Graduate: MLA

  • Are there opportunities to participate in public projects and global issues?
    Yes. Students have opportunities to design and build within the complexities of the urban environment, and to participate in studios that bring together designers, regulators, biologists, ecologists and urban planners to develop models for environmentally sound development. In recent years, the department has been involved in a master plan for a sustainable community in Costa Rica and for a new university for women in Bangladesh; water issues and urban redevelopment in Italy; urban ecological issues in India; and sustainable development issues in Ghana, West Africa and Mexico City.
  • Do environmental issues play an important role in your curriculum?
    Yes, ecological and environmental issues are integral to all studio work, from the design foundation/field ecology course to our core studio sequence.
  • Do the professional practices of your faculty shape individual teaching styles?
    Yes, they are closely connected. Some of our faculty pursue scholarly work, publish papers and attend conferences, while others are active in local and international design practices. All see teaching as a laboratory where material investigations and conceptual explorations intertwine with the current work we are researching in our studios.
  • How is RISD's program different from other MLA programs?
    We offer a very hands-on experience with a low student-teacher ratio, meaning our professors get to know students on an individual basis. This type of learning environment encourages individual growth and allows emerging designers to develop a clear understanding of their interests and focus.
  • How would you characterize a typical RISD MLA graduate?
    Our alumni are self-confident and versatile. In general, they are collaborative in spirit, open-minded, innovative in approaches to problem solving and blessed with a certain joie de vivre. Above all, we urge our students to identify themselves as creators – not merely as consumers – of culture.
  • What is the department’s relationship with Brown University?
    RISD and Brown have a cross-registration agreement that allows our students to enroll in courses ranging from language studies, engineering and the environmental sciences to urban studies, anthropology and development studies. Department faculty often involve Brown faculty in their seminar courses and studio reviews; additionally, Brown’s Scholars of the Environment, in residence at the Watson Institute for International Studies, serve as liaisons between RISD’s landscape program and the many environmental issues of the developing world.
Landscape Architecture Foreground Image 5
Steve Comstock