Graduate admissions

The Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) Admissions Committee considers applications from candidates with diverse backgrounds who are interested in a career in and related to landscape architecture. Candidates may be new to landscape architecture and design or may have a previous degree or professional experience in the allied design fields. In addition, our MLA program offers excellent opportunities for practicing landscape architects to undertake advanced early- and mid-career study.

The MLA program offers two tracks:

  • MLA I: a 3-year track for applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than Landscape Architecture or Architecture
  • MLA II: a 2-year track for applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture or Architecture

Although all applications are to the MLA program in general, applicants are asked to indicate the program track for which they qualify. The MLA Admissions Committee reserves the right to determine the track for each applicant based on a review of their application materials including previous degrees and transcripts.

Admission to the MLA program is a competitive process with priority given to applicants whose apparent abilities, as determined by the MLA Admissions Committee, will enable them to complete the program expeditiously and with a high level of achievement.

There is a single admission cycle each year for the MLA program. Applications are due January 15 for entry in the autumn quarter of the same year. Applications are accepted from September 15 – January 15. The Admissions review process follows the January 15 deadline. All applications are submitted online through the Graduate School.

Applicants applying for a Concurrent Degree (Master of Landscape Architecture / Master of Architecture (MLA/MArch) or Master of Landscape Architecture / Master of Urban Planning (MLA/MUP)) must apply to and pay for a separate application for both programs. Application reviews are conducted separately by each department. Should a candidate get accepted into one degree program but not the other, the offer of admission still stands for the program to which they were accepted. Should a candidate be accepted into both degree programs, they may choose to accept the offer of admission for either or both degree programs.

Admission Requirements

We highly recommend reviewing UW Graduate School — Understanding the Application Process before beginning the application process.

The first step in the application process is to create an online Application for Graduate Study at the University of Washington through the Graduate School. Selecting the program you are applying to generates the corresponding application forms for that program. When your applicant profile is complete, pay the application fee online and submit. You are able to log in and out of your application until it is complete and ready to submit. The online application is available from September 15 – January 15.

Do not mail any application materials to our Department. Materials will not be reviewed or returned. All required materials must be submitted electronically in the online application.

Graduate School Requirements

  1. A four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited U.S. college or university, or its equivalent from a foreign institution.
  2. A grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 for the last 90 graded quarter credits or 60 graded semester credits.
  3. For International applicants: evidence of English proficiency. There are five ways to provide evidence, the most common is a TOEFL test score (minimum 92 iBT).

Online Application Requirements

The online application will request the following documents and information:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Portfolio of Creative Works
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Resume or Vitae
  • Transcripts
  • English Proficiency Test Scores (for International Students) – Self report + Official reports

All application materials must be submitted no later than January 15, 11:59 PM Seattle time/PDT (GMT -7).  Once you have created an applicant profile, you are able to log in and out of your application until you pay the online application fee and submit the application.

COVID-19 Accommodations

UW and the Department have made some temporary adjustments in admissions for academic year 2021-22.  See UW Graduate School COVID-19 Admissions FAQs for more information.

Assessing Applications

All parts of the application are important, however, the combination of the Statement of Purpose and the Portfolio of Creative Works provides the best opportunity for an applicant to demonstrate their motivation for applying, potential success in the program, and interest and knowledge of landscape architecture in general and our MLA program and focus in particular.

Statement of Purpose

A clear and concise statement which outlines

  1. Your long-term career objectives
  2. Your most substantial professional contributions or the situation which helped you define your professional objectives
  3. Reasons for choosing to undertake graduate study in landscape architecture
  4. The factors which led you to decide that the UW MLA program would be most helpful to your career development
  5. The central skills, knowledge and experiences you will bring to your graduate studies
  6. Any special area(s) within the field of landscape architecture you are interested in studying

This constitutes one of the major documents in the review of your application; you are encouraged to prepare it thoughtfully.

  • Required file format: PDF
  • Maximum length: 3 pages

Portfolio of Creative Works

The portfolio of creative works is a curated collection of material indicating your creative capabilities, graphic proficiency, aesthetic abilities, and environmental sensitivity. It can include any work that you consider best highlights your capacity for creative thinking and expression. You may include artistic or craft work, design studio work, professional work, creative or informal writing, or other media which indicates your potential in landscape architecture. Briefly explain each work, adding a clear indication of your contribution when the work includes work completed as a team project.

This constitutes one of the major documents in the review of your application, you are encouraged to prepare it thoughtfully.

  • Required file format: PDF
  • Maximum file size and length: 30 MB, 20 pages
  • Cover must include your name as it appears on your UW application
  • Portfolio tips

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants will be prompted to designate 3 people to use for your required recommendations by providing their names and email addresses. When you designate a recommendation, the person you have designated is immediately sent an email to submit a recommendation on your behalf. Please do not designate until you are ready to have the recommender contacted. You can designate recommendations before and after you have submitted your online application—up until the program deadline.

  • Minimum 3 recommendations; Maximum 4 recommendations

If you are applying for the Concurrent MLA/MUP or MLA/MArch Degree, the same recommenders/letters of recommendation may be used for both programs, but the recommendations must be submitted to both programs. We suggest informing your recommenders that you are applying to both programs so they can address both programs in their letter.

Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Include information about full-time and part-time positions indicating the nature of the work and your responsibilities.

  • Required file format: PDF

Transcripts

The UW Graduate School requires an unofficial copy of institutional transcripts at the time of application. If you accept an offer of admission to the program and University, you will need to provide an official set of transcripts to the Graduate School before enrolling. See UW Graduate School Official Transcript Requirements  for more information.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants from countries in which the official language is not English, must demonstrate proficiency in English. The most common way is to submit TOEFL test scores. TOEFL test scores are valid for two years and must be valid on the date the application is submitted. The online application will prompt you to self-report your test scores. Test scores must be received by the application deadline.

TOEFL iBT / TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition

  • Minimum score for admission: 92
  • Report official TOEFL scores to UW Institution code: 4854
  • Self-report scores on the online application

As of 6/2/2020 the Graduate School is temporarily accepting official test scores for both the Duolingo English Test and the TOEFL ITP Plus For China to assist international students with remote testing options.

Students admitted with the Duolingo English Test or the TOEFL ITP Plus for China will be required to take all sections of the UW Academic English Language Program (AEP) Placement Exam and take any AEP courses indicated by the exam outcome. Students who receive a Teaching Assistantship will also be required to take the Versant English test and meet the Versant requirements described in Memo 15.  The UW Office of Educational Assessment has indicated the AEP they are developing an online version for students beginning in Autumn 2020.  Please check their website for updates.

See UW Grad School COVID-19 Admissions FAQs for all details and requirements.

TOEFL ITP Plus for China (Level 1 Test)

Duolingo English Test

For more information about English Language Proficiency requirements and additional ways to demonstrate English proficiency, see UW Graduate School — Understanding the Application Process and UW Graduate School Memo 8.

Note: UW does not accept IELTS scores.

Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)

The Department of Landscape Architecture no longer requires GRE test scores.

Admissions Decisions

Applicants will be notified about their admission decision via email by early March. Please do not contact the Department regarding the status of your application prior to that date. If you receive an offer of admission, you will be asked to accept or decline the offer through your UW Graduate School online application account by April 15. If you have received a funding award, you will receive a separate email announcing your award details.

International Students

International students should review the UW Graduate School – International Applicant Information and UW Graduate School COVID-19 Admissions FAQ for detailed information regarding UW Graduate School language requirements, financial requirements, I-20 requests and employment opportunities.

Graduate Non-matriculated Students

Under certain circumstances, the Department may offer enrollment in its graduate courses to graduate non-matriculated students (students who are not enrolled in the MLA program or another UW degree program). Graduate non-matriculated (GNM) status allows qualified post baccalaureate students who are not presently seeking a graduate degree at UW to take UW graduate courses and apply the credits toward degree requirements should they later be accepted into a graduate program at UW (Acceptance as a GNM student does not confer priority for later admission to a graduate program at the UW). GNM students may take any number of credits, however a maximum of 12 graduate-level credits may be applied toward degree requirements. Students seeking GNM status should first review the Graduate School – Graduate Non-Matriculated Students information and then contact the Department’s Graduate Program Coordinator. The Department offers a very limited number courses to students not enrolled in the MLA degree program.