Skip to content
landscape architecture student drawing
School of Architecture

Master of Landscape Architecture


Master of Landscape Architecture

The Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) is a nationally recognized, STEM-designated professional degree accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB). The MLA program at Clemson University prepares students with the knowledge, skills, techniques, theories and technologies to become an effective contributor to the Landscape Architecture profession. As the only Landscape Architecture program in the state of South Carolina and one of the top in the nation, the MLA program offers a balance of professional skills, theoretical and historical knowledge that prepares our students for professional practice immediately upon graduation. The combination of rigorous education, research engagement at a Tier-1 research institution and practical knowledge provides a strong foundation for different career paths, including professional practice in a firm, research, or teaching at an academic institution. An internationally renowned and award-winning faculty lead the program with broad expertise in urban and community design, health and design, ecology, environmental sustainability and design implementation. Throughout the program, students are engaged in design and research at local and global scales focusing on contemporary issues such as climate change, sustainability, social and environmental justice and resilient communities.

Alumni Awards Long-range Plan Donate
professor and student smiling while working

Student Work

Fluid Campus

  • Degree Tracks

    Through its two distinct tracks, the MLA program is open to students from design and non-design backgrounds. The program is particularly designed for students: seeking professional education and careers, looking for a change of career, or are in pursuit of advanced education in Landscape Architecture.

    First Professional MLA
    The First Professional MLA is a 3-year, 81-credit hour professional degree geared towards students without an undergraduate degree in design. This program provides students with a professional education and research opportunities focused on real-world projects. In the program's first year, students focus on developing graphics and design skills, which are essential proficiency requirements for a design discipline, while taking graduate coursework that addresses key issues in landscape architecture, history, theory and introduction to plant communities. More graduate-level work, design studios and research seminars develop and culminate with the final year’s Terminal Project. The program prepares students for professional practice, leadership, scholarly research and community advocacy. Fluid campus, off-campus semester and international experiences are available and optional. The First Professional MLA is a terminal degree that qualifies graduates to sit for the professional license exam (Landscape Architecture Registration Exam) after two years of practice under a licensed landscape architect as well as teach landscape architecture at an academic institution.

    Note: Students with design backgrounds such as architecture and urban design may achieve advanced placement in the program.

    Second Professional MLA
    The Second Professional MLA is a 2-year, 42-credit hours professional degree in landscape architecture geared towards students with an accredited Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. The Second Professional degree allows students to pursue an advanced exploration of landscape architecture through advanced studies and gain invaluable academic and professional skills. The program prepares students for professional practice, leadership, scholarly research and community advocacy. Fluid campus, off-campus semester and international experiences are available and optional. The Second Professional MLA is a terminal degree that qualifies graduates to sit for the professional license exam (Landscape Architecture Registration Exam) after two years of practice under a licensed landscape architect as well as teach landscape architecture at an academic institution.

  • Plan of Study


    Members of the landscape architecture profession serve as stewards of the land, and the profession covers a broad range of issues that deal with the design, planning, conservation, and management of outdoor open spaces in the built and natural environments. Practicing landscape architects work on a wide range of projects, including but not limited to, community and city-scale design; habitat and environmental restoration; public parks and recreational open space systems; brownfields and the reclamation of industrial sites; greenways, pedestrian path systems, and bicycle path systems; streetscapes, waterfront design, infrastructure, and stormwater management systems; conservation of wilderness areas and trails; theme parks and resort design; cultural landscapes and heritage preservation; memorials and cemeteries; campus and institutional design; and residential gardens. Landscape architects are creative professionals who blend art and science and hold an environmental imperative and social conscience. They are excellent facilitators and collaborators, able to bring various disciplines and experts together to work on complex projects in outdoor natural or built environments.

    South Carolina, like most state registration boards, requires professional landscape architects to have a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in landscape architecture, recognizes two types of first-professional degrees: the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA), and the Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA).

    Clemson offers two Master of Landscape Architecture tracks: the accredited First Professional Degree (three+ years) geared towards students without an undergraduate degree in design and the Second Professional Degree (two years) for students with an accredited undergraduate landscape architecture degree. The First Professional MLA is also the terminal degree that qualifies graduates to teach landscape architecture in a university setting.

    Research and study in important topics of national and international consequence further ensure the marketability of Clemson's MLA graduates. Students come from a variety of disciplines, such as planning, history, English, biology, geology, geography, environmental science, various social or natural sciences, art, or other disciplines.

  • Financial Information

    Assistantship versus Financial Aid

    Landscape Architecture offers a limited number of assistantships to MLA students based on the strength of their applications and their standing in the applicant pool; however, these students must still apply for placement to determine their best assistantship role among available positions. A limited number of external Public Service Assistantships (PSA) may also be available.  The number of assistantships available is limited by the budget in a given year. The Landscape Architecture program does not offer financial aid. For financial aid, see the University's Financial Aid webpage

    Graduate Assistantships

    Graduate Assistantships employ full-time graduate students to serve the Landscape Architecture program as graduate teaching assistants (GTA), graduate research assistants (GRA) or graduate administrative assistants (GAA) in return for a stipend and tuition reduction. See the Graduate School's Graduate Assistantships, General for general information, and Graduate Assistants, Types for the classification of assistantships. 

    Application Process and Timing. Landscape Architecture accepts assistantship applications year-round. However, the official deadline for graduate student admission is February 15. Review of applications starts immediately and decisions are made in March and April. Applicants who wish to apply for funding must complete the MLA Graduate Funding Application Form (click to download).

    Qualifications. Full-time graduate students (i.e., minimum enrollment of 9 credit hours) in good academic standing (i.e., GPA 3.0 and above) are eligible for consideration. For the Department of Landscape Architecture assistantships, the primary considerations for appointment are 1) academic performance and 2) experience, or other qualifications for the employment role.    

    Employment Period. Assistantships are for one year and follow the academic calendar. In some rare cases employment could be for one semester only.  Graduate Assistants work on the same schedule as faculty (i.e., including term breaks, but not official holidays). See the Graduate Assistantships, Holiday Leave policy.   

    Payroll Paperwork. Students offered an assistantship must complete employment paperwork on campus and no later than August 15. If awarded an assistantship, the Student Services Program Coordinator will contact you regarding the specific paperwork that is required.

    Responsibilities. Graduate assistants (GAs) serve faculty and Landscape Architecture program as teaching, research, and administrative assistants. GAs in Landscape Architecture are required to work an average of 10 hours per week, for a total of 150 hours per semester. See the Enrollment Limits policy and chart and the Maximum Work Hours policy. Assistants must keep a current time log and must be prepared to give a copy of this to their primary supervisor, student services coordinator, or department head upon request. 

    International Students. International students must have a high level of English language ability to qualify for most assistantships; teaching, administrative, and research assistants all need a high level of English language proficiency. International students employed in labs must also have the requisite skills. See the International Student Employment, Graduate Assistantship policy.  

    Remuneration. Graduate assistants receive a stipend per semester and pay a reduced tuition rate. (Graduate School Tuition & Fees webpage). The pay period is the 15th and the last workday of the month.  

    Renewal. Assistantships are for one year only and do not automatically renew. Even if your financial aid account shows an assistantship as continuing, this is due to a lag in the accounting process—assistantships do not automatically renew. A highly qualified graduate student who has performed well as an assistant will be considered for another assistantship during the next application process. 

    Termination. Assistants may be terminated for not carrying out assistantship responsibilities, including not working the required 10 hours per week, and will be required to pay the balance of remitted tuition. See the Graduate Assistants, Termination for Cause policy. Assistants are required to maintain good academic standing; students on academic probation (i.e., with a GPA below 3.0) will not be eligible for an assistantship, and GAs placed on academic probation after the Fall semester will lose their assistantship for the spring semester. See the Termination for Academic Deficiency policy.

    Graduate School Policies. For all Graduate School policies related to assistantships, see the Graduate School's Financial Policies webpage.

  • Student Organizations

    Clemson University student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (CUASLA)

    The Clemson University Student Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (CUASLA) is an organization geared towards bringing together students studying the discipline of Landscape Architecture. The purpose of our organization is to facilitate meeting new people, both Clemson students as well as professionals, offer educational opportunities to our members through workshops, volunteering opportunities, and extracurricular trips, and to provide fun activities for its members.

  • Accreditation and Handbook

    Master of Landscape Architecture Handbook


    Programs that are accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) are required to provide reliable information to the public. Programs must report on accreditation status and its performance. This information is to help potential students make informed application decisions.

    Clemson University offers two landscape architecture degrees. The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) and the Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA).

    The BLA received its initial accreditation in 1994. The BLA and MLA program was most recently awarded re-accreditation for six years in April 2019.

    Click here for access to Clemson University's Public information.

  • World Design Studio

    Located in Clemson University’s Lee Hall, the World Design Studio (WDS) is a platform for knowledge exchange developed collaboratively by the Landscape Architecture Program, School of Architecture at Clemson University in the United States, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering at Ain Shams University (ASU) in Egypt, and the Department of Landscape Architecture at Huazhong Agricultural University (HAU) in China.

    The WDS mission fosters multidisciplinary, international and collaboratively funded research, consultation, community engagement and cross-cultural enrichment of curriculum, pedagogy and learning outcomes. The World Design Studio engages students worldwide to address globally important landscape architectural and environmental issues in urban areas and enriches design education through cross-cultural and interdisciplinary collaboration.

    The WDS design studio includes students from three continents—Africa, North America and Asia—and is open to students worldwide. It is the first studio of its kind, employing three international universities' knowledge and expertise in developing student skills in Architecture and Landscape Architecture. The WDS offers project-based coursework broadly focused on contemporary urban design, community engagement, economic development, innovation, sustainability, resiliency, advanced manufacturing and materials, energy and transportation, virtually anywhere in the world. The WDS includes undergraduate and graduate students working collaboratively on identified projects.

    As part of the School of Architecture, the WDS focuses on delivering transformational design experience, well-grounded urban solutions for the most urgent problems in the partnering countries and applying lessons learned from the best practices worldwide.

    The WDS is dedicated to:

    • Educating future architects, landscape architects and urban designers through rigorous and expansive design education, integrating local and global understanding.
    • Generating knowledge that addresses the great challenges of the time through innovative, interdisciplinary research, practice and scholarship.
    • Advocating for improving and preserving built, natural and social environments through design activism, public service and public education.
  • Contact Information

    Landscape Architecture
    3-112 Lee Hall, Box 340512
    Clemson University
    Clemson, SC 29634-0512
    Phone: 864-656-3926
    General Inquiries:

    Hala Nassar
    Director of Landscape Architecture and Graduate Programs
    Office: Lee 3-104

    Lara Browning
    Director of Landscape Architecture Undergraduate Programs
    Office: Lee 3-108

    Michelle Marchesse
    Administrative Coordinator I , Landscape Architecture
    Office: Lee 3-112
    Phone: 864-656-3926

    Who signs forms? 

    • Study abroad form, course to be taken elsewhere form or course substitution form, change of major form: Lara Browning
    • Grade change form: Please see the professor teaching the class to initiate the grade change process.

    Who schedules classes (including drop/add)?

    Who are the advisors for undergraduate majors?

    Who are the advisors for graduate programs?

    • All new MLA students are advised by the Director of Landscape Architecture Graduate Programs, Hala Nassar.

    Who is the SC ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) Student Chapter Advisor? 

Female student smiling

“From day one I knew I would fit right in with my classmates. We are all passionate about design and approach it from a diversity of backgrounds, interests, and experiences. Our studios are small and tight-knit, so it's easy to form friendships with classmates and instructors. My professors are like mentors to me and have never hesitated to help when I ask for guidance. ”

Molly Foote
Master of Landscape Architecture '24
School of Architecture


Hala Nassar, Ph.D., Fellow CELA

Director of Landscape Architecture Graduate Programs and Professor

Office: Lee 3-104 | Email:

About Hala Nassar
Hala Nassar
School of Architecture
School of Architecture | Lee Hall 3-130, Clemson, South Carolina 29634