Explore this course:

    Register your interest to hear about postgraduate study and events at the University of Sheffield

    MA PG Diploma
    2023 start September 

    Landscape Architecture

    Department of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Social Sciences

    Learn how to create places that protect the planet and improve the lives of the people who inhabit them with our two-year conversion course. Accredited by the Landscape Institute.
    An MA Landscape Architecture student sketching in Sheffield Botanical Gardens

    Course description

    This is a two-year conversion course for graduates who want to qualify and work as professional landscape architects. Whether you have a background in design or not, it will help you develop the skills needed for modern landscape architectural practice. 

    The first year provides a thorough grounding in the design, social, technical and scientific aspects of the profession. You’ll learn about the history and theory of landscapes, develop visual and IT skills and tackle a broad range of design projects. 

    The second year gives you the opportunity to specialise in landscape planning, design or management, or to take a cross-cutting approach combining more than one aspect. During the Final Landscape Project, you’ll work on a landscape architecture solution for a real-world site of your choice.


    Postgraduate Diploma in Landscape Architecture is accredited by the Landscape Institute and the International Federation of Landscape Architects.


    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Core modules:

    Studio project 1: Landscape Architecture: nature, people, place.

    This module introduces the practice of landscape design. Through a site based project, it introduces methods and procedures of landscape architectural design it introduces methods and procedures of landscape architectural design taking students through the 'design process'. It explores analytical and creative approaches to design and introduces how the fundamental components of landscape design: landform, vegetation, water and hard materials are used to create places that benefit people and nature. Landscape media, tools and sources are introduced and applied, and lectures on design theory and the materials of landscape support the project. Assessment is through a portfolio that demonstrates the student's design process and resolved design proposals.

    40 credits
    Studio project 2: Planning strategies to urban design proposals

    An introduction to and exploration of core methods, concepts and contexts for contemporary landscape architectural planning and urban design, and more advanced studies in strategic large scale design, following from LSC61001. Through an integrated project: the use of methods and approaches to strategic landscape planning applied in the first half of the project inform an urban landscape design proposal developed in the second half, relating landscape space to existing and proposed architectural and built form to create a climate resilient urban public realm. The studio project will include research, survey and analysis used to inform creative strategic and design processes. The studio work is complemented by lectures, workshops, and seminars.

    40 credits
    Research module 1: Introduction to landscape research

    This module will focus on introducing students to landscape research in its broadest sense. They will learn how to find sources of information, how to critically review and analyse this information and how to use and present the findings from their research. They will understand the relevance of research to their own project outputs and how research and evidence-based practice can underpin the planning, design and management of the landscape more generally. They will appreciate how research enables them to critically appraise a project and how they can inform, inspire and enrich their own work with the knowledge and insights gained from their research. The module will support students' preparation for their Dissertations, and their final year Special Project work (LSCT123 students only).

    20 credits
    Research module 2: Landscape research topics

    This module will build on students' learning in LSC61004 Introduction to Landscape Research taken in Autumn semester. It will support students in the exploration of research topics in preparation for their dissertation. The module will provide opportunities for students to identify their area of research, key literature and appropriate method of inquiry including research ethics. The cultural and social studies second lecture series will introduce students to key concepts and theories related to landscape architecture to help them identify their own research interests and. inform the studio project work of LSC61002.

    20 credits
    Landscape Research Dissertation

    This module provides students studying for their MA in Landscape Architecture with the experience of undertaking research into an issue of significance to landscape architecture. It builds on two landscape research modules LSC61004 and LSC61005 and requires the investigation of a selected topic using appropriate research methods and the production of a 10-15,000 word dissertation. For certain topics a reduction in word length may be offset by the use of other media. Students receive tutorial support from an academic advisor.

    60 credits
    Special Project: Research and Development Study

    The aim of the module is to produce a brief for the Special Project (LSC6005). The project brief: describes and defines the site/study area and proposed development or regeneration, its context and issues; establishes a clear design/planning/management brief; rationale and approach for the Special Project; and forms the basis for independent critique of the proposal. The brief requires to be underpinned by well-documented research - of (a) site/study area characteristics; (b) underlying science, social science and policy, and (c) precedent studies of comparable real-world projects. This unit aims to ensure that students a) have produced a viable proposal for their Special Project that is clear and comprehensible to an independent reviewer and b) have researched their Special Project in terms of relevant knowledge, policy and practice.

    This module forms part of a programme of study accredited by the Landscape Institute.

    15 credits
    Landscape Professional Practice

    The aim of this module is to provide students with an introduction to elements of the landscape profession that they will require to understand in order to become practising Landscape Architects and, in time, Chartered Members of the Landscape Institute. Three subject areas are covered; Professional Practice, Landscape and Environmental Law and Landscape Contracts. These will touch upon issues relating to being a professional landscape architect, relevant landscape and environmental law and contract law as it applies to the practice of landscape architecture and the nature, forms and use of contracts used in the landscape profession.

    15 credits
    Special Project

    The Special Project aims to test your readiness to enter the landscape profession. It requires you to complete an independent project from start to finish to a professional standard. You will select a project covering different strands of landscape architecture, including planning, design, or management, or combinations of these. Whatever your choice, the aim is to demonstrate that you can integrate the knowledge and skills that you have gained in the previous parts of your programme and can apply them in an appropriate way to address the issues posed by your chosen project. Working on your own initiative, with tutors acting as advisors and consultants, you are required to identify a site or study area, collect and evaluate relevant background information, carry out appropriate surveys, develop plans, strategies and/or designs at an appropriate level of detail and communicate your findings and proposals through appropriate outputs, including a public exhibition.

    50 credits

    Optional modules - choose two from:

    Strategic Landscape Planning

    Landscape planning has become a major area of interest and activity for landscape professionals. This module aims to provide a good understanding of current issues in landscape planning in the context of the growing emphasis on sustainability and future landscapes. It introduces some of the big issues of the day including the future of peri-urban and rural landscapes, meeting the demand for new housing, the urban-rural divide, new measures for energy, new woodland strategies and industrial development. It also aims to develop familiarity with key organisations involved in landscape and to develop practical experience of some of the practical approaches to landscape planning in current use.

    20 credits
    Urban Design Project

    This module aims to provide an opportunity to further advance design skills within the built and open space context of urban design. Their practical application for landscape professionals will be studied. The project emphasises socially sustainable and user-orientated approaches to urban design and regeneration (responsive design). Building/landscape relationships and the role buildings play in shaping and influencing urban spaces and vice versa are studied through detailed and strategic design of landscapes that are primarily built (rather than planted). Opportunities to experience team work form an important part of the module as do the production of innovative visual presentations and portfolio development using digital and other media.

    20 credits
    Maintaining Green Infrastructure

    This module aims to develop student understanding of the maintenance and management of greenspace. The relationship between management and maintenance are discussed and the consequences of failure to integrate these. Current management approaches to care of landscapes are discussed, and how best value can be delivered on the ground through innovative practice. All of the major types of greenspace vegetation are discussed and their maintenance management reviewed from a contemporary needs perspective. The unit adopts a multidisciplinary approach and in addition to technical issues, also aims to address the underlying ideas and philosophies, which currently impinge, both positively and negatively upon the care and development of greenspace.

    20 credits
    Managing the Landscape

    This module aims to introduce students to landscape management, with particular focus on urban landscape management. It deals with the interactions between place, people and plants and how the function of open and green space is dependent on effective management and can be affected by who is involved and how decisions are made. The module highlights the social, political, cultural, economic, ecological, environmental and temporal dynamics that need to be considered when developing management strategies and plans for a given area. Students will explore how strategic approaches to greenspace management are made by considering who pays, who cares, who uses these spaces, and crucially, who makes the decisions and how. Students will develop their own management plans to improve one specific green space.

    20 credits
    Urban Futures

    This module speculates on the future of urban landscapes, examining the processes that underpin changes in the nature, materiality and experience of this growing area of landscape practice. It will provide students with advanced skills and introduce ways of interrogating current theories and practice while going beyond existing policy frameworks to develop creative and speculative propositions for landscape architecture in future cities.

    This module forms part of a programme of study accredited by the Landscape Institute.

    20 credits
    Equity and Participation in Place Change

    This module enables students to explore cultural and social dimensions of place, histories of change and future interventions; with a particular focus on questioning issues of equity and inclusion in these processes. Areas of enquiry will typically include aspects of environmental access, race and representation of diversity including problematic histories, protest and gentrification, but will also in part be informed by current events. In discussing these 'problem spaces' students draw on decolonialised approaches to knowledge through learning from local and global exemplars, their own personal histories, and from guest contributors from diverse backgrounds who provide expertise outside of academia. The module also addresses the role of the Landscape Architect and ethical inclusive practice, giving an introduction to participatory methods and intercultural competencies. The module offers a standalone specialism, but additionally supports students who wish to develop and embed expertise in these areas either through spatial practice (Special Project) or research (Dissertation).

    20 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses. You'll find out what makes us special.

    Upcoming open days and campus tours


    2 years full-time


    There are lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials, critical feedback sessions, site visits and practicals.

    Teaching and learning take place in the studio and on site.

    Mel Burton

    We’re unique as a landscape department in that we can deliver the full breadth of landscape specialisms in-house through our team of internationally recognised academics. We complement this by working with landscape practices and our alumni, as professional landscape architects, to ensure our teaching is practice relevant and address current issues.

    Mel Burton
    Senior University Teacher


    You’re assessed on coursework assignments, dissertation, oral presentation and examination.

    Your career

    Our graduates go on to have varied and rewarding careers all around the world. We have alumni working in over 70 countries; both in the private sector, running their own companies and for public and voluntary organisations, helping to improve local communities.

    Our alumni include those who have achieved the highest levels of recognition within the Landscape profession, including a former President of the Landscape Institute and President of the International Federation of Landscape Architects.

    If you don’t take up a career in landscape, you’ll still be highly employable. By developing valuable transferable skills like graphic design, project management and communication, you’ll be able to make a lasting and positive impact wherever your career takes you.


    Landscape work on display

    Landscape architecture is about the design, planning and management of places that benefit people and nature. Landscape architects create spaces between buildings that are both inspirational and functional.

    If you have a flair for creativity and a passion for improving the environment and people's lives, then landscape architecture could be for you.

    You'll learn from experts who are involved in some of the most exciting landscape design work in the world today.

    Sheffield is a dynamic city and an ideal place in which to study landscape architecture. Its changing face has been shaped by department-led initiatives like Grey to Green and Love Square, which give students the chance to be involved with live projects and see the difference landscape architecture can make.

    Sheffield combines the urban with awe-inspiring views of the neighbouring Peak District, making it a rich learning and research environment.

    Student profiles

    Victoria Wade

    Everything I have learnt has given me amazing grounding for my career. The support and encouragement I received from my lecturers gave me the confidence I needed to start up my own business.

    Victoria Wade
    MA Landscape Architecture

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in a subject related to landscape or design, such as ecology, geography, geology, architecture, engineering or fine art.

    We may also consider your application if you do not meet the standard academic requirements but you have relevant knowledge, skills and experience through previous employment and/or study.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.


    We use a staged admissions process to assess applications for this course. You'll still apply for this course in the usual way, using our Postgraduate Online Application Form.

    Apply now


    +44 114 222 0617

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

    Mel Burton

    We’re unique as a landscape department in that we can deliver the full breadth of landscape specialisms in-house through our team of internationally recognised academics. We complement this by working with landscape practices and our alumni, as professional landscape architects, to ensure our teaching is practice relevant and address current issues.

    Mel Burton
    Senior University Teacher
    LSCT123 Off On