Answers to all of your questions about the admissions, application and financial aid for CED’s Master of Landscape Architecture program
- Why UC Berkeley?
- Why a Master's of Landscape Architecture at UC Berkeley?
- Which MLA track is best for me?
- I have an undergraduate design degree, can I still apply to the 3 year degree plan?
- Do I need a degree in a specific field to apply?
- I received a MLA degree at another institution, am I still eligible to apply to the MLA program at UC Berkeley?
- Can I apply to two graduate programs in the same year?
- I am currently enrolled in another MLA program at another university. Does the department accept transfer students, or are my earned units transferable?
- Do you provide part-time or online enrollment?
- I will not graduate from my undergraduate institution until the end of this spring. Am I still eligible to apply for the upcoming fall?
- When does the fall semester begin?
- Can I visit with a graduate advisor to get more information on the program?
UC Berkeley is known as the #1 Public Institution in the United States. We have the smartest and most interesting university in the country in terms of graduate programs, students, and prestige. In our graduate programs, we have highly-known faculty who conduct cutting-edge research in many different areas while also teaching many diverse courses. Lastly, Berkeley offers gourmet food and freshly roasted coffee everyday! If you do not see it in other places, it is because Berkeley is the only home for it! You will never go hungry at Berkeley- for food, friends, and knowledge!
Our Master’s of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program at UC Berkeley is ranked #1 of all public MLA programs in the United States.
The Department has produced both leading practitioners and cutting-edge research in the field since its founding in 1913. Our program focuses on the design, management, renewal, and restoration of landscapes across a range of scales, from urban plazas to wilderness areas. We teach students to apply social and ecological sciences and harness their knowledge of plant and construction materials, to design, plan, and build landscapes that responsibly serve both society and the environment in the long term.
Our multidisciplinary faculty have backgrounds in design, science, and planning, grounded in an understanding of urban landscape evolution. Their research includes the design of innovative public spaces from small scale green spaces, streetscapes, and public plazas and parks, to planning for ecological infrastructure, resource-efficient community design, urban forestry and environmental restoration, and landscape ecology. Drawing upon the rich resources of the Berkeley campus as a whole, the department prepares students for leadership positions in private design firms, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Our graduates also hold teaching positions at leading institutions around the world.
The three-year M.L.A. degree track (MLA 3D) 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 track (MLA 2D) is the second professional degree for those students with first degrees in landscape architecture, architecture, or environmental design. This degree track is also accredited by ASLA.
The department also offers a two-year environmental planning program (MLA EP) leading to the M.L.A. degree for students with a strong background in the environmental sciences or management.
If you have (or will have) a degree in Landscape Architecture, your application is not appropriate for the MLA 3D track (which is for applicants without a design background). If your application remains in the MLA 3D track, it will automatically be moved to the appropriate track.
While you do not need an undergraduate degree in a specific field to apply to our professional master’s degree programs, you must have earned your bachelor’s degree at an accredited university.
For the Ph.D. programs, it is strongly preferred that applicants have a master’s degree in a related field.
As you already have a Master of Landscape Architecture degree, you will not be able to apply to our MLA program at UC Berkeley. Our campus does not allow for duplication of degrees. Instead, you might be interested in the Master of Urban Design (MUD) program provided by our College of Environmental Design.
UC Berkeley graduate admissions policy only allows applicants to apply to one program. If an applicant applies to two different programs (using two different email addresses), he/she will automatically be rejected from both programs.
However, you can apply to one of the various concurrent programs that are offered in our department. The concurrent programs are highly competitive, and should be reserved for very competitive applicants. Applicants applying to the concurrent programs must meet the requirements of both degree programs. In addition, these applicants must gain admittance to BOTH degree programs at the same time (and for the same start-date).
There are two tracks: Urban Design and Environmental Planning
- For the Urban Design track, a related degree (BA in Architecture or BA in Landscape Architecture) is required.
- For the Environmental Planning track, a strong science background is expected. It is best to pursue the same track for both departments within the concurrent programs.
The College of Environmental Design does not accept transfer students at the graduate level, and applicants are reviewed based upon their prior degree(s) obtained. We do not have the capability to transfer credits to our program. If you are interested in our MLA program, you will need to apply.
However, if you have taken certain required courses that possibly fulfill the requirements for the MLA, you can waive them in your curriculum.
No, our MLA program requires full-time enrollment. All students must be in residence. We do not offer online or weekend courses at this time.
Yes, applicants may apply for admission as long as completion of the undergraduate degree occurs prior to the beginning of the fall program at UC Berkeley. If you are admitted, a final transcript showing the conferred degree must be sent to your graduate adviser.
The fall semester begins in mid-August. We hold “Start Up” orientation workshops a week prior to the beginning of the semester. Typically, we ask that incoming students arrive by early August so that they can secure housing and attend these orientation workshops.
Our Graduate Advisor is available to meet with you to discuss our graduate programs in more detail! Please send an email to to schedule a meeting. For more information, please see our graduate program website.
Note: This will not decrease the number of units required to complete the degree.
- How do I apply to your graduate program?
- Can I apply for spring admission?
- If I have applied to the MLA program before and want to apply to that same program again, do I need to submit a new application?
- What statements are required?
- I am a Ph.D. applicant. What additional information do I need to include in my Statement of Purpose?
- Do you allow hard-copy letters of recommendation?
- Do I need to submit a portfolio as part of my application?
- Should I submit a recent publication, report, or some kind of writing sample?
- Do my documents need to be in English?
- Do you need a hardcopy of my transcripts?
- Which standardized tests are required?
- What is the minimum GPA required?
- How much weight do you give to the GRE scores and undergraduate GPA?
- Where should my letters of recommendation come from?
- I am an international student; what type of visa do I need in order to study in the US?
- Does the department offer application fee waivers?
- When will admissions decisions be sent?
The College of Environmental Design’s application cycle opens in September, for fall-semester admission the following year. You must submit the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application and all supplemental materials required by your program, as described under Required Application Materials, by your program’s application deadline. Only online applications (including letters of recommendation) are accepted.
No, the graduate programs at CED offer fall admission only.
If you are reapplying to our MLA program, you must submit a new UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application and pay the application fee. If you would like to reuse some portion of your previous application, please email our graduate adviser, providing your name, year of previous application, and list of application items you would like reused. If you are reusing transcripts and letters of recommendation, please include the names of the institutions and recommenders. Please understand that the Department only keeps past applications for three years.
1) We require a Statement of Purpose. This statement should indicate, with clarity and focus, your purpose for entering the graduate program, your proposed emphasis of study, and any special interest(s) in the field. It should highlight your intellectual and practical background for graduate school, and your perspective on how the college’s resources and those of the UC Berkeley campus would enable you to find an intellectual home here. You should give us a sense of who you are and why you feel that a Berkeley degree will help you reach your goals. Also, what you have done, written, experienced or learned that makes you an interesting candidate.
For tips on writing the Statement of Purpose, please see Writing the Statement of Purpose on the UC Berkeley Graduate Division website.
2) We also require a Personal History Statement. This statement should convey how a combination of life experiences, idealism, role models, education and work experiences have influenced your decision to apply, as well as how any teaching, research, and professional or public service contributions you have made have promoted diversity and equal opportunity.
For tips on writing a Personal History Statement, please see the Personal Statement Guide on the UC Berkeley Graduate Division website.
We do not have a word limit or requirement. However, each statement should not be longer than 2 pages (double spaced) in length.
The Ph.D. is a research-oriented degree, and the dissertation — an in-depth research study — is the centerpiece of doctoral study. The Ph.D. admissions committee will therefore read your Statement of Purpose seeking an account of your proposed research topic and prior research experience, and looking for evidence that you are prepared to undertake a significant, sophisticated, independent and in-depth project related to it. You should remember that your competence and intellectual potential to undertake dissertation research is among the most important criteria considered by the doctoral admissions committee.
No. Only online letters of recommendation are accepted. Submit the names of your recommenders through the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application. The recommender should provide his or her personal impression of your intellectual ability, aptitude in research or professional skills, character, and the quality of previous work and potential for future productive scholarship. Please have at least one letter of recommendation come from someone in academia.
First and Second Professional applicants (MLA 2D & MLA 3D) are required to submit an electronic copy of their exhibit of creative work (portfolio) with their application.
** Applicants to the MLA EP track should submit a recent publication instead of a portfolio.
The electronic portfolio should be no longer than 12 pages (8 1/2 inches by 11 inches). We do not accept 2-page spreads. Title page and table of contents page are optional, and are not counted toward the 12 pages. These optional pages must NOT have images, graphics or backgrounds. Please do not include your resume/CV in your portfolio — there is a separate place to upload your resume/CV in the application.
Portfolios with more than 12 pages of content or incorrect paper size may not be reviewed. The portfolio must be one document (PDF format), and be less than 10MB in size.
If you are submitting a recent publication, report, or writing sample instead of a portfolio, please upload a single PDF file of your submission that supports your Statement of Purpose and demonstrates your research, writing abilities, and/or analytical skills. This submission should be no more than 50 pages.
Yes, all documents, regardless of language of instruction, must be translated into the English language. Transcripts, diplomas, and certificates should be provided in the original language of instruction AND in English.
Hardcopies of transcripts are not needed with the application. Instead, please scan and upload electronic copies of your official transcripts (certificates and diplomas for international applicants) to the online application. The copies should look like the official hard copies so that we can compare the two versions later. Please include electronic copies of all transcripts from schools that are related for your degree.
Hardcopy versions of your transcripts, etc are only needed when you have been admitted and have decided to come to Berkeley for graduate school.
1) We require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as part of your application (see Required Application Materials — Examinations). You must have your official score reported to the UC Berkeley Graduate Division by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Note: Register for the GRE early, and choose a date that will allow your score report to arrive on time for admissions review.
School Code: 4833
Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department Code is not needed
There is no minimum required score for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). However, our competitive applicants have scores in the 70th percentile and higher. GRE test scores are good for five years.
Scores from other tests such as the LSAT/GMAT/MCAT etc. will not be permitted for programs that require the GRE.
2) Applicants from non-English-speaking countries must demonstrate English-language proficiency by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination. Minimum required scores are 570 for the paper-based test, 230 for the computer-based test, and at least 90 for the internet-based test (iBT). Minimum required IELTS score is a 7 on a 9-point scale.
School Code: 4833
Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department Code is not needed
For IELTS, please send a hardcopy of your official IELTS scores to us at the following address:
Department of Landscape Architecture
202 Wurster Hall
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-2000
** International applicants who have baccalaureate degrees from educational institutions at which instruction was in English must take the GRE rather than the TOEFL.
The University requires a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00, B, or equivalent.
- Note to students who attended a U.S. institution: GPA calculations are based on coursework taken after the first two years of undergraduate study.
- Note to students who attended an international institution: GPA calculations are based on all undergraduate coursework taken.
Here’s a clarification on the GPA area:
- Advanced GPA = junior and senior GPA on a 4-point scale
- Cumulative GPA = GPA for all 4-5 years on a 4-point scale
- Other Cumulative GPA = GPA on different scale (example 88/100, etc)
- Graduate GPA = GPA from graduate school
Your GRE scores and undergraduate GPA constitute only a part of your application. These measures alone do not give the admissions committee a clear picture of you as an applicant. It is most important that you therefore take the time to draft an excellent Statement of Purpose that allows the committee to get to know you and your goals, and that you select your recommenders carefully.
Your letters of recommendation should be three people that can speak highly about your previous work experience and academic success in the field of study (i.e. professors, past employers, etc.)
Only online letters of recommendation are accepted. Submit the names of your recommenders through the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application. The recommender should provide his or her personal impression of your intellectual ability, aptitude in research or professional skills, character, and the quality of previous work and potential for future productive scholarship. Please have at least one letter of recommendation come from someone in academia.
We require recommenders to submit online letters to the Slate application.
As an international student, you will need an F-1 visa in order to attend any United States institution. Please indicate that on your graduate application online.
Application fee waivers are processed at the university level (UC Berkeley Graduate Division), not at the departmental level. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Once you have submitted your application, you may confirm the status of any application components (test scores, letters of recommendation) by returning to the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application. Please plan ahead and schedule any needed examinations (GRE, TOEFL) at least one month prior to your application deadline so that we may have timely receipt of your scores.
Unofficial notifications of acceptance are emailed to applicants by early March, and applicants who have been recommended for admission are then notified by the UC Berkeley Graduate Division.
Admitted applicants are expected to provide the decisions of our admissions offers by April 15th. Admissions will be finalized by the end of April. Correspondence with faculty or staff of the College of Environmental Design, no matter what the content, will not commit the University to an approval of admission.
- What is the cost of the program?
- Do you offer funding and/or fellowships?
- What other types of funding are available?
- Am I eligible for California residency?
Please see the tuition and fee schedule for the campus.
- For PhD applicants, please see “Graduate: Academic.”
- For the MLA applicants, please see “Graduate: Professional – College of Environmental Design.”
Our Department provides fellowships to admitted applicants based on merit, and typically given to our top applicants. This funding assistance is available for domestic and international applicants. Applicants need not submit a separate applications for our Departmental fellowship – consideration in based on the merit of your admissions application. If awarded a departmental fellowship, you will be notified in your departmental admission offer.
Ph.D. funding is made on a case-by-case basis and involves multi-year funding packages, which may include a combination of teaching appointments and research and departmental fellowships.
It is beneficial for applicants to seek financial support that is independent of University sources. If you are an international student, look for fellowships from your home country or through international agencies.
NOTE: In order to receive fellowship support through the University, applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents must apply for need-based financial aid, which requires the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Incoming and continuing graduate students can apply for merit- and need-based fellowships, as well as for Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) and Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) positions. We do our best to allocate fellowship funds equitably, with both student need and merit in mind. Some fellowships are by faculty nomination only. GSI and GSR positions are announced each semester, and incoming students are eligible to apply for these positions as well.
The University of California resident classification policy for tuition purposes can be found on the Office of the Registrar’s Establishing Legal Residence webpage.
Domestic students (US Citizen and US Permanent Residents) can gain California residency after residing in the state for 366 days. Our Residency Office requires documentation proving that you have resided in the state for minimum required time.
Unfortunately, international students cannot become California residents regardless of their duration in the state or US. The exception is if their immigration status changes (ex. Marriage to US Citizen, etc), and they become a domestic student.
All non-California residents will be charged Non-Resident-Supplemental Tuition. Currently, this is $7551/semester for PhD students and $6122.50/semester for MLA students.