Here at Edinburgh College of Art, you’ll join one of the most respected programmes for Landscape Architecture in the UK, as well as being highly renowned across Europe and beyond as a leading international school for landscape architecture research and teaching.
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. Our Landscape Architecture MA programme has full accreditation from the Landscape Institute, and as a landscape architect you’ll join a chartered profession regulated by 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 (EMiLA).
Who should study landscape architecture?
If you’re creative and passionate about improving the environment for the benefit of people and nature, this programme is for you.
Over the course of the degree, you will develop your design skills through core courses, supported by the study of 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, with teaching input from a range of expert staff. This prepares you for the advanced studios in fourth year, which tackle complex projects that fully prepare you for professional life.
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, which include a study tour of English-designed landscapes in your first year, alongside site based design projects throughout all years of the programme.
What you will study
You will immediately begin to explore spatial design ideas focused on processes of site based exploration and evaluation, to configure design concepts and proposals that enhance public space. Studio teaching will support the development of technical and digital drawing skills, alongside experimental forms of representation, while theory course will broaden your appreciation through areas of visual culture, physical geography, and landscape history.
Design work becomes more focused and complex. You will take course that tackle contemporary issues of climate change and ecosystem design, urban regeneration and social inclusion. Studio work is supported by contextual and technical courses covering aspects of current environmental theory, material specification and construction details, alongside applied ecological science at planning and site based scales.
Design work complexity increases and focuses on tackling large scale sites with challenging conditions, such as post-industrial contamination or social fragmentation. These courses extend skills gained in year one and two, to an advanced level of project thinking and practical configuration.
In semester one, you will have the opportunity to take an optional course from a suite offered by the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) or from other schools and disciplines in ECA and the University of Edinburgh.
In semester two, you will undertake a professional placement in a landscape architecture practice while being supported through distance learning courses. You will have the opportunity to apply for the European Masters in Landscape Architecture (EMiLA) upon successful completion of Year Three.
European masters students will spend semesters one and four in Edinburgh and semesters two and three 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.
Design work is advanced and focuses on increasingly self-directed courses, supported by a range of expert staff. The graduate year allows you to develop high quality design projects, which are further supported by a professionally aligned portfolio course, which helps to prepare all graduates for entering the profession.
You will also complete a self-directed dissertation which allows each student to conduct a piece of research into an area of personal interest. The dissertation is design focused and provides a significant component of the graduate portfolio as an in-depth exploration of individual interest and expertise.
How will I be taught?
Landscape Architecture encourages self-directed study from Year One to Year Four, supported by a range of expert input from core staff and invited professional staff from across a range of relevant disciplinary fields. Our programme is studio based, with parallel courses in theory and techniques reinforcing practice based design projects.
Group work plays an important role in building understanding and reflecting professional practice, however, each student has considerable scope to develop an individual portfolio that expresses areas and skills of personal interest. All courses involve one-to-one tutorials with staff, punctuated with group teaching activity, including project reviews, seminars or field studies.
How will I be assessed?
You will be assessed by a combination of coursework, portfolio work and presentations. The programme courses are focused on practice based or essay style submissions aligned with either practical design or techniques courses or theory based courses.
You will receive detailed feedback for each formal submission, which includes a mid-point formative submission to ensure all students are developing work in line with course aims and learning outcomes. Each course has a clear outline of aims and learning outcomes to ensure clarity on the expectation for each student.
All assessments follow rigorous procedures, with the programme evaluated by an external examiner, bringing oversight from a highly experienced disciplinary figure. A Landscape Institute Peer Review Group undertake an annual review to ensure our programme design and delivery meets professional standards.
Are there additional costs?
Students are expected to supply their own materials, for purposes such as model making, printing and drawing. Most field visits are subsidised but may incur additional costs, while the first year study tour requires a higher level of self-funding.
There are several opportunities to study abroad offered through the programme, including exchange opportunities in semester one of the third year, the possibility to arrange a work placement in Europe or further afield in semester two of the third year, and the opportunity to apply for the European Masters in Landscape Architecture (EMiLA) upon successful completion of Year Three. All students interested in taking up these opportunities are highly encouraged to do so and most often succeed in gaining this valuable experience.