course page main image

Landscape Architecture (Conversion Masters) - MLA

Currently viewing course to start in 2022/23 Entry. Switch to 2023/24 Entry

This forward looking and innovative MLA Landscape Architecture is a Conversion Masters that offers applicants who wish to make a career change the opportunity to qualify and become a professional landscape architect....

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School Birmingham School of Architecture and Design
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

This forward looking and innovative MLA Landscape Architecture is a Conversion Masters that offers applicants who wish to make a career change the opportunity to qualify and become a professional landscape architect.

The MLA Landscape Architecture course provides you with opportunities to explore responses to climate change emergency and biodiversity loss, and help in planning and designing meaningful, fair and resilient landscapes, places and communities of the future. Exploring these themes and issues is central to our common future and our Landscape Architecture course is very well placed to build employability skills that will position you at the forefront of these subjects.

The course stimulates a design studio culture and encourages high levels of research, design innovation, creativity and distinct ownership of ideas and concepts. We put an emphasis on contemporary practice and real-world projects aligned to develop the critical integration of theory and practice across scales, from landscape planning to master planning to detail design.

We invite applications from students from any disciplinary background.

If you already have a degree in Landscape Architecture please see our one-year MA in Landscape Architecture option.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

This Conversion Masters is professionally oriented and has two stages: Year one is structured to develop key design and communication skills that support all aspects of projects in a studio-based learning environment which is underpinned by landscape history and theory lectures. Students will learn 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 design skills will develop from process-led narratives using industry standard visual communication and analysis techniques, which include digital mapping and three-dimensional modelling, model making, virtual reality, visualisation, rendering, drawing, and design across the range of scales.

Year two builds on the foundation of knowledge and skills acquired in year one and will help you develop further the creative, artistic, technical and intellectual abilities through a diverse range of design projects that explore contemporary issues, which grow in scale and complexity. The format of studio learning is continued with an increased emphasis on research and experimentation. Design themes include research-led design projects relating to landscape health and well-being, habitat creation and biodiversity, climate change, settlement design and food security, as well as large infrastructure schemes like High Speed 2 (HS2) and the West Midlands National Park.

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 the climate change emergency, imaginative solutions to extreme weather events, biodiversity loss and for the planning and designing of ecologically inspired places and communities.

Our links to industry, local authorities and our Co.Lab partners offer an opportunity for you to be involved in the complex nature and 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.

The Professional Placement version of the course is optional and is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course. This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20-week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s 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 landscape architecture, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.

Employment opportunities and flexible learning

Our postgraduate course has been running for over 60 years which means that over this time a well-established employer network has evolved with former students setting up nationally renowned consultancies representing all levels of the profession from director to associate landscape architect. We have very strong links with local, regional and national employers and through this you will be able to take advantage of these extensive relationships.

Many of our students opt to work in practice and study part-time after year one. To help balance the MLA with your existing commitments, we have structured the course to provide some flexibility so that you have the option to complete the MLA in two years by dedicating one day a week in your first year and two days a week in your second year. Alternatively, you can complete the course over three years by following the one day a week model.

Professional standards

Each year, the course is assessed to evaluate how it meets the accreditation standards set by the Landscape Institute; in particular, how the curriculum prepares employment-ready students. To ensure the academic rigor and creative flair is maintained, the course is reviewed annually by External Examiners.

Our Master’s courses are fully accredited by the Landscape Institute and recognised by the International Federation of Landscape Architects. We are also an active member of the European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools.

Research

  • Checked Out

Landscape architecture academics at Birmingham City University have partnered with a number of organisations, including West Midlands Combined Authorities, to establish a national park for the West Midlands that provides multiple benefits to the city, the landscape and its inhabitants.

Creating a new national park for the West Midlands

Accredited By

This course is accredited by:

  • Landscape Institute

I chose this course as I am interested in encouraging nature within an urban background and there is a strong emphasis on sustainability, the environment and design. The course has changed the way I view the world and encouraged me to think deeply about my surroundings. It is extremely challenging yet rewarding. There is a great balance between the creative and analytical and you are taught how to bring multiple threads together and develop cohesive projects.

Helen Young

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 and Design is distinctive in the way that it embraces transdisciplinary experiences through the Experimental Sustainability Studio, where environmental issues, sustainability and climate change are debated through our learning laboratory SuperStudio.
  • Our modules, including our new Design for Climate Change module, provide a fascinating forum for innovation and will help you develop employability skills that will position you at the forefront of these subjects.
  • The innovative Co.Lab module provides an opportunity to explore live design briefs that provide a range of challenges arising from collaborative partnership working on design for real learning scenarios with real clients.
  • We structure our timetable to ensure that students who travel far or have children to drop off at school can manage these commitments more easily.
  • Our flexible learning ensures you can balance your personal life and existing commitments and facilitates opportunities to work while you study. Our current students work for Define, Fira, BMA, Pegasus, FPCR and Randall-Thorp.
  • 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.
  • You’ll develop high level design process skills through process-led narratives using industry standard visual communication, which include model making and 3D printing, digital design, VR, GIS, visualisation and rendering, and drawing.
  • 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 course is accredited by the Landscape Institute, providing you with a secure pathway to become a Chartered member of the Landscape Institute and ensuring the course is designed to meet the current needs of the profession.
  • Two-thirds of the impact of our research was judged to be very considerable (3*) or outstanding (4*) - REF2021’

Similar Courses

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be an online event. Booking isn’t open yet. Register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Open Day: Wednesday 25 January 2023

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements
Essential

An undergraduate degree in any subject, 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.

International Students

Entry requirements here

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

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: MLA

Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 2.5 years**
  • £6,800 in 2022/23
  • Full Time
  • 3 years (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £6,800 in 2022/23

International students

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: MLA

Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 2.5 years**
  • £16,300 in 2022/23
  • Full Time
  • 3 years (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £16,300 in 2022/23

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.

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.

Printing

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.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

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.

Memberships (optional)

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.

*Professional Placement option

The Professional Placement version of the course is optional and is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course.

This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s 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.

You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School.

Placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course. All students who do not find a suitable placement or do not pass the competitive selection process will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

Please note that fees are payable for your placement, equivalent to 10% of the total full-time course fee for your second year.

**Options and fees

You will have the option to study the MLA full-time or part-time, and beginning in January or September.

Option 1: Full-time

This takes two academic years if you start in September, or 2.5 academic years if you start in January. For example, if you start the course in September 2022, you will finish in summer 2024; if you start the course in January 2023, you will finish in summer 2025. If you choose to add an optional professional placement, this will add six months to the length of the course. For your taught modules, you will attend one day per week in year one, and two days a week following that.

However, in all cases, the tuition fees are only payable in your first two academic years; year one fees are shown above. Your professional placement fee – equivalent to 10% of the full-time course fee – will be charged as part of your year two tuition fee.  

Option 2: Part-time

You can also study the course on a part-time route – available for September start dates only – attending one day a week over three years. Your fees are charged by 20-credit module, so the cost per year of study is based on the credits studied in that year.

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.

Course in Depth

Year 1

Year 2

Download course specification

Download now

A large part of this course is taught through design studios with research embedded throughout. The assessment process is by coursework which includes design portfolios and research papers. We feel that this best simulates the way you'd work in the real world and so better prepares you for a career in landscape architecture.

Year one will introduce you to the core problem-solving skills associated with the design process. You will learn to survey several aspects of a site and to analyse and evaluate findings to inform a narrative-driven design proposal. You will understand the socio-cultural and environmental systems involved in landscape architecture, including making connections between people, place and nature in urban and rural ecosystems. At the end of this year you will feel confident to communicate ideas and design proposals using a wide range of visual and graphic communication media.

Year 2 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 design work considering how other perspectives should contribute to design decision-making. Your portfolio of skills can be strengthened through the Co.LAB and Design for Climate Change modules, developing client capabilities, collaborative expertise and contextual understanding for the workplace. Your design confidence will increase with the Thesis Design Project which looks at a significant issue of our time and responds to it creatively from macro-scale down to detail design.

Your studies are supported by a series of lectures and workshops delivered by renowned landscape practitioners and educators from the UK and overseas. We continue to develop our International Landscape Architecture Lecture Series and have recently welcomed Martha Schwartz (US), Bruno Marques (New Zealand), Paulo Farinha Marques (Portugal), Merrick, Denton Thompson, Nick Grayson, Ian Lanchbury and Jane Findlay (UK).

Fieldtrips ensure you will have experiential learning and hands-on knowledge about historic and contemporary landscapes and the built environment.

The City Centre Campus Parkside Building captures the magical spirit of the Bauhaus, and gives you access to industry standard facilities, including digital studios, 3D design workshops, wood and metal workshops, ceramics and glass workshops, 3D printing, laser cutting, water jetting, film, tv and photography studios.

This course is accredited by the following organisation:

Landscape Institute
Landscape Institute

Our course is accredited by the Landscape Institute. LI accreditation requires education providers to meet important criteria which ensure high standards are maintained, meaning you can be sure your course meets the standards needed for you to enter the landscape profession.

Employability

Enhancing your employability skills

This MLA Landscape Architecture course aims to provide graduates with a set of attributes which prepare them for their future careers. You will be able to:

  • Produce complex design proposals understanding the current global professional issues and contemporary Landscape Institute policy.
  • Gain confident skills and knowledge as a designer to respond to the issues of Climate Change which will position you at the forefront of these subjects.
  • Work on live projects, and with real clients, with confidence.
  • Work independently and collaboratively in multi-disciplinary environments.
  • Be a creative thinker to solve problems in wider professional contexts.
  • Negotiate, plan and communicate your designs to a professional standard.
  • Work with Industry standard IT, e.g. AutoCAD, Vectorworks, Adobe Suite, Edina Digimap, and other digital modelling.

Graduate jobs and links to industry

We have an established relationship with an extensive network of local, regional and national practices and employers. The reputation of the landscape architecture courses provides a head start for applicants.

Our students enjoy excellent employment opportunities during and after completing the course. Recent graduates are working for an extensive range of practices, including: AHR Global, AECOM, Arup, Atkins Global, BMD Bradley Murphy Design, Camlins Associates, Capita, Define, Fira, FPCR, IDP, LDA Design, Land Use Consultants, Node Urban Design, Liz Lake Associates, Townscape, Pegasus Planning, WSP, Randall Thorp.

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 ‘Associates’ are involved in site mapping and survey work, design development work and supporting the project team in all aspects of the design process.

Placement opportunities


Maryam Gohari

Graduate

International

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.

Chi Ma

(Hong Kong)

Facilities & Staff

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

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
  • Café’s

Take a look around on our virtual walkthroughs

Photo Gallery

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.

Our staff

Russell Good

Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, Deputy Course Director MA Landscape Architecture

Russell Good is a Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, Deputy Course Director of MA Landscape Architecture; a landscape architect, graphic designer and keen mountain biker. Russell’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.

More about Russell

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...

More about Sandra

Dawn Parke

Course Director BA (Hons) Design for Future Living, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture and Level 5 School International Lead

Dawn’s educational and work experience crosses the disciplines of landscape architecture, urban design, architecture, product design and garden design. She has been involved with projects at local and international scales across these disciplines. For example, she has worked on small domestic architectural projects in the UK and large-scale urban...

More about Dawn

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.

More about Kathryn