Why study Landscape Architecture?

The Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program at the University of Cincinnati (UC) is founded on the contemporary practice of landscape architecture and its broad applications of regenerative planning, design, and stewardship, and the synthesis of art and science to balance human activity with natural systems.

The program surpasses the minimum expectations of accreditation to produce graduates who are prepared for leadership and interdisciplinary teamwork that will sustain the urban, regional, and global landscape in a prosperous and dynamic equilibrium. The MLA program at the University of Cincinnati is distinguished by Cooperative Education (Co-op).

Register for the following Virtual Information Sessions to learn more about the Master of Landscape Architecture program. All are on Fridays from 8-9:00a.m.EST:

Admission Requirements

We strongly suggest that application materials be received prior to January 15 to assure first consideration for a financial award from the School of Planning. Our assistantships and financial awards are merit-based and extremely competitive. The School of Planning will accept applications up to August 1 of each year to begin studies the following August.

Admission Requirements:

  • Completion of a University Application for Graduate Study that requires a nonrefundable $65 application fee ($5 surcharge for international applicants).
  • 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale at most recently attended academic institutions.
  • Unofficial transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended. Note: Official transcripts are not required during the admissions process, and only unofficial transcripts are required for the application. Applicants should not send official transcripts until they are offered admission. For complete requirements please visit the Graduate School transcript requirements: 
  • http://grad.uc.edu/admissions/policy.html  
  • A Bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture (for MLA II program options only) should be completed prior to admission. Unofficial transcripts and letters of recommendation should indicate the likelihood of degree completion if necessary.
  • Applicants from outside the U.S. are required to have test scores higher than the following minimums for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): 84-85 (internet-based), 223 (computer-based), or 563 (paper-based). Other acceptable scores include above a 6.5 minimum on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or above a 53 on the Pearson (PTE).
  • International students are also required to submit a video to the application website that demonstrates English proficiency.
  • A professional resumé, which may also include a link to a digital portfolio (see below).
  • A digital portfolio with examples of design work is required for the MLA II options. MLA I applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a digital portfolio.  In addition to design work, a portfolio displays an expression of interests, travel, experiences, creative work, accomplishments, and prior education that demonstrates an affinity with landscape architecture.  Applicants may upload an e-portfolio no larger than 2 MB into the online University Application. Alternatively, applicants may upload a PDF that includes a link to portfolios larger than 2MB. We do not accept hard copies of portfolios.
  • A statement of interest. This paper (800 words, maximum) should describe the applicant’s broader goals within the professional discipline of landscape architecture, and why pursuing an MLA degree is the right path. The applicant should describe significant academic accomplishments and experiences. 
  • Submission of three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with your potential to complete professional graduate study. At least one recommendation should be from an academic reference who can address the applicant’s academic performance. If the applicant is applying for graduate assistantship support, at least one recommendation should address the applicant’s competence or potential abilities to contribute to research and/or teaching. These letters must be submitted by references online.
  • Applicants interested in a graduate assistantship should upload a one-page description of relevant skills and knowledge (such as teaching experience, computer programming, design software, languages, drafting/design, and knowledge of research tools) that could be utilized as a graduate assistant. The applicant should describe how these skills have been used in prior academic/work experiences.

The profession of landscape architecture has led the way in sustainable design for more than 100 years. From the residential garden to the regional transportation plan, the practice of landscape architecture spans the spectrum of human intervention on the land and the stewardship of the earth’s natural resources. Landscape architects are leading projects of global significance in private, public, and academic practice settings.

The MLA at UC is the only advanced degree in landscape architecture with a cooperative education requirement. UC’s unique cooperative education program combines academic semesters of study in landscape architecture with placement in professional work environments, thereby creating a program structure that balances academic inquiry with industry application to foster and develop robust professional knowledge and judgment. By graduation, an MLA student will have worked at least one full semester directly in the field of landscape architecture in North America or internationally, for a full-time employer gaining hands-on experience. This work experience is built directly into the MLA’s curriculum, providing graduates with a significant advantage in the post-graduation job market and a head start on internship requirements for licensure. The UC approach to cooperative education is further described here:


Students gain proactive learning experiences and professional exposure from co-op that accelerate their job searches and help them define the area of practice for which they are best suited.

Location within the School of Planning and the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP)

DAAP programs in allied fields and disciplines are top-ranked and accessible to students in the MLA program. This includes Fine Arts, Industrial and Transportation Design, Architecture, Planning, and Urban Design. The MLA’s home in the School of Planning in DAAP aligns the MLA with the contemporary practice of urban studies and planning.

Focus on the urban environment and the critical practice of Landscape Architecture

The MLA at DAAP focuses on the urban environment, the scene of habitation for the majority of the world’s population, to provide maximum relevance and preparation for practice. MLA students have the opportunity to complete graduate certificates in Urban Design and Business.

The UC MLA three program options are: 

  • MLA I: 80 credit, 6 consecutive semester First Professional Degree with a minimum of one co-op experience (domestic or international).
  • MLA IIA: 49 credit, 5 consecutive semester Post-Professional degree with a minimum of two co-ops (domestic or international).
  • MLA IIB: 49 credit, 4 consecutive semester Post-Professional degree with a minimum of one co-op experience (domestic or international) and a thesis collaboration in DAAP fields (planning, architecture, design, art).

The MLA I option also provides the additional dual degree option with the accredited Master of Community Planning program.

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

As a first-professional degree program, the MLA I provides the body of knowledge common to the profession and promotes acquisition of knowledge and skills necessary to enter the professional practice of landscape architecture. The MLA I degree program has been designed to meet the standards of the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board. This new degree program began the accreditation process in 2020. For more information about accreditation, please visit this website: https://www.asla.org/accreditationlaab.aspx

Contact Information

Virginia L Russell, FASLA
PO Box 210016
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0016
(513) 556-1135

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Program Code: 23MAS-LAND-MLA