What Graduate Degree would you recommend as the best complement to an Undergrad in Landscape Architecture? Pros and Cons?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION What Graduate Degree would you recommend as the best complement to an Undergrad in Landscape Architecture? Pros and Cons?

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 30 total)
  • Author
  • #168579
    Rick Kingsbury

    An MLA is required if you want to teach. Government will pay more for an MLA. (but not a lot more) That’s about it from a pay perspective. Many MLA programs are for those with an undergraduate degree outside of the design fields who wish to pursue landscape architecture, and would rather not have a second bachelor’s degree, or wish to do more independent research that a BLA allows. It is a poor choice if you are simply wanting to make more money!


    I.E. If you currently make $45,000/yr, stop working, go back to school and spend $80,000 getting an MLA, the economic opportunity lost is $90,000 (two years not working) plus $80,000 for school makes the total investment $170,000!

    Exactly. It makes more economic sense to wait tables or drive a bus during a downturn than to get into more debt for an MLA. This is conditional on being able to convince employers that your skills aren’t rusty when the economy gets going again and that you did something useful while between LA jobs. It might be harder on the psyche to take a job that is seen as beneath someone with a college degree. I think that’s a major obstacle and another reason why people keep going back to school and getting into more debt.


    I have a BSLA and an MLA and am glad I did it. It made sense at the time (no one was hiring LA’s in the early 90’s either) and the MLA program (and school) had strengths that differed from my undergrad program. And while the cost of tuition has gone up considerably, there are still ways to pay for it (scholarships, assistantships) and ways to reduce cost (in-state vs. out of state). If you are just graduating and seriously considering grad school (regardless of degree you plan to pursue), now is a better time to do it than 5-10 years from now when you may have other obligations.

    Jay Smith

    Bringing this thread back from the dead.  With so many people considering extra education during these times, I’d like to hear from some of Land8’s 11,700+ members.  Know an LA who’s gone for more education in a complimentary field?  How did it work out for them? Please share your story.

    Tosh K

    Is it easy to get into engineering from LA?  The other way around is easy, and yes it is easier to get interviews for work in certain areas.  Assuming someone is looking to be able to get a PE, that involves pretty much a 3yr engineering pre-reqs from undergrad.


    maybe environmental management?  seems like a nice niche in consulting that’s growing and has a wide range of flexible options post grad (and it’s shorter).


    MLA will tie you into theory and history better, but perhaps more if you’re inclined toward academia.  Though I’m told the PhD will soon be a pseudo-prereq to teach in the higher end.

    Heather Smith

    Run! haha…don’t get anymore student loans! This recession is going on what? 3 years…and counting? You will not be able to pay these back and are putting a heavy weight on yourself that you many never be able to get out from under! My advice…start your own business…contact classmates…build your own projects. You may be surprised at the type of money you make. Working for yourself is scary but what other option besides hiding in school is there?

    Jordan Lockman

    Now that it has been a year since the thread was started what did you end up deciding on?


    I know someone from school that went back for an MBA, that seemed to be a good choice for him. 


    I would love to do that. It would be helpful to know more about the business side of the industry.


    As the one who started this thread, I ended up taking a designer position with a Landscape Maintenence and Construction Company and not pursuing further education yet. So far I’ve been very happy with that decision. As noted graduate loans are an expense that ought not be entered into lightly.

    I’ve a number of friends who went the MBA route and had success with it. Another friend pursued law and now works doing construction litigation. I may still pursue part time study while working at some point in the future. Likely in business or the management side of Civil Engineering.

    Rachael Strickland

    I considered going to graduate school for civil or environmental engineering until I found out from several engineers and academic advisers that many states will not allow you to become a PE unless you hold a bachelors degree in engineering first. Also, many masters of civil engineering programs require a bachelor’s degree in engineering to be considered for the program. Financial assistance for graduate degrees are more readily available than a 2nd bachelor’s degree. Just a few things to chew on before considering the LA/PE career path. The LA/PE combination makes the most sense for me with the experience I have had so far in the profession. If you can’t beat em, join em, right?


    The only firm who seem to think an MLA is important is Design Workshop. From 1999 to 2008, their employment ads always had a preference for the MLA. I know because I applied on three different occasions, received 2 interviews (Tahoe and Phoenix offices) but never a work offer.

    Getting a BSLA and MLA makes no sense. Pursue something in business or maybe MS in Geography or Environment.

    Alan Ray, RLA

    Architecture…..it will pay off later when you have your own practice.


    It’s true, and I still don’t really get it.


    Based on some of the degree changes I’ve been hearing about lately I can only conclude that there are probably a lot of people in LA for the wrong reasons.


    Architecture? Really?

    Justin W. Lee

    i agree with you Nick.


    Miles Barnard

    If I were hiring someone right now (settle down everyone, I’m not) I wouldn’t really care about their post grad degrees is any.  I care about their work experience, graphic abilities and personality.  I think grad school is for people that want to teach or don’t know what they want to do. Was that too harsh?

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 30 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Lost Password