The intent of the MLA degree is to provide the foundational, historical, theoretical, technical, and skills-based grounding of the field of landscape architecture.
The core of the degree program is the design studio that introduces students to fundamental design methodologies and they are asked to pursue and develop their design process and learn about research methodologies. Supplemental courses in all other aspects of the field provide the information that will be synthesized in the studio to reinforce the design process and end result. The studio is project-based and exposes students to a wide array of landscape scales, types, contexts, and topical issues. The studio format entails lectures, demonstrations, field trips, readings, guest presentations, precedent study, one-on-one instruction, and group discourse. Rather than espousing a singular design philosophy or style, the department offers multiple perspectives on design, imparted through the studio course sequence. The required sequential nature of the studios offered throughout the student’s academic career at Cornell allows for each studio to build on the previous one with an ever-increasing degree of complexity and attention to detail. The MLA degree allows the option of a design thesis, a capstone studio, or a written research thesis in the final semester of study.
Our graduate program complies with the requirements of three governing bodies:
- The New York State Education Department (NYSED)
- The Council of Landscape Architecture Registration Boards (CLARB)
- The Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board
The degree programs are designed to accommodate a variety of academic backgrounds, both with and without design training in landscape architecture and architecture. Therefore, each student’s curriculum plan is tailored to the individual’s specific background and academic goals. We offer two possible paths toward the completion of the MLA degree.
The formal concentration in Landscape Architecture allows degree candidates in the department the opportunity to define an area of personal interest within this broad profession or to examine the landscape dimensions of an associated field. The concentration is an opportunity for students to formally establish their interests as part of the degree.
- The concentration is defined by the student in consultation with their faculty advisor.
- The requirements of the concentration are at least 10 credits for the MLA beyond those required by the department for the degree. Students include the LA 6030 The Concentration class as part of the 10 credit requirement.
Master of Landscape Architecture (3-Year Track)
The three-year MLA track is intended for students who do not hold a first professional degree in landscape architecture, architecture or pre-professional degrees.
Master of Landscape Architecture (2-Year Track)
The two-year MLA track is a post-professional sequence intended for students who hold a United States or Canadian-accredited first professional degree in landscape architecture or architecture, including BLA, BSLA, or BArch degrees.
Dual Master's Degree in Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning
The four-year dual master's degree track is intended for students interested in pursuing both the MLA degree with the Master of Regional Planning (MRP).
MLA Admission Details
Prospective students may apply to the MLA program through the Cornell Graduate School. The deadline is January 8th for fall admission. Applications must include:
- Transcripts from all educational institutions attended.
- Two (2) letters of recommendation.
- Prospective 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 score of 22, writing score of 22, listening score of 20, and speaking score of 25. IELTS required is 7.0
Applicants to the MLA program are required to submit a portfolio. The portfolio is used to assess your aptitude for visual thinking and design. Applicants may include a wide variety of media, including freehand drawings, painting, photography, graphic design and renderings, garden design, and other creative endeavors.
- Portfolios are digitally submitted along with the MLA application. There is no page limit; however, your file size should be less than twenty (20) megabytes total to be able to upload onto the Cornell Graduate School Application site. A hard copy is not required for graduate applications. Any questions can be directed to Maria Goula, Director of Graduate Studies.