Application will open July 23, 2021
Deadline to apply is October 15, 2021
The Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) at CU Denver is a fully accredited degree program for first professional degree students and post-professional students (those already holding a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture or Bachelor of Architecture degree). Our program balances theory and practice, and emphasizes design to support human well-being and environmental balance.
The MLA curriculum thoughtfully integrates theory and practice, and revolves around a sequence of design studios, supported by core content classes and seminar courses on a variety of relevant topics. The curriculum is designed to provide students with the fundamental knowledge, skills, and critical and creative thinking necessary to succeed as landscape architects while also offering opportunities to focus on particular areas of interest. The curriculum promotes an ethic of responsibility, grounded in natural systems and processes and an understanding of cultural and community values.
Our educational program operates fluidly in both local and global contexts and at a variety of scales, taking advantage of the wide range of highly dynamic landscapes, opportunities and issues in the immediate vicinity, ranging from urban cores to the wilderness areas in the Rocky Mountains, from suburban sprawl to ranching and farming communities, as well as providing exciting opportunities for experiences across the U.S. and globally. Students gain skills by working on relevant urban and rural projects, often directly engaging with diverse communities and places. Studios and courses engage current issues, define future trends, and explore the role of landscape architecture in a rapidly changing world. Throughout the program, our students learn and apply design and planning skills that use established and emergent technologies and design approaches to enhance community, foster equity, remediate environmental balance, conserve and regenerate resources, and create places that hold value for current and future generations.
Denver’s vibrant professional design and planning community supports our students through guest lectures and participation in design reviews, internships and mentor programs, and opportunities to visit offices and meet practitioners and leaders in our field.
Civic Engagement & Hands-On Learning
Students have extensive opportunities for civic engagement, including paid internships at the college’s Colorado Center for Community Development (CCCD), providing diverse opportunities to work directly with and in communities across the state, and the unique and ground-breaking Learning Landscapes program whose mission is to build public places that support the well-being of children through increased exercise, access to open space and community gathering places, experiencing and working in gardens, and more. At 97 schoolyards and counting, Learning Landscapes has provided children in Denver and Jefferson Counties with great places to learn through play.
The Integral Studio provides an opportunity for graduate students across the College to work together as interdisciplinary teams together with public agencies on real projects in our city. Facilitated by faculty across the disciplines, the studio emulates a real-world office environment and allows students to gain insight into the role of other parties involved in the planning and design process. The studio aims to integrate design and reject a siloed design process, advocating for more holistic and integrated design solutions rather than a process driven by one discipline. Previous projects include work done with Denver Housing Authority, City and County of Denver Community Planning and Development, and Auraria Campus.
The practice of landscape architecture is now global, and this department is a leader in providing international study opportunities. Opportunities abound to develop international partnerships with our diverse body of international and domestic students, and travel study courses offered annually
The certificate in Geospatial Information Science for Landscape Architecture offers an opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and critical context through cross-disciplinary study in the rapidly developing and progressively relevant platform of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
Our students engage in research with faculty and on their own through optional independent studies and thesis. They have presented at local, national and international conferences and symposia such as the National Park Service Western Region CESU Conference, Environmental Design Research Association, Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, and International Green Roof Conference.
R O O T is the student-run landscape architecture journal. We have published seven volumes since its inception, and it received an honorable mention in the national competition for the Douglas Haskell Award for Student Journals in 2011. Student organizations include Student Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Urban Horticulture Club, and Sigma Lambda Alpha, the landscape architecture national honor society.
An eight-week landscape architecture studio in spring 2016 collaborated with the City of Lakewood's Department of Community Resources as part of Hometown Colorado, a university-wide initiative that leverages faculty experience and student talent to help communities with high-priority projects.
Neighbors had been lobbying Lakewood for improvements to Lasley Park, but the city would not approve and measures because the park lacked a master plan. The 16 students in Assistant Professor Clinical Teaching Track Lori Catalano's Advanced Landscape Architecture Design Studio engaged with the surrounding community and developed six design alternatives for Lasley Park. Residents could choose the elements among the design concepts that they thought best achieved what they wanted in their neighborhood park, then city staff would incorporate the results into one cohesive park master plan.
The major question that the class explored was "How do neighborhood parks contribute to the health and well-being of a neighborhood and its residents?" Students talked with neighbors at a public meeting and conducted an online survey. They took into account the residents' ideas and their own site analysis. The students' visions for the park included changes that would create pathways, plantings, parking, play spaces, new topography, fitness opportunities, lighting, community gathering places, picnic areas, boulder fields, sports fields, bridges and tunnels. At a final public presentation, residents received consulting and designs worth thousands of dollars. The students got experience that was priceless.
"The students did very, very well," Catalano said. "It's one thing to come up with concepts, but these students learned a new way to communicate graphically and verbally to an audience, not just to other students or academics. Working with the community is teaching them new skills that add to their professional preparation."
Lakewood officials took the student ideas and neighborhood feedback into account to create a master plan. Three of the students from the design studio course were retained under contract by the city to finish the project under the guidance of a city landscape architect. In August 2018, the reimagined Lasley Park opened. The 10-acre park features a modern playground; games court with pingpong, corn hole and chess; fitness equipment; sand volleyball court; basketball court; tennis courts; trails; picnic shelters; and seating.
The academic curriculum consists of:
The Department of Landscape Architecture views inquiry, both individual and collective, as the means to invent, energize, inform, and evaluate design ideas, processes and results. The curriculum emphasizes and values design and the design process coupled with knowledge and capability in the theories, technologies, sciences, arts, materials, and methods associated with the practice of Landscape Architecture. Core themes, theories, precedents, technologies, and skills of the profession are developed in the lecture and seminar courses. You will develop design capabilities in studio courses.
Curriculum integration is achieved through deliberate internal coordination within the program, and through collaboration with other programs within the College as well as with other CU Denver schools and colleges. The MLA curriculum provides opportunities to facilitate the offering and testing of new courses in response to timely interests of faculty and students.
Professional practitioners representing consulting firms and governmental agencies of regional, national, and international distinction share in and contribute to the life of the department. They teach courses, participate in reviews, host internships and office visits, give presentations, exhibit their works, and mentor and interact at personal levels with students and faculty.
The Program's strengths lie in its broad view of Landscape Architecture, its support for the interests of the faculty, the discourse among faculty and students, and its associations with allied programs, the professional community, and the community-at-large. Successful graduates pursue diverse practices and occupations in public and private arenas and make positive differences in the quality of our social and environmental public realm.
The College of Architecture and Planning welcomes applications to our Master of Landscape Architecture program from students with a variety of professional and educational backgrounds. The faculty-led selection process aims to admit students who are likely to succeed in completing the requirements for the degree and whose interests fit with the program’s educational capacities. All of the required application materials help us to evaluate your potential for graduate study and to pair your interests with our strengths. No one component ensures or precludes admission; judgment is based on the entire application packet.
If you are interested in coming to CU as a new student or to continue your education, we are here for you. Please contact the CAP Admissions Coordinator, Jodi Stock with any questions you may have.
Application will open July 23, 2021
Deadline to apply is October 15, 2021
Application will open September 1, 2021
Deadline to be considered for scholarships: January 15, 2022
*Deadline has been extended to February 1, 2022
*All applications materials must be submitted
Late applications will be accepted until May 1, 2022 and will be reviewed on a space available basis. Admissions decisions will be made by the end of May. Late applicants will not be eligible for scholarship consideration.
All CAP Graduate Programs have WICHE-WRGP (Western Regional Graduate Program) status, which grants in-state resident tuition to students from 15 western states including California, Washington, Oregon and Arizona.