Master of Landscape Architecture

Course MC-LARCH (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Year and Campus: 2015 - 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 Andrew Saniga


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.

The Master of Landscape Architecture 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 second year entry point students (with a cognate background).

The Master of Landscape Architecture is also available to students who have an undergraduate background in landscape architecture, including our Bachelor of Environments graduates with a major in Landscape Architecture, most often with 100 points of advanced standing.

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.

Learning Outcomes:

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:

300 Point Entry

All student must complete:

200 Point Entry

All students must complete:


Students entering the Master of Landscape Architecture from a cognate discipline with 100 points of advanced standing will undertake the 200 point program


Students entering the Master of Landscape Architecture from a non-cognate discipline will undertake the 300 point program.

Entry Requirements:

1. In order to be considered for entry applicants must have completed:

  • an undergraduate degree in any discipline with a weighted average mark of at least H3 (65%), or equivalent; and
  • a personal statement which outlines relevant prior study, work experience and motivation to undertake the course;

And for students not seeking credit

  • a 250-word essay on one designed or vernacular work of landscape architecture that the applicant has seen and found significant.

Meeting these requirements does not guarantee selection.

2. In ranking applications, the Selection Committee will consider:

  • prior academic performance; and
  • the personal statement; and
  • the essay;

And, if relevant for students seeking credit

  • the portfolio.

3. The Selection Committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Student Application and Selection Procedure.

4. Applicants are required to satisfy the university’s English language requirements for postgraduate courses. For those applicants seeking to meet these requirements by one of the standard tests approved by the Academic Board, performance band 6.5 is required.

Note: Applicants with the following may be awarded up to 100 points of credit:

  • an undergraduate degree with a landscape architecture major with a weighted average mark of at least H3 (65%), or equivalent; and
  • a design portfolio in a format as specified by the Selection Committee.

Additional notes

(a) Personal statement format for applicants not eligible for credit allowed under the Resolution on Selection.

The personal statement should include evidence of the applicant’s interest in design and aptitude for creative thinking through design. Evidence can include photographic essays, photographs of executed works of visual art, prose, published writing, graphic design, records of multi-media design and design processes from other disciplines. This material should be incorporated into the personal statement and presented in an A4 or A3 format.

(b) Portfolio format (all applicants)

The design portfolio is assessed digitally and must be saved as one PDF file in landscape format. The file size of your portfolio should not exceed 10 MB, and the number of pages should not exceed 15 pages. Note that as portfolios are evaluated digitally images should be reproduced at a sufficient scale and resolution to be easily readable with limited zooming or scrolling. Elaborate formats that reduce the available page space for the design images should be avoided.

The design portfolio should focus on design work rather than, for example, life or still-life drawing skills. Portfolios should be drawn largely 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. It is most helpful to see a variety of kinds of drawings and images: free hand diagrams, computer images, two-dimensional (plans, sections, elevations) and three-dimensional studies, photographs of physical models. , design documentation (construction, site engineering, plant knowledge).

Guaranteed Transfer into Commonwealth Supported Place

Students with a fee place in this course who complete 100 points of the course with a weighted average of at least 75% and who are eligible for a Commonwealth Supported Place will be guaranteed a transfer to a Commonwealth Supported Place for the remainder of the course.

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, presenting one's own work in front of a large group, receiving and responding to feedback about one's own work in a public setting. Assessment in studio subjects will involve 'crits' where students present their own work in front of a large group, where they will receive and respond to feedback about their work in a public setting. Crits are an integral part of working in the industry and are an inherent requirement of the course.

(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 reparation 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 SD, 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. Assessment in studio subjects will involve 'crits' where students present their own work in front of a large group, where they will receive and respond to feedback about their work in a public setting. Crits are an integral part of working in the industry and are an inherent requirement of the course.

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 is currently accredited by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA).

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:

Students in this program may be eligible to undertake final subject assessment if they:

  • are in the final semester of their enrolment (not the last 50 points of the course); and
  • fail* a single subject worth up to 12.5 points with a final result of 40 - 49%.

* Receive an N or NH grade, except where that NH grade was awarded due to failure to participate in a component of assessment.

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