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Landscape Architecture with Conversion - MA

  • Level: Postgraduate Taught
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Full Time (note: conversion year is one day per week)
  • Location: City Centre

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?

  • The course has very strong links with regional and national employers with many students opting to work in practice and study part time after year one.
  • To help with managing the MA with your existing commitments we have structured the course to provide some flexibility. You have the option to complete the MA in two or three years.
  • Each year the course is assessed yearly to evaluate how it meets the accreditation standards set by the Landscape Institute, especially the curriculum and how this facilitates employment ready students. To ensure the academic rigour and creative flair is maintained the course is reviewed annually by External Examiners.
  • Our part time mode enables you to study as well as develop your career in a practice, so you can earn while you learn. The University supports a flexible way of studying, and a start time of 11am helps to take the strain out of childcare and accommodates for long commutes.

  • You want to be sure that you will have a mix of fun whilst being challenged, with the course providing the opportunity to create a strong CV and portfolio, standing you in good stead within the industry. 

  • At Birmingham School of Architecture and Design you will receive support surrounding your career development. By working with our contacts in the profession, on successful completion of the Masters programme you be able to apply to become a licentiate member of the Landscape Institute (LI), the chartered body for landscape architecture in the UK.

  • We have a long tradition of high level research with a number of landscape architects who have continued to study for a PhD.

  • Alongside our globally-renowned staff, we have visiting professionals that support lectures, workshops and seminars, introducing debates on international issues.

  • We have well-established connections with the region’s best landscape architecture practices.

  • 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. 

  • The Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey emphasised the quality of the teaching and learning experience, rating the School ‘excellent’ for another year running. Student satisfaction was measured at 100%. 

  • Employment is the best test to measure how we support student careers. 95% part time students are in employment in the profession, taking the earning and learning pathway. Former students are either running their own businesses or steering decisions at director level.

Similar Courses

This course is open to International students

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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.

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New £10,906 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,906 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Course Accreditations

This course is accredited by:

Landscape Institute (LI)

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements

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.

International Students

Entry requirements here

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

  • UK/EU students
  • International students

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 2 years (3 year option available - see below*)
  • £6,400 per year

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 2 years
  • £12,800 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.

Personal statement

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.

Additional costs

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. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

View additional costs for this course

Financial Support

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 £10,906 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Year 1

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

20 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.

Download the full module specification

Designed Ecologies
40 credits

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.

Download the full module specification

Landscape - Culture and Nature
20 credits

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. 

Download the full module specification

Designed Geographies
40 credits

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.

Download the full module specification

Year 2

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

Design Theory and Practice
20 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.

Download the full module specification

Synthesis to Detail
20 credits

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.

Download the full module specification

20 credits

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.

Download the full module specification

Thesis Design Module
60 credits

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.

Download the full module specification

Personal Research
40 credits

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.

Download the full module specification

20 credits

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.

Download the full module specification

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:

Landscape Institute (LI)
Landscape Institute

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.

Further study

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.

Graduate jobs

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 Ambassador

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

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.

Candice Ying Wei

Candice Ying Wei

Candice Ying Wei is applying the knowledge from her Master's in her job as an Assistant Landscape Architecture in Atelier Dreiseitl in Beijing just months after graduating.

Anastasia Nikologianni

Anastasia Nikologianni

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.

Learn more about BCUIC

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.

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

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
  • Café
  • 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. 

Russell Good

Senior Tutor/ Postgraduate Course Director

Russell Good’s research explores ecological and hydrological systems in the context of climate change, in order to inform and develop new aesthetic codes in landscape design. Using the urban River Rea in Digbeth, Birmingham as a laboratory, he is examining how ecological processes can be used as a device in place making, to enhance biodiversity and draw upon the richness of new layers of animal and plant life to provide a living dynamic that informs our sensory perception of place.


Dr Sandra Costa

Course Director MA Landscape Architecture

Sandra is a lecturer and researcher in landscape architecture and design with diversified experience encompassing teaching, research and professional practice. She has lectured in the UK and Portugal
 in undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Her teaching explores current issues and challenges faced by landscapes and the built environment, to create resilient environments, healthy urban landscapes and long-term visions for areas identified for future housing and employment, together with strategies relating to important matters such as climate change, food urbanism and public health and wellbeing.

She has a strong interest in user-based perceptions, experiences and interactions with the environment. Her research has focused on exploring the choreographies of landscape experience through which individuals negotiate wellbeing. Emphasis is on the in-depth nature of person-place interactions and the role of places in the production of loops of ‘positive states of being’, ‘enhanced spatial awareness’ and specific identities of self.

Read Sandra's full profile

Dawn Parke

Dawn Parke

Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, Level 5 Leader

Dawn’s educational and work experience crosses the disciplines of landscape architecture, architecture, product design and garden design.

She has been involved with projects ranging from restoration of domestic listed building in the UK, large-scale landscape developments in the Middle East, private garden design in the UK and product design and prototyping in Singapore.

Her research interests include reflective practice and design pedagogy, place attachment, and representation techniques in landscape architecture. This is reflected in her experience as a lecturer in landscape architecture and garden design at Writtle University College, lecturer and acting programme leader at Birmingham Institute of Fashion and Creative Art (BIFCA) and her current role as lecturer in landscape architecture and level 5 leader at Birmingham City University.

Dawn is an advocate for interdisciplinary project work and enjoys the challenge of integrating theoretical research with practical studio-based work.

Read Dawn's full profile

Kathryn Moore 2016

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.

Read Kathryn's full profile