Information Sessions for 2022 MLA Applicants: Click here to learn more.

We understand that it can be daunting to determine how to cover the expenses of a degree. We do our best to put you in touch with financial resources that will help you pursue your degree.

Departmental Sources of Funding

Through the great generosity of alumni and friends, our department is able to offer a variety of fellowships, scholarships, and prizes on a competitive basis to the most qualified undergraduate and graduate students. These much appreciated gifts make it possible for students to pursue education in landscape architecture, to travel, and to undertake exploratory research.

Opportunities for merit-based financial aid for graduate students include fellowships and assistantships that provide tuition and partial fee waivers.  Teaching and Research Assistantships (full tuition waiver, partial fee waiver, and salary) are available to MLA and PhD students with the experience needed to perform specific research or teaching tasks. These assistantships are employment contracts between a student and the Department or an individual faculty member, and are usually awarded on a one-semester basis.

Below is a list of some of the awards our department offers.

For BLA, MLA, or PhD students

  • Diffenbaugh Trust Fund Fellowships for legal residents (past or present) of the State of Missouri
  • The Fiel Fellowship, the Pauline Kennedy Prize, and the Edward L. Ryerson Fellowship to support travel and study inside and outside of the United States and for thesis fieldwork

For BLA students

  • Natalie B. Alpert award for best history/theory paper and/or landscape design (up to $1000)
  • The Dan Ryan Prize for outstanding graphic skills and a willingness to help others, awarded to a student in the second semester of core BLA classes ($500)
  • The Gary Kesler Prize for excellence in LA 342 – Site Engineering ($500) honors beloved emeritus faculty member Gary B. Kesler (RLA, FASLA, FCELA), who taught in the Department of Landscape Architecture from 1980 to 2008 and served in a wide range of leadership roles, including BLA Program Coordinator, Associate Head, Interim Department Head, and Director of the East St. Louis Action Research Project.
  • The Bruce Borland Golf Course Design Scholarship for students demonstrating a passion for golf and golf course design, financial need, and a high GPA ($1000)
  • Mrs. Brenton Wadsworth Business Internship Scholarship for outstanding performance in the professional internship ($500-$1000)

For MLA students

  • The Creative and Performing Arts Fellowship (full tuition and partial fee waiver, plus a stipend of $6,000 – one semester only) is awarded competitively to an incoming MLA student based on creative achievements.
  • The Kluesing Fellowship (full tuition and partial fee waiver, plus academic year stipend of $10,000) is given by the Department in memory of Cherie Kluesing, a former graduate student and faculty member. The fellowship is intended to further her aspirations, namely the creative integration of fine arts in landscape design. MLA applicants interested in being considered for this important opportunity must submit a statement of interest (approx. 300 words) explaining the relevance of their background and interests to the intent of the fellowship. The portfolio and reference letters are also particularly important and must indicate extraordinary creative achievements. One fellowship may be awarded annually for up to three consecutive years of study (contingent upon progress toward completion of degree).

For PhD students

  • The Vincent Bellafiore Fellowship honors the memory of Vince Bellafiore (1943-2014), who served as Head of the Department of Landscape Architecture from 1985 to 2000. A distinguished leader in the profession and education alike, Vince served as president of both the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). He was made a Fellow of ASLA in 1989 and was awarded the ASLA President’s medal in 1993. The fellowship provides support for one full year of study, including tuition, most fees, and a stipend of approximately $12,000.
  • The Debra L. Mitchell research fellowship, which includes tuition and a stipend of $12,000, for an incoming student who wishes to conduct research in landscape history of the Islamic world or the Mediterranean, using humanities methodology.

Applying for Departmental Funding

Prospective students:  When you apply for admission to one of our programs, your application is automatically reviewed for all departmental awards except for the Kluesing Fellowship (MLA), as note above. You do not need to do anything extra – just submit your application, and you will be considered for these scholarships. Admitted students will be notified of any additional financial support offers through the admissions process.

Continuing students: While the department may nominate you for some awards, other awards will require a competitive application process. Students will receive announcements and calls for proposals for awards throughout the course of the academic year. Information sessions are also conducted to provide an overview and answer questions.

More information about these funding opportunities can be found in our BLA Handbook and our  MLA Handbook.

University- and College-Based Sources of Funding

Merit and need-based funding is available from the University and the Graduate College.

For undergraduate students, the Office of Student Financial Aid provides a wealth of information about sources of funding.

For graduate students, the Graduate College provides support and resources for students seeking financial help: Financial Aid (including a Fellowship Finder) and Financial Assistance.

The Graduate College also offers various fellowships to support University of Illinois graduate students. Students do not apply directly for these awards. Instead, departments submit nominations according to the competition schedule set by the Graduate College. Students wishing to be nominated for these awards should contact the Chair of their program—MLA or Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture—for details.

Graduate College Major Awards: Doctoral-Level

Illinois Distinguished Fellowships

Doctoral recruitment fellowships for the University’s top incoming students.

Graduate College Fellowships for Underrepresented Students

Doctoral recruitment fellowships for the University’s top incoming URM students. 

Distinguished Graduate Fellowships in the Humanities & Arts

Doctoral recruitment fellowships for the University’s top incoming students in select humanities and fine arts programs. 

Aspire Fellowships or Underrepresented Students

Doctoral recruitment fellowships for participants in the Graduate College’s Aspire Early Application & Campus Visit program.

Travel Grants for Dissertation Research

Grants for students who need to travel off-campus to conduct dissertation research. 

Dissertation Completion Fellowships

Fellowships supporting doctoral students as they finalize their dissertations. 

Graduate College Major Awards: Master’s-Level

Graduate College Master’s Fellowships for Underrepresented Students

Master’s recruitment fellowships for the University’s top incoming URM students.

Aspire Master’s Fellowships for Underrepresented Students

Master’s level recruitment fellowships for participants in the Graduate College’s Aspire Early Application & Campus Visit program.

Travel Grants for Master’s Projects

Grants for students who need to travel off-campus to complete a master’s project. 

Specialized Awards: Master’s and Doctoral Levels

Conference Travel Awards

Small grants supporting students traveling to professional conferences to present papers, posters, or other creative work. 

Sloan Scholarships

Professional-development awards for underrepresented students in select STEM fields. 

Diffenbaugh Fellowships

Fellowships supporting students from Missouri. 

Marion Morse Wood Fellowships

Fellowships supporting research in interpersonal communication. 

Dewson Fellowships

Fellowships for underrepresented students facing acute and unexpected financial distress. 

Emergency Grants

Small grants for students facing acute and unexpected financial distress.