Master of Landscape Architecture - Two-Year Program

For students who already hold an accredited landscape architecture degree, Natural Resources and Environment offers a two-year MLA degree.

The two-year plan is designed for individuals interested in obtaining a second degree in landscape architecture to specialize at the master’s level, practicing landscape architects seeking advanced education and training, and those interested in pursuing a doctoral degree.

Both MLA programs build upon an educational tradition dating back to 1908 when the University of Michigan offered its first course in landscape design. Today, the nation’s oldest doctoral program in landscape architecture is at Natural Resources and Environment, and its proud alumni lead academic and research programs all over the world.

Because the school opens the door for the natural sciences, social sciences and landscape design to be an integrated educational experience, two-year MLA students find a breadth and depth of offerings unavailable to them as undergraduates or in professional education alone. Opportunities abound for interaction and collaboration with faculty and students specializing in conservation biology, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, industrial ecology, environmental engineering, environmental psychology, environmental policy, environmental economics and environmental justice.

Joint degree programs are available in urban planning and architecture, and certificate programs are offered in spatial analysis, industrial ecology and real estate. In lieu of a traditional thesis, you may participate in an interdisciplinary, team-based master’s project. This experience requires scholarly effort to achieve a creative application in working and communicating across disciplines.

“Interdisciplinary work is an everyday practice for our landscape architecture faculty,” says Professor Joan I. Nassauer. “Each of us is working on projects that have honed our abilities to approach design in ways that draw on deep ecological and cultural knowledge – not because we know it all, but because we have practiced the design conversation. We cherish the opportunity to bring students into this fruitful and challenging design discussion.”

What you will study
Because you already hold an accredited degree, you will use the master’s program to achieve specialized knowledge in a cutting-edge area of landscape architecture, such as spatial analysis, policy and scenario design, industrial ecology and green design, environmental justice, landscape ecology, ecological restoration, real estate, or brownfield development. Also, you may want to earn your MLA concurrent with a graduate certificate in one of these areas of specialization.

You also will develop a research specialization that can serve as a launching pad for application to the doctoral program. Some MLA credits may be counted toward the PhD degree. Students who work closely with their MLA advisor in research often decide to pursue scholarly work as a doctoral student.

Launching your career
Building upon your previous educational and professional experiences, the two-year MLA will equip you with new knowledge and specialized skills required to meet the demands of an expanding, ever-changing profession.

Graduates use their specialized knowledge to compete successfully by bringing new ideas in design and planning to their workplaces and communities. Some choose to continue their work as scholars and enter the doctoral program. They often pursue academic positions, work in federal, state and local planning arenas, or nongovernmental or conservation agencies. Opportunities are plentiful in the private sector, depending upon the area of specialization.

Basic statistics on salaries and employment of recent graduates can be found in the MLA Career Website.

For more information on the two-year MLA program, contact snre.admissions@umich.edu.