Feb 25, 2021  
2009-2010 Downtown Campus Catalog 
2009-2010 Downtown Campus Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Landscape Architecture MLA

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Students are expected to have achieved a basic level of computer literacy. A graphics workshop is recommended for students who do not have a background in drawing or computer graphics. The workshop is scheduled each year before the beginning of the fall semester.

Program Requirements

The landscape architecture program offers professional and advanced professional graduate degree curricula leading to the degree master of landscape architecture (MLA).

  • The first-professional degree program, requiring a six-semester sequence of course work totaling 90 semester hours, is fully accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB) and recognized by the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA).
  • Students completing the college’s bachelor of environmental design on the Boulder campus—or completing an undergraduate design degree at another institution—may be given advanced standing in the three-year program. Advanced standing will be based on prior academic accomplishment.
  • The advanced professional degree program for qualified students having already earned a first professional degree in landscape architecture or related discipline requires 48 semester hours. Advanced standing will be based on prior academic accomplishment.

Course Sequence

(90-semester-hour MLA for students without a professional degree in landscape architecture or related profession)

The curriculum consists of core and elective course work. Core courses are grouped into five components:

  Semester hours
Design Studios 36
History and Theory 12
Landscape Architectural Technology 15
Ethics and Practice 3
Media 6
Total core courses 72
Electives 18
Total courses 90


Typical 90-semester-hour program of study in required courses for the first professional MLA degree

First Year

Second Year


Total: 15 Hours

Total: 15 Hours

Third Year


Total: 15 Hours


Total: 15 Hours

Course Sequence

(48-semester-hour MLA for students with a professional degree in landscape architecture or related disciplines)

This route requires 48 semester hours and typically two years of full-time study. The core curriculum consists of two groups:

  Semester Hours
Design 24
History and Theory 12
Total core courses 36
Electives 12
Total courses 48

The program director will advise each student engaged in this program of study.



The graduate thesis in landscape architecture provides an opportunity for students to conduct independent research and design investigations that demonstrate their capacity for rigorous original thinking. The thesis is not required for graduation and not all students are approved to write a thesis. Choosing to pursue a thesis project constitutes a significant commitment to the endeavor; the topic must be chosen with care and thoughtfully and critically developed. Topics can explore material that has been previously unstudied, reinterpret existing material in a new light, or engage research and design practices in ways that strengthen and define the final project. For all theses, the research and products must meet the highest standards of academic excellence and contribute significantly to the discipline and/or profession. 

Pursuing a thesis requires students to enroll in a three-course sequence for a maximum total of 12 semester hours. Students are required to formulate their research proposals two full semesters prior to their enrollment for the 6-semester-hour thesis, typically taken in lieu of the final studio. To proceed through the sequence, students must have completed and passed the research tools and methods class (LA6940) and have secured departmental approval of the thesis proposal. The completion of the thesis is dependent on acceptance of the student’s work by the faculty member acting as the thesis chair and by the committee. For work to be accepted it must meet the standards established by the University of Colorado Denver for graduate thesis projects.


Dual Degree Options

Students may enroll in a dual degree program with architecture (MArch), with urban design (MUD) or with urban and regional planning (MURP).

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