Frequently Asked Questions
General Questions (LAR degree programs and profession)
For general information about the Landscape Architecture Program or the profession of landscape architecture, please contact:
Bachelor of Landscape Architecture FAQs
Undergraduate and external transfer applications to the BLA Program are administered by the University Admissions Office. Internal applications from those already enrolled at Virginia Tech are made to the School of Design. Contact email@example.com for more information.
All first-year BLA students enter the fall semester. Transfer students may enter into a transfer summer studio for advanced placement into the fall second year studio sequence. Successful completion of the summer studio sequence allows students to advance more quickly than entering in the fall semester.
No, however students are encouraged to pursue internships during semester and summer breaks. The program regularly shares information about professional internships opportunities with all students.
Yes. The university offers numerous minors and BLA students often pursue their interests. Undergraduate landscape architecture courses are included in restricted and required courses in minors across other colleges, including Ecological Cities, Smart and Sustainable Cities, and Appalachian Studies among others.
Yes, students can participate in a variety of Education Abroad programs including VT-faculty led programs, educational exchange programs, and direct enrollments in other universities. Many of these are interdisciplinary. The Landscape Architecture Program offers a program early every summer for students who are interested in design studies of the built environment.
Master of Landscape Architecture FAQs
3-year Track: First professional MLA degree students are new to studies of landscape architecture. Their Program of Study includes professional knowledge and skill areas necessary for the practice of landscape architecture as well as focused coursework addressing an area of landscape architecture practice or inquiry. This 3-year track emphasizes the mastery of design through studios that investigate the broad range of landscape scales and provide an intellectual base of knowledge in history, theory, and technology as well as integration of professional skills.
2/ 2+ year track: Students with an accredited undergraduate degree in landscape architecture or an allied discipline may be granted advanced standing for coursework previously covered during their undergraduate studies. All students are expected to cover professional requirements of the accredited MLA degree. Applicant’s portfolios and transcripts are reviewed to determine individual programs of study. 2/2+ track students may elect to focus on applied design research through studio design or a more traditional thesis investigation.
1-year plus thesis track: Seasoned practitioners wishing to undertake scholarly activity within a narrowly defined area of landscape architecture enter this track. Applicants must meet admission requirements for the MLA Program with advanced standing. Applicant portfolios must demonstrate that they meet or exceed all professional requirements for the MLA degree. Please contact the program for further discussion. 1-year track students pursue focused coursework related to their area of inquiry as well as complete a traditional thesis investigation.
MLA students typically enter in the fall semester and follow a sequence of courses. The MLA curriculum consists of two parts: Qualifying Studies and MLA Studies. All students are required to complete a slate of qualifying courses or demonstrate that they have covered content in previous coursework. Qualifying Studies prepare students to study at the graduate level by providing a grounding in design and design-thinking, technical knowledge and skills, and natural systems and plants as they relate to landscape planning and design. For most students, Qualifying Studies comprise one academic year and 30 credits of coursework. Qualifying Studies are followed by a minimum of 50 credit hours of graduate-level coursework, MLA Studies, which include core landscape architecture courses, electives pertaining to an area of focus selected by the student, and a thesis.
A Plan of Study (POS) outlines the courses each student takes to complete the professional degree requirements as well as focused elective courses related to each student’s area of interest. The POS is developed by the student and academic advisor and must be approved by each student’s thesis committee.
MLA student advising begins with the Landscape Architecture Program Chair. In the semester prior to beginning thesis work, students choose a major professor to mentor their thesis. The major professor assists students in identifying elective courses related to the thesis topic. The School’s Graduate Coordinator assists with university paperwork.
There are two simultaneous degree options for MLA students: the Master of Landscape Architecture/Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MLA/MURP) and the Master of Landscape Architecture/Master of Natural Resources (MLA/MNR). The MLA/MURP program recognizes the fundamental linkage between planning and design of the natural environment as impacted by humans. The MLA/MNR program recognizes the linkage between landscape architecture and natural resources. Each option includes core courses from both degree programs, and a capstone requirement (thesis or thesis project) for each degree.
Applications are due by February 15th for fall semester entry using the online VT Graduate School application system. Applications received after posted deadlines will be considered only on a space-available basis. Students wanting to be considered for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship must submit the deadline. The VTGraduate School notifies applicants after review of the program’s recommendation.
In addition to VT Graduate School application requirements, students must submit:
Statement of Academic and Professional Goals that addresses their background as it relates to academic and professional interests in landscape architecture, motivation for graduate study at Virginia Tech, and, if applicable, any areas of potential specialization (max. 1000 words).
Personally Authored Exhibit/Portfolio that demonstrates an aptitude for design and/or creative work beyond the academic transcript. An 8-page maximum PDF (minimum of 250 dpi) must be uploaded as part of the on-line application.
Students requesting advanced standing should provide additional evidence of academic and/or professional design and course work for decisions on course content waivers. This may include demonstrations of design and design development, freehand and/or digital drawing, site analysis, site engineering, and use of GIS applications. It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide context for each item submitted (e.g., project description; scope and individual contribution).
The VT Graduate School requires official TOEFL or IELTS test scores for all international applicants. Minimum TOEFL scores for MLA applicants are: 600 (paper-based) or 90 (internet- or computer-based). The minimum IELTS score is 6.5. In addition, transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation. Learn more about applying to Virginia Tech as an international student at the VT Graduate School website.
FAQs for the Ph.D. track in Landscape Architecture
Landscape Architecture is a track within the Ph.D. in Architecture Design Research housed in the School of Architecture and crossing into the School of Design. Student progress is overseen by the Landscape Architecture Program. Contact Professor Mintai Kim through email or call (540) 231-9872 for more information.
Ph.D. requirements include 90 credit hours of graduate study and dissertation, an academic residency, successful completion of a qualifying examination, preliminary exam, and a dissertation. Many students also complete the Future Professoriate Certificate offered through the Graduate School. Candidates are encouraged to contact the program regarding their research interests.
Applications are due by February 15th for fall semester entry using the online VT Graduate School application system. Applications received after posted deadlines will be considered only on a space-available basis. Students wanting to be considered for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship must submit the deadline. The VT Graduate School notifies applicants after review of the program’s recommendation.