Master of Landscape Architecture (Conversion Course)

Accredited Professional Programme (conversion route)

The Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) is a postgraduate programme that provides professional landscape architecture education for graduates with a bachelor's degree with honours, other than landscape architecture/garden design, who wish to become professional landscape architects. MLA is accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI) which will allow students a seamless transition on their journey from licentiate to chartership with the LI. Our programme offers a 2-year ’graduate entry‘ route for candidates from diverse background, education and professions. On completion of the 2-year programme students will be ready for employment within the professional world of landscape architecture, with a specialism in an area of choice, achieved through their final dissertation research and application. The MLA supports entry to the work experience based pathway to chartership with the Landscape Institute.

Extensive grounds for education

Our MLA is the only programme in the East Anglia region, yet the campus has excellent connections to London with a 35 minutes train journey from London Liverpool Street. The MLA takes place at the semi-rural location of Writtle University College, with the 220 hectare campus used as part of learning and teaching. Our tree collection and ornamental gardens with agricultural land and conservation areas create, not least a wonderful place to study, but a range of biodiverse landscape character types that underpin our approach to learning. Our students benefit from experimental plots for growing plants in practical and artistic ways ensuring students have a practical as well of theoretical understanding of plants. The grounds therefore function as a site for learning about land use, landscape and the dynamics of change over time.

International and interdisciplinary

The programme sits among a portfolio of subject areas including; Horticulture, Sustainable Environments, Conservation and Ecosystem Management, Agriculture, and Art and Design, offering a strong international and interdisciplinary platform for teaching and learning. Writtle University College has a long tradition and reputation within the industry of design, construction, ecology, and horticulture. This is reflected in our curriculum with a strong focus on the climate emergency, sustainability, environmental issues, planting knowledge and design with theoretical underpinnings and their application to practice.

Creative design studio culture

The programme provides a strong studio culture with relevant resources (photography and model-making workshops with laser cutter, large format printer, mini 3-D printer and computers). 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.

Real-life projects

In our design studios we have collaborative design projects with local councils such as Chelmsford City Council and Essex County Council, as well as private institutions and enterprises such as hospitals, housing developers and landscape architecture firms. Students will work on a range of scales from urban design to larger scale masterplanning through the theories of urbanism, ecology, landscape planning and management principles exploring biophysical, historical, cultural, socio-economic and ecological aspects of landscapes and people.

Our studio philosophy is based on creative and innovative evidence-based, problem-solving approach where theory and practice are combined at a masters level on a strong ecological and environmental framework.

Visits and study trips

Some of our rich extra-curricular activities include visiting lecturers, invited jury and speakers from local and regional landscape architecture and garden design practices and businesses, national and international study tours, regional and national garden visits, London drawing workshops, and design office visits.

Theory and practice-led research

The MLA allows students to take the next steps in developing the theory and practice-led research in landscape architecture by providing a critical approach, new perspectives and innovative applications based on complex systems, multifunctional processes and programmatic interventions.

Landscape Talk Open Lectures

Our Landscape Talk series host prominent landscape architects and garden designers as well as experts including horticulturists, artists, landscape managers, planners as well as garden and architectural historians. These talks are open to all our students, staff and alumni. Students have had the unique opportunity to hear talks from experts including Martha Schwarz Partners, Tom Stuart-Smith Landscape Design, Arup, BDP, Townshend Landscape Architects, Gillespies, The Landscape Partnership, The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), Gill Wynee-Williams Associates, Peter Piet and many more.

Information about each module can be viewed by clicking on the module title within the table below.

Contemporary Landscape Theories
(15 credits)
Planting the Biophilic Landscapes
(15 credits)
Design Studio 1
(30 credits)
Design Studio 2
(30 credits)
Landscape Construction and Technology
(30 credits)



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.

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 who have a bachelor's with honours degree with a minimum of a second-class degree in the fields of architecture, geography, environmental studies, art, interior design, history, and other fields can apply for the 1st year MLA .

Students are required to submit their university certificates, letter of intention that shows the personal statement including student's background, strengths, interests and aspirations in the field of landscape architecture, and why students want to come to WUC for their graduate education (1,500 word limit) and 2 reference letters with their application form. A design portfolio is not required as students come from non-design fields, however a visual portfolio with photographs from visited landscapes and gardens and/or sketches c\n be submitted additional to the application. This will help to give a sense of the creative potential and graphic abilities of the applicant. A meeting with the student is recommended to go through the application documents.

English Language competency for non-native English speakers. WUC international students English requirements are the following: Overall IELTS score 6.5 and minimum 5.5 in all elements. WUC also accepts various tests of English as alternatives to IELTS provided they appear on the new approved English tests sheet issued by UKVI.

As stated in the QAA Master's Degree characteristics statement, entrants may have acquired experience through work or other means will be reviewed by the programme director to be confident on the candidate's ability to success the programme.

International candidates will have their qualifications and experience reviewed by the Course manager in order to establish equivalence for the requirements listed above and guided by the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Non-EU students will have their course assessed by UK NARIC.

Prospective international students whose first language is not English will be expected to have achieved a qualification in English as Foreign Language or its equivalent in line with current WUC International Student Application Policy. They must also satisfy current visa regulations for entry into the United Kingdom and the European Union for the purpose of study.

Recruitment of students will conform to Writtle University College's current policies and regulations on equal opportunities and disability.

The Master of Landscape Architecture is designed for graduates who have a bachelor's with honours degree with a minimum of a second-class degree in the fields of architecture, geography, environmental studies, art, interior design, history, and other fields who wish to change their career for landscape architecture

This course provides a mix of delivery and assessment methods including .

  • 220 hectare campus grounds with demonstration gardens, arboretum, glasshouses, soil identification laboratories, orchard, reservoir and natural river systems with ancient woodland.
  • Planting design knowledge and skill set taught through specialised modules such as 'Ecological Principles and Planting Theory' and 'Selecting Plants for Designed Landscapes' with weekly campus walks, garden visits, plant identification tests, lectures and seminars.
  • Strong industrial links in public and private sector to create a wide range of professional work opportunities and practice-based curriculum for our students.
  • Technical software teaching in our designated computer suits.
  • Graduate entry with a bachelor degree with honours from other disciplines for the professional landscape architecture profession and licentiate member of the Landscape Institute.
  • A wide range of transferable and generic skills so that they can work and lead teams of inter-disciplinary professions.
  • Planting plots on the University College grounds for 1st year MLA students to learn practical horticulture skills and knowledge.
  • Mastery skills and advanced specialised knowledge for the current landscape architecture industry.
  • Inspiring and valuable teaching and learning experience using WUC's rich resources including campus grounds. Students may work on campus plots to gain practical work in horticulture.
  • Advanced level of teaching with experienced staff and practitioners in the landscape and garden design, cross-departmental teaching and learning with sustainable environments, art & design, and horticulture disciplines with a rich extra-curricular programme.
  • Supportive learning environment through a design studio culture with designated student spaces with drawing tables, computers, drawers and lockers in 3 different design studios, wood model workshop, laser cutter, 3-D printer, plotters, scanners, digital video and photo cameras and photography studio for postgraduate students.

Graduates of the MLA can work as graduate landscape architects, landscape designers, or landscape planners and managers .

Graduates have a variety of practices in the UK and abroad to choose; each with different areas of specialism including urban design, planning, visual landscape impact assessment, and visual landscape character. There are differences in the size and scale of practices, their work and specialism. Global practices work with international large scale masterplanning projects whereas smaller scale practices work with national and local masterplanning projects, urban design, housing development and landscape character assessment tasks. Employment is also found in public sector organisations such as local councils, English Heritage, Historic England and privates charities such as the National Trust, along with teaching within colleges and universities.

This course has been accredited by the Landscape Institute and the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA)

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

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