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University Of Washington Landscape Architecture Admissions Essay

The Graduate School requires:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited United States college or university, or its equivalent in a foreign institution.
  2. A grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or better in the last 90 graded quarter hours or the last 60 graded semester hours.
  3. A GRE (Graduate Record Examination) test score taken within the last five years.
  4. A TOEFL test score, from International applicants, who have an undergraduate degree from a non-English speaking university.

Admission to the Master of Landscape Architecture program is a competitive process with priority given to applicants whose apparent abilities, as determined by the Department’s MLA Admission Committee, will enable them to complete the program expeditiously and with a high level of achievement.

The first step in the application process is to apply to the Office of Graduate Admissions. This application will request the following:

  • Resume or Vitae
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Scanned Copy or Unofficial Transcript from all previous educational institutions
  • GRE (Official)
  • Scanned copy of GRE scores
  • TOEFL Scores (for International Students)
  • Scanned copy of TOEFL scores (if required)
  • Portfolio of creative works (under 30 MB, in PDF format)
  • On-Line Application fee of $85

All materials requested by the U of W Graduate School and the Department of Landscape Architecture, must be received no later than January 15th.

The U of W Graduate School only requires an unofficial copy of institutional transcripts at the time of application. If accepted to the program and University, an official set of transcripts will need to be provided to the Graduate School. However, for purposes of verification and program assignment, the Department requires an official set of transcripts at the time of application. The official transcripts need to be received by January 15th.

Please have your official transcripts mailed to:
University of Washington, Dept. of Landscape Architecture
348 Gould Hall, Box 355734
Attn: Graduate Admissions
Seattle, Washington 98195-5734 USA

The U of W Graduate School and Department require the submission of GRE test scores taken within the past five (5) years. If an applicant already holds a graduate level degree, the test scores are not required. Test scores should be forwarded to the University of Washington from the testing center in which the test was originally taken.

University of Washington Institution Code: 4854  |   Department of Landscape Architecture Code: 4405

The Department requires an unofficial documentation of test scores at the time of application. A scan or digital copy of the scores should be uploaded to the Graduate School application.

To arrange to take a GRE exam, contact the Educational Testing Service.

International students must submit English proficiency test scores that meet the minimum requirement for admission at the University of Washington. Exam scores must be provided to the U of W Graduate School and Department by January 15th. Official TOEFL scores must be sent directly to the UW from the testing agency.

The Masters of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program no longer accepts IELTS scores. If there is not a TOEFL test site in your area, please contact the Department to receive permission to take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam instead.

The Department requires an unofficial documentation of test scores at the time of application. A scan or digital copy of the scores should be uploaded to the Graduate School application.

The portfolio is a collection of material indicating your creative capabilities, graphic proficiency, aesthetic, and environmental sensitivity. It can include all range of work that you consider best highlights your capacity for creative thinking and expression. The exhibits provided may be products from crafts, design studios, professional work, creative or informational writing, or any other material which indicates your professional potential.  Briefly explain each exhibit with a clear indication of your contribution, when the exhibit includes a team project.

We now require portfolios to be submitted digitally as part of the Graduate School application. Hardcopy portfolios will only be accepted by applicants with an expressed difficulty for online access. With any hardcopy submissions, no original documents should be submitted. The Department is not responsible for portfolio materials.

The portfolio submission should not exceed 30MB in size and should be provided in a portable document format (PDF). If you wish to include web-design, animation, or video content, as part of the submission, provide links within the portfolio. Such content should be limited to no more than two links in addition to the portfolio.

You will be notified about your admission decision by email by May 1st.  Please do not contact the Department regarding the status of your application prior to that date. If you have been offered admission, you will be asked to accept or decline the offer through the U of W Graduate School application.  If you have received a fellowship offer, you will be receiving a separate email announcing your award details.  For incoming students, be sure to mark your calendar for the New Graduate Student Pre-Orientation and Orientation programs in September.

Admitted Students

If you are admitted to the MLA Program and accept the offer, you will need to send your official transcript to the Graduate School. Please have it sent to:

Standard Postal Mail:

University of Washington
Graduate Enrollment Management Services
Box 353770
Seattle, Washington 98195-3770 USA

Express or courier service (FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc.)

University of Washington
Graduate Enrollment Management Services
G-1 Communications, 4109 Stevens Way
Seattle, Washington 98195-3770 USA

Under certain conditions, the Department may offer enrollment in its graduate courses open to students outside the program to graduate non-matriculated students (GNM). The purpose of GNM enrollment is to allow qualified post-baccalaureate students to earn limited graduate credit in a particular area of need. Students may apply a maximum of 12 credits earned in this status to degree requirements should they later be accepted into a graduate degree program.

Students seeking GNM status must fulfill the University’s requirements, and contact the department’s Graduate Program Coordinator.

International applicants must first confirm their eligibility with the UW Graduate Admissions Office before applying to the Department of Landscape Architecture.

At the University of Washington, an international applicant is defined as:

      • One who is NOT a U.S. citizen, Permanent Resident, or Immigrant;
      • One who WILL require any type of visa to enter the U.S.

The following are minimum requirements for international applicants seeking admission to the Graduate Landscape Architecture program at the University of Washington. We welcome and encourage applicants from overseas. This process is not meant to discourage applicants but instead to assist you in making an informed choice about whether or not to invest the considerable expense and time required in submitting a complete application. You may receive additional information by sending an email message to intlgrad@u.washington.edu.


  • The equivalent of a 4 year U.S. bachelor’s degree. This is based on the following criteria: the country’s national system of education; type of institution attended; field of study; level of studies completed. Policies at other institutions may differ.
  • The University of Washington requires official certification of adequate financial support from each international applicant. Even if a graduate program is able to offer some funding, you may need to provide a portion of these funds personally.
  • Scores from the Graduate Record Exam (verbal, quantitative, analytical)
  • A minimum official TOEFL score is required unless you are a citizen of Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the United Kingdom OR you have earned a bachelor’s or higher degree from the U.S. or one of the countries listed above.

Veterans and children of deceased or totally disabled veterans should follow the general procedures outlined for all applicants. Applications for, and questions about, government aid should be addressed to:

Veterans Affairs, Office of Special Services, 460 Schmitz Hall
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington 98195
Telephone: (206) 543-6122.

The Department of Landscape Architecture is committed to maintaining a diverse student population. If academically qualified, everyone is encouraged to apply.

Both the BLA and MLA programs have once a year application dates to begin in the Autumn term of the same calendar year. You must apply by January 15th for the MLA program and by the first day of Spring Quarter for the BLA program, to start the following Autumn Quarter.

No. You must begin by applying to the University of Washington if you are not already enrolled. You would apply online to the Undergraduate School for the BLA program and to the Graduate School for the MLA program. International students should refer to the International Admissions page. If you would like counseling about the application process, advice on how your credits may transfer and/or suggestions about writing your Personal Statement to apply to the UW, contact the Undergraduate Advising Center. Prospective undergraduate students are encouraged to attend Transfer Thursdays – check the schedule for meetings.

We no longer provide hardcopy catalogues or application materials. You may access all of our information and materials through the department website. You can find courses offered in the Landscape Architecture department under Programs on the website. The entire catalogue  for the University of Washington is also available.

Both the BLA and MLA applications require:

  • Department Application (BLA-only; MLA applicants fill out the online Graduate School application)
  • Statement of Interest
  • Resume
  • Official Transcripts from any junior colleges, colleges or universities you have attended
  • Three Letters of Recommendation.
  • Portfolio

The MLA application also requires GRE scores and a copy of the University of Washington Graduate School Application. International students must also submit their TOEFL scores before applying to the department and the University of Washington Graduate School. Undergraduate International students should go to the University’s International Student site for further application instructions.

The Letters of Recommendation are an important part of the application. Choose people to write in support of your application that can speak to your skills and abilities in different capacities:

  • Professional recommendations may be from employers, etc.
  • Service recommendations may be from volunteer coordinators, directors of clubs or organizations, coaches, etc.
  • Academic recommendations may be from college faculty, high school teachers, etc.

Portfolios are personal demonstrations of your creative skills and abilities to date. It can include examples from courses, work experience, and any of your interests and achievements. The portfolio should reveal your creative interests. The admissions committee examines each portfolio in assessing creative capacities. Here is your chance to show what is unique about you. People often include freehand drawings, graphics, photography, images of three-dimensional work, posters, invitations, poetry, and creative and expository writings. The list is really endless, but the material provided should focus on your creative capacity and willingness to explore and communicate through the media of your choosing. We require a physical portfolio for the BLA application and an online submittal for MLA.

This is an important part of the application that the committee uses to understand your personal and professional motives and goals. In 1-3 pages, explain your reasons for wishing to pursue a career as a landscape architect, and why you are interested in pursuing your education at the University of Washington. Provide a coherent and personable introduction to yourself, your motives, achievements and aspirations. Describe what benefit you think you would bring to the program and the profession while addressing how the curriculum, vision, and mission of this department will support your career goals and objectives.

Your Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores only stay in the database for five years. If you already have a graduate degree, the GRE is not required with your application. The GRE is only part of the MLA Admissions process. While your scores should be competitive, the admissions committee also takes into consideration your work experience, transcripts, statement of interest, letters of recommendation and portfolio.

The University of Washington no longer accepts IELTS scores. International students are required to submit TOEFL scores (except applicants from English speaking countries). The test scores must be less than two years old. Be sure and check the University of Washington’s website for required TOEFL test scores. Applicants need to provide the department with a photocopy of your GRE and TOEFL scores. The department requires these unofficial scores as official scores are commonly backlogged in the University system during the admissions period.

International students may be required to fulfill the English language proficiency requirement by taking Academic English Program courses. Students will find these courses listed on the UW time schedule. Go to the current Quarter and then English Department. They will be listed as ENG 102, 103, and 104. The Academic English Program will give you information about the UW English language proficiency requirements for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as registration information. The course fee will appear on your University account.

The department requires one official transcript from each college or university you have attended. This includes community colleges, extension courses, and foreign studies. If foreign studies were included on your domestic university transcript, include that information in your application.

If admitted into the program, the Graduate School will need one copy of official transcripts from those schools that have granted you a Bachelor’s or higher degree. The transcripts sent to both the Department and to the Graduate School should be sent in a sealed envelope, bearing the Registrar’s seal. International students need to submit to the University of Washington’s Undergraduate or Graduate School, one official sealed copy of a transcript from each university or college they attended, at the time they apply to the University. Undergraduate students should go to the undergraduate admissions to obtain instructions on applying to the University.

Mail one copy of your official transcripts to the department:

University of Washington
Department of Landscape Architecture
348 Gould Hall, Box 355734
Attn:  Graduate Admissions
Seattle, Washington 98195-5734 USA

If accepted, have one copy of your official transcripts mailed to the Graduate School:

Standard postal mail:

University of Washington
Graduate Enrollment Management Services
Box 353770
Seattle, Washington 98195-3770

Express or courier service (FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc.)

University of Washington
Graduate Enrollment Management Services
G-1 Communications
4109 Stevens Way
Seattle, Washington  98195-3770
Telephone:  206-685-2630

No. Both the BLA and MLA are competitive programs and there is a once-a-year application process and starting time. The admissions process takes about three months for each program. The required studios are offered sequentially, starting Autumn Quarter. There are classes students can be taking ahead of time, either as a matriculated or non-matriculated student.

A committee of faculty and advanced students are assembled each year to assess applications Acceptance rates vary each year and are always competitive. You should submit the best application you can, having chosen the program to which you want to be admitted.

You are always welcome to try more than once, as you may have taken more classes, gained work experience, or simply provide a more polished application in a subsequent year. If not accepted with your initial application, you may continue to take courses that would count towards a BLA or MLA degree and try again later.

If not accepted, undergraduates may work toward our Urban Ecological Design Minor. Some students declare a major in a less competitive degree and continue to take a few classes in Landscape Architecture, improve their application, and then reapply.  It is easier to obtain a double Bachelor’s degree than to finish one Bachelor’s degree and try to re-enter the UW as a post-baccalaureate. Only a few post-baccalaureates are accepted into the University each year.

No, but your general area of interest should be consistent with the department focus on Urban Ecological Design. Some students do enter the MLA program knowing their specific area of interest and retain this interest throughout the program. Some students change their area of interest once they start taking classes. Some students enter the program without a specific area of interest and develop one during the first two years of studio and coursework. MLA students should be open to considering thesis topics during their first two years in the program, gradually focusing in on their specific thesis topic. Consultation with department faculty, to find an area of shared interest, is an integral part of this process.

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