Master of Landscape Architecture, 2-Year Advanced MLA

program Overview

The 2-Year Advanced MLA Program is tailored for students who already hold a first professional-degree in either landscape architecture, architecture, or a related discipline. Each student in the two-year, advanced, MLA Program works in consultation with a major professor to craft an individualized graduate plan of study. The program of study includes both general landscape architecture courses and coursework pertaining to an area of focus. The graduate program of study typically includes at least 50 credit hours. Ten of these hours are devoted to a capstone thesis that addresses a specific issue or question within the student’s selected area of focus.

Major Professor

Each student 2-Year Advanced MLA Program works with a major professor from among the faculty of the Landscape Architecture Program. The major professor assists the student with the creation of an individual plan of study and serves as the primary advisor for the thesis. Typically, the major professor is identified during the application process based upon an identified overlapping area of research interest or focus design inquiry shared with the prospective major professor. Therefore, it is highly recommended that candidates for this program interview, in person or via telephone, with prospective major professors as a part of the application process.

Plan of Study

With the assistance of a major professor each MLA student creates a Plan of Study which demonstrates the evolution of a focus inquiry to be developed through graduate course work, supporting course work, and MLA Foundation course work, if required. Typically, courses included in the Plan of Study relate both to professional skills and knowledge and to the student’s identified area of research interest.


Each student, in cooperation with his/her major professor, selects elective course work. The elective course work serves primarily as a means for developing certain dimensions of an area of focus and as an opportunity to develop a conceptual and theoretical base supporting one’s expertise in a selected area of landscape architecture. Elective course work of this nature relates to and culminates in the thesis/thesis studio. Supporting courses are those courses viewed by the committee as essential to the individual student’s plan of study.

Dual Degree Programs

Two dual degree programs are available to students in the 2-Year Advanced MLA Program: the simultaneous Master of Landscape Architecture/Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MLA/MURP) and the simultaneous Master of Landscape Architecture/Master of Natural Resources (MLA/MNR).

The MLA/MURP Degree Program recognizes the fundamental linkage between planning and design of the natural environment as impacted by humans. The MLA/MURP simultaneous degree is a minimum of 86 credit hours including 62 hours of MLA Studies and 27 hours of MURP studies. There is some flexibility accorded individual students seeking simultaneous degrees based on their backgrounds and needs reflected through individualized plans of study.

The MLA/MNR Degree Program recognizes that there are few fields of study so intertwined as landscape architecture and natural resources. The dual MLA/MNR degree puts Virginia Tech at the forefront of integrating knowledge to improve management of the environment. The dual degree includes the core courses from the MLA and MNR degrees, along with the capstone requirements of each.

Application Procedures and Deadlines

All prospective graduate students must apply online. General instructions for applying to the Graduate School and relevant resources are available on the Graduate School website.

When all required materials have reached the Graduate School the application is forwarded to the Landscape Architecture Program for review and recommendation. The Landscape Architecture Program’s Graduate Curriculum Committee reviews each application and forwards a recommendation to the Program Chair for endorsement. The Program Chair forwards this recommendation to the Graduate School. The Graduate School then approves or declines the Landscape Architecture Program’s recommendation and sends a corresponding letter to the candidate. The entire process typically requires 3 to 5 weeks from the time all application materials, including letters of recommendation and official transcripts, are received.

The Landscape Architecture Program’s Graduate Curriculum Committee makes decisions regarding financial support in March. Applications received prior to February 15 receive full consideration regarding financial assistance. Though the Program will review applications received after February 15 there is a very low likelihood of these applicants receiving financial support during their initial year of study.

Virginia Tech Graduate School Online Application

Required and Supporting Application Materials

Candidates for admission are evaluated using a broad range of information. Traditional measures of academic capability are often useful in determining preparedness to study at the graduate level. Candidates are required to provide transcripts from their undergraduate degrees and any post-graduate work. Foreign students having English as a second language must also submit TOEFL scores. Applicants are strongly encouraged to visit the campus.

All candidates must submit:

• Transcripts of undergraduate degrees and post graduate work. Two copies are required – one copy should be sent to the Graduate School and one copy sent directly to the Landscape Architecture Program.

All candidates must submit the following required and supporting materials with their online application:

• A written Statement of Purpose.
The written Statement of Purpose is required in addition to the questions asked on the Graduate School application. The Statement of Purpose must describe the candidate’s specific focused interest in landscape architecture and indicate what informs his/her interest. The Statement of Purpose should also demonstrate how the candidate’s educational focus area relates strongly to the research/scholarly interests of the faculty. In addition, the Statement of Purpose would be the candidate’s primary educational venue and the reasons for this selection. The Statement of Purpose is a critical component of any application to the 2-Year Advanced MLA Program. The Graduate Curriculum Committee relies heavily on the Statement of Purpose in determining the candidate’s likelihood for success and to determine the fit between the candidate’s educational interests/needs and program resources.

• A portfolio of academic and/or professional work.
Applications to the 2-year Advanced MLA Degree Program must provide a portfolio of academic and/or professional work related directly to the candidate’s capability and experience as a landscape architect/designer.

• A list of courses that are of specific interest.
Candidates to the 2-year Advanced MLA Degree Program must provide a list of courses that are of specific interest. The list should include courses taught within the Landscape Architecture Program and also graduate courses offered in other departments at Virginia Tech.

• Three (3) letters of recommendation.
Letters of recommendation should be from people who are familiar with the candidate’s academic record, professional experience and interest, and potential for graduate studies.

Foreign candidates must submit the following additional materials:

• TOEFL scores of 600 (paper-based) or 250 (computer-based) or better for foreign students having English as a second language.

• Candidates who do not achieve a TOEFL score of 620 (paper-based) or 260 (computer-based) must take the English Placement Test administered by the Virginia Tech Language and Culture Institute during the Orientation Program prior to the beginning of the semester (See the Graduate Catalogue).

• Scores for the GRE General Test.

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