MLA Program Public Information
The Master of Landscape Architecture Program at the City College of New York’s Bernard & Anne Spitzer School of Architecture is fully accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board. In order to help potential students make informed decisions, we are pleased to share here public information.
Landscape architecture plays an essential role in connecting justice to environmental design and the ecological infrastructures of the urban realm. The mission of the Master of Landscape Architecture Program at the Spitzer School of Architecture, City College of New York, is to prepare students to be leaders in the field of landscape architecture through innovative research and practice in urban ecological design, planning, and policymaking. The program aims to reimagine and rethink the profession’s current and future challenges through the lens of social, environmental, and multi-species justice, including rapid urbanization, resource extraction and management, the interface of nature and technology, ongoing species extinctions, and the climate emergency. The curriculum engages critical thinking about complex and indeterminate systems, empowering students to implement actionable change across multiple scales of the urban landscape.
Public Information Policy
Programs accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) are required to accurately disclose reliable information and program metrics to the public. The City College of New York’s Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) program reports annually on the program’s accreditation status, cost of attendance, and basic student metrics on enrollment, retention, and graduation. We hope this information helps potential students make informed application decisions.
Accreditation and Licensure
Programs leading to first professional degrees at the bachelor’s or master’s levels in the United States are eligible to apply for accreditation from the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB). LAAB is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the official accrediting body for first professional degree programs in landscape architecture. LAAB is a member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA). The Master of Landscape Architecture program at the City College of New York is accredited by LAAB. City College has had a fully accredited MLA degree program since Spring 2009. The most recent accreditation review was in Spring 2022, and the next accreditation review is scheduled for Spring 2028. In accordance with the Higher Education Act, we confirm that our Master of Landscape Architecture program at the City College of New York meets the educational requirements for licensure eligibility in all U.S. states. For more information about LAAB, see https://www.asla.org/accreditationlaab.aspx.
With a LAAB-accredited degree, MLA program graduates can pursue becoming licensed landscape architects; there are also experience and examination requirements. In the United States, licensure is regulated by individual states. For more information about licensure requirements, see https://www.asla.org/licensure.aspx and http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/larch/larchlic.htm.
Annual Cost of Attendance
MLA Annual Tuition and Fees
|2023-2024 Rates||New York State Resident||Non-NYS Resident|
|Annual Tuition (15 credits per semester x 2 semesters)||$12,970.00||$28,350.00|
|Academic Excellence Fee (SSA)||$1000.00||$1000.00|
|City College Graduate Studio and Materials Fees||$360.00||$440.00|
|City College Student Senate and Activity Fees||$31.90||$31.90|
|CUNY Technology and Consolidated Fees||$280.00||$280.00|
|Total Annual Tuition and Fees||$14,641.90||$30,101.90|
Note: Students are billed on a per-semester basis. For per-semester City College of New York MLA tuition and fees, see the graduate architecture listing on the CCNY Bursar’s website, https://www.ccny.cuny.edu/bursar/tuition-and-fee-information.
Housing costs in New York City vary widely by neighborhood. The Director of Graduate Student Affairs organizes a webinar each summer for new and continuing students alike to share advice about apartment-hunting and identify potential roommates.
Material costs may vary; however, the program strives to keep supply costs for coursework reasonable and funds materials wherever possible. A laptop capable of running graphic programs is the largest student expense and is required of all MLA students. Most software licenses are provided free of charge to enrolled students through their student login accounts. Students also have access to supplementary computer workstations at various locations on the City College campus, including two computer labs at the Spitzer School of Architecture and multiple shared workstations located in the three MLA studio spaces. The college espouses accessibility through Open Educational Resources and Zero Textbook initiatives; many course listings carry a “Zero Textbook Cost” or “Low Textbook Cost” attribute in the student information system.
Supplemental and Experiential Learning Opportunities
Many of our MLA program courses provide opportunities to collaborate with local and national governmental and nongovernmental organizations. These collaborative opportunities are always provided free of charge. Required field trips for studios, whether in New York City or farther afield — either domestic or international — are always subsidized fully by the Spitzer School of Architecture or the MLA program budget.
Financial Support Initiatives
The City College of New York is committed to providing high quality, affordable education. The Spitzer School’s graduate tuition is among the lowest of all design schools in the country. The Master of Landscape Architecture program has numerous policies, initiatives, and programs in place to reduce the cost of attendance. Federal financial aid for graduate studies is available for most students via the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) process, and all eligible students are encouraged to apply. For more information, see https://www.ccny.cuny.edu/financialaid/graduate-financial-aid and https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa.
Additionally, the MLA program has dedicated scholarships for students that may cover all or a portion of a student’s tuition. These include the Bernard and Anne Spitzer Tuition Scholarships (awarded annually by the MLA program director), the ASLA New York Chapter Diversity Scholarship (awarded to an incoming MLA student by application), the Frederic Bainnson Memorial Scholarship (given to a high-achieving MLA student), and the Hollander Design Fellowship (awarded to an entering MLA student by application and providing significant funding for all three years of study). Hardship funding is also available from both the Spitzer School of Architecture and City College in special cases.
Many external scholarships are available to MLA students; recent scholarships received by our students include the Landscape Architecture Foundation ASLA New York Equitable Public Urban Space Scholarship, the Landscape Architecture Foundation Honor Scholarship for Inclusive Community Design, the AIA Center for Architecture Design Scholarship, the Professional Women in Construction Scholarship, the New York Women Executives (WX) in Real Estate Scholarship, the Abbey Duncan Brownfield Scholarship, and the Long Island Nursery and Landscape Association Scholarship. The Architecture Library tracks and promotes scholarship opportunities, as does the student club, ASLAS.
Paid positions as College Assistants are also available to selected MLA students for faculty research assistance, teaching assistance, and program administrative assistance. Positions as library assistants and shop technicians are also available. College Assistants work at the school and are employees of the City College of New York; current hourly pay is $20/hour.
Program Size, Student Retention, and Graduation Rates
Our small, individually focused MLA program boasts a highly desirable faculty-to-student ratio. Spitzer School of Architecture faculty members and a dedicated graduate student advisor mentor and support our students, monitoring both academic performance and holistic well-being, as well as ensuring timely graduation. In recent years, the size of each matriculating class has varied between 10 and 18 students, with an average overall program size of 30 to 45 students across all three years of the program.
Attrition rates in the MLA program vary from 10% to 20% per year, and attrition generally occurs in the first year of the program. The most common reasons for withdrawal are a modification of degree objectives, financial constraints, or personal/family circumstances. Those students who are unable to complete an academic year are permitted to return the following year without reapplying.
MLA Student Retention Rates
|Start Term||Students Continuing into Second Year||Students Continuing from Second Year to Timely Graduation|
Timely graduation is defined as completion of a master’s degree within four years; however, almost all of our students complete their MLA degree in three years. Enrollment figures are based on MLA student enrollment at the start of the term in question. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 5%.
MLA Program Graduates
|2022-2023 (Class of 2023)||12|
|2021-2022 (Class of 2022)||7|
|2020-2021 (Class of 2021)||12|
|2019-2020 (Class of 2020)||8|
|2018-2019 (Class of 2019)||12|
|2017-2018 (Class of 2018)||13|
|2016-2017 (Class of 2017)||14|
Graduation tallies are counted based on calendar years.
Approximately 90 percent of our recent graduates have found employment in the field of landscape architecture within six months of graduating. A 2021-22 comprehensive survey of all of our MLA alumni since the first graduating class of 2008 — with over 130 respondents from a total graduate alumni pool of 164 graduates — indicates that over 80 percent of our alumni currently work in the profession of landscape architecture. Approximately 60 percent of our alumni work in the private sector, 30 percent work in the public sector, and 5 percent are in academia.
At the City College of New York, per CUNY regulations, full-time faculty members of the Spitzer School of Architecture must hold either a professional license or a PhD in their field of expertise as a minimum requirement for appointment.
During the 2022–2023 academic year, the Master of Landscape Architecture program has 15 faculty members teaching as full-time or part-time members of the Master of Landscape Architecture program faculty. All three of our full-time, tenured/tenure-track MLA program faculty members hold accredited professional degrees in landscape architecture; two of these three hold professional licenses in landscape architecture; one of these also holds a professional license in architecture; and one holds a PhD in constructed environments. Of our twelve part-time MLA Program faculty members, six hold professional licenses in landscape architecture, two are currently pursing licensure, and four hold PhDs or are PhD candidates in their respective disciplines, including landscape architecture, social sciences, and civil engineering.
Over 50 percent of our combined full-time and part-time MLA program faculty are licensed as landscape architects.
MLA Program Advisory Board Members
Adrian Benepe, Hon. ASLA
President and CEO, Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Vanessa Bezemer Sellers, PhD
Director of the Humanities Institute, New York Botanical Garden
Charles Cross, ASLA
Director, Detroit Collaborative Design Center, CCNY BSLA 2005
Edmund Hollander, FASLA
President, Hollander Design Landscape Architects
Mary Margaret Jones, FASLA
President, Hargreaves Jones Landscape Architects
Signe Nielsen, FASLA
Principal, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, CCNY BSLA 1975
Christopher Syrett, ASLA
Brooklyn Capital, NYC Parks Department, CCNY MLA 2008