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.
Features and Benefits
A two-year, 300 credit programme, accredited by the Landscape Institute and leading to an internationally recognised qualification in a fast-growing profession.
The full two-year programme provides a conversion course for graduates of related subject areas.
Graduates of accredited UK undergraduate landscape courses, or international equivalents, may gain direct entry to Part 2 of the course for their final year of study.
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.
Integrated work placement and opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations.
Teaching is delivered by an 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.
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 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.
Landscape studies 2B
Landscape studies 2A
Landscape studies 1B
Landscape studies 1A
Landscape atelier 1B
Landscape atelier 1A
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.
Dissertation and exhibition
Landscape atelier 2A
Landscape atelier 2B
Landscape profession and practice
Landscape atelier 2C
Additional information about this course
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.
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.
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.
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 the unit level. Compensation cannot be applied.
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 an 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 external competition.
Study and assessment breakdown
10 credits equate 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:
Full-time 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 5% placement; 75% independent study
Part-time 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 5% placement; 75% independent study
Full-time 100% coursework; 0% practical; 0% examination
Part-time 100% coursework; 0% practical; 0% examination
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.
English language requirements
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.
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.
English language requirements
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.
Fees and Funding
UK and EU Students
Full-time fee: £1,542 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).
Part-time fee: £1,542 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
Full-time fee: £2,834 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).
Part-time fee: £2,834 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).
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).
Compulsory estimate: £750
Optional estimate: £1,000
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
Compulsory estimate: £1,200
Optional estimate: £400
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.
Student membership of the Landscape Institute is voluntary but free.
Compulsory estimate: £1,000
Optional estimate: £1,000
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.
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.