Landscape Architecture - MA / PgDip *

Attendance:
Full Time, Part Time
Starting:
September 2017
Campus:
Fees:
£4,900 for UK/EU Full Time 2017 entry (view all fees)

This imaginative course is an important stage in developing your career, you will develop your creative, artistic, technical and intellectual abilities on an educational programme which has been measured by external examiners and the profession as one of the leading courses in the country.

The international employer of tomorrow needs multi-skilled designers who can stand their ground and defend the position of the landscape architect. This positive spirit is developed through engaging studios, group workshops and tailored modules that develop theoretically enriched practice that push the boundaries of concept work and translate ideas into spaces that shape the future.

Each year the course is tested for its quality by the Landscape Institute and our external examiners.  Our external examiners have reviewed the course and rated it very highly.

What's covered in the course?

This course is designed for students who want a career in landscape architecture and want to shape the world in which we live.  You will have a belief and passion to use landscape architecture as a design tool to make new environments for work, play and habitation.

This MA Landscape Architecture course incorporates a conversion course in year one, providing a foundation programme that enables applicants who don’t have a degree in Landscape Architecture an opportunity to enter year two of the programme, where you will join students who have previously completed a degree in Landscape Architecture. The conversion year is a studio based learning environment that delivers a combination of key skills that support the communication of projects, investigating the idea that our laboratory is a designed ecology and that you will learn about the landscape across its range of scales. The second part of the year looks at the idea that landscape is a sequence of interrelated designed environments connected by land, ecology, water, climate and infrastructure, sitting in a cultural context that extends from Parish to global political and economic systems.

The second year extends the studio as a studio of the mind, promoting an environment that encourages exploration and investigation. There is a strong emphasis on research that underpins new frontiers of the designed environment. Students will work on research-led design projects relating to well-being, the design process, designed ecologies and climate change, settlement design, food security and large scale infrastructure schemes like High Speed 2 (HS2) and flood alleviation. 

“I stumbled across the Landscape Institute website, having never heard of the profession, but it brought everything I enjoyed together: the outdoors, design, ecology, place making. To my delight I got into Birmingham City University, and I have gained so many new experiences that have really allowed me to appreciate the places around me. The University provides the support you need, whilst giving you a freedom that allows your projects to be as creative and individual as you want. The course provided a great stepping stone between education and employment, and the experience allowed me to gain employment at a Landscape Architect practice straight after my degree.” Jocelyn Bennett

Why Choose Us?

  • Our part time mode enables you to study as well as develop your career in a practice, so you can earn while you learn. The University supports a flexible way of studying, and a start time of 11am helps to take the strain out of childcare and accommodates for long commutes.

  • You want to be sure that you will have a mix of fun whilst being challenged, with the course providing the opportunity to create a strong CV and portfolio, standing you in good stead within the industry. 

  • At Birmingham School of Architecture and Design you will receive support surrounding your career development. By working with our contacts in the profession, on successful completion of the Masters programme you be able to apply to become a licentiate member of the Landscape Institute (LI), the chartered body for landscape architecture in the UK.

  • We have a long tradition of high level research with a number of landscape architects who have continued to study for a PhD.

  • Alongside our globally-renowned staff, we have visiting professionals that support lectures, workshops and seminars, introducing debates on international issues.

  • We have well-established connections with the region’s best landscape architecture practices.

  • You will receive great support from our teaching team; with plenty of 1 : 1 tutorials and low student/staff ratios ensuring that you get plenty of time to take your ideas to the next level. 

  • The Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey emphasised the quality of the teaching and learning experience, rating the School ‘excellent’ for another year running. Student satisfaction was measured at 100%. 

  • Employment is the best test to measure how we support student careers. 95% part time students are in employment in the profession, taking the earning and learning pathway. Former students are either running their own businesses or steering decisions at director level.

Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 26 April 2017, between 2pm and 7pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities. You can't book your place just yet, but register your interest and we'll send you an email when you can book.

Register your interest

This course is open to International students

Birmingham School of Architecture and Design

Discover Birmingham School of Architecture and Design

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

This course is accredited by:

Landscape Institute (LI)

Subject to approval

The content of this course has been refreshed and updated to make sure you graduate with the skills employers need in an ever-changing job market.

Our quality control experts are currently reviewing the content and we anticipate receiving formal approval shortly.

Find out more...

Entry Requirements

UK students
Essential

Entry to year 1 (Conversion Course): Minimum Lower Second-Class degree (2:2).  

Entry to year 2 (MA): Landscape Institute accredited Conversion Course, or BA Hons / BSc degree in Landscape Architecture or Garden Design, minimum Lower Second-Class (2:2).  

International students must meet all the Border Agency entry criteria for the programme.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2017 FT 1 year £4,900
PT 2 years £2,450 per year
PgDip Sep 2017 FT 1 year £3,270

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2017 FT 1 year £12,000
PgDip Sep 2017 FT 1 year £8,000

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

This course is available part-time

Portfolio guidance

The portfolio can include a variety of work and can be presented as a summarised visual narrative of design process work that you have produced in your final year of undergraduate study.  It should be arranged to demonstrate all the skills that you have acquired to articulate your ability as a designer. Please include work that reflects the various stages of the design process, where possible demonstrate your thought processes, sketches, concept work, mapping and survey work, and how your ideas have evolved through the range of scales. Mixed media and models, sketches and technical drawings should be logically arranged. This can be presented as a digital portfolio, however file sizes must be managed preferably to under 20mb. If much larger, use WeTransfer and send to russell.good@bcu.ac.uk or provide a link to online blog. 


What's included in your course fees?

  • National Trust membership
  • Free laptop loan for use on Campus
  • Lynda.com
  • Digimap
  • Summon

Additional costs

The course requires students to have drawing and graphics equipment, sketch books, scale rule, coloured pencils, marker pens, scalpel, eraser, A1 portfolio and a laptop. (Approximately £450. 

If you're unable to use the online application form for any reason, you can complete our pdf application form instead.

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Year 1 (Conversion)

This is designed as a foundation course, providing access for applicants who don’t have a degree in Landscape Architecture to the second year (MA). 

The formal pathway leads to Licentiate Membership of the Landscape Institute. The structure of the course builds expertise in design principles through two studio projects. 

Skills Module
20 credits

The curriculum covers drawing, measuring and surveying, digital design, model making, detail design and visualisation skills to communicate all stages of the design process. 

Designed Ecologies
40 credits

This module develops knowledge of plant ecologies in urban and rural ecosystems and their contribution to green infrastructure across the range of scales. 

Designed Geographies
40 credits

This module develops design skills that enable you to analyse, evaluate and design urban landscapes that enhance the quality of life for urban communities and commerce.

Landscape Culture and Nature
20 credits

‘Landscape – Culture and Nature’ forms part of the foundation in landscape architecture for students undertaking the ‘Conversion’ Route into the MA Landscape Architecture. This is part of a comprehensive introduction to the skills, knowledge and understanding that is necessary to equip students to successfully enter the second year. 

Year 2 (MA)

Personal Research Module - Part 1
20 credits

This module encourages you to develop your own theoretical and philosophical position as a designer.

Supporting the studio modules including the design thesis, this module addresses wider cultural, physical and contextual issues to situate design in a far broader context than personal experience, encouraging students to realise the extent to which a wide range of other perspectives can and should contribute to design decision-making.

Synthesis to Detail
20 credits

This modules explores ideas as they are translated through the scales, and develops expertise in articulating materials at the detail design stage of the process.

Comprising a series of related design exercises, this module applies and develops the skills and knowledge developed in the process and theoretical studio to the research and analysis of detailed design, exploring how ideas can be expressed spatially and visually through the selection and design of hard and soft materials. 

Design Theory and Practice
20 credits

Develops the role of theories and philosophies and they are embedded into conceptualisation and development of practice based methodologies

The aim of the studio is to demonstrate that there is no choice but to engage with ideas at every stage of the design process and in order to develop artistic practice we need to express these ideas and feelings in space, words, shadow, light and form to manipulate and shape the quality of experience. 

Co-LAB
20 credits

The CoLAB module operates as a community of educational experiences and options that students can select to extend their portfolio of skills. This can either be within the discipline of landscape architecture or through developing an associated skill that strengthens the CV and underpins career development. The module provides a better appreciation of contextual activities and ensures capabilities for the workplace are honed. 

The Design Thesis
60 credits

The Design Thesis Project is a comprehensive and wide ranging project, which is designed to be consistent with the Programme Specification. The module demonstrates how landscape architecture can respond to the challenges of natural resource shortages covering elements such as "peak oil" and water, climate change adaptation and mitigation, unprecedented urban growth and a changing economy.

Praxis
20 credits

An introduction to skills and experiences using core learning activities, embedding a structure that prepares students for the next stage in their career development and progression. The module includes a range of activities that strengthens an understanding of the professional context of landscape architects. 

Personal Research Module - Part 2
20 credits

This stage of the module utilises the research and development of theories and applies this research to a final piece of work.

Supporting the studio modules including Design Thesis, this module addresses wider cultural, physical and contextual issues to situate design in a far broader context than personal experience, encouraging students to realise the extent to which a wide range of other perspectives can and should contribute to design decision-making.

The majority of your studies will be assessed by coursework. We feel this best mirrors the way you'd work in the real world and so better prepares you for a career in landscape design and architecture.

The teaching approach places an emphasis on the studio format, supported by a series of lectures and workshops delivered by renowned landscape practitioners and educators from the UK and overseas. We will continue to develop our Expert Lecture series and as a guide to the quality and range of speakers, with last year’s series welcoming Claude Cormier (Canada), Andrew Charleson (New Zealand), Kim Wilkie (UK) and Noel Farrer PLI (UK).  

If you haven't got a background in landscape architecture, you can build expertise and establish the fundamental design principles on the Conversion Course, introducing you to the core skills needed throughout the design process, studying plant ecologies in urban and rural ecosystems, explore how the quality of life for urban communities and commerce can be enhanced. Understand and interpret landscape culture and set the foundations for progression onto the second year of the programme (MA).

The second year promotes the studio as an environment of investigation, collaboration and experimentation. You will develop your own identity as a designer through personal research leading to a final piece of work considering how other perspectives should contribute to design decision-making. Develop and apply the skills that you have established within the studio, design exercises and analysis of design. You can extend your portfolio of skills and strengthen your CV through the Co-LAB module, developing capabilities and contextual understanding for the workplace. You will also produce a design thesis, responding to the world's shortages in resources.      

You will be based in our Bauhaus inspired City Centre Campus Parkside Building and have access to industry standard facilities including digital studios, 3D design workshops, 3D printing and rapid prototyping.

We have a range of excellent resources including Eastside Park, and the Botanical Gardens on our doorsteps and regularly visit leading horticulture nurseries and Westonbirt Arboretum. The dynamic evolution of Birmingham through the implementation of the Big City Plan provides inspiration to your studies, introducing a strong example of contemporary civic space and park design and a laboratory to work and learn in. 


Teaching breakdown

The majority of teaching is through a design studio learning environment, supported by workshops, seminars and topic driven discussions. This is generally 27% tutor led to 73% self-directed study.


Assessment methods

  • 85% Design portfolio
  • 15% Theoretical driven research assignment

Work presented for assessment will demonstrate the extent to which you have fulfilled the learning outcomes for the module. Marks are awarded in terms of your ability to research, conceptualise and realise your ideas, designs or written work as detailed in the Learning Outcomes.

  • Assessment is formative and summative. Summative assessment takes place by evaluating coursework, including specific design proposals for projects, supporting research and explanatory material, seminar papers, presentations and critical review. Formative assessment may include self-evaluation and peer group tasks.
  • Assessment methods include the evaluation of practical, written and verbal skills. These include submission of contextual material and displays of work including supportive research. Students will receive written feedback for each summative assessment.  

This course is accredited by the following organisation:

Landscape Institute (LI)
Landscape Institute

The course is fully recognised and accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI), the UK national organisation for landscape professionals concerned with enhancing and conserving the environment.

Our accreditation shows employers that students graduating from our course have the levels of knowledge and skills they need. The revalidation process takes place annually by the Landscape Institute’s Professional Review Group and they look very closely at the way the course is designed to meet the requirements of today’s profession.

Further study

Anastasia Nikologianni studied the Masters in Landscape Architecture and is now doing a PhD. She said: "The University and the whole atmosphere was really good, so I really enjoyed the environment. The relationship between the tutors and the students is really good.

"Also, something that I really like and was an influential part of my decision to come to Birmingham City University initially was the links with the practices, the business world, not only in Birmingham but in the UK in general."

Enhancing your employability skills

The skillsets delivered by the course leave you are in a strong position when applying for jobs.

This is particularly supported through the Praxis module, designed to ensure you are confident at an interview. To support this further, we also have workshops on Auto-CAD, Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, helping to develop very strong portfolios that demonstrate the full range of visual communications skills.


Graduate jobs

Birmingham City University has strong links with industry and the reputation of the landscape architecture courses provides a head start for applicants. Career opportunities  are extensive across the UK. Recent graduates are working for an extensive range of practices, which include:

AHR Global, Amey, Arup, Atkins Global, BEA Bradley Murphy Associates, Birmingham City Council, Camlins Associates, Capita, Define, Fira, FPCR, IDP, Land Use Consultants, Node Urban Design, Pegasus Planning, WSP Parkinson Brinkerhoff. 

There is a clear structure to achieving Chartership status of the Landscape Institute. Recently employed graduate members of the profession are on the ‘Pathway to Chartership’. These are mentored roles in which ‘Licentiates’ are involved in site mapping and survey work, design development work and supporting the project team in all aspects of the design process. 

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Alumni stories - Nick Bunn

Nick Bunn

Nick Bunn is a Landscape Architect at Redbay Design in Torquay. He has participated in a design cherrette (an intensive design or planning session) in China and his design concepts have been exhibited in Somerset House, London.

Nick specialises in Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) services and design solutions within sensitive locations, working to reduce the impact of development.

He said: "I think it is very difficult to prepare students for the world of work but what the Landscape Architecture course at BCU did was to provide the tools and skills required for when I got there. As I was studying while working I was able to apply some of these skills immediately and directly so could appreciate that they were very relevant and effective in reality."

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Our international students

Our international reputation, professional accreditation and outstanding graduate success rate attracts students from the UK, Europe and South East Asia.

Candice Ying Wei

Candice Ying Wei

Candice Ying Wei is applying the knowledge from her Master's in her job as an Assistant Landscape Architecture in Atelier Dreiseitl in Beijing just months after graduating.

Anastasia Nikologianni

Anastasia Nikologianni

Anastastia studied the Masters in Landscape Architecture and is now doing a PhD.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our landscape architecture course is most popular with international students from:  


China

Wei Candice wrote her MA Thesis on Rain Water Harvesting and after getting her MA she is now working for the Romboll Dreiseitl studio in Beijing. This is a new experience combining wide ranging discoveries and a highly respected design-based Masters qualification that provides a strong portfolio and confidence to progress up the career ladder.

Malaysia

We have good links with Malyasia and former students have developed their careers with diverse pathways. Dr. Jannah Zainal Abidin is now a Teaching Fellow supporting Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Birmingham.

Holland

We have had a long established relationship with students from Larenstein and they enjoy the fusion of theory and design processes in the way that we teach the MA Landscape Architecture programme at the School. Furthermore, the enrichment of design methodology and process provides strong, visually enhanced portfolios. Rosanne Schrijver enjoyed her spell at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design and now works at Smedsvig Landskapsarkitekter.

Norway

Robert Norris developed his international career with a successful period at Larenstein in Holland and now works for Bar Bakke Landscapsarkitektur in Norway.

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

Birmingham School of Architecture and Design is based at the state-of-the-art £62 million Parkside Building, a new development on our City Centre Campus within Eastside.

The new building has added an extra dimension to the School. Our campus has extensive studio and workshop provision and cutting-edge equipment reflecting the broad range of study opportunities on offer. The building has been designed to actively promote shared space opportunities, for students to engage with others across the University as part of the learning experience.

Workspace

In many cases, our main studio and workspace is the city of Birmingham.
We give our students the opportunity to work on many collaborative projects involving the transformation of the city. These include:

  • Working on-site at the £600 million re-development of New Street Station
  • Work on our neighbouring Curzon Building, which forms Phase 2 of the City Centre Campus development
  • Nearby Off-campus Nest Gallery based within Glenn Howells Architects

Digi.Lab

We have our very own digi.lab, which is used for prototyping and as a learning resource. Here, you can experiment with 3D printing and laser cutting, preparing you to work on our range of larger machines. You will work in a home studio base five days a week, and also enjoy the opportunity to share others’ facilities and space when necessary.

Digital Presentation

At the School, we have placed a large emphasis on digital presentation. We currently have nine plasma screens for such uses, and try to keep our facilities as paper-free as possible.

Russell Good

Senior Tutor/ Postgraduate Course Director

Russell Good’s research explores ecological and hydrological systems in the context of climate change, in order to inform and develop new aesthetic codes in landscape design. Using the urban River Rea in Digbeth, Birmingham as a laboratory, he is examining how ecological processes can be used as a device in place making, to enhance biodiversity and draw upon the richness of new layers of animal and plant life to provide a living dynamic that informs our sensory perception of place.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295