The Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning offers three Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) degree programs that are structured to equip students with advanced design and planning skills:
- The three-year M.L.A. degree is the first professional degree accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). This degree is for students with non-design backgrounds.
- The two-year M.L.A. degree is the second professional degree for those students with first degrees in landscape architecture, architecture, or environmental design.
- The department also offers a two-year environmental planning program leading to the M.L.A. degree for students with a strong background in the environmental sciences or management.
Students are required to select and complete one of two plans for the degree: Plan I — Thesis, or Plan II — Comprehensive Exam (professional project or designated studio.) The thesis is for students who wish to do original research on a problem in landscape architecture or environmental planning. The thesis committee is composed of two faculty members from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning and a third faculty member from another department at Berkeley. The comprehensive exam format can be either a professional project or a designated studio that demonstrates broad competence plus the concepts and skills necessary to the field of landscape architecture. The professional project consists of a report of not more than 40 pages of text with appropriate professional drawings. It should document a real-world project. The professional project committee is composed of two faculty members from the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning and a third member from outside the University community who usually is affiliated with the project.
Students may elect to fulfill the final degree requirement through the successful completion of a comprehensive exam studio taken in their final semester. Students who are in the Environmental Planning Concentration or in one of the concurrent degree programs are not eligible for the comprehensive exam studio option.
In addition, a summer internship (preferably taken the summer before the student's final year) is recommended. Previous professional experience may be substituted for this internship.
Normative time for the M.L.A. degree is either two years (design background and environmental planning students) or three years (non-design background). A student's normative time is determined when the student enters the M.L.A. program.
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