Landscape Architecture - MA

Landscape Architecture

Kenny Fraser


Landscape architects plan and design spaces, and places. They work across a diverse range of environments from urban to rural and at scales ranging from the garden to the region­. As a Landscape architect you’ll join a chartered profession regulated by the Landscape Institute.

Here at Edinburgh College of Art you’ll join one of the most respected programmes for Landscape Architecture in the UK. The MA Landscape Architecture programme has full accreditation from the Landscape Institute. You'll develop an understanding of materials, technology, cultural and natural processes enabling you to design functional and sustainable environments with identity. And you’ll have the unique opportunity to take part in the European Masters in Landscape Architecture.

Who should study Landscape Architecture?

If you’re creative and you’re passionate about improving the environment for the benefit of people and nature, this programme is for you. Over the course of the degree your design skills will develop via core design courses which are supported by also studying drawing, visual culture, urban design, geography, ecology and horticulture and you’ll develop an in-depth understanding of how to read the landscape around you.

Gaining experience and developing practical skills

In years one to three you’ll work on a number of design projects tutored in the studio, often on a one-to-one basis. You’ll spend semester two of your third year on placement in professional practice, giving you hands-on experience in a design office before returning for the fourth year to develop your design portfolio and dissertation. Field trips also form an important part of the programme and include a study tour of English-designed landscapes in your first year.

Ready for professional practice

When you graduate you’ll be ready to for a career in professional practice. Graduates from our Landscape Architecture programme are highly sought after. A Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Edinburgh can lead to employment worldwide. Almost all of our Landscape Architecture graduates quickly gain employment, predominately in private practice but also in local government and with public bodies such as Scottish Natural Heritage or the Countryside Agency.

What you will study

Year 1

Design work focuses on spatial concepts, exploration, function, planning and representation. You will also study drawing, IT, art and design, visual culture, physical geography, architectural and landscape history and landscape construction.

Year 2

Design work becomes more focused and complex. You will take courses in urban design and reclamation. Studio work is supported by contextual and technical courses covering aspects of detailed design, built-environment theory, living systems and temporal aspects.

Year 3

Design work complexity increases and focuses on urban regeneration. You will have an opportunity to take an option course from a suite offered by Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture (ESALA) or from the rest of the University. In semester 2 you will undertake a professional placement in a landscape architecture practice and study courses by distance learning. You will have the opportunity to apply for the new European Masters in Landscape Architecture (EMiLA) upon successful completion of Year 3.

Please note that places on EMiLA are limited to five each year.

European masters students will spend semesters 1 and 4 in Edinburgh and semesters 2 and 3 with two of our four prestigious European partners: The École Nationale Supérieure du Paysage (Versailles), Leibniz Universität (Hannover), Academie Van Bouwkunst (Amsterdam) and the Escola Tecnica d'Arquitectura de Barcelona. Each partner has different perspectives on landscape architecture as a profession, subject and design medium.

Year 4

Design work is advanced and focuses on increasingly self-directed courses. You will also complete a self-directed dissertation via a design or research route.

How will I be taught?

Landscape Architecture encourages self-directed study from Year 1 to Year 4; but studio-based design teaching is central. Projects are often tutored on a one-to-one basis. Work is reviewed in communal critique sessions. There is a credited placement period in Year 3.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by a combination of coursework, exams, portfolio work and presentations.

Are there additional costs?

You will have to finance your participation in any study tours. Drawing and drafting equipment is necessary from the first year onwards.

Study abroad

Exchange opportunities exist in the third year of the programme. We have exchange partners in North America, Australia, New Zealand and throughout Europe, under the Erasmus programme.

Top five reasons to choose the programme

  • Attracting outstanding students: during the past six years our students have won the Landscape Institute’s Portfolio Prize on four occasions and the Dissertation Prize three times, recognising the outstanding quality of their work.
  • Take part in the European Masters in Landscape Architecture (EMiLA): we are the only institution in the UK to offer a collaborative European Masters in Landscape Architecture, also accredited by the Landscape Institute.
  • Study-abroad: you’ll have the opportunity to study abroad in your third year through the ERASMUS programme or the University's International Exchange Programme. These opportunities will enrich your perspectives on Landscape Architecture and your development as a practitioner.
  • Develop practical experience: a placement semester combines distance learning with practical experience, helping to prepare you for life in practice.
  • Access to leading researchers and practitioners: you’ll draw upon the expertise of leading researchers and practitioners in Landscape Architecture. Their work is used to inform public policy on outdoor environments across the UK and they are involved in innovative design practice, consistently winning awards and recognition for their design work.


Kenny Fraser, Programme Director | View staff profile >

Dr Simon Bell, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture | View staff profile >

Lisa Mackenzie, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture and EMiLA coordinator | View staff profile >

Ross McLean, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture | View staff profile >

Dr Thomas Oles, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture

Chris Rankin, Permanent Part-time Lecturer in Landscape Architecture | View staff profile >

Elinor Scarth, Teaching Fellow in Landscape Architecture | View staff profile >

John Stuart-Murray, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture | View staff profile >

Tiago Torres-Campos, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture | View staff profile >

Donald Urquhart, Part time Reader in Art | View staff profile >

Professor Catharine Ward Thompson, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of Open Space | View staff profile >


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