Welcome Landscape Architecture Students

Admitted Landscape Architecture students, welcome and congratulations! This section contains information to help you prepare for the MLA program. First, you are encouraged to attend the Weitzman School Open House on Monday, April 8. There you will have the opportunity to meet faculty and students, tour the facilities, and experience first-hand the unique culture at Weitzman School. If you can’t make it to Philadelphia for Open House, please contact Abe Roisman (aroisman@design.upenn.edu) to arrange a visit at another time.

The MLA at a Glance

Our educational philosophy and mission is to cultivate future leaders, to develop critical thinkers and to produce the world’s best designers. We consistently hear from senior industry representatives that graduating Weitzman School students have the best design folios and the most comprehensive skill sets. And, responding to the national survey conducted by DesignIntelligence, over 90% of Penn’s landscape students consistently evaluate their education as “excellent.”  

As a student in the Department of Landscape Archtecture, you join the extraordinary legacy set by the field’s most important figures: Ian McHarg, Laurie Olin, Anne Whiston-Spirn, John Dixon HuntAnu Mathur, and James Corner. This legacy motivates Penn faculty and students to be critical and experimental like no other school. Richard Weller, the chair of Landscape Architecture, is a devoted teacher with a background in both professional practice and academia and is dedicated to maintaining the world’s leading landscape architecture program. Read more about the 100-year story of landscape architecture at Penn in Transects
Our curriculum is organized so that subjects in the three streams of media, theory, and workshop all support the centerpiece of the design studio in a coherent way. Everything is designed to relate to the design studio, which in turn makes the quality of design produced in the studio stronger. We also have new subjects in urban ecology, the history and theory of ideas of nature, contemporary urbanism, cutting edge computation, detailed design, leadership, and publishing, as well as the fast-emerging area of resilience in relation to climate change. Our annual publication Process summarize the curriculum and the results of our studios. 
Weitzman School is the only landscape architecture program in the world to publish two professional journals, LA+ and Scenario, produced by faculty and students, and the program serves as the host and originator for some of the most important events in the global landscape architecture calendar, such as the recent Summit on landscape architecture resulting in the New Landscape Declaration. We are now planning a range of events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ian McHarg’s magnum opus Design With Nature in 2019.

Important Dates

Mon, April 8 Weitzman School Open House
Mon, July 29 First day of Summer Institute for 3-year MLA I students
Mon, August 5 Landscape Architecture Welcome Session for 3-year MLA I and 2-year MLA II students
Mon, August 5 First day of Summer Institute for 2-year MLA II students
Fri, August 23 Weitzman School New Student Orientation
Mon, August 26 Landscape Architecture Orientaion; Weitzman School Convocation & Happy Hour
Tues, August 27 First day of fall classes


Summer Institute

The MLA I and MLA II Summer Institutes each comprise a series of week-long, non-credit courses aimed at preparing incoming MLA students with the necessary skills to "hit the ground running" in their respective programs. All incoming MLA students are required to participate in Summer Institute prior to the start of the fall semester. Summer Institute begins Monday, July 29 for 3-year MLA I students* and Monday, August 5 for 2-year MLA II students. The courses meet every weekday from approximately 9am to 5pm.

Summer Institute Course Descriptions

Summer Institute for entering 3-year MLA I students:
M-F, Jul 29 - Aug 2, 9am-5pm LARP 789-901: Introduction to Design Language*
M-F, Aug 5-9, 8am-5pm LARP 790-901: Natural Systems for 3yr Students
M-F, Aug 12-16, 9am-5pm LARP 791-901: Landscape Operations
M-Th, Aug 19-22, 9am-5pm LARP 792-901: Introduction to Digital Media
Summer Institute for entering 2-year MLA II students:
M-F, Aug 5-9, 9am-5pm LARP 793-901: Landform & Grading Workshop
M-F, Aug 12-16, 8am-5pm LARP 794-901: Natural Systems for 2yr Students
M-Th, Aug 19-22, 9am-6:30pm LARP 795-901: Weitzman School Computing Intro

*LARP 789-901: Introduction to Design Language is required for students who do not have a background in landscape or architectural design. Those with a background in design will be waived from this requirement and should plan to begin Summer Institute on Monday, August 5.

Summer Institute Registration

Registration for Summer Institutue courses is by permit only. Permits will be issued to all incoming students by early summer and further enrollment instruction will be provided at that time. Please contact the department at landarch@design.upenn.edu with any questions.

Summer Institute Billing

The course fee for each one-week Summer Institute session is $500. Fees for Summer Institute sessions will be applied to student’s accounts on the first day of the course.  Students will receive an email confirmation from the Office of Student Services when the charge(s) have been applied to their account.  The charges will be visible to students under “new activity” in the Penn.Pay system.  The fee will be due during the next scheduled billing cycle.  Student Financial Services billing schedule is available online at: http://www.sfs.upenn.edu/billing/billing-schedule.htm.  Questions regarding billing for summer institute coursework should be directed to the Weitzman School Office of Student Services at: registrar@design.upenn.edu.

Fall Registration

Fall registration is open April 10 through Sunday, June 23, 2019, at which time registration will close temporarily to accommodate incoming freshman. Registration will reopen Saturday, July 20 and will remain open through the course add/drop deadline Monday, September 19, 2019. Students are able to logon to Penn in Touch and select courses during these open registration periods. Fall registration information for incoming students is available below. Please contact the department at landarch@design.upenn.edu with any questions.

Fall & Summer Registration for 3 year MLA I Students
Fall & Summer Registration for 2 year MLA II Students

International Students

International students on F-1 or J-1 visas are required to check in with International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS). The check-in process includes an online tutorial, online arrival form, and an in-person document check upon your arrival into the US. Please plan to arrive in Philadelphia at least one business day before the start of Summer Institute to complete the in-person check-in. You are encouraged to make an appointment in advance.

Please visit the ISSS webpage for detailed information on Mandatory New Student Check-In Requirements.

Safe Driver Training

Penn Landscape students participate in a number of exciting field trips each year and to insure the safety of all students during their travels, Penn requires that students who drive a university vehicle or rental vehicle during any school-related trip must complete Penn's online driver's safety training. Log in to Knowledge Link with your PennKey and password, search for "Driver Safety Training for Van Drivers" in the "Find Learning" field and complete the nine-module course (it will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete). Please notify Abe Roisman (aroisman@design.upenn.edu) once you have completed the training so that we may confirm your results have been received by the Office of Risk Management. Please also submit a scanned copy of your driver's license and your cell phone number for our records.

Computer Guidelines

Incoming MLA students are required to buy or bring a computer for your time as a student at Weitzman School. Please see the Computer Purchasing Guidelines provided by Weitzman School IT. Specific guidelines for 2019 will be posted in early summer.

Get to Know Us Better

Please visit the Get to Know Us page on the Admissions website to view the profiles of current students and recent alumni. For a current student/recent alumni contact list, please contact Abe Roisman (aroisman@design.upenn.edu).

Learn more about the faculty in the Department of Landscape Architecture on our People page.

Read about our publications and view student work in our annual Landscapes in Process catalog.