Postgraduate study

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:

  • Apply and develop the knowledge, understanding and skills gained at undergraduate level to the mastery of the discipline of landscape architecture.
  • Develop knowledge, understanding and skills in the technical, theoretical and practical concerns of the discipline.
  • 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 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 extent of the profession.

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.

Normally a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in landscape architecture or a related subject such as architecture, design, geography, planning, ecology or fine art. You should have a strong interest in landscape architecture and show creative potential.

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

  • collectively demonstrate your potential ability to visualise your design ideas
  • demonstrate creative skills
  • be sourced from work you produced at school or from a relevant first degree such as landscape architecture, architecture, art or other design programme or extra-curricular activities or self-led projects

As part of the application process, within your portfolio you must submit a personal statement and CV. On the first page of the portfolio incorporate your name and on the pages immediately following include a brief CV and your personal statement.

Your personal statement must include (but is not limited to) a 300 word summary addressing the following points:

  1. What is your specialist field of interest?
  2. How would you hope your time on this programme will form your landscape architectural practice?
  3. What are your ambitions following your successful graduation from this programme?

If you do not meet the academic entry requirements, we may still consider your application on the basis of your portfolio and/or relevant professional experience.*

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

*(Revised 08/10/20 to update the portfolio requirements.)

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 92 (at least 20 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

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 or Trinity ISE, 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.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

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

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

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