Landscape Architecture MLA (LI accredited)

Why choose this course?

This two-year conversion course, accredited by the Landscape Institute, is aimed at graduates and professionals from disciplines including architecture, spatial design and ecology who can bring their knowledge, expertise, inquiry and creativity to the expanding field of landscape architecture. It is designed to engage with the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary landscape practice and research, as well as new opportunities for creative collaboration and co-production.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 2 years 2–3 days per week September 2020
Part time 4 years 1 day per week September 2020
Location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • This course is accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI) and can form the route to the professional Pathway to Chartership, an online tool that records your knowledge and development against the LI Chartership syllabus. The final stage, once you've demonstrated sufficient knowledge, is the oral examination.
  • Kingston's London location gives you opportunities for contemporary design projects, and the University has established local, European and international networks.
  • You will work closely with architecture students in an art school environment. There are purpose-designed top floor architecture studios, designed by Stirling Prize winning architects, Haworth Tompkins.

Accreditation

The Landscape Institute

The Landscape Institute

The Landscape Institute

This course is accredited by the Landscape Institute (LI) and is the route to the professional Pathway to Chartership of the Landscape Institute (P2C).

What you will study

All design projects are developed as part of a personal portfolio that can be immediately used to target employment. Projects reflect critical challenges and opportunities of contemporary landscape practice including green and blue infrastructures, resilient and adaptive strategies, detailed design of places for people, planting, biodiversity, transformation and change through time. Workshops include: model making (in the Faculty's 3D workshop), mapping, drawing, digital media, materials and construction.

Our London location, established local, European and international networks, and Landscape Interface Studio provide the focus for contemporary landscape design projects that address immediate and long-term landscape solutions for cities and their regions.

Modules

The course begins with a series of intensive workshops with expert practitioners for rapid assimilation and application of key landscape architecture skills, techniques and knowledge.

The course includes study visits and opportunities to collaborate on live projects with client and community engagement.

Summer work experience and a critical case study engage students with an immediate context of practice and the opportunity for dialogue with practitioners in relation to projects on site.

Core modules

Landscape Architecture: Primer

60 credits

A Landscape Architect synthesises a complex range of issues, design aspirations and inspirations to produce projects which strategically engage individuals, communities and society with place in practical, personal, cultural and political ways. The material practice of landscape architecture responds to and engages with the dynamic, constantly changing conditions of the living world. Representations of landscape both construct its meaning and are fundamental to the processes of its design; a range of representational techniques underpin the act of design and the communication of proposals.

This module recognises the breadth of knowledge and skills and the range of experiences of the student group, and extends these to provide the necessary foundation for landscape architecture studies. The module supports students in developing shared learning alongside individual development, experimentation and expression, appropriate to the needs of each student. The module primes students to undertake practices of landscape architecture through a series of workshop-lab exercises led by specialist practitioners, concluding with the production of a Landscape Architecture Primer document which will underpin the work throughout the course.

Landscape Architecture: Portfolio

60 credits

Through a process of primary and secondary research across a broad range of subjects, Landscape architects appraise the fundamental conditions of site and context, in order to inform a strategic design approach for a particular place. Landscape architecture interprets and transforms the interactions and inter-relationships between a diverse range of physical, environmental, social and cultural factors. The successful integration of professional and technical issues within a developing design process is fundamental to landscape architecture; this process of synthesis requires sensibility, critical self-reflection, iteration and team work.

The module targets the delivery of a creative Landscape Architecture portfolio of design projects that explore the identification of factors of local distinctiveness, and demonstrate the momentum and achievement of the first phase of the Landscape programme. This provides a platform for the critical case study and possible direction for summer work experience, and defines the trajectory of the second year of study.

Landscape Architecture Professional Practice: Design & Making

30 credits

Good design successfully integrates ethical, regulatory, financial and professional conditions within a material practice. These elements are integral to a creative process and the development of a coherent, successful landscape architecture proposition.

The profession of landscape architecture sits in a context of interdisciplinary production and delivery, and is subject to code/s of conduct and professional body requirements. Landscape architecture professionals engage in an aesthetic, pragmatic and ethical use of materials, construction and aftercare, employing techniques for resilience, adaptation, and green and blue infrastructures.

The module supports the Landscape Architecture Thesis Project process and ethos of design project development, making and resolution, within UK and international contexts of professional practice.

Landscape Architecture: Reading, Research and Narrative

30 credits

Landscape architecture and urbanism is shaped by historical, contemporary, and visionary seminal ideas. Narratives of landscape architecture relate to temporal and spatial scales of practice: development, regeneration, infrastructure and responsibility, from the small local scale to the city, its region and international context.

This module focus brings together the consideration of theory, research and narrative, in the context of the practice and communication of landscape architecture. The module supports students' engagement in research processes and enables them to apply a critical knowledge of the concept and theory of research methodologies, to further develop a theoretical grounding and literacy in landscape architecture, and to support research-informed design practice.

Landscape Architecture: Thesis Project

60 credits

The development of a research design thesis reflects individual ambition, curiosity and creativity, in this expanding field of practice, and seeks to test relationships between Landscape practice and related co-professional activity, benchmark projects and measurable ‘values'. The thesis project requires that sophisticated thinking, clearly articulated strategies and analytical research techniques are applied to the synthesis of ideas, development and resolution of a project.

This module is the ‘capstone project' and the culmination of a student's educational experience of the MLA programme. It offers the opportunity for students to articulate their developing position as landscape architects and professionals. Within this module students can refine an interest and ambition emerging from study within preceding modules and prior experience, and articulate a specific expertise or focus within the scope of the profession.

The project will be presented and curated in a format for digital publication or exhibition appropriate to the theme and anticipated audience. Students are encouraged to define aspirational agendas that address current challenges: economic, environmental and social, and define appropriate goals in this dynamic field of practice. The digital publication or exhibition will be the edited and outward facing expression of the thesis project, supported by the thesis project portfolio in the context of this module.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

The minimum entry qualifications for the programme are:

  • good honours degree (minimum 2.2)
  • and/or professional experience and a qualification in a related discipline such as Architecture, Spatial Design, Engineering, Ecology, or Geography.

Applications are considered initially on the basis of the information in the application forms including academic and employer references and a portfolio of evidence of personal study or a professional portfolio.

Interviews

We normally invite applicants for an interview prior to selection. We can make alternative arrangements for international students based overseas.

Prior learning - AP(E)L

Applicants with prior qualifications and learning may be exempt from appropriate parts of a course in accordance with the University's policy for the assessment of prior learning and prior experiential learning. Contact the faculty office for further information.

English language requirements

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each element. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on this course. The team includes senior academics and professionals, many of whom have their own architectural practices and are involved in the delivery of different elements of this course.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy document and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

Year 1: 18% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Year 2: 19% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Year 1

Year 2

Year 1
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 220 hours
  • Guided independent study: 980 hours
Year 2
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 230 hours
  • Guided independent study: 970 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises coursework e.g. design projects and portfolio, critical case study, professional practice report, seminar presentations, landscape manifesto, and masters project exhibition or digital publication.

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 100%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols six to 10 students but they join the Year 2 cohort of the MLA Landscape Architecture course and partly MA Landscape & Urbanism students, so lecture sizes are normally 18­­-24. However this can vary by module and academic year.

Who teaches this course?

Teaching is delivered by a team of ambitious and creative design practitioners and researchers.

The team includes senior academics and professionals, many of whom have their own architectural practices and industry contacts.

You'll be taught in classroom-based seminars, tutorials and lectures, alongside site visits to the world-famous Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, museums, galleries, auction houses and other creative professional environments.

Our excellent reputation means that industry leaders regularly visit our student shows to see the best of the new talent.

This course is taught at Kingston School of Art, based at the Knights Park campus.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MLA full time £9,500
  • MLA part time £5,225

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MLA full time £17,600
  • MLA part time £9,680

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Facilities

Kingston School of Art at Knights Park is situated on the Hogsmill River, with its restaurant and bar opening on to the waterside. It has a friendly, creative feel and benefits from recently refurbished workshops and studios, a reception area with a gallery, art shop and space, and the light and airy open-plan learning resources centre. There are also well-equipped lecture theatres, seminar rooms and computer resources.

For most courses, learning takes place in fully-equipped specialist studios. You will take part in classes, tutorials and critical reviews with fellow students. This strong studio culture ensures regular interaction between students and tutors.

For non studio-based courses, learning takes place in classroom-based seminars, tutorials and lectures, alongside site visits to museums, galleries, auction houses and other creative professional environments.

After you graduate

Examples of recent graduate destinations for this and similar courses include:

  • senior landscape architect ARUP Environmental
  • landscape architect Churchman Landscape Architects London
  • landscape architect Gustafson Porter London and Seattle
  • landscape architect Grant Associates Bath
  • associate director landscape architect AECOM
  • landscape architect HTA Design London
  • director Spacehub London

What our graduates say

My enthusiasm for the profession of landscape architecture is entirely based upon my experience at Kingston University where I feel students are encouraged to explore diversity within the wider subject, pursuing their individual interests. This led to two key developments which have maintained my interest in landscape architecture.

Firstly, being encouraged to find areas of the subject which were of particular interest. I have now developed specialisms in river restoration and habitat creation, which have been realised through projects at Arup, for the Environment Agency.

Secondly, through gaining knowledge of the diversity of the subject, I firmly believe that landscape architects perform an essential role in coordinating technical information from a multitude of disciplines into a coherent whole.

Mark Job – associate landscape architect, Arup Environmental Consulting

I enjoyed the variety of projects and the opportunities and experiences that were presented to us by working on real sites with real issues, and communicating with real people who had an interest in the future of the site.

Opportunities to get outside and visit Paris, Amsterdam and numerous sites around the UK were invaluable learning experiences as well as memorable fun times. I champion the Kingston course and in particular the tutors whose encouragement and enthusiasm all helped shape me as the landscape architect I am today.

James Virgo – senior landscape architect, LUC (Land Use Consultants Ltd)

Links with business and industry

You will be encouraged to engage closely with the diverse businesses that make London one of the most important centres for the creative industries. Students on this course have had the opportunity to work on collaborations with industry partners on both a national and international scale.

Unique study opportunities

Kingston's industry connections mean you will be able to:

  • have your work seen by eminent members of your profession
  • work on 'live' projects, site visits and placements in prestigious companies or institutions
  • attend workshops with visiting lecturers and industry specialists.

Our excellent reputation means that industry leaders regularly visit our student shows to see the best of the new talent.

Examples of successful collaborations

International multidisciplinary practices

  • Arup (London Olympics, High Speed 2, Cities Alive)
  • AECOM (London and Rio Olympics)

Landscape practices

  • Gustafson Porter London & Seattle
  • Grant Associates (Singapore Gardens by the Bay project)
  • UK agencies such as Historic Royal Parks, National Trust, Canal and River Trust

Research areas

Many of the staff in the Kingston School of Art are research active. Their research ensures they are in touch with the latest thinking and bring best practice to your studies. Below are examples of projects undertaken by the Landscape Interface Studio.

Limehouse Cut: linking place and creativity

Funded by CreativeWorks London, we collaborated with Shared Assets to develop a methodology and tools for engaging local people and creative industries in imagining a future for the Limehouse Cut, London's oldest canal. Students took part in the recording of a floating workshop and presentation at AHRC Creative Economy Showcase 2014 in London, targeting policy-makers and business leaders.

Milan Design Week Festival 2014

The 'Culture_Water_Landscapes' workshop explored links between local agriculture and the Navigli Grande canal.

Water City Territory – international design workshop

A workshop for the design and research collaboration – 'Liverpool New York' – was hosted by the Van Alen Institute in New York City, with colleagues and students from Kingston and New York.