Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2019/2020

MA Honours in Landscape Architecture

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by: Landscape Institute
Final award: Landscape Architecture MA (Honours)
Programme title: Landscape Architecture MA (Honours)
UCAS code: 4J22
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): Landscape Architecture
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: Director of Quality, ECA
Date of production/revision: March 2014

External summary

Landscape Architecture is one of the professions responsible for the design of the built environment. It is an expression of our cultural and natural heritage and provides a dialogue at the interface between them. Landscape Architecture using both reason and imagination, is always conceived and realised in the context of material, environmental, social, cultural and historical parameters.

Edinburgh offers a rich campus environment combining the creative disciplines of art and design, humanities and social sciences. Design is a distinct activity, which lies at the heart of Landscape Architecture. It is a practice, which combines logical analysis, critical judgement and creativity. Our approach to landscape architectural education is fundamentally project based and studio work is central to the programme, underpinning a continuous and iterative process of inquiry.

The overall aim of the MA (Hons) in Landscape Architecture is to enable students to become professional landscape architects recognised by the Landscape Institute (LI) or international equivalent. The syllabus also equips students with a range of transferable skills in communication, analysis and research. Whilst much of the knowledge and skills acquired satisfy professional requirements, experience of more general fields of enquiry such as ecology, plant sciences and visual culture is also included. Satisfactory completion of the MA (Hons) in Landscape Architecture complies with the LI’s accreditation criteria. Graduates can enrol as Licentiate members of the LI and begin a period of relevant employment leading to its Pathway to Chartership Examination (P2C). A reflective placement course prepares students for the P2C process.  

The Landscape Institute (LI), which is the body representing chartered professional landscape architects in the UK accredits the programme. A Professional Review Group (PRG) makes a formal visit to the School at the end of the session. Informal visits by some panel members, which usually involve attending design reviews, occur throughout the session. The PRG reports annually to the LI’s Schools Accreditation Committee, which is a sub-committee of the LI’s Education and Membership Committee. The School is a member of SCHOLA, the Standing Committee for Schools of Landscape Architecture and ECLAS / Le Notre, the European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools.

Educational aims of programme

  • To enable students to acquire and apply general and specialised skills which support the design process
  • To enable students to understand the discipline of landscape architecture through the exploration of a broad range of design problems set in a variety of contexts and scales.
  • To enable students to acquire and apply broad principles of landscape construction technology
  • To introduce students to a broad knowledge of a range of living and man-made materials
  • To enable students to acquire and apply a broad understanding of natural processes;
  • To enable students to demonstrate and apply a broad knowledge of the theories and precedents relating to the built environment
  • To enable students to understand the discipline of landscape architecture through the exploration of a broad range of design problems set in complex contexts and at a variety of scales.
  • To enable students to acquire and apply broad principles of landscape and engineering technology
  • To enable students to acquire specific knowledge and skills necessary in contemporary, professional practice
  • To facilitate the reflective practice of students in the professional workplace
  • To enable students to resolve complex and large-scale design problems at a range of scales, involving refined technical, theoretical and contextual understanding
  • To enable students to identify a research topic
  • To enable students to develop a research problem, method of enquiry and structured academic argument

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

By successfully completing the MA(Hons) graduates will be able to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and critical understanding of:

  • the key features, concepts & terminologies of landscape architecture theory and precedent
  • the principles and practice of horticulture and ecology
  • the principles and application of landscape construction and engineering techniques
  • digital techniques of landscape architectural representation
  • the practice, skills and procedures of design at a range of scales and in complex contexts
  • the temporal dimension in landscape architecture
  • principals and processes of practice characterising the professional workplace

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

By successfully completing the MA(Hons) graduates will be able to:

  • analyse and explore spaces and sequences of exterior spaces

  • analyse, explore and interpret the physical landscape

  • analyse, explore and interpret examples of historical precedent

  • analyse and apply generic aspects of urban form at various scales

  • analyse, explore and interpret examples of theoretical precedent

  • analyse and explore the characteristics of plant material and living systems

  • synthesise biophysical, planning and engineering information in the development of design solutions

  • synthesise standard professional information with the solution of detailed design problems and specification

  • identify and explore the context of a research problem or question

  • analyse and reflect of their own professional experience and practice

  • identify, support and develop an individual research problem

  • research and resolve a complex design problem at a broad range of scales

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

By successfully completing the MA(Hons) graduates will be able to: 

  • propose, develop and present landscape interventions in challenging contexts
  • investigate, conceptualise and develop the design of three dimensional objects and spaces.
  • create and critically appraise landscape architectural design that integrate social, aesthetic and technical requirements
  • conceive landscape architectural designs on a specific site within the broader context of urban planning and the planning process.
  • form considered judgements about the spatial, aesthetic, technical and social qualities of a design within the scope and scale of a wider environment.
  • reflect upon and relate individual ideas to a design and to the work of others.
  • exercise informed and reflective judgement in the development of sustainable design
  • explore a complex, self-generated research problem through argument and the application of appropriate research methods and readings.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

By successfully completing the MA(Hons) graduates will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the importance of communication and dialogue in the development and discussion of design ideas

  • select appropriate methods for communicating designs and ideas clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences

  • communicate and argue the rationale of a design proposal through oral presentation and using graphics and models, in the context of practice

  • produce documentation for landscape design at a range of scales

  • demonstrate competence in the landscape architectural conventions of scale, projection, and section in communicating a design

  • select and use a range of visual, written and verbal techniques in order to communicate landscape architectural designs and ideas to stakeholder groups

  • communicate and exchange information with other professionals involved in the development process

  • engage in informed critical dialogue with peers

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

By successfully completing the MA(Hons) graduates will be able to: 

  • work in an interdisciplinary environment and collaborate with others

  • work effectively when required as a group leader, design team member and autonomously when necessary

  • work collaboratively within an interdisciplinary environment

  • collaborate effectively when working with others in a group

  • reflect on the operation of group work and address issues of group interaction

  • manage time, prioritise and work

  • Identify, develop and resolve a personally selected research problem

  • Identify, develop and resolve a personally selected design problem

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

Successful completion of the MA(Hons) will enable to students to:

  • represent different aspects of the designed landscape visually
  • employ and apply contours and levels to propose changes to landform
  • design and construct complex three dimensional spatial models
  • recognise and represent geographical typology in the field
  • represent proposals using digital techniques
  • recognise a wide range of plant species and ecological communities in the field
  • apply a range of landscape construction and engineering techniques in design proposals
  • specify and detail technical aspects of landscape architectural design proposals
  • compile and organize a portfolio of design projects
  • record and categorise professional activities and procedures in the workplace

Programme structure and features

COMPULSORY COURSES

This DPT has 6 compulsory course(s):

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

ARCH08xxx

Landscape Architecture Design 1

Semester 1

20

ARCH08xxx

Landscape Architecture Context 1

Semester 1

20

ARCH07001

Art and Design

Semester 1

20

ARCH08xxx

Landscape Architecture Techniques 1

Semester 2

20

ARCH08xxx

Landscape Architecture Design 2

Semester 2

20

ARCH08xxx

Landscape Architecture Context 2

Semester 2

20

COURSE OPTIONS

This DPT has 0 set(s) of course options with the following rules.

Year 2

Notes: Students must pass all learning outcomes in Year 2 compulsory courses

COMPULSORY COURSES

This DPT has 6 compulsory course(s):

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

ARCH08xxx

Landscape Architecture Design 3

Semester 1

20

ARCH08xxx

Landscape Architecture Techniques 2

Semester 1

20

ARCH08xxx

Landscape Architecture Context 3

Semester 1

20

ARCH08xxx

Landscape Architecture Design 4

Semester 2

20

ARCH08xxx

Landscape Architecture Context 4

Semester 2

20

ARCH08xxx

Landscape Architecture Techniques 3

Semester 2

20

COURSE OPTIONS

This DPT has 0 set(s) of course options with the following rules.

Year 3

Notes: In Honours Years 3 & 4, resits are not permitted; the only exception is Academic Portfolio, where two attempts are permitted.

COMPULSORY COURSES

This DPT has 4 compulsory course(s):

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

ARCH10xxx

Landscape Architecture Design 5

Semester 1

20

ARCH10xxx

Landscape Architecture Context 5

Semester 1

20

ARCH10xxx

Landscape Architecture Placement 1

Semester 2

40

ARCH10xxx

Landscape Architecture Placement 2

Semester 2

20

COURSE OPTIONS

This DPT has 1 set(s) of course options with the following rules.

Select exactly 20 credits from Level 9 and 10 courses in Schedules A to Q, T and W, during Semester 1

Notes: Option must be delivered and assessed during Semester 1.

Year 4

Notes: In Honours Years 3 & 4, resits are not permitted; the only exception is Academic Portfolio, where two attempts are permitted.

COMPULSORY COURSES

This DPT has 2 compulsory course(s):

Code

Course Name

Period

Credits

ARCH10xxx

Landscape Architecture Design 6

Semester 1

40

ARCH10xxx

Landscape Architecture Design 7 

Semester 2

20

ARCH10xxx

Academic Portfolio

Semester 2

20

COURSE OPTIONS

This DPT has 1 set(s) of course options with the following rules.

Select exactly 40 credits from the following list of courses, as available

Code                 Course Name                                                              Period            Credits    

ARCH10xxx      Landscape Architecture Dissertation by Research       Full Year                40

ARCH10xxx      Landscape Architecture Dissertation by Design           Full Year                40

Level and Exit Awards

4

Landscape Architecture MA(Hons)

SCQF 11

There are two subjects in the MA(Hons):

Landscape Architectural Design 60 credits and a Dissertation by research or design (40 credits). There is also an Academic Portfolio course. Students must pass this to satisfy LI requirements. All courses in the MA(Hons) (with the exception of Academic Portfolio), produce a single summative average mark, of all course learning outcome grades. Academic Portfolio produces a single summative mark from grades awarded for Learning Outcomes 1 & 3 only. Learning Outcome 2 of the Academic Portfolio is assessed as a simple pass or fail grade. All learning outcomes for Academic Portfolio must be passed to allow for the award of MA(Hons) Landscape Architecture and to satisfy LI requirements.

480 credits are required for the award of a degree.

3

Landscape Architecture (BA)

SCQF 10

All students take the same courses except in the Electives (20 credits). There are three main subjects of study:

Landscape Architectural Design (20 credits), Contextual Studies (20 credits) and 2 courses taken during a semester 2 Placement  (40 + 20 credits).

The award requires a minimum of 360 credits.

2

Diploma in Higher Education

SCQF 8

All students take the same courses. There are three main subjects of study:

Landscape Architectural Design (40 credits), Contextual Studies (20 credits) and Techniques (40 credits).

Progression requirements 120 credits.

(Students may be permitted to carry a maximum of 40 credits to Level 3)

1

Certificate of Higher Education

SCQF 8

This is an introductory level achieving awareness of many of the key skills and knowledge for the study of landscape architecture. All students take the same modules. There are three main subjects of study:

Landscape Architectural Design (40 credits), Contextual Studies (40 credits) and Techniques (20 credits). An interdisciplinary module in Art and Design (20 credits) complements these courses.

Progression requirements 120 credits.

(Students may be permitted to carry a maximum of 40 credits to Level 2)

 

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

The Design Studio

The major locus of landscape architectural education in Edinburgh is the design studio, where students work on projects (either group or individual), benefiting from discussions and interaction with the teaching staff and with their fellow students. Studio projects are structured elements of study exploring themed aspects of landscape architecture. Studio taught courses usually include tutorials, seminars, discussions, and lectures. Student work is enhanced by periodic review involving presentation and discussion with staff, students and visitors. Reviews are integrated with processes of assessment and feedback.

Academic Tutorials

Individual tutorials, accompanying more formal critiques take place during the teaching of all design projects and the dissertation in final yea. Distance based tutorials support the professional placement period and courses, undertaken at that time.

Team Teaching Team teaching is employed during the delivery of design modules in all stages, and in design and dissertation courses in final year.

Student Projects

Projects are the vehicles for learning, teaching and assessment in courses in design, spatial exploration and representation, construction and reading the landscape.

Technical Instruction Technical instruction supports learning and teaching in first year design courses and second year techniques courses.

Group Teaching and Learning Formal group teaching and learning typically takes place during the site analysis stage of design courses in most years.

Lectures

Lectures support learning and teaching in history and theory, ecology, reading the landscape, construction, horticulture, computer-aided design, landscape engineering, contracts and specification and elective modules.

Seminars

Seminars support learning and teaching in the delivery of history and theory, CVCS electives and dissertation modules. Online seminars will take place during stage 4 to support the professional placement period and modules, which are undertaken at that time.

Computer-Aided Learning Teaching occurs in Digital Construction in second year. There is also an elective in year 3, integrated digital media, which advances teaching.

Study Tours

A week long, study tour in year 1 forms part of the landscape history course and is a formally assessed part of the programme. Shorter site visits and field excursions are involved in the teaching of most design modules, plant materials, construction, landscape engineering and reading the landscape.

Practice-Related Learning Experience

Third year formally includes an assessed 60 credit professional placement period in semester 2. During this period students are required to keep a professional logbook describing and analysing their workplace experience and undertake preparatory research for their dissertation in final year.

Erasmus exchanges

The policy we promote for all exchanges is that each operates on 1 semester duration only, which helps safeguard against outgoing students encountering problems with study over the more prolonged duration of one year. The 1 semester duration can be in either semester 1 or 2, although exchange to Australia and New Zealand is limited to semester 2 due to alignment with their academic year.

These currently comprise of the 4 EMILA partner institutions:

Academie van Bouwkunst, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.

Fakultät für Architektur und Landschaft, Leibniz Universitat, Hannover, Germany.

École Nationale Supérieur de Paysage, Versailles, France.

EMILA exchanges take place in semester 2 of third year and semester 1 of final year.

There is one further exchange with:

Istanbul Technical University (ITU), Istanbul, Turkey

These are all established exchanges, which are monitored in regard of balance of numbers which the International Office provides statistics for each year.  We envisage no changes to these agreements.

International Exchanges

Currently we have three international partners:

Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia

Institute of Technology (UNITEC), Auckland, New Zealand

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Melbourne, Australia

ESALA CAMPUS

The programme makes use of the combined resources at both the Lauriston Place campus (including Evolution House) and the Chambers Street (Minto House) campus. In addition some lectures occur in various locations around the George Square area.

Lauriston Place Campus

Lauriston Place houses the landscape architecture studios, café, workshop, printing facilities and shop.

Evolution House

Evolution House contains the Edinburgh College of Art Library. The library’s collections of books, journals, DVDs and videocas­settes, slides and other media cover all aspects of architecture and landscape architecture, art, design, film, photography, and related disci­plines. The library also provides web access to a comprehensive range of online resources in these subject areas. A Computing Services helpdesk is located within the library.

Minto House Campus

Minto House is home to the University of Edin­burgh Art and Architecture Library (Minto House Level 2/Ground Floor) covering architectural theory and practice, architectural history and art history, construction, planning and urban design, landscape architecture, professional practice, presentation techniques, and CAD. Architectural journals are held here. There is a collection of DVD and videos, a comprehensive slide library and a large collection of digital images, which are used in history teaching and made available by a variety of means, but primarily via Learn. Wireless web access is provided throughout.

University of Edinburgh Main Library, George Square

Large collections of books on architecture and related subjects are also held in the main University Library in George Square. Extensive holdings of valuable and historical publications are also to be found, together with an expand­ing archival collection on twentieth-century urban design and planning. The library has was recently refurbished and includes a café and group working “pods” available for all students.

There are additional Crit areas in both campuses, which will be used occasionally.

Assessment methods and strategies

Methods of Assessment

The detailed methods of assessment will vary with the content of each course and project. Generally, students will receive diagnostic and formative feedback through tutorials and interim reviews with members of staff and invited critics. Summative feedback will be provided through Course Feedback Forms at the end of the course. Grades given on feedback forms are for guidance only and subject to ratification at the Examination Board.

Academic regulations

ESALA programmes are governed by the University of Edinburgh Assessment Regulations. These are available online at: www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/academic-services/policies-regulations/regulations/assessment

Feedback

Feedback is given through formative assignments and also through formal overall feedback for each course. This includes provisional (pre-examination board) grades alongside written comments and action points. In courses in which all assignments are summatively assessed, students will receive feedback with each marked assignment.

 

Common Marking Scheme and Grade descriptors

The assessment scheme is designed to assist students and staff to clearly identify both strengths and weaknesses in assessed work through aligning assessment directly to the learning outcomes. For each learning outcome contained within a Course descriptor the student will receive a grade. These grades will then be used to produce a single summative mark for each course.

 In this way both students and staff can clearly see where the strengths and /or weaknesses lie.

The grade scheme comprises eight category bands and uses letter grades rather than numbers. Grade criteria can be found at:

www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/registry/exams/regulations/common-marking-scheme

An extract of which is given below:

EXTRACT FROM COMMON MARKING SCHEME

Class Mark (%)

Grade

  90-100

A1

  80-89

A2

  70-79

A3

  60-69

B

  50-59

C

  40-49

D

  35-39

E (Marginal Fail)

 <30

F (Fail)

 

Career opportunities

Graduates of the ESALA MA(Hons) in landscape architecture – the majority of whom become chartered landscape architects - have been readily employed in the UK and overseas. They work in a wide range of small and large private practices, local and national government and large commercial organisations. In addition, our students graduate with a wide variety of transferable skills that can be put to use in other creative industries. These include skills in document production and graphic design, computer modelling, visualisation techniques, and general expertise with various software packages. Those who wish to pursue further study on completion of the MA(Hons) have the opportunity to access post-professional MSc and PhD programmes in the built environment and other cultural and creative disciplines.

QUALITY ASSURANCE

2009 University of Edinburgh validation

2009 Enhancement led institutional review (ELIR) Edinburgh College of Art.

2013 Landscape institute annual professional accreditation

Mechanisms for review and evaluation of teaching, learning, assessment, the curriculum and outcome standards:

Programme reviews. (Annual)

External Examiner reports

Edinburgh College of Art Annual Programme Monitoring Review

Programme Committees with responsibility for monitoring and evaluating quality and standards.

Board of Examiners

Mechanisms for gaining student feedback on the quality of teaching and their learning experience.

Staff/student Liason Committee

Student representation on Programme Committees

Questionnaire evaluation of Courses

Staff development events.

Programme Committees are a means of disseminating information about programme changes, which have been affected, or actions, which have been taken at School level, which affect programmes. The Committees meet once a term and consist of:

  • The Programme Coordinator / Director
  • Year Tutors
  • Student representatives from each level

Other staff may be invited to attend the Committee where appropriate, e.g. part-time or temporary staff responsible for modules/units or their components.

Student representatives make a significant contribution to Programme Committees.  They are responsible for canvassing the views of their fellow students on agenda items and, most importantly, informing them of the content and outcome of Programme Committee Meetings. Students are advised to make use of EUSA help in training for their role as representatives and in Committee procedures.

Other items

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