Concurrent MLA Degrees
From eco-district proposals to climate-adaptive responses, the field of planning and design increasingly require cross-disciplinary collaboration between landscape architects, architects, engineers, scientists, and urban planners. The complexity of social, economic and environmental challenges facing cities and regions today can no longer be resolved by one profession alone. Addressing these complex challenges requires both collaboration and professionals with multiple disciplinary training and background.
The current degree programs at UW//LA are designed to prepare students to take on the grand challenges facing communities, cities, and regions today. We offer two concurrent degree programs – MLA + Master of Urban Planning (MUP) and MLA + Master of Architecture (M Arch). Through either programs, students could graduate one year less than it what it would require if pursuing the degrees separately. This is achieved mainly by pursuing a combined graduate thesis and by sharing a number of program requirements.
The disciplines of landscape architecture and architecture have been sister disciplines in both practice and education since they emerged as professions in the late 19th century. In the previous century, the disciplines increasingly sought to specialize; however, in the past decade, it has become clear that contemporary challenges of climate change, urbanization, and environmental degradation require a more complex and interdisciplinary framework for the design of built environments. In the 21st century, professionals are required who merge an understanding of building design and construction with larger-scale site design and the diverse elements that shape environments at all scales. Neither architecture nor landscape architecture alone engages the depth and breadth of skills and understanding at the core of the mission and vision of the College of Built Environments. This is the future of both professions and a concurrent degree program positions graduates to be leaders in these efforts.
The University of Washington masters programs in Landscape Architecture and Architecture intersect in their intellectual traditions, capacities and direction, preparing students to become licensed landscape architects and/ or architects who are ready to assume enlightened, responsible, and imaginative roles in society as artists, activists, and leaders. The Departments of Landscape Architecture and Architecture at the University of Washington are actively linked in shared interests and focal concerns: culturally-based place making, historic preservation, integrated design, urban context and design, and sustainable/ green design. The concurrent degree program embraces the knowledge of ecological and social factors with the design and construction of buildings and sites. Graduates are poised to address urgent global and local issues related to the built environment with the potential to serve as important leaders in both fields and professions.
The concurrent degree program is to provide a formal mechanism that allows incoming students as well as current students in the Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) and Master of Architecture (MArch) programs to study both disciplines in a rigorous, predictable, efficient and structured manner. The program facilitates engaged interactions and collaborations among students and faculty in both of the programs. It attracts and accommodates the growing number of students who actively seek an education of this type. It strengthens and diversifies the program offerings within the College of Built Environments where interdisciplinary collaboration has been recognized by the faculty as a priority. The concurrent degree program builds on the other concurrent degree programs in the college, emphasizing the significant role interdisciplinary education and practice plays in the mission and vision of the College of Built Environments.
The disciplines of landscape architecture and urban design and planning have been closely related in both practice and education since at least the mid-19th century. The complexity of today’s urban and environmental problems requires more frequent exchanges of knowledge and practices between the two professions. The University of Washington’s masters programs in Landscape Architecture and Urban Design and Planning are synergistic in their intellectual traditions, capacities and direction, especially in comparison with similar programs at other universities. These synergies are based on a number of shared or overlapping strengths in the Departments of Landscape Architecture and of Urban Design and Planning at the University: urban ecology and green infrastructure; climate-responsive, community-driven and socially- and culturally-based design of the public realm; local, regional and international field studios; and urban environmental history and historic preservation.
Students with training in both landscape architecture and urban design and planning will increasingly be able to address urgent global and local issues related to the built environment and thus are likely to become leaders in either or both fields. Landscape Architecture students, for example, increasingly encounter issues in land use policy and planning process through their studios and in their thesis research; likewise, Urban Planning students increasingly need to develop greater expertise in ecological knowledge, and the designer’s approach to such rapidly evolving topics as green infrastructure and urban agriculture in order to explore frontiers in climate-responsive development regulation and food systems planning.
The purpose of this concurrent degree program is to provide a formal mechanism that allows incoming students as well as current students in the Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) and Master of Urban Planning (MUP) programs to study both disciplines in a rigorous, predictable, efficient and structured manner. The program also facilitates more interactions and collaborations among students and faculty in the two programs. It further strengthens and diversifies the program offerings within the College of Built Environments where interdisciplinary collaboration has been recognized by the faculty as a priority.