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Professional Landscape Architecture
Department of Landscape Architecture,
Faculty of Social Sciences
The MA Professional Landscape Architecture is a one-year masters course for graduates of Landscape Institute accredited programmes who want to qualify and work as professional landscape architects. It will help you develop the skills needed for modern landscape architectural practice.
You’ll have the opportunity to specialise in landscape planning, design or management, or take a cross-cutting approach combining more than one aspect. The special project module sees you transform a site of your choice and lets you demonstrate your ideas, skills and creativity as a landscape architect.
You’ll also be able to develop your understanding and specialism in a topic of your choice as the basis of your Dissertation.
You may exit the course with a diploma after 120 credits or complete a 60 credit dissertation to claim the Masters qualification with 180 credits.
Accredited by the Landscape Institute and the International Federation of Landscape Architects.
- Landscape Research as Creative Practice
This module will introduce students to landscape research as a creative practice in order to address questions and challenges relating to current landscape practice, setting the stage and supporting preparation for further research through the Final Landscape Project in the Spring semester and, for MA students, through the Landscape Dissertation. Students 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 this 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.15 credits
- Professional Skills and Technologies
This module offers intermediate or advanced level training in a variety of specific skills sought by contemporary landscape practices and responds to the requirements of the professional accreditation body (Landscape Institute). It also draws from current professional practice requirements in liaison with alumni and professional practitioners to develop a suite of training workshops to ensure that students are well equipped to respond to the needs of the profession and for finding employment.15 credits
Recognising the diverse backgrounds and interests of students on the programme, a suite of options is offered and students will select the options which align most closely with their interests or which fill gaps in their prior training. The outputs of these workshops, as well as work undertaken in previous semesters and/or in previous employment, are arranged into a personalised portfolio of work suitable for employment applications.
- Advanced Landscape Research and Dissertation Preparation
This module will build on students' learning in 'Landscape Research as Creative Practice', undertaken in the Autumn semester. It will support students in the exploration of independent research topics in preparation for their dissertation, potentially aligned with and growing out of their Final Landscape Project, undertaken concurrently. The module will provide opportunities for students to identify their area of research, key literature and appropriate methods of inquiry including research ethics, and will prepare them to undertake original research over the summer through the Landscape Dissertation.15 credits
- Professional Practice of Landscape Architecture
This module provides students with an introduction to elements of the landscape profession that they are required to understand in order to become practising landscape architects and, in time, Chartered Members of the Landscape Institute. Three broad subject areas are covered: Professional Practice, Landscape and Environmental Law, and Landscape Contracts. These will touch upon issues related to working as 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 in the landscape profession.15 credits
- Final Landscape Project
The Final Landscape Project aims to develop students' readiness to enter the profession by completing a largely independent project from start to finish to a professional standard. Through close collaboration with academic tutors and in parallel with a defined tutorial group, the final project aligns with a chosen design, planning, or management 'agenda' put forth by department tutors. This therefore aims to push the boundaries of the landscape disciplines through research design. As such, the final project undertaken in the Spring semester grows out of focused research into a specific topic already undertaken in the Autumn semester.30 credits
The aim of the project is to demonstrate the ability to integrate the knowledge and skills acquired in the programme and to apply these in an appropriate way to address the issues posed by the chosen project. Aligned with their tutors' agenda or research question, with the tutor acting as a client or consultant, students will manage their time and develop their required tasks and outputs independently.
- 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
Optional modules (one to be selected):
- Advanced Landscape Design - Conceptual and Strategic
This module offers options for students to develop a creative, original, and appropriate response to a hypothetical or real site-scale landscape related project which might be encountered in practice. While various scales should be considered, there will be a particular focus on conceptual and strategic exploration of key issues related to landscape architecture design, which might include themes such as 'Sustainable Landscape Design', 'Design with Water' or 'Design for Climate Change'. Students will explore concepts and strategies to develop advanced and original landscape design proposals. Students are encouraged to be innovative and experimental in both the design response and their visual representation, while at the same time demonstrating good judgement in terms of project feasibility as well as social and environmental responsibility. A specific site and brief will be presented at the start of the module.15 credits
- Advanced Landscape Planning - Global Issues
This module offers options for students to develop an informed, coherent, and rational response to a particular landscape planning challenge and context, demonstrating a high level of sensitivity to, and understanding of, the underlying environmental, social and political dynamics. While many scales should be considered, the emphasis is on establishing a set of recommendations, policies and/or guidelines for future development under various scenarios indicating the character of potential interventions in complex real or hypothetical contexts. Students will explore global issues related to landscape planning, which might include themes such as 'Nature Based Solutions', 'Integrated Water Management' or 'Urban Heat Island'. Recommendations should be based on a sound methodology and should be communicated in a clear, coherent, succinct and accessible way comprehensible both by other landscape professionals and by the broader public. A specific brief will be presented at the start of the module.15 credits
- Advanced Landscape Management - Managing for Change
This module offers options for students to understand specific management principles and guidelines based on the constraints and challenges of a specific real or hypothetical site, study area or type of environment. The emphasis will be on exploring social change, climate change and ecological change considering a variety of landscape scales, developments and spatial patterns. Responses should demonstrate an understanding of landscape management and how these might change or develop over time, showing sensitivity to the ecological, social and political dynamics currently at play. A specific study area and brief will be presented at the start of the module.15 credits
Optional modules (one to be selected):
- Advanced Landscape Design - Materiality of Landscape
This module offers options for students to develop a creative, original, and appropriate response to a hypothetical or real site-scale landscape related project which might be encountered in practice. While various scales should be considered, there will be a particular focus on detailed landscape design proposals. Students will explore qualities and materiality of landscape spaces through creative and original outputs. The exploration might include considerations related to 'Materiality and Identity', 'Environmental Impact' or 'Sensory Experiences'. Students are encouraged to be innovative and experimental in both the design response and proposals as well as their visual representation, while at the same time demonstrating good judgment in terms of project feasibility as well as social and environmental responsibility. A specific site and brief will be presented at the start of the module.15 credits
- Advanced Landscape Planning - Local Engagement
This module offers options for students to develop an informed, coherent and rational response to a particular landscape planning challenge and context, demonstrating a high level of sensitivity to, and understanding of, the underlying environmental, social and political dynamics. The emphasis is on establishing a set of recommendations, policies and/or guidelines for future development under various scenarios, indicating the character of potential processes and responses in complex real contexts. The exploration focuses on local communities engagement and inclusive planning processes, which might include themes such as 'Active Participation', 'Empowerment' or 'Long Term Engagement'. Recommendations should be based on a sound methodology and should be communicated in a clear, coherent, succinct and accessible way comprehensible both by professionals and the broader public. A specific brief will be presented at the start of the module.15 credits
- Advanced Landscape Management - Stewardship
This module offers options for students to develop maintenance principles and a set of guidelines based on the constraints and challenges of a specific real project site. Students are encouraged to be innovative and experimental in their exploration of the stewardship of a specific site, in order to respond to the challenges presented by social change, climate change and environmental change with an emphasis on long term solutions and stewardship. Responses should demonstrate an understanding of practical processes and solutions taking into account the specificity of a wide range of landscapes, showing sensitivity to the ecological, social and political dynamics currently at play and anticipating how these might change in the future. A specific site and brief will be presented at the start of the module15 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.
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.
1 year, 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.
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 addresses current issues.
You’re assessed on coursework assignments, dissertation, oral presentation and examination.
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.
Department of Landscape Architecture
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.
Entry to the MA Professional Landscape Architecture (MAPLA) is open to those students who have previously completed a Landscape Institute accredited undergraduate degree course in Landscape Architecture (either at the University of Sheffield or through an equivalent Landscape Architecture programme at another institution).
Additionally, students would have usually completed at least nine months of work experience in landscape practice. Those achieving a 2:1 degree or higher will be eligible to enter the MAPLA programme. Those achieving a 2:2 degree will be interviewed and a portfolio of work reviewed to assess the development of their landscape architectural skills.
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.
You can apply for 2024 postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.
+44 114 222 0617
Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.
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.