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Landscape Architecture (Advanced Professional Degree): MLA

Landscape Architecture (Advanced Professional Degree)

The MLA-Advanced Professional degree is a two-year accredited program of study. Applicants must hold baccalaureate degrees in landscape architecture from accredited programs. The advanced degree allows outstanding students to expand their knowledge in areas of special interest under the supervision of a major professor and supervisory committee.

The Graduate Program Director advises all incoming students until they have selected a thesis topic. A major professor whose interests are closely aligned to those of the student (see areas of faculty expertise above) supervises thesis work. A minimum of 30 graduate-level credits, including thesis work, is required. Students supplement requirements with courses negotiated with the major professor and supervisory committee. An outside area of emphasis or graduate specialization may be pursued by concentrating elective coursework in another department.

Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning's Master of Landscape Architecture graduate program is to: (1) prepare future professionals to address the dynamic issues and scales of landscapes across the Intermountain West and around the world; and (2) engage in creative intellectual work that contributes to the theory and practice of landscape architecture.

Graduates with an MLA have a wide variety of career options available:

  • Licensed landscape architect Arborist
  • Federal employment with USFS, NPS, BLM and others
  • Visual/scenic landscape analyst
  • Transportation planner
  • Community planning and residential design
  • Land development
  • State park design
  • Design campgrounds and trail systems
  • Golf course architect
  • Work in consultation with civil engineering or architecture firms
  • Design of resorts and theme parks
  • Design green roofs/rooftop gardens
  • Historic preservation
  • Sustainability coordinator
  • University campus planner/landscape architect
  • Protection of endangered species through habitat preservation
  • Assist with the survey of archeology sites
  • Promote forest sustainability in domestic and tropical forests
  • Extension landscape architect
  • Stormwater manager
  • Virtual media design (graphic design, designing virtual landscapes for computer games)
  • Academic positions in landscape architecture and horticulture programs
  • Artist or sculptor
  • Gardener or grower of nursery stock
  • Nursery operator

Many other career opportunities are available depending on the student’s thesis emphasis, interests, and undergraduate degree.

Admission Requirements

Students with any undergraduate major may apply. Students admitted from a background in landscape architecture will be admitted to the advanced professional program, and students with other undergraduate degrees will be admitted to the first professional degree.

Application Requirements:

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Score at or above the 40th percentile on the GRE
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation
  • Portfolios are required for the Advanced Professional degree. Advanced professionals should submit examples of most recent work. Team projects must clearly note your contribution to the project.

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Admission Deadlines

The department has the following deadlines:

  • Fall semester - March 15
  • Applications submitted after March 15 will only be considered if there is space available in the program.

Master's Degree Plan Option(s)

Students can receive the MLA by pursuing one of two options:

  • In the Plan A option, students complete graduate-level coursework and must write a thesis.
  • The Plan B option requires the production of a paper or creative work of design and is expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards as a thesis.

Financial Assistance

The majority of students in the department receive funding through faculty grants and contracts. The department also offers scholarships to students underway in the program. For more information on these, contact the department.

A variety of additional funding opportunities are available through the School of Graduate Studies.

Sean Michael, PhD, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Department: Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department
Area: Crime prevention through environmental design, recreation planning, human-environment relationships
Office: FAV 252
Phone: (435) 797-0509

David Anderson, Other, Utah State University
Professional Practice Associate Professor
Department: Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department
Office: FAV 226
Phone: (435) 797-1984

Brent Chamberlain, PhD, University of British Columbia
Assistant Professor
Area: Environmental psychology, cultural ecosystem services, geovisualization, decision making, urban form and health
Office: FAV 260
Phone: (435) 797-0213

Keith Christensen, PhD, Utah State University
Professor, Department Head
Area: Socially equitable planning and design
Office: FAV 228
Phone: (435) 797-0507

David Evans, Other, University of California, Berkeley
Professional Practice Associate Professor
Area: Community-engaged learning, strategies for career development and student advising, landscape urbanism and sustainable urban design.
Office: FAV 224
Phone: (435) 797-0508

Benjamin George, PhD, Utah State University
Assistant Professor
Area: Online design pedagogy, design pedagogy, history pedagogy, Moorish gardens, Portuguese gardens, collaborative technology, social media.
Office: FAV 238
Phone: (435) 797-0561

Todd Johnson, Other, Harvard University
Associate Professor
Department: Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department
Area: Design teaching methods.
Office: FAV 236
Phone: (435) 797-0501

Caroline Lavoie, MLA, University of Southern California
Department: Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department
Area: Community planning, urban design/theory, historic landscapes and preservation, site planning
Office: FAV 240
Phone: (435) 797-0505

Carlos Licon, PhD, Arizona State University
Associate Professor, Graduate Program Director
Area: Sustainable development models and assessment, bioclimate design, regional landscape planning, information visualization.
Office: FAV 256
Phone: (435) 797-3978

Keunhyun Park, PhD, University of Utah
Assistant Professor
Area: Digital technologies and spatial data analytics in planning and design.
Office: FAV 258
Phone: (435) 797-0225

Jake Powell, Other, Pennsylvania State University
Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor
Department: Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department
Area: Grassroots watershed planning and implementation, artful rainwater design and stormwater management, water conservation through landscape design, large scale water management in the inter-mountain west, low impact development, trail and natural open space planning and design, and design elements that affect place attachment and nature connection.
Office: FAV 226A
Phone: (435) 797-4293

Ole Sleipness, PhD, Clemson University
Associate Professor
Department: Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department
Area: Branding of the built environment, rural community development and change, interface between rural public and private lands.
Office: FAV 260
Phone: (435) 797-0510

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

American Society of Landscape Architects: ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing 17,000 members in 48 professional chapters and 68 student chapters. The society's mission is to lead, to educate, and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments.

Sigma Lambda Alpha: This is a scholastic honor society recognizing academic achievement among students in the field of landscape architecture. Sigma Lambda Alpha honor society has 51 active chapters across the United States and a total membership of approximately 8,000.

Labs, Centers, Research

Rural Intermountain Planning Program: The Rural Intermountain Planning Program provides planning and design services to communities, counties, agencies, and special interest groups throughout Utah and the Intermountain West that cannot afford or are not ready to hire consultants. Community master plans, downtown redevelopment plans, streetscapes, community entries, parks, and open space plans are some examples of services provided.

Swaner Green Space Institute: SGSI is a multi-disciplinary research and service unit within the department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. Established in 2003, the SGSI focuses on the research of open space issues and provides research assistantships and learning opportunities to students.

Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter: The Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter, located in Park City, Utah, consists of a 1,200-acre land trust in the Snyderville Basin and a 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility dedicated to environmental education. The preserve protects critical wetland and foothill terrain in the heart of one of the state’s fastest-growing areas. The EcoCenter, completed in 2009, is a multi-use facility with space for educational and community activities. The facility is LEED platinum certified, the highest standard for design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings.

Utah Botanical Center: The UBC, located in Kaysville, Utah, is home to research and demonstration projects focused on sustainable living in the Intermountain West. Studies of water conservation, horticulture, water quality enhancement, wetland ecology, integrated pest management, urban forestry, agriculture, fish and wildlife, highway enhancement, and storm-water management combine to make the center a living laboratory.

Utah Center for Water Resources Research: The UCWRR facilitates water research, outreach, design, and testing elements within a university environment that supports student education and citizen training.

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Academic Advising

Sean Michael
Office: FAV 252
Phone: (435) 797-0509

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