Frequently Asked Questions

The answers to the following frequently asked questions may be helpful to prospective students.

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) and Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) Programs

What is the difference between the BLA and MLA degrees?

The BLA and MLA are distinct programs though they both focus on learning design processes and practices as the core objective and share commonalities in their respective curricula. In particular, they share several technical and professionally oriented courses. If joining the Department as an MLA I (3-year track), students in their first year are enrolled in three introductory studios with the BLA class also in their first year. Beyond this initial year (in the three-year program), the BLA and MLA programs diverge with required studios and other coursework specific to each program. While both programs provide the practical and material training necessary to begin a career in the field of Landscape Architecture, the MLA program more deeply engages students in the theory and scholarship of the discipline. The MLA curriculum culminates with a capstone project focused on design as research. In the final year of the BLA degree, the curriculum culminates with a design-build project.

What is the difference between the two-year and three-year tracks of the MLA program?

Applicants with a previous degree in Landscape Architecture or Architecture are eligible for the MLA II (2-year track) program. Applicants with a previous degree other than Landscape Architecture or Architecture enter into the 3-year track (MLA I). The Graduate Program Coordinator and the Department Chair determine the appropriate program for each applicant through a close evaluation of their previous degrees, transcripts and work experience.

If I already have a bachelor’s degree, do I need to apply for the MLA program?

If you do not have a previous bachelor’s degree, you must apply to the BLA program. If you do have a previous bachelor’s degree, you are eligible to apply to either the BLA or MLA program. While not common, we do accept students with a previous bachelor’s degree into the professional BLA program.

Can I obtain a minor in Landscape Architecture?

The Department offers a minor in Urban Ecological Design for undergraduate students.

Can I earn another degree or certificate while I earn my MLA?

The MLA program offers concurrent degree programs with the Department of Urban Design and Planning and the Department of Architecture. Generally, it takes one additional year to earn a concurrent degree.

MLA students may pursue an interdisciplinary certificate in the College of the Built Environments (CBE). CBE offers four certificates: Historic Preservation, Housing Studies, Real Estate, and Urban Design. Additionally, MLA students may pursue graduate certificates in other colleges within the University such as a certificate in Global Health, Restoration Ecology, or Entrepreneurship.

Can I go to school part-time?

No, the BLA and MLA are full-time programs. Students are expected to complete the program in three academic years (two years for the MLA II track). Many of the technical and material courses are taught in sequence and are offered only once a year. The department is looking for focused students, who will stay on track and complete the program on time. Students who choose to work part-time, will need jobs that have flexible schedules that may change from term to term. It is recommended that students work less than 20 hours/week as the majority of the studio courses are offered three afternoons a week for four hours each day. Students will need to arrange their work schedule around their courses.

What other Landscape Architecture programs are in the Seattle or Pacific Northwest?

There are no other professional Landscape Architecture programs in the Seattle metropolitan area. Other Pacific Northwest accredited landscape architecture programs are: BLA at Washington State University; BLA, MLA and PhD at University of Oregon; BLA at University of Idaho; and MLA at University of British Columbia. See the ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architecture) Accreditation website for other accredited landscape architecture programs in the United States and Canada.

There are two Horticulture programs offered in the Seattle area, at Edmonds Community College and South Seattle Community College. These are not professional Landscape Architecture programs. They are considered vocational programs and only a few of the credits from these programs transfer to the University. To determine how credits from these programs would transfer, contact the office of the Academic CounselorUndergraduate Advising Center.

Admissions

When can I apply to the Landscape Architecture Department? Do you accept students into the BLA or MLA programs at multiples times in the year?

Both the BLA and MLA are capacity-constrained programs that accept applications once a year. For the MLA program, applications are accepted from September 15 – January 15 to begin the following Autumn quarter. For the BLA program, you must apply by the first day of Spring Quarter to begin the following Autumn quarter. All application materials must be submitted by the stated deadline to be considered for admission.

Students can only start the program in the Autumn quarter as several courses are sequential and only offered once per year.

Who can apply to the BLA and MLA programs? Do I need to be a U.S. citizen?

The University of Washington accepts applications to all undergraduate and graduate programs from U.S. citizen, permanent residents (green card holders), immigrants, international applicants, and undocumented individuals. Admissions requirements and application procedures are the same for all applicants regardless of citizenship and visa status.

The Department of Landscape Architecture recognizes the value that diverse perspectives bring to education and the profession of landscape architecture. Accordingly, we are committed to improving our recruitment and retention of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff from groups that are historically underrepresented in our department and profession. Learn more about our commitment to Social Justice, Equity and Outreach and Diversity Resources.

Do I only apply to the Department of Landscape Architecture?

No. For both the BLA and MLA programs, you must begin by applying to the University of Washington if you are not already enrolled.

For the BLA program you apply online to the Undergraduate School. If you would like counseling about the application process, advice on how your credits may transfer and/or suggestions about writing your Personal Statement to apply to the UW, contact the Undergraduate Advising Center. Prospective undergraduate students are encouraged to attend Transfer Thursdays – check the schedule for meetings.

For the MLA program, you apply online to the Graduate School. The Graduate School provides information about the application process and specific information for international students and undocumented students. We also recommend you check the Graduate School’s FAQ page.

What do I need to apply to the Landscape Architecture Department?

Information and requirements for applying to the BLA and MLA programs can be found on the department website under Admissions. Both the BLA and MLA applications require:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Portfolio of Creative Works
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Transcripts from any junior colleges, colleges or universities previously attended

The BLA application also requires

The MLA application also requires

see Understanding the Admissions Process on the Graduate School website).

What should I include in the Statement of Purpose?

This is an important part of the application that the Admissions Committee uses to understand your personal and professional motives and goals. The Undergraduate Admissions and Graduate Admissions pages include information on what to include.

Do you have sample portfolios online that I can see?

We are working to get some sample portfolios online. We recommend searching portfolios online, especially looking at landscape architecture related sites such as land8.com and landizer.net.  You might also review simple photography books for ideas about simple layouts.

Can I send a hardcopy of my portfolio or application to the Department?

No. Do not mail any application materials to the Department. Mailed materials will not be reviewed or returned. All required materials for applying to the BLA or MLA program must be submitted electronically in the online application.

Who should write my Letters of Recommendation?

Letters of Recommendation are an important part of the MLA application. Choose people to write in support of your application that can speak to and address

your skills and abilities in different capacities and your ability to successfully complete the MLA program:

  • Professional recommendations may be from employers, etc.
  • Service recommendations may be from volunteer coordinators, directors of clubs or organizations, coaches, etc.
  • Academic recommendations may be from college faculty, high school teachers, etc.

How recently will I need to have taken TOEFL and what kind of scores do I need? Do I need to send the scores to the Department of Landscape Architecture?

International students are required to submit evidence of English proficiency. The most common way is through TOEFL scores. Test scores are valid for two years and must be valid on the date the application is submitted.  Report official test scores to UW Institution code: 4854.

BLA applicants should check the University of Washington’s website for required TOEFL test scores and the deadline to submit test scores.

MLA applicants should check the Department’s website for acceptable tests and required test scores.  Test scores should be submitted by the application deadline.

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.

Are there other ways to provide evidence of English proficiency besides the TOEFL?

Yes.  See UW Graduate School – Understanding the Application Process  and UW Grad School Memo 8 for alternative methods of providing evidence of English proficiency.

What Official Transcripts do I need? When are they needed? How many? Can I send a digital version?

For MLA applicants, only an unofficial transcript from each college or university you attended is required when you apply. This includes community colleges, extension courses, and foreign studies. If foreign studies were included on your domestic university transcript, include that information in your application.

If you accept an offer of admission, an official transcript(s) will be required by the Graduate School. The online application’s pre-registration page will specify which transcripts are required for degree verification and how to submit your official transcript.  A certified electronic transcript is the preferred method. Please review additional information on the UW Grad School Website.

BLA applicants students should go to the undergraduate admissions to obtain instructions on required transcripts for applying to the University.

Do I need to know what I want to focus on for my capstone project before applying to the MLA program?

No, but your general area of interest should be consistent with the department focus on Urban Ecological Design and the Program Pillars. Some students do enter the MLA program knowing their specific area of interest and retain this interest throughout the program. Some students change their area of interest once they start taking classes. Some students enter the program without a specific area of interest and develop one during the first two years of studio and coursework. MLA students should be open to considering capstone topics during their first two years in the program, gradually focusing in on their specific capstone topic. Consultation with department faculty, to find an area of shared interest, is an integral part of this process.

Who decides if I’m accepted and what is the acceptance rate?

The BLA Admissions Committee is comprised of faculty and staff. The MLA Admissions Committee is comprised of faculty and advanced MLA students. Acceptance rates vary each year but are always competitive for both programs. You should take time to prepare and submit the best application you can, paying particular attention to the Statement of Purpose and the Portfolio of Creative Works.

What if I am not accepted and want to try again?

You are always welcome to try more than once, as you may have taken additional courses, gained work experience, or simply assembled a more polished application in a subsequent year. If not accepted with your initial application, you may (continue to) take courses that are available to non-degree students and try again later.

For the MLA degree, a maximum of 12 graduate level credits taken as a UW Graduate Non-Matriculated student may be applied toward the MLA degree. See additional information on the Graduate School website.

Undergraduates may work toward our Urban Ecological Design Minor. Some students declare a major in a less competitive degree and continue to take a few classes in Landscape Architecture, improve their application and then reapply. It is easier to obtain a double bachelor’s degree than to finish one bachelor’s degree and try to re-enter the UW as a post-baccalaureate.

Where can I find out about applying to other programs in the College of Built Environments?

Each department in the College has information about their degrees and how to apply on their website. Required application materials vary from department to department as do application deadlines and assessment.

Where can I find out more about Certificate Programs? When do I apply?

There are many certificate programs offered through the University. Certificates are listed under the various Colleges and Schools at UW. The College of Built Environments (CBE) offers four interdisciplinary certificates:  Historic Preservation, Housing Studies, Real Estate, and Urban Design – Urban Design and Historic Preservation are most common among our students. Additionally, MLA students may pursue graduate certificates in other colleges within the University. Common certificates for our students outside CBE include certificates in Global Health, Restoration Ecology or Entrepreneurship.

BLA students have the option to complete one or more minors during their studies. Students will often complete minors in other areas in the College of Built Environments; including Architecture, Construction Management, Real Estate and Urban Design & Planning. You can learn more about these minors by visiting the CBE Intranet. Other popular minors include Environmental Science and Resource Management (ESRM) and Ecological Restoration.

Students apply to certificate programs after they are enrolled at UW.

If I apply for a Concurrent Degree in Architecture or Urban Planning, do I need to submit more than one application? Can I use the same materials for both applications? Do I have to apply for a concurrent degree when I first apply to UW or can I apply once I have started my degree?

Yes, you must submit an application to each department if applying for a concurrent degree. You should consult each department’s website for guidance about application requirements as requirements differ between departments.

Yes, you can submit the same materials for both applications but be aware that each department reviews applications independently and requirements and assessment criteria are different between departments. The strongest application is one that is geared to the degree to which you are applying. If you would like to use the same letter of recommendation, we suggest you inform the person writing the recommendation that you are apply to two programs so they can address your suitability for both programs in their letter.

You can apply to a concurrent degree program when you initially apply to UW or once you are enrolled a degree program. However, the benefit of the concurrent degree program is coordination of courses between the two degrees so you can complete both degrees in less time (typically one year) than if you pursued them independently. If you wait to apply to a second degree after completing your first year, you may not be able to complete both degrees in less time.

What happens if I apply for a MArch or MUP and the MLA but don’t get into both programs?

Because you apply to each department independently, you can be accepted into one or both programs. If you are only accepted into one program, you can choose to enroll into that program or not. Similarly, if you are accepted into both programs, you can choose to enroll into both programs or only one of the programs. If you are only accepted into one program, you can also choose to reapply to the other program the following year.

When will I know if I have been offered admission? When will I have to tell the Department if I am accepting my offer to enroll?

For the BLA program, we aim to inform students by the end of April. Students added to the waitlist should be notified of their status by the end of Spring quarter.

For the MLA program, offers of admission are sent out in early March. Admitted candidates have until April 15 to inform the department of your choice. However, we request that admitted candidates inform the department as soon as they know so we can process applicants on the waitlist as early as possible.

Things in my life have changed, can I defer enrollment?

No, the Department does not allow accepted students to defer enrollment. However, candidates can apply again in the future and typically applicants who are offered admission one year have a high probability of acceptance in subsequent years.

Can I defer enrollment while I establish Washington residency? How do I establish Washington residency?

No, the Department does not allow accepted students to defer enrollment. Candidates who chose to decline an offer of admission, must reapply to be considered for admission.

In order for University of Washington students to be considered residents for tuition purposes, they first must be able to prove that they are U.S. citizens, have U.S. permanent resident cards, have a qualifying visa (A, E, G, H1, I, K or L) or are WA HB 1079 eligible.

To be classified or reclassified as residents, for tuition and fee purposes, students must establish a bona fide domicile in the state of Washington primarily for purposes other than education for the period of one year immediately prior to classification as resident. Nonresident students who are enrolled for more than 6 credits a quarter will be presumed to be in the state for primarily educational purposes. Such period of enrollment shall not be counted toward the establishment of a bona fide domicile of one year in this state unless the students prove they reside in the state for purposes other than education.

See the Understanding Washington State Residency, Undocumented Graduate Students and Undocumented Student Resources for more information.

Prerequisite Requirements and Taking Classes Before Enrolling

Which prerequisite courses are required before I apply to the BLA program?

The BLA program requires that you have taken:

  • L ARCH 300 – Introduction to Landscape Architecture (Autumn or Spring)

and any 2 of the following courses:

  • L ARCH 341 – Site Design and Planning (Autumn)
  • L ARCH 352 – History of Landscape Architecture (Autumn)
  • L ARCH 353 – History of Modern Landscape Architecture (Winter)
  • L ARCH 361 – Human Experience of Place (Winter)
  • L ARCH 363 – Ecological Design and Planning (Spring)

What prerequisites are required for the MLA program?

The MLA Program does not have any prerequisites before applying. However, applicants may opt to take courses at UW or elsewhere as a way to stand out from the crowd and show that you have researched your decision to become a Landscape Architect.

Hand drawing and digital graphic skills are fundamental in design communication and competency in design related software programs is beneficial. Although not required as students are taught these skills and programs through the BLA and MLA curriculum, entering the program with basic familiarity with one or more of the following software programs is helpful:

  • Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)*
  • Sketchup
  • AutoCAD
  • GIS (Geographic information system)

Students will also learn Rhino, Grasshopper, Lumion, and other design software during the program.

Many of the above programs can be learned online through your local library, or in courses at local community colleges and professional schools.

*If you are new to design software, we recommend beginning with the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop or Illustrator).

What courses can I take before I am accepted into the BLA or MLA program? Can I apply those courses to my degree?

Courses offered to those not enrolled in our programs are listed below. These courses may help you decide if this is the profession you want to pursue and/or can help lighten your load later on, if you are accepted into the program. These courses are open to matriculated (currently enrolled at UW) and non-matriculated (not currently enrolled at UW) students. For aspiring MLA students, only a maximum of 12 graduate-level credits (courses that are 400-level or above) taken as a Graduate Non-Matriculated student will count towards a future degree but you can take any of the courses listed below:

  • L ARCH 212 Designing the Future (Autumn)
  • L ARCH 300 Introduction to Landscape Architecture (Summer and Autumn)
  • L ARCH 322 Introduction to Planting Design (Spring)
  • L ARCH 341 Site Design and Planning (Autumn)
  • L ARCH 352 History of Landscape Architecture (Autumn)
  • L ARCH 353 / 553 History of Modern Landscape Architecture (Winter)
  • L ARCH 361 / 561 Experience of Place (Winter)
  • L ARCH 363 / 563 Ecological Design and Planning (Spring)
  • L ARCH 454 History of Urban Design (Spring)
  • L ARCH 498 / 598 Special Topic Courses (Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer)

Hand drawing and digital graphic skills are fundamental in design communication and competency in design related software programs is beneficial. Although not required as students are taught these skills and programs through the BLA and MLA curriculum, entering the program with basic familiarity with one or more of the following software programs is helpful:

  • Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)*,
  • AutoCAD,
  • GIS,
  • Sketchup

Many of the above programs can be learned online through your local library, or in courses at local community colleges and professional schools.

*If you are new to design software, we recommend beginning with the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop or Illustrator).

How can I take classes at the UW if I am not a current (matriculated) student? How does UW Professional and Continuing Education (PCE) work?

Non-matriculated students can take courses open to non-majors through UW Professional and Continuing Education (UW PCE) at any time of the year. During Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, matriculated students have first priority for enrollment (see information on Non-Degree Enrollment). During Summer quarter, non-matriculated students have equal priority for enrollment. Any credit courses completed as a non-matriculated student are recorded on a transcript. If and when accepted to the University, there is a record of these courses.

For the BLA program, courses taken as a non-matriculated student will transfer to the degree.

For the MLA program, you must apply and be accepted as Graduate Non-Matriculated student by the Department. Additionally, only a maximum of 12 graduate-level credits (courses that are 400-level or above) taken as a Graduate Non-Matriculated student will count towards a future degree. See the Graduate School website for information about Graduate Non-Matriculated students.

UW PCE publishes a course catalog for courses offered through their program. Many of the certificate programs offered through Extension, however, are not considered credit courses. Examples include: Wetlands Science and Management, Screenwriting, Film and Video Production. Check with UW PCE to determine whether or not a course is offered for University credit.

Curriculum and Courses

How do I find out about the curriculum for the BLA or MLA program?

The department website is the best resource for information about the BLA and MLA curricula and courses. You can find course requirements and typical course sequence charts under the Programs section of the website.

Can I study abroad while earning my degree? What are the options for studying abroad?

There are many study abroad opportunities available within the College of Built Environments (CBE) and the larger University of Washington via International Programs and Exchanges. However, selecting an International Studies program through CBE usually enables students to stay on track with their studio sequence. Though not offered every year, there are popular programs in China, Croatia, Denmark, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, and Peru among other locations. Many of the MLA students identify opportunities to integrate their travel studies with their capstone project research. Students may participate in study abroad during the regular academic year or during the summer quarter.

Are the BLA and MLA programs STEM designated?

Yes, both the BLA and MLA programs are STEM designated.

Can I do a professional internship while I am in school?

The department encourages students to consider a professional internship, although the Department does not require or guarantee internships for BLA or MLA students. Internships provide valuable opportunities for students to acquire professional skills while in school as often internships are structured to introduce students to the wide variety of activities involved in professional practice. Our students and department are supported by an engaged professional community in the Seattle region, offering students the opportunities for positions in design firms, non-profit organizations, and public agencies in landscape design, planning, construction, and policy.

Students may receive credit for internships whether the internship is paid or unpaid.

Can students take courses in department outside of the Department of Landscape Architecture?

Yes, in fact, we encourage our students to take courses outside of the Department and even outside of the College. Working across disciplines is increasingly more important as landscape architects join local and global movements to address the existing and emerging challenges of our built environments. We have worked hard to make our program as flexible as possible so students can take courses that support their interests and make connections across the College and University.

Additionally, each quarter the College offers interdisciplinary courses and design studios (listed as BE courses). Faculty from multiple departments co-teach BE courses and are open to all students within in the College.

How many students are in the BLA and MLA programs?

There are approximately 90 MLA students (30 per year) and 40 BLA students (15 per year).

How can I find out about faculty teaching in the department? Can I contact them directly?

Prospective students can learn about faculty research and professional interests from their bios. The faculty pages also include contact information for reaching out directly to them.

What software is used in the program? What software should I learn before I start the program?

Hand drawing and digital graphic skills are fundamental in design communication and competency in design related software programs is beneficial. Although not required as students are taught these skills and programs through the BLA and MLA curriculum, entering the program with basic familiarity with one or more of the following software programs is helpful:

  • Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)*
  • AutoCAD
  • Geographic Information System (GIS)
  • Sketchup

Students will also learn Rhino, Grasshopper, Lumion, and BIM software such as Revit, and other design software during the program.

Many of the above programs can be learned online through your local library, or in courses at local community colleges and professional schools.

*If you are new to design software, we recommend beginning with the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop or Illustrator).

Financing Your Education

How much is tuition?

Tuition costs vary from year to year. The most updated costs can be found here.

Can I establish Washington residency while I am a student?

In order for University of Washington students to be considered residents for tuition purposes, they first must be able to prove that they are U.S. citizens, have U.S. permanent resident cards, have a qualifying visa (A, E, G, H1, I, K or L) or are WA HB 1079 eligible.

To be classified or reclassified as residents, for tuition and fee purposes, students must establish a bona fide domicile in the state of Washington primarily for purposes other than education for the period of one year immediately prior to classification as resident. Nonresident students who are enrolled for more than 6 credits a quarter will be presumed to be in the state for primarily educational purposes. Such period of enrollment shall not be counted toward the establishment of a bona fide domicile of one year in this state unless the students prove they reside in the state for purposes other than education.

See the Understanding Washington State Residency, Undocumented Graduate Students and Undocumented Student Resources for more information.

Are Scholarships or other Funding available?

A limited number of scholarships are offered for incoming and current students. These scholarships range from several hundred dollars to full tuition and are dependent upon merit and financial need. External scholarships are offered frequently. The department notifies students of these opportunities, but it is up to individuals to apply. The Grants & Funding Information Services Center (GFIS) can assist with identifying grant and scholarship opportunities internal and external to the University.

The department offers hourly student assistant, salaried graduate student assistant (GSAs), and research assistant positions. Hourly and GSA positions are determined by the faculty teaching the courses and are commonly only offered to those students that have already taken the course or have prior experience in particular technical skills. You are encouraged to also contact other departments concerning student assistant opportunities. Research assistantships are dependent upon faculty grants and projects. Undergraduate scholarships are listed at the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards.

How do I apply for Financial Aid?

Contact the Financial Aid Office. You will need to file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which is the basic financial application that students (and their families) must complete to be considered for Financial Aid for more information on dates and deadlines.

Employment as a Landscape Architect

Can I get licensed as a landscape architect if I have a BLA or MLA degree from UW?

Our Department offers professional degrees, approved by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board for both the BLA and MLA programs. This means that upon graduation you are eligible to begin the steps required for licensure as a professional landscape architect. In Washington State, you are required to work directly under a licensed landscape architect for a period of three years and pass the Landscape Architecture Registration Examination. More information about licensure for Washington and other states is available on the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) website.

Can I do a professional internship while I am in school? Can I get credit for an internship?

The department encourages students to consider a professional internship, although the Department does not require or guarantee internships for BLA or MLA students. Internships provide valuable opportunities for students to acquire professional skills while in school as often internships are structured to introduce students to the wide variety of activities involved in professional practice. Our students and department are supported by an engaged professional community in the Seattle region, offering students the opportunities for positions in design firms, non-profit organizations, and public agencies in landscape design, planning, construction, and policy. Students may receive credit for internships whether the internship is paid or unpaid.

Does the Department offer job placement services after graduation?

The department does not offer job placement services upon graduation. The internship program is the department’s only formal job placement program. However, students are generally well-connected and networked into the regional profession community through their coursework by the time they graduate. Alumni and employers often contact the department and individual faculty when they have positions available, and these opportunities are relayed to students. We are proud to note that most of our graduating students find jobs soon after graduation in landscape architecture firms or allied design and planning professions. The majority of our graduates accept jobs in the Pacific Northwest.

I am an international student, can I work in the U.S. while I am in school? Can I work in the U.S. after I graduate?

International students must abide by the terms of their visa as related to employment while in the U.S. While enrolled in the program, international students are eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and after graduating, are eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Both are opportunities for off-campus work and internships. Both the BLA and MLA programs are STEM designated so graduates are eligible for the 24-month STEM OPT extension. Information for international students at UW is through International Student Services.

Visiting the Department and UW

When can I visit the Department? Can I meet with faculty and current students?

Prospective students are always welcome to visit the Department, meet with faculty and current students, and sit in on classes. In fact, it is highly recommended. To make best use of your time, we recommend contacting the department at least 2-3 weeks before your visit to schedule appointments with the MLA or BLA Program Coordinator, the Chair and other professors, and to find out when and where classes are offered. It is best to visit when classes are in session during the regular academic year (Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters). We also offer an MLA Open House in early October, and several BLA Information sessions each year. Check the department’s website for the dates of the next Open House and info sessions and to schedule an appointment with the BLA or MLA Program Coordinator.

How can I learn about CBE’s facilities and campus if I can’t come to visit?

In general, the department and college websites are the best sources for information about CBE’s facilities and resources. Reach out to the program advisers to request information about virtual information sessions or to schedule an admissions advising session.

You can see our spaces through our Virtual Open House Tour [PDF] and Video Tour of MakerSpaces at CBE.

Preparing to Start the Program and Moving to Seattle

Do you have suggestions for any preparation I should do before starting the BLA or MLA program?

Landscape architecture requires strong visual communication skills including both hand drawing and digital composition. If digital tools are new to you, spend some time learning your way around the computer and some of the basic software programs for design. Professionals make use of a wide variety of programs including ArcGIS, Rhino, AutoCAD, Sketch Up (download for free) and Adobe Creative Suite* Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. The more familiarity you arrive with, the easier the transition will be.

*If you are new to design software, we recommend beginning with the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop or Illustrator).

If you are new to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, we recommend spending some time exploring and sketching.

What is the Design Prep Week? Do I need to attend?

During the Design Prep Week, incoming students are introduced to representation skills including hand sketching and digital representation. Over the week, you will visit some of Seattle’s significant parks such as Freeway Park and the Olympic Sculpture Park for on-site sketching and learn about digital manipulation of your sketches and CBE’s technical resources including available computer facilities and programs, scanning, printing, and plotting. Most importantly though, Design Prep Week is an opportunity to begin building community with your classmates.

Design Prep Week is all day Monday – Friday of the week before Orientation. Design Prep Week is required, all incoming BLA and MLA I (3-year track) students should arrive in Seattle in time to attend. MLA II (2-year track) students who are new to Seattle are encouraged to join for the hand sketching sessions.

Do you have recommendations for finding housing in Seattle?

Our students live both in on-campus and off-campus housing. Seattle is experiencing a time of high growth, finding housing can be competitive depending on where you would like to live and when you are looking. Students who live off-campus, often live in neighborhoods that are close by the University and/or easily accessible on foot, by bike and/or by public transportation. Close by (easy walking commute) neighborhoods include Wallingford, U-District, Ravenna, and Montlake. Easy bike commuting neighborhoods include those listed before as well as Green Lake, Fremont, Magnuson Park, Ballard, Eastlake, Madison Valley, and Madison Park. Easy access via light rail include Capitol Hill, First Hill, Downtown, Beacon Hill, Columbia City and Rainier Beach. Keep in mind if you plan to commute via bike, that Seattle is a city of many hills. From UW, Capitol Hill and First Hill neighborhoods include a long, steep climb.

On-campus Graduate Student Housing – Options available, amenities and information about the application process is available here. You are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Off-campus Housing – Websites like Craigslist and Zillow or phone apps like PadMapper and Trulia are good sources for off-campus housing. You might also try Facebook groups such as “University of Washington (UW) Housing, Sublets & Roommates.” The City of Seattle has information about renting in Seattle here.

How do I commute to campus and get around Seattle?

UW is committed to sustainable commuting – we’re #2 for universities in the US! As a UW student, you are eligible for U-PASS which is good for unlimited rides on King County Metro Transit, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit, Everett Transit and Sound Transit, which includes regional buses, Link light rail and Sounder trains. You can also use it to take a King County Water Taxi or Kitsap Fast Ferry. There are several multi-use commuting trails near UW. Seattle also has bike share programs. We recommend you check out the UW Transportation Services.