Master of Landscape Architecture

Are you are considering studying Landscape Architecture? Have you considered Kent State University, where you can study in an interdisciplinary setting associated with a Masters of Architecture and a Masters of Urban Design Program? Our program is located in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square, alongside the CAED’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC).


The Master of Landscape Architecture program is uniquely associated with Kent State’s Master of Architecture, and Master of Urban Design programs. All three programs operate in the heart of Cleveland's vibrant Playhouse Square District, together with the College of Architecture and Environmental Design’s (CAED’s) Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), a non-profit urban design practice committed to a sustainable, diverse, and inclusive urban future.

The differing scales, foci, and disciplinary knowledge sets associated with the allied areas of landscape architecture, urban design, and architecture provide students with an opportunity to expand interdisciplinary discourse and engage stakeholders in a project-based curriculum. The college offers two landscape architecture degrees, one leading to a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA I) for those without a professional degree in Landscape Architecture, and one for those with an accredited Landscape Architecture degree interested in furthering their education in a post-professional research environment (MLA II). Applicants with a bachelor's degree in any discipline will be considered for the three-year Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA I) program. Applicants with an accredited degree in landscape architecture, may be admitted to the two-year Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA II) program following approval by the program coordinator.

The professionally-oriented design curriculum engages students in issues ranging from hydrology in the Great Lakes watershed to the role of urban landscapes associated with shrinking cities and matters of global significance relating to the role of landscape and design relative to climate change, water management, human settlement, and cultural landscapes. Our faculty possess expertise and research interests relating to the art and science of landscape architecture that are complementary and integrated into the learning experience. The faculty and students of the MLA programs also work closely with the CUDC faculty and staff, where opportunities for research investigation and design projects pertaining to the urban landscape are associated with real stakeholders and endeavors.

In their final year, students have two options: an advanced studio option, or a design capstone option. Students considering the design capstone should have a clear idea for a self-guided design project with a strong thesis and accompanying research to be explored with the help of an advisor and committee through a thorough design project. Students opting for the advanced studio option with work in an interdisciplinary setting with architects, urban designers, and other landscape architects.


The mission of the CAED-MLA programs is to educate and prepare students to have active and creative professions in landscape architecture through inclusive and interdisciplinary design methodologies and community engagement.


Cleveland, an urbanized landscape offers students unique opportunities to partner with the place and  study landscape issues including: solutions for vacant urban landscapes, sustainable infrastructure systems, living architecture, water quality, water management, and landscapes to promote health and social justice.

The unique features of Northeast Ohio (industrial cities, suburbs, rural landscapes, parklands, and hydrological concerns) serve as the educational platform for academic inquiry and research, while also providing students with comprehensive experiences, knowledge of ethical design practices, and the technical skills necessary for professional licensure.

The Master of Landscape Architecture I (MLA I) is for students possessing undergraduate degrees in non-design fields to offer a first-professional degree that leads towards professional landscape architecture licensure and practice. The curriculum provides the foundational disciplinary knowledge and requisite intellectual base for adapting to the design challenges facing landscape architecture today.

The MLA I degree focuses on designing sustainable landscapes from the regional to site scale concentrating on ecologic, economic, global and social issues. The unique features of Northeast Ohio serve as the educational platform for academic inquiry and research, while also providing students with comprehensive experiences, knowledge of design, ethical standards, and the technical skills necessary for professional licensure. Students have an opportunity to pursue an independent capstone or advanced studios in their final year.

This 72-credit hour program requires that every student take 60 credit hours of foundational courses in:

  • Visualization and Design Studios
  • Ecology and Planted Form
  • Site Engineering and Construction Methods
  • History, Theory and Research Methods

The MLA II is a post-professional program that allows students to develop new knowledge through research and design, and to provide professionals with the opportunity for specialization in an area of their choosing. The MLA II does not carry accreditation. The plan of study is developed through the guidance of the Landscape Architecture Program Coordinator.

Students in the Master of Landscape Architecture II program must earn at least a total of 60 credit hours.

The MLA I program is an accredited program through the Landscape Architecture Accrediting Board (LAAB) as of fall 2018. 

A variety of graduate assistantships, scholarships, research and work opportunities are available to both new and returning graduate students.

Public Information for MLA I (LAAB)

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