Skip to content

Graduate admissions

Application Deadline: January 15 for entry autumn quarter

Applications for the Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) degree are accepted from September 15 – January 15.  The admissions review process will begin after January 15.  All applications are submitted online through the Graduate School.  APPLY NOW

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.

The MLA program offers two concurrent degrees:

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.

The MLA at UW is a LAAB accredited and STEM designated degree program. This degree leads to licensure. For further information refer to the following table.

Admission Requirements

We highly recommend reviewing UW Graduate School — How to Apply 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.

All application materials must be submitted no later than January 15, 11:59 PM Seattle time/PST (GMT -8).  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.

Graduate School Requirements

The Graduate School sets minimum admissions 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. Evidence of English proficiency for all non-native English speakers.  See MLA minimum requirements under the English Language Proficiency tab below.

Online Application Requirements

The online application will request the following documents and information:

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

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 are an important part of the MLA application. All applicants must submit 3 letters of recommendation.  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.

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.

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.

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

  • Required file format: PDF

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.

Demonstration of English proficiency is required for all non-native English speakers.  Applicants who do not meet the minimum required score will not be considered for admission.  UW does not offer conditional admission.

The most common way to demonstrate English proficiency is to submit test scores. 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 – self-reported scores may be submitted for the application deadline, however, official test scores must be received by UW before an applicant can receive an offer of admission.  We highly recommend that applicants submit official test scores by the application deadline.

Additional ways to demonstrate English proficiency are described in Policy 3.2: Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements, section 3.2.1.

Minimum scores for admission to the MLA program:


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


  • Minimum score for admission: 7.0
  • Report official IELTS score electronically via the IELTS system (E-TRF), using UW Institution organization ID 365.
  • See UW Graduate Memo 8 for instructions to report your score.

The MLA program does not accept the Duolingo test.

Assessing Applications

All applications are reviewed by the MLA Admissions Committee.  The Committee is comprised of all active, full-time, permanent faculty and 5-7 current MLA students in their final year of the program.  Prior to reviewing applications, all committee members receive training including implicit bias materials.  Each application is reviewed by two faculty members and one student.

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.

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 in 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.

Checking Your Application Status

After submission of the online application, applicants can check the application status page to view when letters of recommendation and test scores have been received.

International Students

International students should review the UW Graduate School – International Applicant Information 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 (Julie Parrett, The Department offers a very limited number of courses to students not enrolled in the MLA degree program.