Master of Landscape Architecture

Course MC-LARCH3Y (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Year and Campus: 2012 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 061209M
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 300 credit points taken over 36 months full time. This course is available as full or part time.


Dr Jillian Walliss


Environments and Design Student Centre
Ground Floor, Baldwin Spencer (building 113)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Course Overview:

Landscape architecture is a unique discipline that acts as a bridge between the arts and sciences, design and environment. Landscape architecture engages in core ecological, cultural and social issues in both urban and rural societies. Two accredited programs are offered at the University of Melbourne: a 300-point and a 200-point Master of Landscape Architecture. The 300-point program allows students with no undergraduate background in landscape architecture to enrol directly in a master's program and is a distinctive feature of the University of Melbourne. The first year of study is carefully structured to allow students from diverse backgrounds to develop the required knowledge and foundations in design, history and physical systems before joining the 200-point students in later years. The 200-point Master of Landscape Architecture is offered to students who have an undergraduate background in landscape architecture, including our Bachelor of Environments graduates with a major in Landscape Architecture. The Master of Landscape Architecture at the University of Melbourne is underpinned by a strong grounding in design, ecology and urbanism. These strengths are paralleled by a comprehensive history and theory stream encompassing contemporary landscape architecture, architecture and urban design theory, cross cultural issues, including indigenous perspectives for sustainable societies.

This course is part of an accelerated professional degree for students from non-cognate undergraduate degrees. The dominant mode of teaching and learning is through design studios which are each 25 points. To be successful in this degree, a commitment of at least 25 points a semester is necessary.


Students in our programs are provided with:

  • Design knowledge from studio-based courses that contribute to the improvement of our built and natural environments;
  • Critical engagement with parameters of international contemporary practice;
  • The ability to develop design strategies within interdisciplinary teams supported by excellent communication skills;
  • Opportunities for travelling studios, both onshore and offshore;
  • Landscape-focused and interdisciplinary elective choices;
  • The ability to use resources, materials and technologies to develop responsible and ecologically sound and novel design solution; and,
  • Knowledge of landscape architectural history and theory and critical skills to interpret historic ideas, environmental movements and contemporary trends.

The program structure is designed both to expand on existing qualifications in the field and to provide opportunities for an internationally recognised professional qualification for those from other fields. Major areas of study are underpinned by highly qualified staff actively involved in cross-disciplinary research in these areas. Core subjects are supplemented by electives from allied disciplines, including urban design, urban planning, architecture, property and construction, as well as subjects designed to explore cross-disciplinary and international practice.

Course Structure & Available Subjects:

All students must complete

  • Core subjects - 250 points
  • Landscape architecture electives - 25 points
  • Graduate School electives - 25 points
Subject Options:

Core subjects (250 points)

The following subjects are required for accreditation purposes unless equivalence can be demonstrated:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 2

Landscape architecture electives (25 points)

Students select subjects totalling 25 credit points from the following list of landscape elective subjects.

(Students may vary subject selection in consultation with the Course Coordinator.)

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1

Graduate School electives (25 points)

Students may choose any masters level subjects including -

  • Melbourne School of Design graduate subjects without prerequisites. To view a list, click here.
  • Melbourne School of Design graduate subjects with prerequisites (provided prerequisites are met).
  • Any University of Melbourne graduate subject provided prerequisites are met and written approval from the home faculty plus the Master of Landscape Architecture course coordinator is submitted to the Environments and Design Student Centre.

To view a sample course plan go to:

Entry Requirements:

1.The Selection Committee will evaluate the applicant’s ability to pursue the course successfully using the following criteria –

  • a minimum three-year undergraduate degree with a weighted average of at least 65% in the final two years, or equivalent; and
  • submission of a personal statement of up to 1000 words outlining relevant prior study and work experience, and motivation to undertake the course.

2.The Selection Committee may conduct interviews and tests and may call for referee reports and employer references to elucidate any of the matters referred to above.

Students who intend to apply for advanced standing on the basis of previous studies in design should also submit a design portfolio in a format as specified by the selection committee*.

*The design portfolio of not more than eight A3 pages should focus on design work rather than, for example, life or still-life drawing skills. Portfolios should be drawn at least partly from design studio subject(s) the applicant has completed. Applicants submitting work done in the context of employment should explain their role in the work produced with brief notes. Images and drawings presented in the portfolio should be reproduced at sufficient scale and resolution to be clearly readable. Elaborate formats that reduce the available page space for the design images should be avoided. It is most helpful to see a variety of kinds of drawings and images: two-dimensional (plans, sections, elevations) and three-dimensional studies, photographs of physical models, etc.

For information about the two year Master of Landscape Architecture program, designed for students with an undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture (or equivalent) click here.

For information about how to apply click here.

Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne School of Design is the graduate school of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning. It offers professional entry programs in Architecture, Construction Management, Landscape Architecture, Property and Urban Planning. It offers specialist development programs in Property Valuation, Planning and Design and in Urban Design.

The Melbourne School of Design welcomes applications from students with disabilities. It is the University and Faculty (Architecture, Building and Planning) policy to take reasonable steps to make reasonable adjustments so as to enable students’ participation in degrees offered by the Melbourne School of Design (MSD).

A candidate for degrees offered in the MSD must have abilities and skills which include the following: observation; communication; motor; conceptual, integrative, and quantitative; and behavioural and social. Adjustments can be provided to minimise the impact of a disability, however, particularly at Masters level, students need to be able to participate in programs in an independent manner and with regard to their safety and the safety of others.

(i) Observation: Candidates must be able to read text, diagrams, maps, drawings and numerical data. Candidates should be able to observe details at a number of scales and to record useful observations of environmental contexts.

(ii) Communication: Candidates should be able to communicate with fellow students, professional and academic staff, members of relevant professions and the public. Candidates must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing.

(iii) Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from environmental contexts. Off campus investigations may include visits to construction sites, urban, rural and/or remote environments. Candidates should have sufficient motor ability to prepare documentation of analytic texts, drawings and models of findings and for the preparation of proposals for environmental interventions via digital or other means. Candidates should have the ability to actively participate in appropriate site and/or design studio-based activities.

(iv) Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, synthesis and, importantly, the ability to interpret results of such work. Problem resolution, the critical skill demanded of graduates, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, given the disciplines pursued in the MSD, candidates should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships in environmental structures of a wide range of scales –
from smaller than the individual through individual buildings and urban spaces to large geographic areas. Further, graduate study entails learning to master one’s own abilities and skills and to deploy them strategically. This requires further developing skills in both reflective and reflexive thinking and being able to practice these skills.

(v) Behavioural and Social Attributes: A candidate must possess behavioural and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment. Students are required to take responsibility for their own participation and learning. They also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative learning environments, demonstrating interpersonal skills and an understanding of the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.

Students who feel a disability will prevent them from meeting the above academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit.

Graduate Attributes:

The Master of Landscape Architecture has been specifically designed around the University of Melbourne’s graduate coursework, graduate attributes and professional challenges. The program will undergo a regular review process for quality assurance.

Professional Accreditation:

This course has been designed to meet the requirements of the professional associations of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects and the International Federation of Landscape Architects, and will undergo regular review for quality assurance.

Generic Skills:

The Master of Landscape Architecture will incorporate research-led teaching, problem-based collaborative learning, professional engagement, and a diverse mature cohort. Graduates of the Master of Landscape Architecture will have high-level professional and intellectual capabilities enabling them to demonstrate leadership, a commitment to life-long learning, and professional integrity.

Links to further information:

Download PDF version.