Landscape Architecture - MA
- Level: Postgraduate Taught
- Starting: September 2021
- Study mode: Full Time, Part 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.
This MA Landscape Architecture enables applicants who have an accredited degree in Landscape Architecture, or completed a MA LA conversion year an opportunity to progress their studies and take the next step towards being a Chartered Landscape Architect.
Note: If you do not hold a degree in Landscape Architecture then please view our two-year MA Landscape Architecture (with conversion) option.
The international employer of tomorrow needs multi-skilled designers who can stand their ground and defend the position of the landscape architect. This positive spirit is developed through engaging studios, group workshops and tailored modules that develop theoretically enriched practice that push the boundaries of concept work and translate ideas into spaces that shape the future.
What's covered in the course?
The course is structured so that two studios run in parallel. The first studio design series is explored as a process led narrative that develops theory and builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in your degree. The format of studio learning is continued with an increased emphasis on research and design experimentation. These include research-led design projects relating to public health and well-being, habitat creation and biodiversity, and climate change resilience, settlement design, food security and large infrastructure schemes like High Speed 2 (HS2) and systems scale interventions. The ethos of the course is that landscape is a sequence of interrelated designed environments that provides the scope for a design laboratory connected by land, ecology, water, climate and infrastructure, linked to a cultural context that extends from parish to global political and economic systems.
You will build on your existing skills and develop creative, artistic, technical and intellectual abilities through a range of design projects that explore contemporary issues and problems. The learning experience reflects the diversity of projects which grow in scale and complexity whilst gaining an understanding of the design process and attainment of professional level communication skills.
Our links to practices and our Co.Lab partners offer an opportunity for being involved in the complex nature and the challenges of being a landscape architect in the real world, to collaborate with local stakeholders and institutions and work alongside colleagues across the university and involves projects that facilitate Landscape Institute policy.
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 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
Attending one of our Virtual Open Days is a great way to find out more about the courses we offer and get answers to any questions you might have. Our next postgraduate Virtual Open Day is taking place on Wednesday 28 April.
This course is open to International students
Discover Birmingham School of Architecture and Design
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
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.
Download the course brochure
The MA Landscape Architecture brochure is written in English and Mandarin.
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:
Landscape Institute accredited Conversion Course, or BA Hons / BSc degree in Landscape Architecture or Garden Design, minimum Lower Second-Class (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
- 1 year
- £6,600 per year
- Part Time
- 2 years
- £3,300 per year
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 1 year
- £14,500 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.
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?
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.