MLA Master of Landscape Architecture

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The Master of Landscape Architecture is a professional qualification, accredited by the Landscape Institute, which provides a route to an internationally recognised qualification in a fast growing, global profession.

The MLA combines an emphasis on individual practice and an exploratory, experimental approach, with a strong professional underpinning. It is both a conversion course for graduates of related subject areas and a final postgraduate year of education for landscape graduates.

The subject is awarded by Manchester Metropolitan University where it has been taught for over 40 years and today forms part of the prestigious Manchester School of Architecture. Our graduates are world leaders in the profession and have gone on to impressive careers nationally and internationally. Alumni include James Corner of Field Operations, lead designer for the New York Highline, and Jason Prior of Aecom, responsible for the Olympic Park masterplans in London and Rio de Janeiro.

Based within Manchester School of Art, students have access to an impressive range of library, IT,workshop and studio facilities, in an award winning building, just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre.

Find out more about Manchester School of Architecture's MLA programme and view students work at

Features and Benefits

Career Prospects

The vast majority of our graduates go on to find employment in the profession, either in the UK or abroad, many due to connections established during the course. Outside London, the North West of England is the base for more landscape practices than anywhere else in the country. Opportunities exist in a wide range of organisations, from small private practices to international, multi-disciplinary firms. Alternatively, landscape architects are also employed 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.

Learn more about graduate careers

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:

 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.

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.

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.

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 7.0 with no less than 6.0 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.

Course details

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.

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.

Part 1 of the MLA consists of 6 units, totalling 120 credits.

Read more about this year of study

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 materials and processes of relevance to the discipline of landscape architecture. You will develop an awareness of the fundamental building blocks of the physical landscape and of the complex inter-relationships between these elements in the formation and evolution of landscapes.

Landscape Studies 2b

This unit takes the knowledge of materials and landscape process developed in LS2A and looks at the use and application of these materials and processes in the planning, design and management of landscapes.

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 and Exhibition unit provides a framework for more detailed individual research into topics of personal and professional interest.

Part 2 of the MLA consists of 5 units, totalling 180 credits.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

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.

Dissertation and Exhibition

This unit combines a research based dissertation with the preparation of an exhibition and portfolio. These two elements aim to frame and contextualise students’ work individually and collectively.  The dissertation element provides 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 may choose to undertake research which develops and complements aspects of their atelier work or to focus on a completely different aspect of professional relevance. The exhibition element involves the synthesis and re-presentation of the collective work of the student body as definitive statement of the thematic and geographical focus of the year’s work.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A masters qualification typically comprises of 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits and an MFA 300 credits. The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:


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. 4. This course differs from standard University Assessment Regulations in that student must pass each element of assessment with a mark of 50 rather than passing at unit level. Compensation cannot be applied.

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 a range of visiting lectures and workshops, as well as visits to practices and sites 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.

Manchester School of Architecture

Our School of Architecture is an innovative collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University and The University of Manchester, bringing together over 100 years of educational experience to create one of the largest architecture schools in the UK.

The school is consistently ranked as one of the best architecture schools in the UK and offers a range of professionally recognised undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. During its time MSA has gained a reputation for variety, vitality and quality, with specialist, research active staff providing a rich and stimulating environment for students.

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Taught by experts

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.

Meet our expert staff


UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £1542 per 30 credits per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

UK and EU students: Part-time fee: £1542 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £2834 per 30 credits per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £2834 per 30 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional costs

Specialist Costs


High specification laptop with required software loaded and operational AND a range of specialist drawing and technical design equipment. A wide range of workstations and software are available on campus but students will require their own equipment for much of the time

Placement Costs


Trips include an induction trip and foreign study tour which include overnight accommodation as well as a number of site visits and day trips for which students will need to contribute to transport costs. Other trips and site visits may be required or recommended depending on students particular interest and project site choices.

Professional Costs

Student membership of the Landscape Institute is voluntary but free

Other Costs


Students are advised to purchase good outdoor clothing and shoes for site visits. They will also need to allow for the costs of printing and plotting a wide range of documents and drawings throughout the course.

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,906 for many Postgraduate Courses

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Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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Want to know more?

How to apply

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.

Apply online now

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

If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for postgraduate taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

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. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at

All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.