Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

MA Landscape Architecture

UCAS code: K310

Duration: 5 years

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Accreditation
Study abroad
Placements

Introducing MA Landscape Architecture

The MA in Landscape Architecture at The University of Edinburgh is one of the most respected programmes in the UK and renowned internationally as a leading centre of landscape architecture research and education. The school was awarded the Best International School of Landscape Architecture in 2018 and continues to deliver against this legacy, prioritising learning and teaching at the highest level.

The programme is situated in the creative and vibrant context of Edinburgh College of Art. As you progress through the programme you will develop an understanding of materials and technology, alongside cultural and ecological processes, enabling you to design sustainable environments fitting for the locations in which they are held. Teaching is supported by a broad range of highly experienced staff, alongside expert input from the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens.

Who is this programme for?

If you care deeply about the living planet and the environment that surrounds you and if you are a creative person with a passion for nature in all its forms, this programme is for you. Our aim is to help develop students’ individuality, curiosity and creativity, to produce graduates who can go out into the world and make a positive change through their future career.

Over the course of the degree, you will develop an in-depth understanding of how to read the landscape around you. You will develop a set of complementary skills that will help you to understand how landscapes might be transformed or protected to safeguard their value for future generations. You will be taught how to apply new skills in drawing, digital media, visual culture, urban design, geography, ecology, construction and horticulture, so that your ideas become communicable with a wide range of other people. Learning about key theories that exist within and around the discipline of landscape architecture will help you to think critically about the positioning and implications of your own ideas.

Global Challenges

Landscape Architects play an essential role in building a sustainable future for our planet. Many of society’s greatest challenges, including climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss, sustainable cities and communities, inclusive societies and social wellbeing, are embedded in landscapes and require new solutions for the way in which we care for and maintain our shared landscape resources. In response, students on our programme work creatively across a diverse range of environments and scales, considering approaches for people, places and all the living entities upon which our planet’s health depends.

Programme pathways

Integrated Pathway

The 5 year programme is a fully integrated Masters level programme, enabling students to enter at undergraduate level and advance directly to graduate at postgraduate level. Our graduates are in high demand across the globe and we believe that the integrated nature of the 5-year MA programme gives you confidence in defining your own specific areas of interest and specialism, to carry these into a meaningful future career.

While the 5-year programme may seem longer in duration than other landscape architecture programmes in the UK, the reduced fee for the year in professional practice means the total tuition cost is comparable with other competitor programmes. The integrated pathway also provides major advantages in allowing you to progress automatically to postgraduate studies, while fully supporting you during professional placements. The programme also avoids a final summer semester common to most postgraduate programmes.

European Pathway

We are the only UK institution to offer a collaborative European Masters in Landscape Architecture (EMiLA), accredited by the Landscape Institute, offering our students the unique opportunity to take part in this innovative programme. This is a two-year, professionally accredited programme offered jointly by five of Europe’s leading landscape architecture institutions. Alongside Edinburgh this includes Akademie van Bouwkunst, Amsterdam, Leibniz Universität, Hannover, Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Paysage (ENSP), Versailles, Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona (ETSAB). Students can opt into this programme after year 3.

Accreditation

Our MA Landscape Architecture programme has full accreditation from the UK Landscape Institute. As a graduate landscape architect you’ll be eligible to join the Landscape Institute as an associate member, to then proceed on the pathway to become a chartered member, meaning the skills and knowledge you will acquire 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 students to work in the UK, Europe or further abroad. Many students find employment in exciting design offices directly after graduation.

Year 1

Our thematic design courses, Design: Context & Grounding and Design: Site & Process, will immediately begin to explore spatial design ideas focused on processes of site-based exploration and conceptual design. These courses will allow you to understand and work with fundamental design principles, while also supporting the development of your technical and digital drawing skills.

The Environmental Practices and Material Practices courses encourage experimental forms of representation, while developing your curiosity in processes that shape the natural and built environment.

Complementary practice-based courses, Landscape Theories: Critical Zones and Landscape Theories: Histories will introduce you to a range of exciting ideas that have shaped our appreciation of environmental dynamics and cultural landscapes.

Year 2

Design work becomes more focused and complex. You will take two large credit thematic design studio courses, Design: Terrain & Ecologies and Design: City & Habitation. These courses allow space and time to explore key sustainability issues of climate and biodiversity action, followed by urbanisation and social space. At planning and site-based scales, studio work covers technical aspects of material specification and construction detailing, alongside applied ecological science.

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 disciplines across the University.

In semester 2, the Landscape Theories: Communities course will allow you to integrate personally driven interests into socio-ecological processes with your design studio work.

Year 3

Design work complexity increases and focuses on tackling large-scale sites with challenging conditions. The course on Design: Practices of Reclamation will introduce students to the challenges of working with post-industrial sites, followed by the Design: Practices of Speculation course that explores priorities for future landscapes. These design courses extend skills gained in years 1 and 2 to an advanced level of project thinking and practical configuration.

In semester 1, you will have the opportunity to take a further optional course at an advanced academic level, offering you the opportunity to explore alternative disciplinary subjects in ECA or across the University.

In semester 2, the Landscape Theories: Resilience course will allow you to further develop personal interests in contemporary landscape theory, with emphasis on socio-ecological resilience.

Year 4

The placement period is supported by courses that allow students to undertake coursework predicated on the Landscape Institutes professional competency framework. Whether a student is in practice or working independently, these courses provide a degree of flexibility that allow students to undertake a range of professionally aligned micro projects that are manageable in relation to the demands of a professional placement.

The aim of placement courses is to help students understand professional requirements and personal development mapped onto the Landscape Institutes pathway to chartership.

Year 5

Design work is advanced, framed by two conjoint courses, Landscape Architecture Design Explorations: Part 1 and Part 2, which frame a yearlong in-depth strategic project.

You will be able to select from thematic studio courses, while working alongside students on our postgraduate MLA programme. These studios will work through stages and scales of strategic design, allowing you to develop projects with a high degree of critical and creative depth.

The Landscape Theories: Practice course will allow you to critically explore an area of contemporary design theory, either allied to the design studios or of personal interest. Work from all years of the programme will feed into the Landscape Theories: Portfolio course, which will support you in preparing a professionally-aligned portfolio for entering the profession.

Our facilities

Our programme is located in dedicated design studios where students from all years of the programme form a tight-knit community, reflected in our lively studio culture and highly active student society.

Based in an art college, students can take advantage of a broad range of workshop facilities, covering material and digital fabrication, while students at the University of Edinburgh have access to a range of library resources across the campus and online. These resources provide significant support for students learning on both practice and theory-based courses.

Placements

Our programme offers a period of work placement in year 4 that allows students to experience professional life, form connections with professional practices, while testing potential career paths. You will have the opportunity to take up work placements worldwide.

The placement period is supported by courses that allow students to undertake coursework predicated on the Landscape Institute’s professional competency framework. Whether in practice or working independently, these courses provide a degree of flexibility that will allow you to progress into your final year.

Study abroad

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.

There are several opportunities to study abroad offered through the programme, including:

  • exchange opportunities in semester one of Year 3
  • the possibility to arrange a work placement in Europe or further afield in Year 4
  • the opportunity to apply for the European Masters in Landscape Architecture (EMiLA) upon successful completion of Year 3.

All students interested in taking up these opportunities are highly encouraged to do so and most often succeed in gaining these valuable experiences.

Guaranteed study abroad funding for students required to complete a year abroad

How will I learn?

Our programme is designed around student centred learning, where you will develop practical and theoretical knowledge and skills through a range of learning experiences, while having a strong degree of freedom to allow your personal interests to emerge in a supportive structure.

We have carefully considered integrated strands of programme-level learning and teaching, including:

  • design
  • theory
  • portfolio work
  • optional studies

Design

Our programme places significant emphasis on the design studio as the place where ideas, techniques and skills are synthesised, discussed and developed. This involves creative studio projects that deal with real-world issues, with particular focus on site-based interpretation and sensitive strategic design running throughout the programme.

Design courses are practice-based and assessed against the development of individual project work, which helps our students refine their work for entering the profession at the Year 4 professional placement and on graduation.

Collaboration is encouraged at the early stages of most design courses, allowing students to develop skills in teamwork, before developing individual proposals.

Digital literacy is supported within the design strand of courses, enabling students to gain experience with various digital packages and how they are deployed within the design process.

Theory

Our theory course strand allows students to develop areas of personal interest, promoting landscape architecture as an expanded field that incorporates dimensions of social, ecological, technological and material concerns. All theory courses respond to the design courses running in parallel, allowing students to integrate knowledge and ideas with practice-based work.

While the theory strand helps students to develop skills in writing and communication, theorising involves other modes of visual and spatial language, encouraging students to view theory as applied thinking.

Portfolio

The portfolio strand begins in Year 3, helping students prepare for their year in placement, where they will further explore the role of the portfolio as the synthesis and curation of personal ideas and practice-based work.

The culmination of the 5-year programme will ask you to synthesise a range of work from across the programme into a flexible set of portfolio elements that present your individual design personality.

Optional studies

We have designed the programme to allow a range of optional studies, including two points (years 2 and 3) where students can take optional courses in other subject areas, and thematic design studios offering a range of differing project options. Students will also have the opportunity to study abroad in year 3 through the University's International Exchange Programme, while professional placements in year 4 can be found in most regions of the world.

Teaching team

The programme is delivered by a range of highly experienced staff, who are leading researchers and practitioners in landscape architecture. Working alongside academic staff, all our design courses have external tutors from industry, providing valuable insights and connections with professional practice. This is routinely punctuated by guest speakers in our dedicated lecture series and industry talk series, offering insights from established figures in professional practice. Some courses involve teaching from experts at the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens, alongside course tutors from a range of disciplinary fields from the environmental sciences.

How will I be assessed?

Landscape architecture deals with the synthesis and critical appreciation of many different factors that converge within the range of environmental settings and theories students study. Each course will have a set of learning outcomes that set out the criteria by which students are assessed, while these criteria are mapped to professional competencies, making academic work relevant to professional practice.

During your time on the programme you will encounter a wide range of assignments, including:

  • design projects
  • essays
  • group work
  • written reports
  • presentations

The method of assessment used is appropriate to the aims of the course and its stated learning outcomes, Your performance will be assessed against sets of course-level learning outcomes.

From assessment, you will receive detailed feedback for each formal submission, which includes mid-course formative feedback to ensure that you are developing work in line with course aims and learning outcomes. Guided peer-based evaluation is also encouraged.

All assessments follow rigorous procedures, with the programme evaluated by an external examiner, bringing oversight from a highly experienced disciplinary figure. Our Landscape Institute Professional Review Group undertake an annual review to ensure our programme meets professional standards.

At Edinburgh we have established an international reputation for developing students of the highest calibre, making them highly employable within a vibrant profession. UK surveys indicate that our graduates have 100% employability in highly skilled jobs, reflecting the quality of our graduates entering what is a vibrant and growing market.

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 employment in a region of choice.

A professional career in landscape architecture encompasses an exciting range of options, from working in design offices, to working for local authorities and environmental agencies. Our graduates also possess transferable skills that allow them to diversify career paths across a range of allied disciplinary fields.

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.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

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.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant 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 65 with at least 54 in each component. We do not accept PTE Academic Online.*

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.

English language requirements

(*Revised 24 May 2024 to change PTE Academic requirement from total 62 with at least 54 in each component, and to clarify that we do not accept PTE Academic online.)

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Additional costs

Related to a range of activity, there are the following additional costs for this programme which students are made aware of well in advance.

Materials

This includes the range of practical tools required for design studio projects. Advice will be given on how to build a basic tool kit you can use throughout your studies. The ECA Store stocks a range of art and design materials from specialist suppliers, meaning you have easy access to almost all materials, while our Free-Use Hub encourages the recycling of materials and equipment for all students to benefit from.

Printing

At various times you will be required to print large scale presentation sheets (A3-A1). Our in-house reprographics service offers a range of printing, photocopying, scanning and related services.

Computers

Most students have their own laptops or Ipads. The college provides access to IT support and a range of specialist IT equipment, which you can book free of charge. The college also offers subsidised or often free licences to many design packages.

Field studies

Most design studios and some theory courses require short term field visits. These vary from one day to several days, while sometimes being local to Edinburgh, around the UK, or occasionally abroad. Most field trips are subsidised but may incur additional costs, varying in relation to the duration and destination of the trip.

Study tour

This is a valuable experience in the first year of the programme. While subsidised, it does require a higher level of self-funding.

Placement

The yearlong placement in Year 4 can be undertaken anywhere locally or internationally, meaning the costs of travelling and accommodation vary in relation to each student's chosen location. However, the majority of placements come with paid contracts, meaning it is an opportunity to earn money during this period.

Financial guidance and support

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding