The effect of the combined action of hot work and heat treatment on the microstructure and mechanical properties of a Mg-2Gd-Nd-0.4Zn-0.3Zr (wt. %) (E21) alloy was investigated. Results showed that the solution treatment time of the ingot played a great effect on the mechanical properties of the extruded alloy. With solution treating time of the ingot increasing, the tensile strength of the extruded alloy decreased gradually, but the elongation increased greatly. The best combination of strength and ductility was achieved for the extruded alloy after the ingot solution treated at 520°C for 3 h, extrusion at 400°C and aging at 200°C for 16 h, namely ultimate tensile strength = 331MPa and elongation = 7.1%.