Landscape Architecture with Conversion - MA
- Level: Postgraduate Taught
- Starting: September 2021
- Study mode: Full Time (note: conversion year is one day per week)
- Location: City Centre
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
If you don't have a degree in Landscape Architecture, this MA in Landscape Architecture with a conversion year offers an opportunity to take the first steps in becoming a Chartered member of the Landscape Institute.
Note: If you do hold a degree in Landscape Architecture then please view our one-year MA in Landscape Architecture option.
This two year course has two stages. Stage one covers the foundation modules in the first year. In the second year you will be joining students who have an accredited degree in Landscape Architecture.
This conversion course structured so that year one is a foundation course. It introduces you to design skills and techniques used to respond to the project briefs and year two of the course you will join with students who have an accredited degree in Landscape Architecture.
The course promotes solutions to environmental and community problems in a creative studio environment. The project profiles provide an opportunity to work closely with Landscape Institute policy and demonstrate the authority of Landscape Architecture as a design tool that reshapes our designed ecologies and designed geographies across the full range of scales.
What's covered in the course?
This course is designed for students who want a career in landscape architecture and want to shape the world in which we live. You will have a belief and passion to use landscape architecture as a design tool to make new environments for work, play and habitation.
This MA Landscape Architecture course incorporates a conversion course in year one, providing a foundation programme that enables applicants who don’t have a degree in Landscape Architecture an opportunity to enter year two of the programme, where you will join students who have previously completed a degree in Landscape Architecture. The conversion year is a studio based learning environment that delivers a combination of key skills that support the communication of projects, investigating the idea that our laboratory is a designed ecology and that you will learn about the landscape across its range of scales. The second part of the year looks at the idea that landscape is a sequence of interrelated designed environments connected by land, ecology, water, climate and infrastructure, sitting in a cultural context that extends from Parish to global political and economic systems.
The second year extends the studio as a studio of the mind, promoting an environment that encourages exploration and investigation. There is a strong emphasis on research that underpins new frontiers of the designed environment. Students will work on research-led design projects relating to well-being, the design process, designed ecologies and climate change, settlement design, food security and large scale infrastructure schemes like High Speed 2 (HS2) and flood alleviation.
Why Choose Us?
- Landscape Architecture shares a fantastic design culture inspired by leading practitioners and internationally renowned academics, and together with the students create a rich and unique learning experience.
- Birmingham School of Architecture is distinctive in the way that it embraces transdisciplinary experiences through the Design Experimental Sustainability Studio where environmental issues, sustainability and climate change are debated. Students from across the school can share ideas and practice through our learning laboratory SuperStudio.
- The course is accredited by the Landscape Institute, providing you with a secure pathway to become a Chartered member of the Landscape Institute. The Landscape Institute Professional Review Group assesses the quality of the course on an annual basis to ensure it is designed to meet the current needs of the profession.
- To ensure the academic rigour and creative flair is maintained the course is reviewed annually by External Examiners from practice and academia.
- We draw on our excellent links and extensive network of local, regional and national practices and employers to support you to find your career path.
- Our flexible learning ensures you can find a study mode that suits your personal life and existing commitments. Our conversion course allows you to spread your Year 2 modules over 2 academic years.
- Our modules, including our new Design for Climate Change module, provide a fascinating forum for innovation and exploration of new sustainable approaches to respond to climate change emergency, biodiversity loss and designing resilient places and communities. This course is ideally placed to develop employability skills that will position you at the forefront of these subjects.
- The innovative Co.Lab module provides an opportunity to explore the complex nature and the challenges of being a landscape architect. Live design briefs provide a range of challenges arising from collaborative partnership working on design for real learning scenarios with Co.Lab clients.
- You’ll develop high level design processes skills through process-led narratives using industry standard visual communication which include model making and 3D printing, digital design, virtual reality, GIS, visualisation and rendering, and drawing.
- We have a long tradition of high-level research with a number of landscape architects and alumni who have continued to study for a PhD.
- You will receive great support from our teaching team with plenty of 1:1 tutorials and low student/staff ratios ensuring that you get plenty of time to take your ideas to the next level.
Our Open Day for this course will take place in Spring 2021. Register now and we will contact you when the booking form goes live.
This course is open to International students
Read our Annual Review
Concerns is an annual publication by Birmingham School of Architecture and Design. In this issue, you can view final year student work and read more about the activities within the School.
New £11,222 postgraduate loans
You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £11,222 available for postgraduate study.
This course is accredited by:
Entry to year 1 (Conversion Course): Minimum Lower Second-Class degree (2:2).
International students must meet all the Border Agency entry criteria for the programme.
Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.
- UK students
- International students
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 2 years (3 year option available - see below*)
- £6,600 per year
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 2 years
- £13,200 per year
If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.
*Conversion route options and fees
You will have the option to study the Master’s element either full time or part time following discussion with the Course Director.
Option 1: Conversion plus MA over 2 years
Attendance is one day per week in year one, and two days per week in year two.
Option 2: Conversion plus MA over 3 years
Attendance is one day per week over three years. You would pay the full time fee for year 1 and the part time fee in years 2 and 3. The part time fee is 50% of the full time fee.
Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.
Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Your passion and motivations
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
Why this course?
Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.
What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?
Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.
Relevant academic or work experience
Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?
You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items.
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
Did you know that you can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £11,222 for some courses and options?
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
This module delivers a range of skills that support keys stages of the design process, it is designed to provide a foundation level of knowledge and develops techniques and abilities through experiential learning and equips you with a range of practical competencies to help you communicate your ideas through all stages of the design process.
This module introduces you to the scope, extent and diversity of the designed environment and introduces the construct that we live in a dynamic global ecology where human interventions on Earth's natural systems range in scale from the modification of Earth’s atmosphere resulting in Climate Change, remodelling of the ice caps, destruction of the rain forest, to legislation and technologies that transforms urban air quality to facilitate the establishment of urban lichen communities. ‘Our Common Future’ sets the framework for Landscape Architects to use innovation and creativity to mitigate and protect our environment. These designed ecologies provide a fascinating laboratory for Landscape Architecture students to investigate, explore and experiment with natural systems and resources using elements of nature to enhance, mitigate and improve the world we live in.
This module offers an introduction to the complex set of interactions and change that have brought about the UK Landscape. Many of the principles underlying these will also, by implication, be transferable to the study and understanding of other cultures and landscapes.
The Designed Ecologies module develops foundation principles in Landscape Design, and a vocabulary to support language of design, and provides an understanding of cultural, economic and political context of the living landscape, and interfaces with the Designed Geographies module so that on successful completion of this module the student will be able to use theoretically driven and conceptually rich design process methodologies to how Landscape Architects can shape the future.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):
The purpose of this module is to introduce the student to the contemporary issues and challenges that landscapes and the built environment are facing. This studio project consists of a number of exercises, undertaken as part of one overall project, that explore the design process by considering design as an analytical, artistic, observant and interpretative activity.
This module applies and develops the skills and knowledge developed in the design process studio to the research and analysis of detailed design, exploring how ideas can be expressed spatially and visually through the selection and design of hard and soft materials. Contributing to a research strategy that aims to move design issues in landscape architecture away from a purely technical approach towards a conceptually driven and challenging practice, the module connects into the realm of cultural and contextual issues. Increasing complexity, design skill and knowledge of the materiality of the discipline. You will investigate case studies and critically evaluate landscape as the generative influence on the spatial form of the design. Building up knowledge of different perspectives, contextual and trans-disciplinary knowledge students investigate and respond to a contemporary issue such as inclusive design.
The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities, with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. Your supervisor may set you a predetermined live project, to enable you to work with other students in a way that is appropriate to your subject area; or there may be opportunities for you to collaborate with staff on research projects. In all cases, you must apply your subject skills to a project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.
The thesis design project is a comprehensive and wide ranging project which is designed to enable you to demonstrate the standards identified in the Master’s level QAA Benchmark Statement. You will engage with the growing international debate around the need to develop new approaches to spatial design, driven by the recognition that the socio-economic benefits of adopting holistic, artistic, ecological and conceptual approaches to master planning and regeneration. This is becoming increasingly evident and are regarded as essential if we are to respond to the challenges of natural resource shortage ("peak oil", water, etc.), climate change adaptation and mitigation, unprecedented urban growth, Health and well-being and a changing economy.
This module has been designed to address the wider cultural, physical and contextual issues in order to situate design in a far broader context than personal experience and to encourage critical thinking within design theory and practice.
This module provides a range of skills and experiences using core learning activities that are designed to provide developing levels of professionalism as part of level 7 studentship and puts in place a structure that prepares you for your next stage in your career development and interface the professional context of Landscape Architects.
The majority of your studies will be assessed by coursework. We feel this best mirrors the way you'd work in the real world and so better prepares you for a career in landscape design and architecture.
The teaching approach places an emphasis on the studio format, supported by a series of lectures and workshops delivered by renowned landscape practitioners and educators from the UK and overseas. We will continue to develop our Expert Lecture series and as a guide to the quality and range of speakers, with last year’s series welcoming Claude Cormier (Canada), Andrew Charleson (New Zealand), Kim Wilkie (UK) and Noel Farrer PLI (UK).
If you haven't got a background in landscape architecture, you can build expertise and establish the fundamental design principles on the Conversion Course, introducing you to the core skills needed throughout the design process, studying plant ecologies in urban and rural ecosystems, explore how the quality of life for urban communities and commerce can be enhanced. Understand and interpret landscape culture and set the foundations for progression onto the second year of the programme (MA).
The second year promotes the studio as an environment of investigation, collaboration and experimentation. You will develop your own identity as a designer through personal research leading to a final piece of work considering how other perspectives should contribute to design decision-making. Develop and apply the skills that you have established within the studio, design exercises and analysis of design. You can extend your portfolio of skills and strengthen your CV through the Co-LAB module, developing capabilities and contextual understanding for the workplace. You will also produce a design thesis, responding to the world's shortages in resources.
You will be based in our Bauhaus inspired City Centre Campus Parkside Building and have access to industry standard facilities including digital studios, 3D design workshops, 3D printing and rapid prototyping.
We have a range of excellent resources including Eastside Park, and the Botanical Gardens on our doorsteps and regularly visit leading horticulture nurseries and Westonbirt Arboretum. The dynamic evolution of Birmingham through the implementation of the Big City Plan provides inspiration to your studies, introducing a strong example of contemporary civic space and park design and a laboratory to work and learn in.
This course is accredited by the following organisation:
The course is fully recognised and accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI), the UK national organisation for landscape professionals concerned with enhancing and conserving the environment.
Our accreditation shows employers that students graduating from our course have the levels of knowledge and skills they need. The revalidation process takes place annually by the Landscape Institute’s Professional Review Group and they look very closely at the way the course is designed to meet the requirements of today’s profession.
Anastasia Nikologianni studied the Masters in Landscape Architecture and is now doing a PhD. She said: "The University and the whole atmosphere was really good, so I really enjoyed the environment. The relationship between the tutors and the students is really good.
"Also, something that I really like and was an influential part of my decision to come to Birmingham City University initially was the links with the practices, the business world, not only in Birmingham but in the UK in general."
Enhancing your employability skills
The skillsets delivered by the course leave you are in a strong position when applying for jobs.
This is particularly supported through the Praxis module, designed to ensure you are confident at an interview. To support this further, we also have workshops on Auto-CAD, Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, helping to develop very strong portfolios that demonstrate the full range of visual communications skills.
Birmingham City University has strong links with industry and the reputation of the landscape architecture courses provides a head start for applicants. Career opportunities are extensive across the UK. Recent graduates are working for an extensive range of practices, which include:
AHR Global, Amey, Arup, Atkins Global, BEA Bradley Murphy Associates, Birmingham City Council, Camlins Associates, Capita, Define, Fira, FPCR, IDP, Land Use Consultants, Node Urban Design, Pegasus Planning, WSP Parkinson Brinkerhoff.
There is a clear structure to achieving Chartership status of the Landscape Institute. Recently employed graduate members of the profession are on the ‘Pathway to Chartership’. These are mentored roles in which ‘Licentiates’ are involved in site mapping and survey work, design development work and supporting the project team in all aspects of the design process.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Alumni stories - Nick Bunn
Nick Bunn is a Landscape Architect at Redbay Design in Torquay. He has participated in a design cherrette (an intensive design or planning session) in China and his design concepts have been exhibited in Somerset House, London.
Nick specialises in Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) services and design solutions within sensitive locations, working to reduce the impact of development.
He said: "I think it is very difficult to prepare students for the world of work but what the Landscape Architecture course at BCU did was to provide the tools and skills required for when I got there. As I was studying while working I was able to apply some of these skills immediately and directly so could appreciate that they were very relevant and effective in reality."
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
Our international students
Our international reputation, professional accreditation and outstanding graduate success rate attracts students from the UK, Europe and South East Asia.
Anastastia studied the Masters in Landscape Architecture and is now doing a PhD.
Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
Popular home countries
Our students come from around the world but our landscape architecture course is most popular with international students from:
Wei Candice wrote her MA Thesis on Rain Water Harvesting and after getting her MA she is now working for the Romboll Dreiseitl studio in Beijing. This is a new experience combining wide ranging discoveries and a highly respected design-based Masters qualification that provides a strong portfolio and confidence to progress up the career ladder.
We have good links with Malyasia and former students have developed their careers with diverse pathways. Dr. Jannah Zainal Abidin is now a Teaching Fellow supporting Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Birmingham.
We have had a long established relationship with students from Larenstein and they enjoy the fusion of theory and design processes in the way that we teach the MA Landscape Architecture programme at the School. Furthermore, the enrichment of design methodology and process provides strong, visually enhanced portfolios. Rosanne Schrijver enjoyed her spell at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design and now works at Smedsvig Landskapsarkitekter.
Robert Norris developed his international career with a successful period at Larenstein in Holland and now works for Bar Bakke Landscapsarkitektur in Norway.
When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.
You’ll be based in the multi-million pound Parkside building – part of our City Centre Campus – with technology and facilities that reflect advanced professional practice. We offer facilities which will accurately reflect the work environment you will enter after graduating. These include Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and a computer-generated Virtual Building Site, creating real life scenarios for you to work on.
While based in The Parkside Building, you will get sharpen your CAD and digital visual communication skills, prototyping and digital production, while also having access to a range of specialist software, workshops, computer and project learning laboratories, and a social learning space.
You’ll also benefit from:
- Design studios
- Computer and project laboratories
- Social learning space
- Meeting point
From industry-standard software, to our workshops and studio spaces, everything you need will be at your fingertips from day one. Working with our expert technicians, you'll be supported from concept through to completion.
Professor Kathryn Moore
Professor of Landscape Architecture
Professor of landscape architecture Kathryn Moore has published extensively on design quality, theory, education and practice. She is also President of the International Federation of Landscape Institute and past President of the Landscape Institute, UK.