MA Garden Design

2 year MA Garden Design Programme
(with conversion year)

This course provides professional garden design education for graduates with a bachelor's degree with honours, other than landscape architecture/garden design who wish to become professional garden designers. If you have a degree in geography, biology, horticulture, environmental science, arts, interior architecture or architecture, you are suitable to apply to this programme. In addition, we have successful graduates who came from diverse backgrounds and varied careers, such as teachers, managers, theatre set designers, artists, scientists and many more.

1st year: Conversion course

In order to apply to this course, you should select ’Master of Landscape Architecture Programme’, as the first year is shared by conversion landscape architecture and garden design students. The curriculum is based on the necessary set of skills and knowledge that both groups share and learn together in a variety of modules ranging from planting design and ecological principles, design studios and construction. In this year you will learn spatial design principles in our design studios while also working in our campus-wide outdoor studios and glass houses.

Creative design studio culture

Conversion students share the design studio with other landscape and garden design students. Our design studio culture is part of the teaching and learning experience where students have the opportunity to experience a professional design working environment and teamwork within a dynamic and creative environment.

2nd year progression

In your 2nd year you will be automatically enrolled to MA Garden Design programme after successful completion of the conversion year where you will continue with your studies in the MA Garden Design programme as explained below.

1 year MA Garden Design Programme

This course is the progression year (2nd year) for conversion students who wish to become garden designers.

In addition, it is suitable for students with a BSc/BA Hons Landscape Architecture or Garden Design degree, and is designed to increase the student's professional skills in the theoretical and practical aspects of the garden design discipline, with an emphasis on promoting gardens and landscapes that are designed with the principles of sustainability, ecological and social health and well-being, and historic and cultural interpretation, conservation and management.

International and interdisciplinary

The course benefits from the British cultural tradition of garden making, appreciation and horticulture, though an international and historic perspective is taken. Regular visits to gardens and parks and international study tours are an important part of our garden design course where you will experience plants and planting design types in situ. The garden design programme is enriched by critiques from professional garden designers and landscape architects, as well as invited juries and on-site experts. Particular emphasis is given to the interdisciplinary approach in teaching, learning and research combining design, arts and land-based studies. Regular workshops and talks with artists as well as experts from horticulture and conservation will be part of your curriculum.

Theory and practice combined

The MA in Garden Design allows students to take the next steps in developing the theories and practice of garden design by providing perspectives and applications that are more advanced than undergraduate studies.

Practice oriented with real-life projects

MA Garden Design is concerned with creating new gardens and designed landscapes and as well as sustaining and restoring existing ones. Sustainability and the climate emergency are at the forefront in our curriculum development. Studio projects are selected through collaborative work with the industry.

You will write a research dissertation in your selected area of garden design in order to complete the MA Garden Design programme. Our practice-led research scheme enables students to collaborate with a garden design or landscape architecture practice throughout the dissertation process.

Professional degree

On completion of the 2-year programme you will be ready for employment within the professional world of garden and landscape design with a specialism in an area of your choice, achieved through your final dissertation research and application.




Core Modules must be taken and passed.
Compulsory Modules must be taken but could be condoned subject to the Rules of Assessment.
Optional Modules may be taken and could be condoned subject to the Rules of Assessment.
180 credits required for the named award MA Garden Design.

These are the modules that are offered in this academic year; however, the optional modules available may be subject to change for the following reasons:

  • Staff availability - for example the availability of staff to deliver specialist modules, which cannot be delivered by staff who do not have the relevant specialist expertise.
  • In response to feedback and annual review processes to ensure we continually enhance our programmes. Changes in these circumstances will usually be made for the benefit of students.
  • Student demand - to ensure there are adequate numbers on a module to support the provision of an excellent Learning & Teaching experience.
  • The currency of the relevant module. Some modules are specified at a time when they reflect the issues that are currently topical in the subject area. They may have lost that currency by the time that the student is required to exercise the option. In the circumstances, in order to ensure that students are provided with an appropriate learning experience, those modules will be replaced by those which are relevant to the changing nature of the subject area.

The Writtle University College will endeavour to ensure that any impact on students is limited if such changes occur.


Candidates from the United Kingdom higher education sector will normally hold a first honours degree at 2.1 or above in the fields of architecture, geography, environmental studies, art, interior design or history .

Prospective students with a first honours degree at 2.1 or above in another discipline but with significant work experience in garden design or related areas will also be considered for entrance on the masters' programme.

The most successful teaching method across the UK for Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Garden Design, Art and Environmental Planning and Design has been this combination of design studio and classroom .

The MA in Garden Design course engages in this method of teaching by organising its professional programmes through lectures, seminars, studio and site visits as a critical combination for learning. As a studio-based design course, Garden Design is taught through core seminars and lectures in landscape and garden theory, landscape ecology, history and advanced design studio. These modules are accompanied by study i.e. in professional practice and garden technology and construction. The course promotes thinking in terms of place and identity, physical and phenomenal relationships at a wide range of scales, social and ecological systems and informs the design process in terms of context, meaning, function and form. The MA in Garden Design proposes a new emphasis with a similar platform of knowledge and understanding that underpins both garden design and landscape theory, yet is a very distinct pathway and discipline both independent of and related to Landscape Architecture.

Graduates will gain the intellectual, organisational, communication and technical skills and tools needed in a profession that must understand and create gardens and designed landscapes through social, cultural, ecological and economic implications of sites, communities and regions .

Career possibilities for graduates include working for garden design practices, private or public organisations and gardens, community-led outreach work, writing and media projects, and teaching in the fields of garden design.

Writtle University College offers doctoral studies for those who wish to further their academic studies .

Doctorates are awarded for the creation and interpretation of knowledge, which extends the forefront of a discipline, usually through original research. A PhD is awarded for research that takes the equivalent of 3 years full-time study. Writtle has a thriving and enthusiastic postgraduate student group studying gardens from historic and international perspectives.

Find out what our Landscape Architecture and Garden Design students have been up to.

Writtle University College - Landscape Architecture and Garden Design blog logo