Undergraduate study - 2018 entry

Subject area: Landscape Architecture

Why choose Landscape Architecture at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We are one of the UK's largest schools of architecture and landscape architecture with a respected international profile. We regularly host acclaimed visiting scholars, practitioners and critics. Our students go on to achieve high levels of recognition and success and they regularly win the Landscape Institutes's Student Portfolio Prize and Student Dissertation Prize.

  • You'll be based in the heart of one of Europe's leading cultural cities that forms a unique living laboratory in which to learn and create. Edinburgh is a place of outstanding landscape and architectural interest and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • With fascinating geological, ecological, rural, post-industrial, cultural and urban design phenomena and sites in close reach, you have fertile ground to study and work with. You will have access to significant designed landscapes of all types, from the garden to the region, such as Ian Hamilton Finlay's Little Sparta and Scotland's many historic landscape sites.

Study abroad

I’m very much enjoying my course. I have great classmates and I love being outdoors. The tutors are always approachable and the College’s facilities are excellent.

Anna Verity Robison MA (Hons) Landscape Architecture
Anna Verity Robison MA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

Landscape architecture is a creative discipline that focuses on intervention in the landscape through imaginative design, strategic thinking and scientific precision. It analyses, represents, reclaims, reinvents and constructs landscapes as places with meaning. It is positioned at the interface between art and design, and the physical, natural and social sciences.

Our programme is committed to educating designers who are creative, inventive, intelligent, rigorous and ethical in their practice as both students and professionals. Our staff are also designers, makers and theorists who engage with landscapes that are local and global in their ongoing research and practice.

Our programme is structured in three interconnected strands: design, theory and techniques. We have a unique relationship with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, where you will learn about plants and horticulture from world-leading researchers and scientists. You will have the opportunity to take up practical placement opportunities worldwide. We also offer exchange opportunities with renowned landscape architecture institutions in Europe and Australia.

This programme is fully accredited by the Landscape Institute.

BA Programme

We are also in the process of developing a three-year BA programme which will enable accelerated progress or development, and may be selected by students towards the end of Year 2.

Year 1

Design work focuses on the building blocks of landscape architecture including spatial concepts, exploration, function, planning and representation. You will also study techniques of drawing, IT, art practices and theories of physical geography, architectural and landscape history and landscape construction.

Year 2

Design work becomes more focused and complex. You will take courses which focus on landscape planning and the study of urban landscapes with a particular emphasis on urban design and urban regeneration. Studio work is supported by contemporary landscape theory, applied landscape theory and technical courses covering aspects of detailed design.

Year 3

Design work focuses on complex landscape systems, with exploration of related landscape research topics. In semester 1 you will take an option from a suite of landscape architecture courses or from the wider University. In semester 2 you will undertake a practice work period usually in a landscape architecture practice with two associated distance learning courses.

Year 4

Design courses advance depth of exploration and resolved proposition, with focus on increasingly self-directed work. You will also complete a self-directed dissertation via a design or research route and compile a carefully curated academic portfolio.

Are there additional costs?

You will need to purchase specialist equipment such as a laptop and pay for drawing and model-making materials. You will also have to pay printing costs. Self-funded fieldwork and study tours are undertaken as part of the programme.

Our facilities

Teaching takes place across a range of facilities in central Edinburgh, predominantly at Edinburgh College of Art’s Lauriston Place campus. Other locations in the University are also used. Plant teaching takes place at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). You will have access to design studios, well-equipped workshops, computer labs and libraries.

The University is investing in the ECA estate and facilities to further develop our flexible, stimulating, supportive and sustainable learning and research environment for students and staff.

Further information is available on the ECA website.

Facilities and resources at ECA


Semester 2 of Year 3 is a credited placement period. This means that you can work in practice from January until September taking advantage of working opportunities worldwide. You will study Semester 2 courses by distance learning.

Study abroad

You can study abroad by taking advantage of exchange opportunities in Year 3. We have exchange partners in Australia and throughout Europe under the Erasmus programme. In semester 2 of Year 3, you'll have the opportunity to take up practical placements in the UK and worldwide.

How will I learn?

Landscape Architecture encourages self-directed study from Year 1 to Year 4. Studio based design teaching is central and is supported by two aligned strands in theory and techniques. Design projects are tutored using a range of teaching techniques, including on a one-to-one basis. Work is reviewed in communal critique sessions. There is a credited placement period in semester 2 of Year 3.

How will I be assessed?

You will predominantly be assessed by a combination of coursework, portfolio work and presentations. Some courses are assessed by written essays and in your graduating year there is a dissertation submission.

The MA Landscape Architecture programme offers a route into the landscape architecture profession and our graduates are highly in demand. A landscape architecture qualification from the University of Edinburgh can lead to employment worldwide. Almost all of our landscape architecture graduates quickly gain employment, predominately in private practice but also in local government and with public bodies such as Scottish Natural Heritage or the Countryside Agency.