UVA Center for American English Language and Culture (CAELC) unless they have been exempted from the TOEFL or IELTS.  Based on the CAELC assessment of the test results, students who demonstrate a need for additional instruction in English communications are strongly encouraged to take courses specified by CAELC during their first school year.  A grade of “S” (Satisfactory) is required to pass the course(s).
  3. * Please see your advisor about the LAR Advanced Courses.
  4. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) credit received for summer or fall break internships cannot be applied toward overall credits for degree requirements.  Course credits are applied to allow the student to participate in an internship/externship per the F-1 eligibility requirements and regulations.

MLA Path 2.0 Advanced Curriculum


MLA Path 2.0 Advanced Program is designed for students with a U.S accredited Bachelor Landscape Architecture degree. (please note: Students holding a U.S accredited B.S. Landscape Architecture are Path 2.5 eligible.)

With a substantial amount of previous course credits fulfilled in landscape architectural history and technologies, Path 2.0 Advanced students are allowed to create a more-open self-devised program of studios and electives which gives them the opportunity to pursue their individual interests and specialization in the field. Because of their advanced educational background in the discipline, students in the Path 2.0 Advanced curriculum are highly encouraged to pursue advanced independent design research in close consultation with a faculty advisor and mentor.

Path 2.0 Advanced students must satisfy a minimum of nine electives. Four of these electives must be taken within the Department of Landscape Architecture, two of which must be history/theory electives. Up to one elective may be an independent study elective advised by a member of the LAR faculty. The remaining five electives are open and may be taken at the graduate level within any department at the University of Virginia.

Incoming international students, whose first language is not English, are required to take the English Language Proficiency Exam administered by the UVA Center for American English Language and Culture (CAELC) unless they have been exempted from the TOEFL or IELTS.  Based on the CAELC assessment of the test results, students who demonstrate a need for additional instruction in English communications are required to take courses specified by CAELC during their first school year.  A grade of “S” (Satisfactory) is required to pass the course(s).

First Year


Fall Semester - Credits: 16 Spring Semester - Credits: 16

 

Second Year


Fall Semester - Credits: 15 Spring Semester - Credits: 15
  •   
  • ALAR 8100 - Thesis I, Credits: 3 
  • LAR Advanced Course or LAR Department Elective or Open Elective, Credits: 3 
  • LAR Advanced Course or LAR Department Elective or Open Elective, Credits: 3 
  • ALAR 8020 - Research Studio IV, Credits: 6
    or
    ALAR 8995 - Thesis II, Credits: 6
  • LAR Advanced Course or LAR Department Elective or Open Elective, Credits: 3 
  • LAR Advanced Course or LAR Department Elective or Open Elective, Credits: 3 
  • LAR Advanced Course or LAR Department Elective or Open Elective, Credits: 3 

 

Path 2.0 Advanced Degree Total - Credits: 62


NOTE:

  1. Path 2.0 Advanced students are required to take a minimum of seven electives. Four of these electives must be taken within the Department of Landscape Architecture. Up to one elective may be an independent study elective advised by a member of the LAR faculty. The remaining three electives are open and may be taken at the graduate level within any department in the University of Virginia.
  2. All incoming international students, whose first language is not English, are required to take the English Language Proficiency Exam administered by the UVA Center for American English Language and Culture (CAELC) unless they have been exempted from the TOEFL or IELTS.  Based on the CAELC assessment of the test results, students who demonstrate a need for additional instruction in English communications are strongly encouraged to take courses specified by CAELC during their first school year.  A grade of “S” (Satisfactory) is required to pass the course(s).
  3. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) credit received for summer or fall break internships cannot be applied toward overall credits for degree requirements.  Course credits are applied to allow the student to participate in an internship/externship per the F-1 eligibility requirements and regulations.

MLA Path 2.0 Curriculum


MLA Path 2.0 Program is for students holding a U.S.-accredited Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree.

This program is an intensive two-year/four-semester immersion in the core theory and practical knowledge of the landscape architecture profession for students with architecture undergraduate degree backgrounds. Each semester focuses around a design studio with a full complement of supporting landscape history, theory, visualization, and ecology/technology courses.

Because of immersion in the discipline of Landscape Architecture, there is only one elective offered to Path 2.0 students. This elective must be taken within the department and could be an independent study advised by a faculty member of the LAR program.

Incoming international students, whose first language is not English, are required to take the English Language Proficiency Exam administered by the UVA Center for American English Language and Culture (CAELC) unless they have been exempted from the TOEFL or IELTS.  Based on the CAELC assessment of the test results, students who demonstrate a need for additional instruction in English communications are required to take courses specified by CAELC during their first school year.  A grade of “S” (Satisfactory) is required to pass the course(s).
 

First Year


Fall Semester - Credits: 16 Spring Semester - Credits: 16

 

 

Second Year


Fall Semester - Credits: 14 Spring Semester - Credits: 15

 

Path 2.0 Degree Total - Credits: 61


NOTE:

  1. Because of immersion in the discipline of Landscape Architecture, there is one 3 credit elective offered to Path 2.0 students. This elective must be taken within the department. Another 1 credit elective is offered and could be an independent study advised by a faculty member of the LAR program.
  2. All incoming international students, whose first language is not English, are required to take the English Language Proficiency Exam administered by the UVA Center for American English Language and Culture (CAELC) unless they have been exempted from the TOEFL or IELTS.  Based on the CAELC assessment of the test results, students who demonstrate a need for additional instruction in English communications are strongly encouraged to take courses specified by CAELC during their first school year.  A grade of “S” (Satisfactory) is required to pass the course(s).
  3. *Required only for students who want to pursue ALAR 8995 Independent Design Research Studio.
  4. Curricular Practical Training (CPT) credit received for summer or fall break internships cannot be applied toward overall credits for degree requirements.  Course credits are applied to allow the student to participate in an internship/externship per the F-1 eligibility requirements and regulations.

 

Public Professional Licensure Disclosure


As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement, the University of Virginia (UVA) is authorized to provide curriculum in a distance learning environment to students located in all states in the United States except for California. (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)).

Upon completion of the Master of Landscape Architecture at the UVA School of Architecture, graduates may be eligible for initial professional licensure in another U.S. state by applying to the licensing board or agency in that state.

Please visit the University’s state authorization web pages to make an informed decision regarding which states’ educational requirements for initial licensure are met by this program. (668.43(a)(5) (v)(A) - (C))

Enrolled students who change their current (or mailing) address to a state other than Virginia should update this information immediately in the Student Information System as it may impact their ability to complete internship, practicum, or clinical hours, use Title IV funds, or meet licensure or certification requirements in the new state. (34 CFR 668.402).