The Master of Landscape Architecture program is structured as advanced scholarly inquiry within the professional discipline. The intent is to provide specialized expertise in a niche area of landscape architecture to individuals who already have completed a practice-oriented professional program. Prospective students must hold a degree from an accredited program (or foreign equivalent) in landscape architecture or architecture.
Penn State's MLA program offers particular opportunities for study in four expertise areas: community and urban design, through affiliation with the Hamer Center for Community Design Assistance; ecological issues with emphasis on watershed stewardship, through affiliation with the Center for Watershed Stewardship; design computing, through affiliation with the Stuckeman Center for Design Computing; and landscape history, through affiliation with the Historic Places Initiative.
Students may choose one of two curricular tracks in the MLA: a practicum-oriented option in one of the four centers, or pursuit of a unique independent study in conjunction with a center topic or faculty research. In both tracks, students pursue individual inquiry intended to contribute to advancement of the profession: a paper (or papers) in the option track, and in the independent track a major project that forms the focus of the student's curriculum.
A minimum of 44 credits is required, at least 34 credits at University Park campus: 19 credits are studio/research, 4 are in seminar, 21 are supporting electives. The majority of the course work must be at the 500 level.