Course Overview

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 jointly awarded by the University of Manchester and 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

  • 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
  • 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.

Duration

2 years full-time
4 years part-time

Students with a good honours degree in Landscape Architecture may enter directly into Part 2 of the programme (1 year full-time or 2 years part-time).

Explore our MLA students' work

Course Content

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.

Professional Engagement

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 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 an external competition.

Employment

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.

MLA Part 1

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 Atelier 1a

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

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 2a

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 Studies 1b

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 1a

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.

Landscape Atelier 1b

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. 

MLA Part 2

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.

Landscape Atelier 2a

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 2b

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.

Landscape Atelier 2c

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.

Landscape Profession and Practice

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.

Dissertation and Exhibition

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.

MLA Teaching Staff

Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr
Dr Luca Csepely-Knorr Reader in Architecture View profile
Eddy Fox
Eddy Fox Senior Lecturer View profile
Becky Sobell
Becky Sobell Senior Lecturer View profile
Alumni Profile Work by Beth Houston
Beth Houston Master of Landscape Architecture
Alumni Profile Part of Samuel's submission for the Mark Turnbull award
Landscape Architecture is a highly rewarding and diverse profession which allows you to take stock of the landscapes around you and to bring more value to them. Samuel Cortis Master of Landscape Architecture