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Master of Landscape Architecture Degree

The intention of this accredited, license qualifying curriculum is the teaching of the theoretical underpinnings of the field of landscape architecture while building the necessary skills for practicing this challenging profession.  The program consist of design studios, courses in technical and computer skills, and the development of a concentration focused on the student's personal area of interest.

Individuals holding an undergraduate degree are candidates for the Master of Landscape Architecture Degree.  Each applicant’s undergraduate academic record and a personal portfolio will be reviewed to identify individuals who may be outstanding candidates in the Cornell master’s program.  Depending on an individual's background and academic credentials, the curiculum will typically require six semesters of work for successful completion.  A curriculum will be determined individually for each successful candidate. 

Individuals holding an undergraduate degree in landscape architecture or architecture or having unique employment experience may also apply for the MLA degree.   Each applicant’s academic record, personal portfolio, and appropriate work experience will be reviewed to identify successful applicants.  Depending on an individual’s background and academic credentials, the curriculum will require three to four semesters of work for successful completion.  This will be determined individually for each successful candidate.


Central to the graduate curriculum is the design studio, which focuses on conceptual and applied design. The studio format entails lecture, demonstration, one-on-one instruction and group discourse. Rather than espousing a single design philosophy, the department presents numerous perspectives on design, imparted through the studio course sequence. Small class sizes allow for discussion among faculty and students. The graduate curriculum culminates with a thesis or capstone studio. Thesis students, with the guidance of the Thesis Committee, may choose from a variety of options for their research, including a special project, design or an aspect of theory applied to a project. The capstone studio option features a comprehensive design project. 


Prospective students may receive an application by contacting the Graduate School.

Transcripts from all educational institutions and two (2) letters of recommendation are required for graduate students. Admission is made in the fall semester only. GRE scores are recommended, and required for fellowship applicants. Submission of a portfolio demonstrating creative ability is required. Portfolios may include drawings, photography, creative writing or designs. Foreign students without an undergraduate degree from a U.S. institution or an undergraduate degree conducted in English are required to pass the Test for English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a reading (22), writing (22), listening (20), and speaking (25).  IELTS required score is 7.0.

Study Abroad Options

The Department encourages study abroad.  Travel scholarships for design study and thesis research include the E. Gordon Davis Traveling Scholarship, the Dreer Award, the Robert James Eidlitz Traveling Fellowship, and the Clarence Stein Fellowship.  Semester-long study programs at collaborating institutions around the world are available through the Exchange Programs of the College. 

Dual M.L.A. and M.R.P. Degree

The Department also offers a Dual M.L.A. and M.R.P. Degree.  For more information please visit City and Regional Planning.