Landscape Architecture with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)
Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry. Switch to 2024/25 Entry
September 2023 — UCAS code K31F
Want to learn how to design the outside world? Apply for this Landscape Architecture degree course to gain real industry exposure and work on a wide range of exciting briefs. This course focuses on offering experience through practice, which will enhance your chances of securing a role after you graduate....
72 points requiredCalculate UCAS points
There are places available on this course.
Want to learn how to design the outside world? Apply for this Landscape Architecture degree course to gain real industry exposure and work on a wide range of exciting briefs. This course focuses on offering experience through practice, which will enhance your chances of securing a role after you graduate.
Landscape Architecture is the design of the world outside, as a combination of art, utility and natural systems. The aim is to create rich, positive experiences and to provide designed environments, which engage users with character and a sense of place.
Through guided exploration of personal design and research process, you will explore and unwrap many layers to reveal the unlimited storyboard of design options that our landscape presents.
About foundation courses
This four year degree course has been specifically designed to allow you to undertake additional level 3 study designed to ensure you are successful on your chosen degree.
After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree options within Birmingham School of Architecture and Design.
What's covered in this course?
Covering all aspects of landscape architecture, our course is fully recognised and accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI) and supported by a leading design team in its field.
You’ll work in a design studio culture, which mimics real-world creative practice for landscape architects and prepares you for your future career.
Experience on live local sites and project briefs in landscape studios will develop your design creativity and hone your professional practice skills. Placements and competitions will give you fantastic opportunities. There are also chances to compete for industry connected awards.
You’ll have the chance to be part of collaborative architecture and design initiatives within the School of Architecture that give you the chance to work on a diverse variety of live projects. Past examples include: explorations in timber construction in the Wyre Forest, communicating with the public about what they really want from design for Stirchley High Street in Birmingham and implementation of a viewing structure to observe wetland ecology at Henbury Ponds.
You’ll also have the opportunity to attend lectures and take part in workshops from a large variety of international and award winning professionals. Previous guest speakers have included Martha Schwartz, Andrew Grant, Andrew Wilson, Jeppe Aagard Anderson, Neil Porter, Chris Beardshaw and Kim Wilkie.
You’ll be based in our multi-million pound City Centre Campus within our Parkside Building, where you will have access to digital studios and 3D design workshops. The proximity of the newly built Eastside Park provides inspiration to your studies, introducing a strong example of contemporary civic space and park design.
This course is accredited by:
The University provides the support you need, while giving you a freedom that allows your projects to be as creative and individual… and the experience allowed me to gain employment at a landscape architect practice straight after my degree.
Why Choose Us?
- The course is fully recognised and accredited by the Landscape Institute, allowing you to work towards full UK chartered membership.
- You’ll gain real industry experience, working on a wide range of briefs, from broad strategic scale, down to detailed design for construction.
- Our connections with the region’s best landscape architecture practices give you unrivalled work experience while studying and helps you secure employment after graduation.
- 91 per cent of leavers from the School were in employment or further study, according to a recent survey.
- Birmingham School of Architecture and Design is highly respected and has a rich history of providing education and opportunities. It celebrated its centenary in 2009.
- Two-thirds of the impact of our research was judged to be very considerable (3*) or outstanding (4*) - REF2021
Talk to the Course Director
Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to meet us in person, hear from our trailblazing academics and explore our innovative £340m facilities.
Next Open Day: 30 September 2023
These entry requirements apply for entry in 2023/24.
All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
88 UCAS tariff points.
|Level 2 qualifications|
|GCSE||GCSE English Language or English Literature and GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above. If you do not have these or are not undertaking them, we accept other Level 2 equivalents, or we may ask you to pass BCU's GCSE equivalency tests.|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||See level 3 entry requirements under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details.|
|Scottish National 5||English Language or English Literature and Maths at grade C or above. If you do not have these or are not undertaking them, we accept other Level 2 equivalents, or we may ask you to pass BCU's GCSE equivalency tests.|
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) qualifications|
|A Level and Advanced VCE||
|AS and AS VCE||Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 88 pts|
|Access to HE Diploma||
|Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)||
|IBO Certificate in Higher Level||
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)||Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 88 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects.|
|OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma||MMM|
|Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher||
|UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts||Merit overall|
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Additional information for EU/International students
Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements|
6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).|
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.
Fees & How to Apply
Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2023
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £9,250 in 2023/24
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2023
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £13,980 in 2023/24
Online applications are now closed
Our Clearing hotline will open on Thursday 17 August at 8am.
0121 331 6777
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Project materials (mandatory)
This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected.
Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)
This course requires the purchase of safety equipment in order to use the workshop facilities, including safety boots at an estimated cost of £40.
Media consumable items (mandatory)
This course requires the use of consumables, including a basic 'art kit' of pens, pencils, sketchbook, craft knife/scapel, scale ruler and compass.
Specialist equipment (mandatory)
This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
Field trips (optional)
This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.
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.
Places available to start in September 2023
If you'd like to start this course full-time this September, you can apply through Clearing.
International and part-time students can apply online as normal using the links above.
Want to start in September 2024? You can apply via UCAS from September 2023.
You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.
Course in Depth
The foundation year provides an opportunity to explore the exciting world of contemporary design through various scales and develop creative solutions, encapsulating Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Interior Architecture and Design, and Product and Furniture Design.
It provides a supported learning environment to explore conceptual ideas through to detailed design, mapping and modelling and is assessed through mini design-focussed projects and a specialised final project in a chosen field.
The foundation year is ideally suited to students who need to develop their design, drawing, technical and presentations skills before entering a BA course, or for those who have not yet decided which specific design discipline or career to pursue.
This module focuses on developing the 2D design skills and techniques required to communicate and visualise design concepts around space and form. You will work on a series of mini projects using predominantly manual techniques such as freehand sketching, technical drawing, and physical model-making. You will also be introduced to some digital techniques such as Photoshop and Desktop Publishing via InDesign.
This module is designed to develop your academic skills and make the transition to degree level study. It specifically focuses on your ability to critique, reflect and verbalise your thoughts and concepts through channels such as presentations, blogs and live journals.
You will learn how to use research methods to inform your practice and have the opportunity to advance your academic writing and referencing skills.
This module is designed to give you an introduction to the design processes used by the various disciplines and includes appraisal of design briefs, understanding context, design drivers, and the development of concepts and visuals through design feasibility studies. You will begin to understand how to turn your ideas into designs and the level required to reach a professional standard.
Underpinning the practice, you will explore and discuss fundamental concepts, particularly relating to human scale, ergonomics and anthropometrics, looking at design and its relationship to the physical aspects of the environment.
This module is designed to encourage you to make connections between theory and practice and engage further in critical analysis. You will explore the historical aspects across the two design disciplines (a major and minor) and scales and current practices.
You will further explore the use of precedent studies, which will provide you with the tools to respond to the challenges and changes in different environments and habitations.
This module focuses on developing presentation skills, from visual and graphic presentation techniques to pitching and presenting ideas.
You will have opportunities through workshops and online tutorials to learn Adobe Creative Suite and 3D software such as Sketch-up.
Hands on workshop practice will be introduced across a range of materials.
The aim of this module is to develop a concept design within your chosen discipline. You will document the design process, reflect on the experience and the final outcomes and the reasons for selecting your chosen field. The project will culminate in a comprehensive presentation, which will capture the whole design process via a design portfolio.
Laying the foundation for deeper understanding, this year covers a broad spread of study areas, moving seamlessly, connecting abstract design theory and consideration of global scale contexts, to micro-scale understanding of materials and technology.
Through this process, you will gain an understanding of the scope, scale and connectivity of landscape architecture, its transformative abilities and power to help ensure a global human future.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
Looking at the sources of inspiration within the international subject of Landscape Architecture, the module provides a broad introduction for you to begin to engage with the dynamics of a structured design process. Focus on each of the core principles will allow you to develop overall structural understanding of the subject, as well as the fundamental academic and design skill sets that will be required through the course and your future career, be that in Landscape Architecture, or a related field.
Developing a core transferable graphical skill set for Landscape Architecture and aligned, wider designed-environment industries. The module introduces industry standard methods and building on these to promote exploration of innovation and self-derived techniques in representing architectural space and site characteristics. Approaches introduced, will consider the benefits of physical and digital production methods, two dimensional and three dimensional representation, and frameworks for self-guided, work allocation, and time management in production.
Exploring the contextual framework within which the contemporary Landscape Architect practices: students will research and explore the scale, scope, and timeline of human impact on the Earth’s landscape and the impact of environmental factors on human development and systems.
Setting out a fundamental understanding of the broad design palette available to the Landscape Architect, including the key considerations for specifying and sourcing materials, systems and ecologies. Focus will be on curating the design fabric, aiming to emphasise character and function: through explorations in visual composition, colour, texture and form; to uncover deeper understandings on the emotive effects, cultural-historical references of association and the fundamental practical requirements and benefits of various design applications.
Moving up through scale, from the human perspective of 1:1, up to the common Landscape Architecture scales of 1:1000/1:1250, you will look at composition of increasingly large landscape components. As the scale range widens you observe the increasing considerations coming into play: physical and psychological interactions between the human and physical environment; a study of mass and void, of textural, sound, smell and colour qualities.
You'll develop professional approaches to design and construction in your second year.
You will develop connections between key design theories and real-world practice, through debate of current topics, placement study, collaborative projects (Co.LAB), and the exploration of two different multifaceted design processes.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):
Building on an understanding of materiality, particularly from the previous year one modules, Inspiration, Components and Formation, this module develops your understanding of fully constructible, detail design and material specification. The outputs will be research led and focused on deepening and refining your understanding of how structure, technologies and living systems are integrated within real-world applications.
Developing a refined and deeper understanding of key socio-historical and artistic influences on contemporary Landscape Architecture. You will look at major movements, influences and their key proponents through specialised study areas and group debate. You will be encouraged to develop critical thinking in the review of a variety of theoretical positions, cultural beliefs and physical processes and historical context. The aim is to explore and debate on the common preconceptions and design practices of contemporary practice.
The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place or a live case study, and to critically reflect upon your learning and future options in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and BCU Careers. Typically, the placement duration is 1 or 2 weeks. This should be achieved in one block where possible. It is also possible to fulfil this module through a case study, via physical interview of a current practise if placement becomes unattainable.
The outcomes of this module will be supported with a lecture series and tutorial input in enabling an understanding of your industry in context, business operations, and industry expectations. In order to secure your placement you will undertake a pre-placement interview to understand your personal preferences, followed by collation of CV and on-line / off-line portfolio presence to substantiate your application.
The Urban Design module consists of a design project for redevelopment of a pivotal civic space network, with a focus on making dynamic, lively, places for people. You will develop proposals for a layered vision for reinvigorating and enlivening a ‘sense of place’ across a broad area, supporting the masterplan design/redesign of one key plaza, with multiple designed interventions for improving use and local identity.
Designed Ecologies is an exploration of multi-layered systems, incorporating and integrating social and ecological components within design of space. You will undertake a design project working down from a strategic level of green-network or parkland landscape, moving down into detail design for enhancing specific ecology and linking to visitor experience and resource production.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.
The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff.
Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. For example, with the approval of your supervisor, you can determine a project based on your own interests; your supervisor may set you a predetermined 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 an interdisciplinary project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.
This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by an external client/ agency, in consultation with your supervisor, and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation. It is an opportunity for you to engage in a professional manner with an aspect of your subject area, which contributes to the development of employability skills within the supportive infrastructure of the University. Where appropriate, the project may involve interdisciplinary collaboration with students from other courses. In this way, it reflects the collaborative, flexible nature of employment within the Creative Industries.
All core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
Professional Placement Year
In order to qualify for the awards with Professional Placement, a student must successfully complete all of the modules listed above as well as the following Level 5 module.
This module is designed to provide you with the opportunity to undertake a credit bearing, 40- week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Undergraduate Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.
Through guided but self-directed investigations, you will define your own academic pathway.
Built on research and led via creative but pragmatic exploration in design, you will successfully communicate connections between theory, contextual analysis, project brief, conceptual proposals, design development and design detail, to produce a broad-scale, multi-layered design project.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits)
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.
Building from the Praxis approach utilised within the School of Architecture and Design, this module completes the conceptual thread of modules which connect a Professional practice suite through from Skills and Praxis, developing and integrating industry aligned skills and approaches, preparing you for entry into competitive professional contexts after study. A fundamental aspect of the module is to increase your self-reliance and confidence in communicative approaches and contextual understanding of their application.
You will start by defining a project site at strategic scale, which aligns to a sophisticated set of aims and identified contextual and/or theoretical issues (such as that explored in the Major Project module) and design potentials. Critical analysis will be required to consider and decide on a suitable site for study. Further to this you will be expected to explore site conditions and design ideas to create an integrated conceptual design brief and vision the specific chosen site.
The ‘concept design’ will set out the key design principles of the project proposals, use, character and experiences, with the aim of selling the design to the client, stakeholders and public audience. Final outputs will form the basis for a Masterplan design in Major Design: Deliver.
Through the production of a masterplan, students will refine a set of complex physical and cultural site specific issues, to define creative and sophisticated solutions. This will demonstrate the broad range of technical and communicative skills, as well as a breadth and depth of understanding in creative design, process and context, aspects which make up the core areas of Landscape Architecture.
Finally, through research, exploration and guidance, students will produce accurate detailed, construction design and planting design proposals, which communicate a comprehensive hard and soft materials specification, using appropriate techniques in representation.
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Our landscape architecture degree is assessed on 100 per cent course work, with no practical or written exams. We feel this best mirrors the way you’d work in the real world and so better prepares you for a career in the landscape design industry.
You'll benefit from our extensive resource base, including digital studios and 3D design workshops. There will also be traditional drawing workshops with observational and technical drawing, model-making and digital visual communication skills. You'll begin to develop a strong portfolio and confidence with design principles and all aspects of communication.
The course follows a clear development path over its duration.
- Year One – foundation principles of landscape architecture
- Year Two – Realism, collaboration, design sectors, practice and construction
- Year Three - Bespoke study integrating theory, practice and professionalism
- Design studio – working on design projects with tutor and peer discussion and guidance
- Study trips – see exemplary and interesting projects and sites with great opportunity
- Workshops and skills training of key software and approaches to visualisation
- Industry-aligned course, supported by collaborations with external partners and real projects, with potential opportunity for a work placement.
Enhancing your employability skills
You’ll have a sound knowledge of the physical, economic and social factors which influence contemporary built environment practice. You’ll also understand the professional, legal and institutional framework of landscape architecture.
You’ll develop a comprehensive portfolio that shows employers a range of skills in design practice and academic study.
Experience on live local sites with client-driven briefs in landscape studios will develop your design creativity and hone your professional practice skills.
You’ll be skilled in the latest techniques, including rapid prototyping and 3D design.
The course supports student employability and long-term career opportunity through enhancing your development and instilling an understanding of life-long professional progression.
You’ll develop a range of transferable skills, such as how to communicate ideas and solve problems, as well as developing negotiation and planning skills. You’ll learn how to work effectively and efficiently either on your own or as part of a team.
During her studies on the BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture course, Daniela Teleku completed a work placement at Fira, a nationally recognised practice of landscape architects, urban designers, master planners and architects.
Daniela wanted experience working for a practice where Architects worked together with Landscape Architects and Fira stood out as a firm with a multidisciplinary approach to projects.
Daniela was given the opportunity to get involved in a range of project work all at different stages, from early design to on site. Her work included detailed design for construction, conceptual and innovative design for a new play area in a historic park, looking at materials for construction, and a site visit at University of Birmingham Hotel and Conference Centre. She also built a 3D Revit model for a mental health project.
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 countries such as China.
Taiwanese-Canadian Yi-Chun Huang said is going into the third year of the Landscape Architecture course. “I moved to Birmingham City University as a product design student at the Toyo Institute of Art and Design in Japan. I chose the University as my first interaction with the Dean was very warm and inspiring and encouraged me. I would like to explore more and gain varied skills in different fields. And my future plan would be to find a good job in UK.”
Facilities & Staff
When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the exceptional quality 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 will be based in our multi-million pound Parkside building – a state of the art facility located within our City Centre Campus. Here you will have full access to our recently upgraded, high spec CAD (Computer-Aided-Design) workstations situated within our dedicated computer labs and open access areas. We also provide access to leading edge digital design software, enabling you to explore technical drawing, graphics, 3D modelling, visualization, animation, computation, simulation, and virtual reality.
The Parkside Building is also home to our digital fabrication labs, where you will be able to explore 3D printing, laser cutting, water-jet cutting, CNC machining, ceramics, glass and traditional model-making, guided by our team of expert technicians with access to our on-site material store, and professional printing facilities.
You’ll also benefit from:
- Design studios
- Physical and digital library
- Loanable laptops
- Dedicated social spaces
From industry-standard software, to our workshops and studio spaces, everything you need will be at your fingertips from day one. Working with our dedicated teaching teams and expert technicians, you'll be supported from concept through to completion.
Course Director for MA Urban Design
Lucas Hughes holds qualifications in landscape architecture and urban design. He has a broad range of interest and experience within several professional sectors linking across the built-environment industry. His core focus is to promote high quality, integrated, design-led processes for the creation of characterful and sensitive built environment...More about Lucas
Course Director for BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture and BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture with Urban Design
Eccles Ng is a Chartered Landscape Architect who became a Chartered Member of Landscape Institute (CMLI) in 2009. He has been in the landscape architecture industry since 2003 and designed on a variety of education, healthcare, housing and urban design projects. With a wide ranging portfolio from art to architecture and landscape architecture,...More about Eccles
Dr Rasha Sayed Mahmoud
Flying Faculty for BIFCA and Link Tutor for BIFCA & SHAPE
Rasha has a PhD in environmental architecture design and urban planning, and has been in international private practice as a licensed professional architecture consultant for sixteen years. By 2017/2018, Rasha finished her program as a Visiting Scholar at MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology, urban planning department DUSP, sustainable...More about Rasha