Master of Landscape Architecture

Graduate program open house

We hosted an online open house for our professional graduate programs on Wednesday, November 16.

Our Master of Landscape Architecture program offers a professional design education in a small program with a deep commitment to the discipline. Our program is accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Council (LAAC) of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA). The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recognizes Canadian programs accredited by LAAC as equivalent to American accredited programs under a reciprocity agreement.

Our accredited, three-year professional course of study is demanding but will develop the values and skills needed to be successful in the practice of landscape architecture. Required courses in history and theory, site analysis and planning, and environment management are integrated with comprehensive design studios. We encourage students to develop their own individual identity through thoughtful engagement, opportunities to direct study focus through specialized design studios, and the execution of the final graduate project.

Program mission

Our MLA program offers a rigorous, well-rounded curriculum to foster design-oriented research and new modes of inquiry in landscape architecture. We are committed to providing an educational platform for individuals seeking a critical engagement with landscape architecture as a means to become global citizens and agents of positive change across a range of scales and territories. Candidates of our MLA program participate in a robust sequence of coursework that not only provides foundational knowledge on the profession of landscape architecture, but also values exploration and technological innovation in both design and scholarship. Students also develop their technical, intellectual, and analytical skills through research with faculty in the areas of climate change adaptation, health and well being, urban and ecological infrastructure, and contemporary landscape history and theory.

In order to address the complex environmental and social issues of our times and in the future, our program treasures its cross-disciplinary pedagogical ties with allied programs within SALA, including the Master of Architecture program, the Master of Urban Design program, and the undergraduate Environmental Design program. Together with strong links to other departments at UBC, our program is positioned well to help both faculty and students pursue emerging topics in the field of landscape architecture.

Because we value the diverse knowledge and expertise of practicing landscape architects, our program connects students with members of the profession through internships, studio reviews, lectures, the mentorship program, several social events throughout the year, and representation on the British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects (BCSLA) Board of Directors. Community engagement is deeply valued by our program, and we increasingly work with Indigenous Peoples. Students have the opportunity to work directly with faculty, organizations, and municipalities in the province and abroad. Importantly, students engage a wide range of constituencies in the larger community – academic, professional, and public. 

Educational aims

1. Laying a solid foundation

To enhance and maintain a robust sequence of coursework during the first “core year” of the MLA program. This core year of design studios and supporting courses deliver the foundational knowledge and skills during year one to ensure future success in years two and three.

2. Cross-disciplinary collaboration

Our students will have multidisciplinary educational experiences with our sister professional program, the Master of Architecture, because our program values cross-disciplinary ties which are needed to address the complex environmental and social issues of our times and in the future.

3. Technology integration

Enhance our program’s technological innovation and integration. 

4. Strengthen professional ties

Because we value the diverse knowledge and expertise of practicing landscape architects we will increase the engagement of students and faculty with professional landscape architects in Vancouver, the province, Canada, and beyond. 

5. Global citizens engaged in a range of scales and communities

Encourage our students to become global citizens and agents of positive change across a range of scales and communities, particularly in their work with Indigenous Peoples. 

6. Promoting the work of landscape architecture students 

Promote the work of our talented landscape architecture students. 

Why study landscape architecture here?

Our low student-faculty ratio means close and regular contact with our full-time and adjunct faculty. Our close connections within the school and across campus allow students to expand the reach of their studies to related disciplines, such as architecture and urban planning. Opportunities to study abroad at one of our partner universities around the world promote engagement with the ever-changing cultural concerns in architecture and landscape architecture.

Our students routinely pursue co-operative work experience in order to expand their professional network and to gain credit towards their degree. By working in firms or agencies related to their areas of interest, students can hone design development and documentation skills for future practice.

We have a strong connection with the local professional design community, which takes part in our studio reviews, graduate project committees, and mentorship programs. We coordinate an informal lecture series with students, faculty, and guests from local landscape architecture affiliates. These discourses offer feedback and advice from a broad audience for students presenting their initiatives and projects.

As a student at UBC Vancouver, you will have access to world-class facilities and a research library ranked among the best in Canada. As a student in Vancouver, you will have access to the city and region as a living laboratory, further enhancing your studies in landscape architecture.

What can I do with my MLA degree?

Our Master of Landscape Architecture program prepares you to enter the world of practicing landscape architects. Your degree is certified by the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, which is recognized in Canada and the US. British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario have regulatory bodies for the landscape architecture profession, and non-regulatory bodies in the other provinces. In British Columbia, you must complete the internship program to become eligible to register as a licenced landscape architect with the BCSLA.

The practice of landscape architecture is growing quickly. Awareness of the profession is also on the rise. Municipal governments are especially looking for the specialized knowledge of landscape architects for green space projects. Today’s firms range from small, one- or two-person teams to large multinational groups. Similarly, landscape architects can work on a huge scale of projects, from individual sites to large-scale developments. The Government of Canada predicts fair growth in several regions across the country for the profession, with low levels of unemployment due to a shortage of landscape architects.

While the majority of our graduates have gone on to careers directly in landscape architecture, that path is by no means the only one. Over the course of your studies here, you’ll gain invaluable skills in:

  • design and visualization
  • a variety of digital media tools
  • communication and presentations
  • project management and organization
  • sustainability and resource management

There are a number of positions that benefit from an education in landscape architecture. Some of our alumni have pursued:

  • urban design planning and policy
  • sustainability research
  • energy management
  • resort planning and analysis
  • construction
  • farming

You can also pursue further education through a post-professional degree program. Our Master of Urban Design and Master of Advanced Studies in Landscape Architecture programs are geared towards those who already have degrees in landscape architecture and want to continue exploring the academic side of the field.

Learn about the application process for the Master of Landscape Architecture program here.