Landscape Architecture - MA
This MA in Landscape Architecture enables applicants who have an accredited degree in Landscape Architecture, or completed a 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.
Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23
The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.
Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response 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 in Landscape Architecture enables applicants who have an accredited degree in Landscape Architecture, or completed a 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.
What's covered in this course?
You will build on your existing knowledge and skills acquired in you degree and further develop creative, artistic, technical and intellectual abilities through a diverse range of design projects that explore contemporary issues and problems, which grow in scale and complexity. The format of studio learning is continued with an increased emphasis on research and experimentation. These include research-led design projects relating to public health and wellbeing, habitat creation and biodiversity, climate change, settlement design, food security, and large infrastructure schemes like the High Speed 2 (HS2) and the West Midlands National Park. The landscape as a sequence of interrelated designed environments 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.
Our modules, including our new Design for Climate Change module, provide a fascinating forum for systems scale interventions, innovation and exploration of new sustainable approaches to respond to climate change emergency, biodiversity loss and for the planning and designing of resilient places and communities. Exploring these themes and issues is central to our common future and our Landscape Architecture course is very well placed to progress employability skills that will position you at the forefront of these subjects.
Our links to industry, local authorities 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. These extend to collaborating with local stakeholders and institutions and working alongside colleagues across the University on projects that demonstrate the authority of Landscape Architecture in improving the quality of future urban and rural living.
This course is accredited by:
My time at BCU has given me a really wide range of skills that I continue to use every day, everything from the initial stages of the design, graphic skills to client presentations and public speeches. I have recently written a book and believe my time here has really helped me with gaining literary skills to be able to do it...
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
Landscape Institute accredited Conversion Course, or BA Hons / BSc degree in Landscape Architecture or Garden Design, minimum Lower Second-Class (2:2).
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands.
International students must meet all the Border Agency entry criteria for the programme.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 1 year
- Part Time
- 2 years
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 1 year
- £16,300 per year
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.
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.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
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 but are likely to be in the region of £150 to £200.
Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)
This course requires the purchase of safety equipment in order to use the workshop facilities, including safety boots/shoes. You are also expected to have appropriate clothing and footware for site visits and field trips.
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.
You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course. As a student on our Landscape Institute (LI) accredited course, you can enjoy free access to the LI campus, free access to the LI journal and discounts on LI events.
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.
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.
Course in Depth
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.
Design for Climate Change 40 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Facilities and 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.
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.More about Sandra
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.More about Russell