MLA/March Degree Requirements

To earn both MLA and MArch degrees, a student must complete two separate sets of degree requirements, while a number of credits can be shared and applied to both programs (see below).

Currently, a total of 70 credits minimum (400+ level) are required for the MLA degree, and a total of 92 credits minimum are required for the MArch degree. (Note: A first-professional degree MLA student must earn 123 credits, and a second-professional degree student must earn 70 credits. A first-professional degree MArch student must earn 145 credits, and a second-professional degree student must earn 91 credits.)

A first-professional degree student must take a minimum of 190 credits to earn the two degrees, of which 36 credits may be shared/ exchanged between them:
6 credits of media and digital communication
3 credits of construction materials
9 credits of thesis;
6 credits of advanced studio;
12 credits of unrestricted electives
(see attached tables, and explanation of shared courses below).

A second-professional degree student must take a minimum of 127 credits of which 30 are shared. As second degree students must come with a design degree, it will be determined by their transcripts whether they are eligible to waive specific courses within either of the participating dual degree programs.
The shared credits are:
9 credits of thesis;
6 credits of advanced studio;
12 credits of unrestricted electives
(see attached tables, and explanation of shared courses below).

The number of credits that a typical student receives in both programs well exceeds the 72-credits minimum required by the Graduate School (minimum of 36 credits for each program) according to the revised Graduate School Memo #35. The following outlines what and how credits can be shared between the two programs:

  • Shared Thesis (9 credits) – Only one thesis is required for the concurrent MLA/MArch degrees. One faculty member from each department shall co-chair the thesis committee for each student. Format is determined in consultation with the thesis committee members. A total of 9 credits are required, with a minimum of 3 in each program (for example, 6 from MLA and 3 from MArch). Intellectual components from both degree programs must be present and evident in the shared thesis.
  • Thesis sequence – Concurrent degree students will begin their thesis process by joining their LA cohort in LA 590 Capstone Seminar in the fall of Year 3. They will then join their ARCH cohort in the winter of YEAR 3 by taking ARCH 599, followed by ARCH/LA 700 thesis credits in the spring of Year 3. ARCH 599 will count for LARC 600 credits.
  • Waived studio sequence – Concurrent degree students are waived from taking the first-year LA design studios, similar to those admitted to the 2-year track MLA program, if they begin in the Architecture program. LA students with previous architectural degree are waived from taking the preparatory year in Architecture.
  • Year 3 advanced studios – A joint ARCH/LA studio section will replace the requirement for ARCH 504 and LA 507. Students are required to take ARCH 503 in the winter.
  • Advanced Methods requirement (3 credits) – The MLA required methods seminar LARCH 571 becomes one choice from a set of Advanced Methods selectives.
  • Materials and construction requirement – LA 332 Materials and Construction can be waived for students who have completed both ARCH 332 and ARCH 532. In this case ARCH 532 serves as a joint course counting toward both programs.
  • Graduate seminar selectives – The two graduate seminar selectives in Year 1 of the M Arch program are substituted by LA courses (i.e., LA 553 History of Modern Landscape Architecture and LA 452 History of Urban Landscapes) for concurrent degree students.
  • Media and digital requirements – students are waived from taking LA 411, 440 and 441 only if they complete the full Architecture Design Drawing sequence. Each sequence provides 9 credits.
  • Professional practice – ARCH Professional Practice Selective requirement is replaced by LA 473 Professional Practice. In this way LA 473 serves as a joint course counting towards both programs.
  • Planting design – instead of the planting design modules that typical MLA students take in their first year, concurrent degree students will take the LA 424 Advanced Planting Seminar instead.
  • Shared elective credits – students are only required to take 12 credits of elective courses to meet the requirement of either program.

Typical length of study

The typical length of study for students pursuing the concurrent degrees is three years for students with a prior BLA, BArch or equivalent design-related degree, and four years for students without prior design background. The typical length represents one less year of study than what would be required by the existing programs otherwise. The length of study is comparable to that of other concurrent MLA/MArch programs in other universities.

Typical four-year sequence as PDF

Student Advising and Expectation

Student advising will be provided jointly by the two programs: Architecture and Landscape Architecture. The students shall thereby consult and work with the Graduate Program Coordinators of both programs to ensure the successful completion of degree requirements. Graduate Program Coordinators from both programs must sign quarterly check-lists of requirements and approve all waivers and other curriculum based decisions.

Curriculum decisions in both programs will be reviewed annually to assure that the concurrent degree program requirements remain clear and reasonable. While each department determines specific curricular decisions, it is the responsibility of the Graduate Program Coordinator to assure that any decisions that might impact the dual program is discussed appropriately. Both department programs will be considered in all related academic reviews not limited to the Graduate School Reviews and Professional Accreditation.

Due to the limited number of students forecasted for the dual degree program, it is not considered cirtical at this time to allocate more resources to address only the dual degree advising program. Should enrollment increase to numbers warranting such action, the appropriate resources will be requested from the department and/ or college at that time.

The Graduate Program Coordinators from each of the two departments meeting at least quarterly to review progress of individual students, application and enrollment procedures, and standards for degree completion. In cases of disagreements between Graduate Program Coordinators, the Chairs of both departments will be asked to confer. All decisions regarding the progress of students in the dual degree program must be agreed to by both departments, however, it is up to the discretion of individual departments should they choose to place a student on academic probation or otherwise note insufficient progress in the individual program. Should this occur, the Graduate Program Coordinators will agree jointly as to whether the student continues in the dual program.

While a 3.0 GPA remains as the standard for minimal progress toward graduation in both programs and in the concurrent program, the faculty in each program define what constitutes adequate academic progress toward, and achievement of the breadth and depth standards for conferral of both degrees. These standards shall be provided in writing to students as well as to both faculties and Graduate Program Coordinators to assure consistency and clarity. Such standards are also to be reflected in the course syllabi for all courses in both programs. Both faculties agree to monitor these standards to assure that the evaluation of student progress is maintained with integrity and consistency.

Both departments by means of an attached cover letter shall agree that this proposal serves as a formal memorandum of agreement.

If you have any other questions, please contact the MLA Program Assistant Ms. JoAnne Edwards at (206) 543-9240, or the MLA Program Coordinator Professor Ken Yocom.