Postgraduate study
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Landscape Architecture MLA

Awards: MLA


Funding opportunities

Programme website: Landscape Architecture

This programme is professionally accredited by the Landscape Institute and provides students with professionally focused landscape architectural skills and a critical awareness of the context of contemporary landscape architecture practice. This is the only professionally orientated postgraduate programme in landscape architecture in Scotland, and it has an acknowledged international reputation.

Landscape architecture combines creative practice with intellectual rigour in the invention of landscapes for human occupation. Working across a range of scales, from the territory to the garden, it is a practice that draws on a deep understanding of material and cultural history, ecology, geography, climate, and the past and present uses of landscapes in order to speculate on the future.

The MLA programme at the University of Edinburgh invites applications from graduates with distinctive disciplinary interests, including landscape architecture, art and design, ecology, architecture and construction, horticulture, geography, or others.

The programme endeavours to train individual practitioners with distinct modes of practice and fields of interest with the aim that MLA graduates enter the profession with a sophisticated portfolio of skills, knowledge and understanding.

Design teaching within the MLA programme is research-led. Colleagues within ESALA maintain active design practices through commission, competition and publication; they are engaged in practice and research at local, national and international levels.

The programme benefits from the studio-based learning typical of an art-college environment. Design, theory and techniques courses are delivered from within ESALA and from the wider ECA and University community.

Selected components of teaching and learning activities are taught at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

The MLA satisfies the Landscape Institutes’ professional requirements and enables graduates to commence a period of relevant employment leading to the Institute’s Pathway to Chartership Examination.


This programme is professionally accredited by the Landscape Institute.

Four design courses, taking the form of design studios, underpin the programme. This type of course promotes a teaching and learning environment in which students are encouraged to take risks and experiment.

Studios provide the opportunity for collective research, discussion and development of ideas. Design exploration is supported and informed by technical and theoretical courses which run in parallel to the studio-based learning and teaching.

In the second year of study you will develop a major design project and reflect upon your approach to landscape architecture in the form of an academic portfolio.

The programme culminates in the opportunity to stage a public exhibition of your final year design proposals – the ECA Degree Show.

The programme aims to provide an environment of study at postgraduate level where students:

  • Develop knowledge, understanding and skills in the technical, theoretical and practical concerns of the discipline of Landscape Architecture to the master level.

  • Extend ability in reading and understanding a range of environments and landscapes at different scales and develop a critical understanding of landscape architectural practice.

  • Develop original and creative design skills and the ability to engage with different stages of landscape architecture design practice autonomously.

As a discipline, and as a profession, Landscape Architecture has the potential to inform our environment at every scale. The MLA programme seeks to foster creative and critical designers; ethical, intelligent, highly skilled and imaginative practitioners, able to navigate the full professional and disciplinary extent.

The programme aims to enable graduates to enter the profession with a sophisticated portfolio of flexible skills, knowledge and understanding.

Graduates from the MLA programme progress to work in design practice and landscape stewardship both nationally and internationally, as well as contributing to academia and aspects of governance of a wide spectrum of landscapes across a broad range of scales.

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in landscape architecture or a related subject such as architecture, design, art, geography, planning, ecology, horticulture or other degrees which evidence content relevant to the MLA programme.

We also welcome applicants who do not meet these academic entry requirements. Your application will be considered on the basis of portfolio and/or relevant professional experience.*

To apply to this programme, you should have a strong interest in Landscape Architecture, an acute environmental awareness, and show creative potential.*

You must submit a portfolio of recent work as part of your application. Your portfolio should include the following:

  • A CV. Applicants who do not meet the academic entry requirements listed above should use their CV as an opportunity to evidence other relevant experiences.
  • A personal statement. This should include (but is not limited to) a 300-word summary addressing the following points:

    1. What is your field of interest within Landscape Architecture?
    2. How do you see your experience on our programme informing your approach in landscape architecture? You need to make direct references to this specific MLA programme in this part of your statement. Please use this as an opportunity to provide additional insights beyond the information available on our webpage.
    3. What are your ambitions following your successful graduation from this programme?

If you do not meet the academic entry requirements you should use the personal statement to articulate how your previous experiences (academic, professional and self-directed) have led you to Landscape Architecture, and why you feel this programme is relevant to your trajectory.

  • A sample of your work. This should be sourced from your own work produced during a relevant first degree, relevant professional experience, or through extra-curricular activities or self-led projects. The work displayed in your portfolio should:

    1. Demonstrate creative skills.
    2. Showcase your potential ability to visualise your design ideas.
    3. Display design and/or socio-environmental work that clearly links to landscape architectural concerns.
    4. Evidence an awareness of place, communities and ecologies.
    5. Communicate your work through clear visuals and writing.

(*Revised 08 November 2023 to clarify portfolio requirements. Revised 01 April 2024 to clarify entry requirements.)

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Additional costs

In the course of your studies, you will have the opportunity to engage with nationally or internationally based fieldtrips for which you need to cover the costs. Likewise, there are printing costs and material costs that need to be covered by each student, even if some financial support is given whenever possible at the programme level.

Tuition fees

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Please be aware that applications must be submitted and be complete, i.e. all required documents uploaded, by the relevant application deadline in order to be considered in that round. Your application will still be considered if you have not yet met the English language requirement for the programme.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2024/25:

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 06 November 2023 14 December 2023
2 08 January 2024 29 February 2024
3 20 March 2024 10 May 2024
4 14 June 2024 24 July 2024

(Revised 18 October 2023 to add in the staged admissions deadlines for the 2024/25 academic year)

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. You won't be able to submit your portfolio immediately, but you'll receive an email prompt within a few days of submitting your application that will explain how to upload your portfolio.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU