MLA Master of Landscape Architecture / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course description

  • The MSA is consistently ranked as one of the best schools of Architecture in the world.
  • The MLA is professionally accredited by the UK Landscape Institute and worldwide by the International Federation of Landscape Architects.
  • There are two routes through the MLA programme. Part-time options are available for both routes.
  • A 2-year full-time conversion route to the Master of Landscape Architecture is available if you hold a related degree. Part 1 runs from September to June and is 120 credits. Part 2 runs from September to September and is 180 credits.
  • A 1-year full-time Master of Landscape Architecture route is available if you hold a 2:2 or above undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture (or accredited equivalent). It runs from September to September and is 180 credits.
  • Teaching is delivered by an experienced group of core landscape staff , complemented by a wide range of practitioners and academics from within and beyond the MSA.
  • As a Master of Landscape Architecture student at the Manchester School of Architecture, you will study a degree that is delivered jointly by The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University. Upon graduation, you will receive one degree certificate. The joint award certificate includes each institution's crest and awarding body title.
  • Make use of extensive libraries and specialist workshops at both MMU and The University of Manchester.
  • Access a dedicated MSA Advanced Digital Design team who provide workshops and tutorials covering all the essential software plus a range of more specialist programmes.
  • Take part in MSA Live , the MSA's annual programme of student-led live projects in MLA Part 1.
  • In MLA Part 2, become a member of one of our research-led ateliers alongside architecture students from the MArch and BA Architecture.
  • Exhibit your work in our annual degree show celebrating the achievements of students from across the MSA and School of Art.
  • Meet and get to know landscape practitioners during your course as tutors, at reviews, and during our range of MSA Employability events.


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.

Special features

  • As a Master of Landscape Architecture student of Manchester School of Architecture, you will study a degree that is delivered jointly by The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University. You will therefore benefit from the facilities and resources of both institutions such as libraries, computer suites, making and media workshops and much more. Upon successful completion of your studies you will receive one degree certificate. The joint award certificate includes each institution's crest and awarding body title.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Additional course information

  • The course has a part time option but all students will be required to attend a three day induction visit as well as a four-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 unit level. Compensation cannot be applied.

Teaching and learning

Teaching is delivered by an experienced group of core landscape staff , complemented by a wide range of practitioners and academics from within and beyond the MSA.

Coursework and assessment

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study.

A master's 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.

Course content for year 1

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 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 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 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.

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. 

Course content for year 2

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Course unit details

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.

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.

Course collaborators

The course is jointly run by Manchester Metropolitan University and The University of Manchester meaning you will benefit from the resources and expertise available in both institutions.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: