Graduate study leading to a Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) degree is offered in the Department of Landscape Architecture; thesis and non-thesis options are available. Students in the program have the opportunity to work with faculty on a wide range of research and design topics within the profession of landscape architecture. Special program emphasis is placed on sustainability, design craft, and collaboration. The design studio courses broadly consider landscape issues related to water, health, and habitat across the scales of site, district, and region. Additional technical courses, seminars, and lectures round out the program with topical studios available including the award-winning design/build studio which is internationally recognized for experiential learning projects developed in communities throughout the state.
Please contact Peter Summerlin, Graduate Coordinator if you have questions or need additional information on the MLA program.
The MLA degree is accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board of the American Society of Landscape Architects. LAAB accredited programs are required to provide reliable information to the public. Programs must report on accreditation status and its performance. This information is to help potential students make informed application decisions. To review this information, click here.
The MLA program is a three-year degree, with one year of leveling and two years of graduate coursework. Applicants without a professional design degree (landscape architecture, architecture, interior design, etc.) must take the entire leveling year before entering the two-year graduate program. Applicants with professional design degrees will be evaluated to determine if they can forgo all or part of the leveling year.
Applicants to the MLA program should have a minimum GPA of 2.80 on a 4.00 scale. Submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores is not required. The applicant's submission should include a letter of interest with a written statement (no more than 1500 words) explaining his or her interest in pursuing graduate studies in landscape architecture at Mississippi State University. Three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant's academic work, motivation, and character should accompany the application. The applicant should also submit a detailed resume. Applicants wishing to be evaluated to forgo all or part of the leveling year should submit a design portfolio highlighting graphic, technical, and design competencies.
Highly qualified undergraduates (GPA of 3.0 or higher) in professional design programs at MSU are encouraged to apply to the Accelerated MLA Program. This program permits students to earn up to 16 hours of graduate level coursework during their junior and senior years of undergraduate studies. Students take graduate level courses and earn both undergraduate credit and graduate credit simultaneously. Application to this program may be made at the end of the sophomore (i.e., after completion of 60 or more hours of graded undergraduate courses).
The Department of Landscape Architecture welcomes international applications to the MLA program. Students “proficient in English” will be considered for acceptance into the program. See the MSU Graduate School’s minimum test scores for more information.
Graduate Awards and Assistantships
The Department of Landscape Architecture offers a limited number of awards and assistantships (teaching and research) for graduate students. Awards and assistantships are awarded on an annual basis in the spring and will be applied to the following fall and spring semesters. Incoming students that wish to have full consideration for awards or assistantships must have their applications finalized by March 1st.
The thesis option is appropriate for students who already have a BLA, those who desire a career in academia or anyone who has an interest in focused investigative research in the field. The curriculum is designed to assist each student in the selection of a research topic tailored to his or her interests and career goals. In addition to the core courses, the thesis option requires a course in statistics and a minimum of six thesis hours. Examples of recent topics are listed below.
- A Ten-Millennia Lens: Landscape, Culture and History at Russell Cave National Monument
- Conservation Planning, What is Used and What is Needed: A Needs Assessment Survey of the Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Creating a Sense of Place or Simply a Good Parking Space? Evolution of the Historic Town Squares of Mississippi
- Cultural Predilection on Design in Planning Ecological Sanitation in Northern Uganda
- Extensive Green Roofs in Mississippi: An Evaluation of Stormwater Retention under Local Climatic Conditions
- The Use of General Land Office Records and Geographical Information Systems for Restoration of Native Prairie Patches in the Jackson Prairie Region in Mississippi
The non-thesis option is intended to serve students who are primarily interested in design-related investigation and the professional practice of landscape architecture. The curriculum is designed to provide a balanced review of research and practical knowledge requiring additional coursework in construction documents, design/build, and ecological planting design. The non-thesis option culminates in a final graduate studio that is tailored to each student's interests, requiring case study research, project critique, and advanced design investigation in a chosen subject area.
Students in the non-thesis track will be required to pass an oral examination/defense of their final case study research and project before graduation. The defense will be juried by the Case Studies Studio Instructor and two other faculty selected to serve as the non-thesis track committee.
All students in the Department of Landscape Architecture are required to have their own personal computer. Please see the department specific guidelines prior to purchasing a computer.