Some landscape architects have a more scientific background and specialise in working with plants, trees, water, or soil. Some are ecologists or specialise in wildlife and their habitats, such as birds, bats insects or mammals. Others work with urban landscapes, making sure that planning and design is undertaken in a thoughtful way that ties together public space, people and the environment.
Whatever your personal interest, there is plenty of information in these pages to help you decide which is the best course for you.
Looking at each accredited university in the UK, you will notice that each one has their own unique selling points and focus – for this reason, it is worth contacting them to find out more about the courses they offer and the entry requirements. Ensuring your course is accredited is very important too, as only industry recognised qualifications enable you to follow a formal route through to becoming fully qualified.
The two main routes to enter landscape education are outlined below. Both of these options ensure that you have reached a masters level which is essential when entering the landscape profession.
Option 1: If you have not undertaken a higher education course previously, you will need to start your landscape education at an undergraduate level. All landscape undergraduate courses take 3 years. Due to the wide breadth of the profession, there are no essential subjects for gaining entry to an undergraduate course but any mixture of the following can prove useful: Art, Geography, Biology, Graphic Design, English, Chemistry, Physics, Design, Technology, ICT and History.
The best way to describe Landscape Architecture as a discipline is a blend of arts and sciences (including social sciences) – so a combination of these is ideal. Most of all, universities will want you to show that you are an enthusiastic, practical person who is passionate about the environment and society and how they interact with one another.
Once you have completed your undergraduate course you will have the opportunity to take a year out to work in a landscape practice. This is a very popular option and gives landscape students the chance to put all the information they have learnt into practice and work alongside professionals. The university will give you guidance and industry connections to support you with this year out. After your year out in practice, or straight after your undergraduate course, the next step will be to undertake a masters course, known as a Pg Diploma or MA depending on the university. This course will last up to 12 months and prepare you for the wider world of work.
Option 2: If you have already undertaken an undergraduate degree, regardless of whether it related to the landscape field or not, you will need to take a conversion course which will take up to 2 years. These are usually a 2 stage/2 year programme of study, the first ‘conversion stage’ will teach you all you need to know about the landscape profession and give you the skills to address the second stage which will lead to the Postgraduate Diploma or Masters award. The entry requirements are different for each course so we advise you to check with each university for further information. Please note: The conversion stage alone will not be sufficient to gain an accredited award.
Check out our student profiles to see current student experiences on their conversion course.
In this section you can look more closely at each of the schools offering both full and part-time accredited courses in the UK, look at the programmes on offer, and click through to their websites to find out more.
Top image © University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment. Published under the Creative Commons licence.