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KNOXVILLE — Tennesseans seeking an advanced degree in landscape architecture will no longer have to go out of state to get it.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission gave final approval today for the new Master in Landscape Architecture (MLA) program at the University of Tennessee. The program is offered jointly by the College of Architecture and Design and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Classes will begin fall 2008, and the deadline to apply is Feb. 1, 2008.

“We have realized the need to educate landscape architects in Tennessee for years and, finally, we have made it happen,” said UT architecture professor Tracy Moir-McClean, interim coordinator of the MLA program. She said it is necessary to have a consistent supply of well-trained and licensed landscape architects in the state.

Though the MLA program will be administratively housed in the College of Architecture and Design, it is cross-disciplinary in its scope of studies and in the composition of its faculty.

“This is a great marriage of expertise and knowledge between the two colleges,” said Dr. Mary Albrecht, associate dean for academic programs at the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. “There has been a commitment from both colleges to work on bringing this program to the University of Tennessee.”

Moir-McClean said the program will apply for candidacy status with the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) as soon as possible. Candidacy status signifies that the program is demonstrating reasonable progress toward earning accreditation. The program cannot be granted full accreditation until the first class graduates; however, the LAAB does consider graduates of a program that achieves accreditation from candidacy status to have graduated from an accredited program.

The program at UT offers three degrees: the Master of Landscape Architecture professional degree, the Master of Arts in Landscape Architecture and the Master of Science in Landscape Architecture. The professional Master of Landscape Architecture degree prepares students for licensure whereas the other master’s degrees are for those who want to conduct research in landscape architecture but do not seek to be registered professional practitioners.

While the vast majority of students seek the professional degree, some pursue the nonprofessional research- and design-oriented master’s degrees. Students receiving these degrees typically work in a variety of professions related to landscape architecture not requiring professional licensure, including government agencies, parks, environmental advocacy organizations and land conservancies.

No matter which degree they pursue, “the program’s graduates will help communities examine the Tennessee landscape and its protection and conservation and could ultimately help improve Tennessee’s economy,” said Albrecht.

Both Moir-McClean and Albrecht pointed to the fact that having this program will allow UT to retain talented undergraduate students. In fact, both colleges are reorganizing parts of their undergraduate programs to funnel students into the MLA program.

The colleges worked in close collaboration with the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Tennessee chapter in developing the program and had the support of the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board, the Tennessee State Board of Architectural and Engineering Examiners and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture.

For more information on the program and how to apply, please contact Tracy Moir-McClean at (865) 974-5265 or at

Tracy Moir-McClean, (865) 974-5265,
Mary Albrecht, (865) 974-7303,
Kristi Hintz, (865) 974-3993,