Nov 24, 2020  
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Landscape Architecture MLA

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Students are expected to have achieved a basic level of computer literacy prior to enrolling in the first semester of classes. The department offers a required graphics workshop for students who do not have a background in drawing or computer graphics. The workshop is scheduled each year prior to the beginning of fall semester.

Program Requirements

The landscape architecture program offers first professional and post-professional graduate courses leading to the degree master of landscape architecture (MLA). The program is fully accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB) and recognized by the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA).

  • The first-professional degree program requires a six-semester sequence of course work totaling 90 semester hours.
  • The post-professional degree program is for qualified students who have already earned a first professional degree in landscape architecture (BLA) or related discipline. It requires a minimum of 60 semester hours. Advanced standing is based on prior academic accomplishment.
  • Students completing the College of Architecture and Planning’s BSArch degree or an undergraduate design degree at another institution may be given advanced standing in the three-year program. Advanced standing is based on prior academic accomplishment.

Course Sequence (First Professional Degree)

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

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
Site Works 12
Media 9
Critical Practice 6
Total core courses 75
MLA Electives 9
General Electives 6
Total electives 15
Total courses 90

Typical 90-semester-hour sequence of courses for the first professional MLA degree (subject to change)

First Year

Second Year

Third Year

Course Sequence (Advanced Professional Degree)

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

The curriculum typically requires 60 semester hours and two years of full-time study. The core curriculum consists of three groups:

  Semester Hours
Design 24
History and Theory 12-15
Media 3-6
Electives 9-18
Total courses 60

The department chair or associate chair 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 (LDAR 6940) 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 and Certificate Options

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

Students also may be selected through an application process to participate in a dual degree MLA with Tongji University in Shanghai, China. A thesis is required for students participating in this program. Read more about this program on the department website.

A certificate in Geospatial Information Science (GIS) is also available to students interested in pursuing geospatial design.

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