Manchester Metropolitan University


Master of Landscape Architecture

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • A two-year, 300 credit programme, leading to an internationally recognised qualification in a fast growing profession*.
  • A conversion course for graduates of related subject areas and final year of study for graduates of accredited UK undergraduate landscape courses.
  • Part 1 provides a broad foundation in the discipline, and supports the development of core design and communication skills.
  • Part 2 promotes the exploration of individual design practice through experimental studio work as well as individual research.
  • An integrated work placement and opportunities for inter-disciplinary collaborations.
  • Teaching is delivered by experienced group of core staff, complemented by a wide range of practitioners and academics.
  • A study tour and site visits give students direct experience of a range of landscape projects both implemented and on site.
  • The MLA degree is awarded by Manchester Metropolitan University.

* As a new course, the MLA is currently a candidate for accreditation by the UK Landscape Institute. Full accredited status will be confirmed on graduation of the first cohort of students subject to approval by the LI and graduates of this first year will be eligible for licentiate status.

Placement options

The course has a very close relationship to practice and students are exposed to practitioners in a wide range of ways throughout the syllabus. The Landscape Practice and Profession Unit generates understanding of the ethical, legal and professional context of the subject through both theoretical lectures based work, and direct personal experience. This may be through a 3-month work placement in a relevant practice or through a range of alternative means such as involvement in a client-led brief, or an external competition.

About the course

The MLA places emphasis on an understanding of landscape as a dynamic and adaptive phenomenon. Projects promote a focus on the interfaces between the landscape as a human, cultural construct and as a reflection of underlying natural and environmental process. Design Ateliers explore themes of global relevance through the study of a specific landscape from a regional scale, progressively down to the detailed scale of material and technological resolution. There is a focus throughout on applying contemporary theoretical ideas and technologies to address the challenges of the landscapes explored.

The course has very strong links to practice. Students are exposed to a range of practitioners and their work throughout the course and gain individual experience through a combination of a direct professional engagement and a theoretical series of lectures and seminars.

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Part 1 provides a broad foundation of knowledge and skills in landscape architecture for students wishing to convert from related subject areas and for overseas students who may benefit from the transition to a different cultural and professional context.

  • Through Atelier Units students develop techniques of reading and landscapes, and the design and communication skills needed to propose transformations.
  • Core drawing and software skills are developed through focussed support sessions.
  • Landscape Studies provides a foundation in core areas of theoretical and technical knowledge.

Core Units
Landscape Atelier 1a

This unit provides an introduction to the multi-faceted idea of ‘landscape’. Through engagement with specific locations and testing a range of communication skills, you will explore some of the main factors in the production and evolution of landscape form, function and character. These experiments will lead to the development of strategic propositions which will form the foundation for subsequent work.

Landscape Atelier 1b

This atelier will focus on the process of intervention in a landscape in response to readings articulated in the first unit. You will test ideas against specific site contexts and refine a design proposition at various scales, exploring various techniques for the resolution and communication of proposals and evolution over time of the resulting landscapes. 

Landscape Studies 1a

An introduction to some of the core areas of history and theory underpinning the study and practice of landscape architecture. Through this unit you will develop an understanding of the historical background and development of the profession and key theoretical themes associated with different historical stages.

Landscape Studies 1b

This unit will focus on the period of emergence of landscape architecture as a recognised profession and discipline in its own right, roughly from the end of the 19th century to the present day. It will explore key concepts and writings in a range of fields which have contributed to contemporary discourse in the field today.

Landscape Studies 2a

This unit will provide an introduction to the characteristics and applications of a range of plants for the landscape architect and an awareness of key principles for developing planting strategies and approaches to design.

Landscape Studies 2b

This unit looks at vegetation typologies and their relationship to environmental and cultural context, exploring the relationship that exists between human use and occupation and the type, characteristics and values of vegetation whether designed or accidental.

Year 2

Part 2 provides a final year of education for both landscape graduates and conversion students alike, and encourages a much greater degree of autonomy and the opportunity to develop personal practice through both design and research based work. A strong professional element underpins the whole year. Key points:

  • Atelier Units encourage students to apply theoretical ideas and agendas to a specific landscape context and to develop individual trajectories rooted in their personal strengths and interests.
  • A Vegetation Calendar runs as a continuous thread through the Part 2 Atelier Units.
  • Students gain both direct personal experience as well as a theoretical understanding of the professional context of the subject.
  • A Dissertation unit provides a framework for more detailed individual research into topics of personal and professional interest.

Core Units
Dissertation and Exhibition

This is a research based unit, which aims to frame and contextualise MA work, individually and collectively.  While the atelier units involve the exploration and testing of ideas in a given geographical and cultural context, this unit will provide a structure within which students can pursue their own individual interests, exploring historical and theoretical themes, experimental technological solutions or professional contexts in greater depth. Students will be encouraged to undertake research which develops and complements aspects of their atelier work and finally to present this as an extended piece of individual written and illustrated work and a group exhibition.

Landscape Atelier 2a

An exploration of a number of central ideas, of relevance to contemporary discourse in landscape architecture, leads to the development of a ‘manifesto’. This forms the basis for readings of a selected location, and for the development of a strategic proposition for intervention in the landscape concerned.

Landscape Atelier 2b

In this unit, you will identify a more specific location in which to test and develop design proposals framed by the strategic propositions articulated in the previous unit. The physical manifestation of their ideas will be generated through detailed analysis of relevant precedent studies, theoretical readings and a series of experimental exercises in visualizing conceptual ideas and processes.

Landscape Atelier 2c

A final atelier unit, which focuses on the detailed resolution of proposals. This will involve an exploration of how landscape form and function may be generated through the control of environmental, technological and cultural systems, initiated by the appropriate application of construction technologies and the specification and management of vegetation systems.

Landscape Profession and Practice

An introduction to landscape architecture as a profession and practice, providing an overview of the legislative and institutional context of the profession as well as an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the landscape architect to society, the environment and other professionals. A placement or external collaboration provides first hand experience of life in a landscape practice and of the application of knowledge and skills acquired within a professional context.  

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Additional Information About this Course

1. The course has a part time option but all students will be required to attend a three day induction visit as well as a 4 day study tour later in the year (usually in early spring) which will involve taking time off work. 2. The course is a taught postgraduate programme and as such includes a substantial amount of sophisticated readings and written work, as well as regular verbal and visual presentations. This requires a high degree of fluency and competence in English and candidates should ensure that they do more than meet the basic IELTS requirements. 3. The course will involve some elements of group work which are considered essential preparation for future practice in the profession and students will be expected to work in a collaborative and responsible manner with each other.

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at:

Typical entry requirements

Part 1 Entry

Students eligible for the MLA will normally have a minimum of a second class degree in a closely related subject area. The following disciplines are typical although this is not an exhaustive list and the suitability of all applicants will be assessed via a combination of portfolio and interview:

  • Design for the built environment including: Architecture, Urban Design and Planning, Interior Design, Garden Design
  • Other design or arts related disciplines may also be considered, including: fashion, film, graphics, product design, etc
  • Land or plant-based sciences including: Geography, Horticulture, Forestry or agriculture, Ecology, Environmental science and management
  • Engineering, including especially: Civil, hydrological and structural engineering

 International Students with a closely related qualification from their country may be eligible for Part 2 entry, but, in the majority of cases, a 2-year course is required in order to adapt to the specific professional and cultural context of the discipline in the UK.

Direct Part 2 Entry

Candidates with a minimum of a second-class degree in an accredited UK undergraduate Landscape Architecture course will normally be accepted directly into Part 2 of the MLA. Candidates from other countries with an IFLA recognised undergraduate qualification of an equivalent standard may also be eligible for direct entry at year 2.

Candidates from other very closely related disciplines (principally Architecture and Urban Design) may be considered, subject to providing evidence of a Level 6 understanding and knowledge of additional subject areas specific to landscape architecture.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Please note it is not possible to apply online if you are applying via an Education Adviser (agent).

Apply online now

Please read the How to Apply section on the Manchester School of Architecture web site for details of portfolio requirements.

Career options after the course

100% of graduates over the last two years have found employment in the profession, many due to connections established during the course. You may find employment in private practices specialising in landscape architecture or as part of multi-disciplinary practices. Alternatively, opportunities may exist in the public sector or non-profit making organisations. Many alumni have gone on to positions of responsibility in major international firms and have been involved in the delivery of landmark projects around the world.

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.