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MA/PgDip Landscape Architecture

Course Description


This MA Landscape Architecture course incorporates a conversion course in year one, providing a foundation programme that enables applicants who don’t have a degree in Landscape Architecture an opportunity to enter year two of the programme, where you will join students who have previously completed a degree in Landscape Architecture.

The conversion year is a studio based learning environment that delivers a combination of key skills that support the communication of projects, investigating the idea that our laboratory is a designed ecology and that you will learn about the landscape across its range of scales.

The second part of the year looks at the idea that landscape is a sequence of interrelated designed environments connected by land, ecology, water, climate and infrastructure, sitting in a cultural context that extends from Parish to global political and economic systems.

Students can choose to study towards a Postgraduate Diploma, or a Master's qualification.


The PG Diploma modules are: professional practice; critical urbanism; critical design; designed ecologies; research methods: dissertation/thesis design project; design thesis project 1; design thesis project 2; design thesis project 3: technology.

Master’s award modules: The above modules along with a dissertation.


Assessment is by coursework in all modules except for professional practice, which is partly assessed by a written exam; the majority of coursework is related to design projects, although some modules require the submission of written papers, drawn theoretical analysis and construction and planting design workbooks or studies.

Career prospects

On successful completion of the PgDiploma you can apply to become a licentiate member of the Landscape Institute (LI), the chartered body for landscape architecture in the UK. Full chartered status is gained following completion of the LI’s Professional Practice Examination after a further two years in practice. Students have found employment both during and on completion of the course, in a wide range of design practices in the UK and overseas.

Visit the MA/PgDip Landscape Architecture page on the Birmingham City University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Bunny Guiness

2454.jpg Landscape architect Bunny Guinness has designed private gardens for clients ranging from HRH Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia to Sir Bob Geldof, but she is probably just as well known as a regular panellist on the long-running BBC Radio 4 programme 'Gardener's Question Time'.

Originally planning to study food science, she switched to horticultural science and then studied for a postgraduate diploma in Landscape Architecture at Birmingham Polytechnic (now Birmingham City University) in 1979. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University in 2009.

She worked in private practice for a number of years before setting up her own firm in 1986, and has since gained a wealth of experience on landscaping projects including housing developments, pedestrian precincts, golf courses and public gardens. She has designed a total of nine show gardens, winning six golds, at the Chelsea Flower Show, including a gold for her first design – a 'Wind in the Willows' layout for children – in 1994.

While her design work remains the core business, Bunny has also featured in a number of TV series including ITV's 'Guinness in the Garden' and Channel 4's 'The Great Garden Challenge', and has contributed to many magazines and newspapers including the 'Sunday Telegraph', where she has written a column for about 12 years, 'BBC Gardeners' World' magazine and 'Gardens Illustrated', as well as being the author of several books on the subject.

Remembering her time at the University she said:

We had a great mix of people on that course and most of the academic staff were practising landscape architects, so we got to benefit from their own experiences as well. I still refer back to a lot of what I learned then, and I'm also still in touch with people from the course as contacts and friends.

(Student Profile)

Nick Bunn

2456.jpg Nick Bunn is a Landscape Architect at Redbay Design in Torquay. He is a Licentiate Member of the Landscape Institute, the Royal Chartered Institute for Landscape Architects. He has participated in a design cherrette (an intensive design or planning session) in China and his design concepts have been exhibited in Somerset House, London.

Since graduation, Nick worked developing Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) services for major national house builders, before taking up his role at Redbay Design, where he specialises in LVIAs and design solutions within sensitive locations, working to reduce the impact of development and ensuring designs work within their local contexts and environments. His work covers anything from renewable energy schemes through to large scale developments such as housing schemes and hotels.

Nick studied Spatial Design at University College Falmouth before coming to Birmingham City University in 2008 to study part-time for a Post Graduate Diploma and then a Master’s in Landscape Architecture, graduating in 2012.

Alongside his study, he worked as a trainee CAD technician at a small, but growing, planning consultancy. After completing his MA, he applied for positions at specific landscape architecture practices and started as a Landscape Architect at Redbay Design in May 2013.

He said: “I think it is very difficult to prepare students for the world of work but what the Landscape Architecture course at BCU did was to provide the tools and skills required for when I got there. As I was studying while working I was able to apply some of these skills immediately and directly so could appreciate that they were very relevant and effective in reality.

“What I am most proud of is being in meetings with people from a variety of disciplines who have 20 to 30 years’ experience or more and find that my opinions are relevant, listened to and respected so I am able to influence discussions.”


Entry Requirements

Entry to year 1 (Conversion Course): Minimum Lower Second-Class degree (2:2). Entry to year 2 (MA): Landscape Institute accredited Conversion Course, or BA Hons / BSc degree in Landscape Architecture or Garden Design, minimum Lower Second-Class (2:2).

Last Updated

21 December 2016

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