May 21, 2024  
2012-2013 University Catalog (Revised 2012-10-02) 
2012-2013 University Catalog (Revised 2012-10-02) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Landscape Architecture, M.L.A.

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Offered by: College of Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture Department

Lee-Anne S. Milburn, Chair

Landscape Architecture Graduate Studies Committee:
Gerald O. Taylor, Graduate Coordinator

Karen C. Hanna Susan Mulley
Weimin Li  

The Department of Landscape Architecture welcomes graduate students from a variety of academic disciplines who are concerned with the shaping of our physical environment. Students learn current and advanced methods for establishing strong, well-defined, and mutually life-sustaining and enhancing relationships between people and the land. The curriculum emphasizes case study projects at scales varying from the garden to the region with frequent review, discussion, and seminar sessions. The focus of the program is on Ecosystematic Landscape Design and Planning.

Students with degrees in non-design disciplines take a series of preparatory courses designed specifically to meet their needs. The preparatory courses, which begin in summer quarter, will normally require four quarters of study before the student proceeds with regular graduate courses. Completion of the degree program requires six quarters in residence for students with bachelor’s degrees in landscape architecture or architecture. Students seeking a first professional design degree will have ten quarters in residence for completion of degree requirements.

The Department of Landscape Architecture considers its location in southern California to be of special advantage for the study of landscape and environment. The presence of sea coast, mountain and desert terrain as well as one of the major metropolitan centers in North America offers a unique opportunity for professional study. Project sites may range throughout the southern area of California and field trips to a variety of areas and locations throughout the state are a regular aspect of the graduate program. Applicants to the program should anticipate frequent field trips as an essential part of their studies. Students may also participate in programs at the Center for Regenerative Studies, an interdisciplinary laboratory for sustainable living, located on campus.

As of fall 2007, all undergraduate and graduate students entering College of Environmental Design majors are required to purchase a computer that meets minimum specifications. Financial aid assistance for this computer purchase is available to students qualifying for Federal Student Aid (requested via the FAFSA application). Please contact the University’s Office of Financial Aid (909-869-3700) for additional information.

The objectives of the graduate program encompass both a general professional educational background and advanced specialized study in Ecosystematic Landscape Design and Planning. Upon completion of the degree requirements the graduate should have developed:

  1. An advanced level of professional expertise in ecosystematic land planning, that is, in shaping and controlling land in conformance to and in harmony with the processes of natural ecosystems (LA 512/512L , LA 602/602L , LA 606/606L ).
  2. A basic competence in the major skills of landscape architecture and be able to function productively, though probably not yet independently, in professional practice. These skills and the courses in which they are emphasized are: (a) Plants and planting design (LA 540/540L , LA 541/541L ) (b) Landscape construction and technology (LA 531/531L , LA 532/532L , LA 565/565L , LA 632/632L ) (c) Project design and site planning (LA 510/510L , LA 512/512L ) (d) Environmental analysis and impact prediction (LA 604/604L ).
  3. An ability to make a creative and original contribution to some particular area of landscape architecture, either theoretical or practical, according to personal interest (LA 576 , LA 601 , LA 652 , LA 692 , LA 695 , LA 696 ).
  4. A comprehension of the literature, history, and theory of landscape architecture sufficient to communicate the concepts of the profession to others and to use as a philosophical basis for individual professional work (acquired primarily through LA 322/322L , LA 423/423L , LA 424/424L , LA 521/521L , LA 552 ).

Admission to the Program

Admission to the Master of Landscape Architecture program requires an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better. An applicant with an average between 2.5 and 3.0 will be considered for admission if other qualifications can be demonstrated.

Admission as an unconditional graduate student requires a professional design degree (such as landscape architecture or architecture) with requisite experience in design, construction, and plants. Applicants with degrees in other disciplines are admitted as conditional graduate students. The conditions of admission are described in the section on “Curricular Requirements.”

Applications are accepted from students with degrees in all disciplines. Applicants who have developed skills and knowledge in areas directly applicable in landscape architecture, such as ecology, geography, or fine arts, may be given priority in selection.

In addition to the standard university application forms and official transcripts, which must be submitted to the university Admissions Office, the Department of Landscape Architecture requires supplementary materials as noted.  See the department website for submission guidelines.

  1. Statement of intent addressing relevant experience, fit to the program, and scholarly potential.
  2. Two letters of recommendation
  3. Evidence of creative potentital (“portfolio”)
  4. Graduate Record Exam scores

January 3 is the usual deadline for application with support materials due January 15, however applicants should contact the Department of Landscape Architecture and the University Admissions Office for the critical dates in the admission process.

Program Requirements

Admission to the program does not admit a student to candidacy for a degree. Advancement to Candidacy is granted a student upon the recommendation of the graduate faculty and implies a readiness to attempt the project or thesis. Students who are not candidates are not eligible to register for LA 695  or LA 696 .

In order to advance to candidacy for the Master of Landscape Architecture the student must: (1) satisfy all admissions conditions, if any; (2) satisfy the Graduation Writing Test; and (3) with the graduate advisor, develop and file a program of study and have it approved by the Graduate Studies Analyst, and by the graduate coordinator for Landscape Architecture. The curriculum specified in the program may be altered only by written petition, which shall be submitted in accordance with university regulations.

Curricular Requirements

  1. A minimum of 72 quarter units of graduate work must be completed in the graduate degree program. Prerequisite courses are in addition to this minimum. Upper division courses in elective and minor emphasis areas must be approved by the student’s advisor. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be maintained in all courses taken to satisfy degree requirements as well as in all graded course work attempted while in graduate standing at this university.
  2. No more than 13 units of acceptable graduate credit may be transferred from another graduate institution. No more than 13 units taken through Extended University may be used on a contract. No more than 13 units of acceptable graduate credit may be petitioned by an undergraduate student. A total limit of 13 transfer, Extended University, or units petitioned for graduate credit may be included on a master’s contract. The stipulated time limit of 7 years applies to all of the above.
  3. The following courses are required for all graduate students in landscape architecture: LA 512/512L , LA 601 , LA 602/602L , LA 604/604L , LA 606/606L  (18 units), LA 632/632L , LA 652  or LA 694 , and LA 695  or LA 696 . Students with a degree in landscape architecture have the option of including LA 540/540L  to satisfy degree requirements if it is their preference.
  4. In addition to the above, the following courses are required for first professional design degree students: one of the following three courses in history: LA 322/322L , LA 423/423L  or LA 424/424L ; LA 509/509L ; LA 510/510L ; LA 511/511L ; LA 521/521L ; LA 531/531L ;LA 532/532L ; LA 540/540L ; and LA 541/541L . Additional courses may be required for students without adequate preparation for graduate study in landscape architecture.
  5. Each student must also select either the project or thesis track to fulfill their terminal requirement as follows:
    1. Project Track: LA 652 (4 units), LA 695 
    2. Thesis Track: LA 694 (4 units), LA 696 
  6. Additional elective content is required to satisfy the minimum unit requirements for the Master of Landscape Architecture degree. Courses may be selected from offerings in the College of Environmental Design as well as other colleges.
  7. The candidate must be enrolled in the university during the quarter of graduation.



In consultation with an advisor and in accordance with the above requirements, each student will select courses from the following list and approved electives to complete the requirements for the Master of Landscape Architecture degree.

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