Who should apply?

Conway students come from very diverse backgrounds, encompass a wide age range, and bring a passionate commitment to sustainable design. There is no prerequisite field of study.  However, applicants should show ability to perform basic mathematical calculations and to achieve, after instruction, competent design expression through drawings and presentations. Good writing skills are also required. Since the program involves a great deal of public speaking, applicants must be fluent in English.

Entering Conway students must show capability to work in an accelerated program by documenting maturity and success in both academic and work situations. Conway will occasionally accept a student without a bachelor’s degree, based on their experience and demonstration of skills and key competencies. 

Conway attracts self-directed learners who learn best in an applied program structured around real projects at a range of scales. Our collaborative and rigorous curriculum requires highly motivated students who are willing to engage in team work, have a profound respect for the natural world and the human beings who inhabit it, and are eager to put their personal values into positive action during the school year and afterward.

There are no part-time students for Conway’s MSED; those who attend must be able to immerse themselves fully. Our concentrated graduate degree is very attractive to those with backgrounds in the natural sciences who want to work in landscape restoration, and to those who are practicing architects, planners, and engineers who want to design more sensitively with the land.

The Conway School is a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-Certified School, and therefore is authorized to accept international students. Learn more about applying to SEVP-Certified Schools here: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/.

The Conway School welcomes applications from military veterans and military-connected students.  We are committed to making our program accessible for veterans and their dependents.  Conway works with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide one-on-one assistance to student veterans concerning GI Bill benefits, as well as other financial aid benefits and needs. See the Veterans section of the Tuition + Financial Aid page and contact us for more information.  We look forward to helping you understand and maximize your veterans benefits.

How to apply

Because of the intimate scale and intensive nature of the Conway program, the application procedure requires a substantial commitment of time from both the applicant and school staff.

Your application must include:

  • The application form and written responses to seven short essay questions;
  • Official academic transcripts from all previous institutions of higher learning;
  • Two letters of reference; and
  • Current resume.

You may include a design portfolio, but that is optional. Conway will schedule a personal interview with faculty once the application is complete.

Our application form can be filled out online and submitted by email.

The Conway School does not require or accept GRE scores or other standardized testing scores. Conway decided to eliminate application fees beginning with applicants for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Conway School hopes that this will open our admissions process to a broader pool of prospective students, particularly those with limited financial means.

When to apply

Important note for 2020-2021: In light of the risks of COVID-19 and our commitment to the well-being of students and employees and to the integrity of the MSED degree, we have, with input of the most recently graduated class and admitted students, determined that the best strategy for Conway is to temporarily extend the degree program over two years. For the first ten months of the program (from September 2020 through June 2020), enrolled students can choose to take an elective online course that will help prepare them for the second ten months of the program (from September 2021 through June 2022). This second year will follow our typical curriculum. Please take a moment to read the full update. If you are interested in joining the Class of 2022, we will begin reviewing applications in October 2020. We will review applications on an ongoing basis, maintain a waitlist, and offer places in the class as they become available. We strongly recommend that you submit an application as soon as possible.

We encourage prospective applicants to learn more about the school, either during a scheduled information session or at another time, before taking the time to complete the written application. We are happy to provide opportunities to talk with students and alums, review student work, speak with faculty and learn about school philosophy and operations. Interviews may be scheduled subsequently.

Notification of acceptance

After the interview, Conway will notify the applicant of the admissions decision. If an application is received after the class is filled, the application can be applied to the following academic year.

Once accepted, we send an enrollment agreement to be signed by the prospective student. This agreement, accompanied by a $750 deposit, admits the applicant to full participation in the activities of the school for the school year. The academic term begins the day after Labor Day, and classes are held through late June (with the exception of a two-week winter break and a two-week spring break). Students must complete all academic and project work before graduation.

Equal Opportunity

Foreign students add significantly to our learning community. In recent years, we have welcomed students from Norway, Morocco, Canada, Mexico, Chile, and Panama. Because our project-driven program emphasizes communication as well as technical studies, and requires frequent public speaking and extensive writing, students must be fluent in idiomatic English. Therefore, in addition to the standard admission procedure, TOEFL scores may be required.

The Conway School of Landscape Design, Inc., a Massachusetts non-profit corporation organized under Chapter 180 of the General Laws, is a graduate school of ecological design. As an equal opportunity institution, we do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, marital or veteran status in the administration of educational, admissions, employment, or loan policies, or in any other school-administered program.

Diversity Statistics

For FY19, the student body was 85% female, employees 64%, and trustees 46%.  Over the past 10 years, 65% of the students have identified as female (of 149); 59% of employees, and 38% of trustees.  However, representation of the global majority over the same decade is low: merely 9% of students; 7% of employees; and 2% of trustees.  Having identified the need and the challenge, the Conway School is establishing a working group to develop actionable plans to increase equity and diversity at Conway, undertake equity training for employees and trustees, and provide scholarships for students of color.