Program details

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) degree is an accredited three-year professional program for students with or without an undergraduate degree in landscape architecture. The MLA prepares designers and scholars to be leaders in the rapidly changing field of landscape architecture. Our graduate students take on multidisciplinary environmental-cultural challenges and create innovative designs that sustain healthy and resilient communities and landscapes.


The program provides students with the knowledge and skills required for licensure as a landscape architect. It also offers students the opportunity to concentrate in an area of interest – such as (but not limited to) Native Plants/Ecology, Digital Landscapes, or Advocacy/Community Design – through 12 to 18 credits of elective coursework. This concentration area is designated in an individualized Plan of Study (POS) students formulate with an advisor after the end of the first year. Concentration electives may be selected from within the department, college, and university. Students pursuing a future practice career may opt for a coursework only degree option, while those seeking research experience or wishing to pursue a future PhD may complete a thesis or creative component in their final year.

The Department of Landscape Architecture also offers an advanced status, 2-year post-professional Master of Landscape Architecture degree. This advanced status applies to American and Canadian students holding a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from an accredited program. Advanced standing will be determined by the MLA application review committee.

View Advanced Standing curriculum sheet (PDF)

We are pleased to offer the unique opportunity for you to pursue a double degree between our MLA and programs within and outside the College of Design. Earn the MLA and a second degree simultaneously while maintaining the high standards of both programs. In many cases, the time to degree completion is lengthened only by one or two semesters.

The MLA is accredited by, and meets the academic expectations for professional licensure as measured by, the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB).

This degree program has been officially designated as STEM degree program, which refers to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). STEM major designation is determined by the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost and the Iowa Board of Regents.

With this designation, international students are eligible to extend their F-1 visas for up to three years after graduation to work in the United States.

Application requirements

Anyone applying for admission to the Master of Landscape Architecture program must complete the Iowa State University Graduate College online application. As part of the application, you will be asked to provide:

  • Official academic transcripts indicating a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) and a minimum 3.0/4.0 GPA
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals from your educational or professional background who can most directly speak about your ability to complete graduate level course work and teaching duties.
  • A writing sample of approximately 5-10 pages, such as a professional report or term paper
  • A digital portfolio (PDF or website) not to exceed 12 pages and 2MB in size
  • A resume/CV
  • English Proficiency Exam (international applicants only)
  • Financial statement (international applicants only)

Consideration date

Applications should be submitted by January 15. Applications received by the deadline will have the best opportunities for financial assistance. Applications received after January 15 will be reviewed on an individual basis and may not be considered for financial assistance.

Undergraduate landscape architecture student presenting project during critique.

A Landscape Architect in the Making

Find your place at Iowa State University’s College of Design, where we like to ask questions, poke and prod, create something new, and make a difference through design.