Landscape Architecture

The School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture

Landscape Architecture

The Auburn University Master of Landscape Architecture prepares students for careers as creative and adaptive landscape architects. All the components of our program are therefore designed to teach and model emerging real world conditions. We do this by treating the issues facing the world as design problems that are investigated through the work students do in studios, seminars, workshops and lectures.
This ethos of investigation is born out of the major environmental issues facing societies around the world: resource depletion, climate change, urbanization, water shortages and desertification, energy crises, sea-level rise, suburbanization.  Landscape architects now practice in a world in which design is a critical component of building new futures. In order to meet new environmental challenges through innovative and sensitive design, landscape architects need to be trained how to think speculatively as well as practically, how to make new terrains and new conditions for life, and how to reach out to communities composed of diverse peoples with diverse needs.
 
The Auburn MLA has developed three areas of inquiry, which guide and regulate its teaching and learning strategies. These are ecological urbanism, environmental justice and global challenges. Together they make up what we call the critical practice of landscape architecture. 
 
Everything in the Auburn University MLA curriculum has been crafted especially for the teaching of contemporary landscape design. Students have twelve hours of studio per week. This gives them plenty of time to develop skills, to work creatively, and to have meaningful sessions with professors. Class size is small: around sixteen students. Feedback, project discussion, and review is critical, informed relevant, and focused. It is always thought-provoking and constructive, shaped to help students achieve their best.    
 
Our research, teaching and outreach programs place a strategic emphasis on urban and regional landscape systems. Students work with real clients and communities, taking on local knowledge and helping organizations and groups to achieve their goals as participants in the building of our collective futures. They also work with professors who have significant industry experience, learning not only the skills to become a professional landscape architect, but also the confidence and authority that comes with being a good communicator of their creative work.    
 
That's why our students have no trouble finding employment in the professional landscape architecture practices they admire.
 
The Auburn Master of Landscape Architecture is a two year, six semester program. Students with no design background are now able to complete the program in just over two years of full time study. Students who have a previous degree in architecture, urban design or landscape architecture may, on application, achieve Advanced Placement into the program and complete it in just under two years of full time study.
 

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In the academic year 2015–2016 the program had 32 students registered for fulltime instruction, 16 in the first year (MLA1) and 16 in the second year (MLA2). [It is a two-year program.] Of these students 17 were white/non-Hispanic, two identified as Hispanic, one identified as mixed, two were African-American and 10 were Asian. Eighteen of the 32 students were domestic, and 14 were international students. Fourteen of the students in that year were male students, and 18 were female.

 

Eleven degrees were awarded to students in MLA2 in May 2015. Of these graduates, nine are currently employed in the landscape profession, one is perusing higher education, and one is employed in a landscape architecture related field.

 

In the last six (2010–2016) years the Auburn MLA has graduated 86 students at an average rate of 14 per year. The graduation rate for this period is 98%. The program has a 93% retention rate.

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The Auburn Master of Landscape Architecture is a two year, six semester program. Click here to see the Program Curriculum (pdf).

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The Master of Landscape Architecture is an accredited graduate professional program offered both to students with previous design-based degrees and to students without an academic design background. There are three entry models: First Year Admission, Advanced Placement, and Pre-Landscape Architecture.

 

First Year Admission

Students who enter without a an undergraduate degree in landscape architecture complete the program in six semesters—just over two years of full time study. These students enter in the Summer semester.

 

Advanced Placement

Students who have undergraduate degrees in landscape architecture can apply for Advanced Placement and complete the Master of Landscape Architecture in five semesters—just under two years of full time study. Note that Advanced Placement is not automatic but based on portfolio, academic merit, and transcripts.  

Successful applicants for Advanced Placement enter in the Fall semester.
 

Pre-Landscape Architecture

Students who are currently in the Auburn University Pre-Landscape Architecture Programs (Bachelor of Horticulture and Bachelor of Environmental Design) complete their undergraduate degrees as the first year of the MLA. These applicants should contact the Program Chair or the Program Administrator for more information. 

Pre-Landscape Architecture students enter in the Summer semester.
 

Transfer Students

Transfer students from a non-design program are required to begin the program in the Summer semester. Transfer students with a previous degree in architecture or horticulture, or who have some credits in a graduate landscape architecture program, should contact the Program Chair.

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In all cases, to gain acceptance into the Auburn University MLA Program applicants must submit the following directly to the Graduate School, by March 1st of the year in which they intend to enter the program.
 
  • Online application
  • Academic transcripts
  • Grade point average of at least 2.8
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score of at least 300
  • TOEFL scores (international students only) of at least 90
 
In addition applicants must submit to the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture the following (to be sent directly to the Program Chair):    
 
  • A portfolio of work (students who are applying for Advanced Placement only)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A statement of intent (approximately 500-words) that explains why they wish to study landscape architecture
  • A resume of educational and professional experience    
 
Provisional acceptance may be granted for one semester to applicants without GRE scores, though these must be obtained during the semester. Please see the Graduate Admissions page for full application information and process. 

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Program Costs

The Auburn MLA consists of three semesters of instruction per academic year, for two years. The annual tuition and other costs set out below reflect this structure.

 

                                                                                                          
resident per semester
resident
per year
non-resident per semester
non-resident per year
tuition
$ 4,563 $ 13,608 $ 13,608 $ 40,824
registration fee
$ 812

$ 2,436

$ 812 $ 2,436
health insurance*
$ 976 $ 1,952 $ 976 $ 1,952
APLA professional fee
$ 2,160 $ 6,480 $ 2,160 $ 6,480
sub-total

$ 8,484

$ 24,476

$ 17,556

$ 51,692

lodging
$ 1,500 $ 4,500 $ 1,500 $ 4,500
books & equip
$ 600 $ 1,800 $ 600 $ 1,800
transportation
free shuttle provided by Auburn University free shuttle provided by Auburn University free shuttle provided by Auburn University free shuttle provided by Auburn University
TOTAL COST

$ 10,584

$ 30,776

$ 19,656

$ 57,992

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The health insurance fee is not required for students that have their own insurance.

 

Professional Fee

Professional programs are inherently more expensive to run than non-professional programs. They require more space, more personnel, a lower student-to-teacher ratio, access to a higher level of technology than most disciplines, and incur significant costs associated with achieving and maintaining accreditation from the appropriate specialized, national agencies.  As a result, the College of Architecture, Design and Construction charges a professional fee to partially defray the difference between state funding and tuition, and the actual costs of our professional programs. Within each program, a professional fee charge of $2,160 is tied to enrollment in specific courses, which are noted on curriculum models. During semesters when students are enrolled in these classes they will be charged a professional fee

 

Through the professional fees, the CADC continues to provide our students with rigorous and relevant academic experiences, which contribute to our programs being recognized as among the best in the nation.

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Landscape Architecture studios travel regularly to sites far and wide throughout the United States and sometimes beyond. These field trips are a regular part of the program, and students can look forward to at least one trip of three or four days duration each semester. Recent field studies adventures have included New Orleans; Lexington, Kentucky; New York; Belize, S. America; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Portland, Oregon and Philadelphia, PA. Students must budget for these trips, that generally cost between $600 and $1,000 per semester.

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Applicants may apply for the Dual Degree in Landscape Architecture and Community Planning. This is a course of study that enables students to graduate with degrees in both disciplines by completing one semester less than if both degrees were undertaken separately. Please contact the Program Chair.

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The Master of Landscape Architecture offers a limited number of Graduate Research Assistantships each year. These are funded in two ways: from the Professional Fee and from faculty research grants. The number offered each year therefore fluctuates. GRA positions are highly competitive, and there are never enough for all those who apply for them. As a rule, assistanships are not offered in the first Summer semester.
 
The assistantships are awarded on the basis of merit. Students who wish to apply for an assistantship must do so when they send their materials to the Program Chair. There is no application form for this; a cover letter will suffice. When assessing the merit of applications for research assistantships, faculty review the following:
 
  • Academic transcript
  • GRE score
  • GPA
  • Portfolio
  • Statement of intent
 
Applicants who can attend the Master of Landscape Architecture only if they receive an assistantship should make this clear to the Program Chair on application.
 
As a rule, Graduate Research Assistantships involve working with faculty on research projects. A wide range of tasks is expected to be performed to a high standard. Punctuality, timeliness, and cordiality are strict requirements.
 
Graduate Research Assistantships provide a half-tuition waiver and a monthly stipend. The tuition waiver applies to in-state and out-of-state students alike and covers the tuition fee for each semester that the student is a GRA. Students who are appointed as GRAs are required to pay the Professional Fee. Assistantships are awarded on an annual basis (sometimes on a semester basis) and there is no guarantee that recipients will receive a continuance of their assistantship. Reappointment will be made on the basis of students having:
 
  • Maintained a high work standard
  • Completed all their coursework and assignments satisfactorily
  • Performed well for the faculty member to which they have been assigned
 
Any questions about assistantships should be directed to the Program Chair.
 
The Master of Landscape Architecture does not currently offer scholarships.

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Through many years of instruction and feedback, it has been determined that it is beneficial that all students studying in the Landscape Architecture program use certain hardware. Through this process it was determined that there are two types of laptops/specs that provide the optimal environment for students. The following information is based on current requirements for the program and prices are subject to change.

 

Requirements PDF

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  • Evan Grimm, ASLA (Chair)
    Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
  • Ryan Collins, ASLA, RLA (Vice Chair)
    Dix.Hite + Partners, Inc.
  • Amy Smith, ASLA (Secretary)
    KPS Group, Inc.
  • Dan Ballard, PLA
    Watershed Division, City of Auburn
  • Greg Bryla
    Dix.Hite + Partners, Inc
  • Sam Champion, ASLA
    Nashville State Community College + Samuel Champion + Assoc.
  • Jo Beth Gleason
    Farmer | Morgan, LLC
  • Judd Langham, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP
    Planning Department, City of Auburn
  • David Lorberbaum, ASLA
    Lorberbaum Odrezin & Associates
  • Jack Mazzola, Jr.
    CAM Builders, LLC
  • David Pearson, ASLA
    LandDesign
  • Matthew Scott
    Site Solutions: Landscape Architecture + Land Planning
     

Ex-Officio Members:

  • Randall C. Morgan, ASLA, RLA, CNU (Past Chair)
    Farmer | Morgan, LLC
  • Stephen Schrader, ASLA (ASLA Representative) 
    President, Alabama Chapter, ASLA
  • Vini Nathan, Dean
    College of Architecture, Design and Construction, AU
  • David Hinson, Head
    School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape Architecture, AU
  • Charlene LeBleu, Chair
    Graduate Program in Landscape Architecture, AU

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Landscape Architecture programs in the United States are accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB).  Auburn University’s Master of Landscape Architecture program was last re-accredited in 2015 and will apply for the next accreditation cycle in 2021.  Our program is the only accredited Master of Landscape Architecture program in the State of Alabama.

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For further information about the Auburn University Master of Landscape Architecture contact:
 

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David Hill

David Hill

Chair and Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture

334-844-5434