MA Landscape Architecture
UCAS code: 4J22
Duration: 4 years
School: Edinburgh College of Art
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing MA Landscape Architecture
Landscape architecture is a creative discipline that operates at the forefront of major societal and environmental challenges.
It is a well-established profession that strives to offer creative design strategies to help tackle, for example, the impacts of climate change and the loss of biodiversity, while promoting the sustainable use of environmental resources, including food, energy and water.
Landscape architects design spatial settings for social interaction and everyday life, meaning they play an essential role in promoting public health and social justice in society. At larger scales, landscape architects create planning strategies for:
- urban growth
- infrastructural and ecological networks
- carbon reduction
- hydrological systems
The discipline involves synthesising the various factors that converge in landscapes. This requires creative and critical ideas that work across social, ecological, environmental and material concerns.
This synthetic form of discipline makes our students aware of the dynamic world around us, while equipping them with the skills and knowledge to make a positive change.
Landscape Architecture at the University of Edinburgh
Our teaching staff are designers, makers and theorists who engage with both local and global landscapes through world-leading research and practice that directly informs our teaching.
In addition, we employ many tutors from industry who provide valuable insights into professional practice.
We also have a unique relationship with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Their researchers and scientists contribute to teaching with their knowledge of plants and horticulture.
Our European partners
In Year 3 you will have the opportunity to apply for the European Masters in Landscape Architecture (EMiLA). European masters students will spend:
- the first semester in Edinburgh
- the second and third semester with two of our four European partners
- the fourth semester in Edinburgh
Our four prestigious partners are:
- The École Nationale Supérieure du Paysage (Versailles)
- Leibniz Universität (Hanover)
- Academie Van Bouwkunst (Amsterdam)
- the Escola Tecnica d'Arquitectura de Barcelona
Each partner has different perspectives on landscape architecture as a profession, subject and design medium.
Our four-year MA Landscape Architecture honours programme is accredited by the Landscape Institute.
In Year 1 you will begin to explore spatial design ideas focused on processes of site-based exploration and evaluation, to configure design concepts and proposals that enhance public space.
Our studio teaching will support the development of technical and digital drawing skills, alongside experimental forms of representation.
The theory course will broaden your appreciation through areas of:
- visual culture
- physical geography
- landscape history
In Year 2 your design work becomes more focused and complex. You will take courses that tackle contemporary issues of:
- climate change and ecosystem design
- urban regeneration
- social inclusion
Studio work is supported by contextual and technical courses covering aspects of:
- current environmental theory
- material specification
- construction details, alongside applied ecological science at planning and site-based scales
Your design work increases in complexity and focuses on tackling large-scale sites with challenging conditions, such as post-industrial contamination or social fragmentation. Year 3 courses will extend skills gained in Year 1 and Year 2, to an advanced level of project thinking and practical configuration.
In Semester 1 you will have the opportunity to take an optional course from a suite offered by the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) or from other schools and disciplines in ECA and the wider University.
In Semester 2 you will complete a professional placement in a landscape architecture practice while being supported through distance learning courses.
In Year 4 your design work advances and focuses on increasingly self-directed courses, and our range of expert staff will support you.
This year allows you to develop high-quality design projects, which are further supported by a professionally aligned portfolio course, which helps to prepare all graduates for entering the profession.
You will also conduct a piece of research into an area of personal interest that responds to contemporary practice, as an in-depth exploration of individual interest and expertise.
Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.
To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.
Landscape architecture at Edinburgh is taught alongside architecture and urban design in the same school. Beyond these disciplines that are most closely allied to our profession, the art college provides an environment where a range of creative practices form a lively community.
Our programme is located in dedicated design studios, where students from all years of the programme form a tight-knit community. This community reflects in our lively studio culture and highly active student society.
You can find out more on the ECA website.
Take a virtual tour
You can take a closer look at Edinburgh College of Art and explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site.
Semester 2 of Year 3 is a credited practice working period. This means you can work in practice from January until September, taking advantage of working opportunities worldwide.
You will study Semester 2 courses by distance learning.
You will have the opportunity to take up working opportunities worldwide.
We currently offer exchange opportunities with renowned landscape architecture institutions in mainland Europe and Australia, as well as a route to study on the unique European Masters in Landscape Architecture programme.
How will I learn?
Our programme is structured in three integrated strands of learning and teaching:
This allows students to develop ideas and skills while bringing these together in creative studios that deal with real-world projects.
Design and techniques courses
Design and techniques courses are practice-based and assessed against the development of your individual portfolio, which helps you to refine your work for entering the profession.
Theory courses mix practical and theoretical methods, allowing you to explore ideas you feel are important to contemporary landscape practice, such as:
- social justice
- climate action
- ecosystem design
- environmental philosophy, among other urgent matters
Through our integrated strands of learning and teaching, you will develop a range of practical design competencies, alongside a critical understanding of contemporary environmental issues, to fully prepare you for professional life.
All courses are supported by a range of expert input from core staff and invited professional staff from across a range of relevant disciplinary fields.
How will I be assessed?
You will mainly be assessed through a combination of:
- portfolio work
Most theory courses are assessed by written essays.
In Year 4 you will submit a dissertation.
MA Landscape Architecture is a four-year honours programme that is accredited by the Landscape Institute. This means the skills and knowledge you gain during your studies are aligned with the requirements of the chartered body for the landscape profession in the UK.
This accreditation is recognised internationally, allowing many of our graduates to work in the UK, Europe or further abroad. Many graduates find employment in exciting design offices directly after university.
Our programme offers a period of work placement that allows you to experience professional life, and form connections with professional practices while testing potential career paths. You will have the opportunity to take up work placements worldwide.
At Edinburgh, we have established an international reputation for developing students of the highest quality, making them highly employable within a vibrant profession.
Where our graduates work
A professional career in landscape architecture encompasses an exciting range of options, such as working in:
- design offices
- local authorities
- environmental agencies
Our graduates also possess transferable skills that allow them to diversify career paths across a range of allied disciplinary fields.
Landscape architecture is a globally established profession, offering the potential for our graduates to find work across the world.
Numerous landscape architecture practices can be found in any major city, meaning our graduates have great scope in finding a job in a region of choice.
Standard entry requirement
The standard entry requirement is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.
Minimum entry requirement
The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.
The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:
- SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C and one from Biology or Human Biology, Chemistry, Computing Science or equivalent, Geography, Mathematics, or Physics at C. Evidence of artistic ability is normally required at either Higher or National 5 level.
- A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4 and one from Biology or Human Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science or equivalent, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, or Science at C or 4. Evidence of artistic ability is normally required at either A Level or GCSE.
- IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5 and one of Biology or Human Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science or equivalent, Geography, Mathematics, or Physics at 4. Evidence of artistic ability is normally required at either HL or SL, e.g. Visual Arts or Design Technology.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
International Foundation Programme
If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.
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.
SQA, GCSE and IB
For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:
- SQA National 5 at C
- GCSE at C or 4
- Level 2 Certificate at C
- IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 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 162 in each component.
- Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
- PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.
We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.
Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.
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You will need to buy specialist equipment such as a laptop. You will also have to pay for:
- drawing materials
- model making materials
- printing costs
Self-funded fieldwork and study tours are undertaken as part of the programme.
For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.