We chatted to Kirsten about how the course can help you gain an in-depth perspective on landscape design, become part of a global community of creative professionals, and achieve your career aspirations in the landscape field.
Who is the MA Landscape Architecture Studies for?
Kirsten: This is a part-time online course, designed for students from a wide variety of backgrounds who share a passion for landscape. The aim is to provide a broad foundation of critical knowledge and skills if you want to build on your current subject knowledge, or if you’re transferring from related subjects in the landscape, field or environmental areas.
The course sets you up with a range of skills, giving you an understanding of landscape and developing your personal approach. It provides an opportunity and a grounding for a variety of environmental landscape and design careers.
MA Landscape Architecture Studies isn’t designed to provide a complete training for becoming a UK Chartered Landscape Architect. However, the course does provide a basis for further education, career development or work in a variety of areas, as well as specialised study.
If you wish to pursue a career as a landscape architect in the UK, the course offers a foundation to further education in landscape architecture, with graduates able to access a Landscape Institute accredited master's in the UK.
How has your own personal background and experience shaped this course?
Kirsten: I have multidisciplinary training across architecture, landscape and urban rural planning, along with experience in related design, history and theory. I'm also a professionally qualified garden designer with a passion for plants. I have an international background across North America, Europe and Asia, and I think this gives me a diversity of experience and perspectives, which is beneficial to the course.
I have professional experience both in the UK and abroad, working in different design and development practices. My teaching experience is across diverse student bodies from a variety of institutions and courses, reflecting my international and interdisciplinary background and research interests.
My PhD research was about UK national park landscapes, considering historically and theoretically wide-ranging debates around design and the environment, including contested rurality landscape planning, regulation, authorised heritage discourse and competing notions of sustainability. My current research explores interconnected ecological and social processes across multiple rural and urban scales.
What do you think makes this MA really stand out?
Kirsten: This is an opportunity to gain an in-depth perspective on landscape design and to explore different and multidisciplinary perspectives on a broad range of landscape discourses.
The course has been set up to address key concerns of landscape architecture practice in academia, both in the UK and internationally. It’s built around three interrelated perspectives - climate resilience, planetary justice, and health and wellbeing. These three perspectives are embedded across the course content, giving the course its special character and identity.
The structure of the course is designed to promote active learning and to put you at the centre of your development. You’re encouraged to explore your own interests and aspirations, and you’re given the opportunity to follow your own interests through the sites or case studies you select. There's also a balance between written assessments and creative assessments, where your personal strengths can shine through depending upon the form.
The course is informed by a breadth of cultures, philosophies, societies and contexts, which I think make it unique as an offer. Whatever your background or interests, you’re supported in your personal development towards a creative contribution to landscape architecture and the wider world after graduation.
What will students learn from this course?
Kirsten: The knowledge and skills for practice in landscape are broad and comprehensive, crossing land and natural sciences, environmental health, design theory, social wellbeing, inhabited spaces, urbanism and architecture. These are all covered in the course.
The course has been structured to provide you with critical and creative thinking, as well as landscape architectural skills framed within social, ecological and environmental contexts of contemporary, regional and global relevance.
It’s focused on key concerns that are driving landscape architecture, practice and research today. As you explore the integration of theory and practice, you’ll gain a deep understanding of the problems and opportunities facing landscape change globally. This is in both urban and rural landscapes, covering issues that relate to both individual placemaking and wider infrastructure.
creative problem solving
inclusive environments and landscapes
physical and social assistance
context of sites
research and analysis
stakeholder and community engagement
climate change and resilience
The learning outcomes set out to develop your abilities; to acquire knowledge, to evaluate, test theory, and to undertake critical understanding. Then the crucial step, the application of these in the practice of landscape and design concepts.
Why study with AUB? What are the advantages?
Kirsten: AUB is at the heart of a creative and supportive community of artists, designers and makers. It’s characterised by an approach to collaborative working and critical practice. All courses at AUB share an interest in making; and encourage innovation, collaboration, and a connected learning experience.
Online learning lets you build connections with your peers from around the world. You get exposure to different cultural and professional contexts without the physical boundaries of the classroom. It also helps you grow their professional network to much wider reach than would be made possible through on campus learning.
As an AUB graduate you become part of an exciting and creative postgraduate network that facilitates a wider dialogue around art and design, sustainability, ethics, and the global reach of creative industries and professions.
What skills will students gain from this course and how will these enhance their employability after graduation?
Kirsten: You’ll develop an advanced portfolio of landscape skills, techniques, knowledge and understanding, which will help you develop your career or prepare for further specialised study.
The interconnectedness of the systems and themes running through the modules gives a depth of understanding which translates efficiently into practice. You’ll develop your experience and expertise in essential themes of sustainability, climate change, biodiversity, and health and wellbeing. You’ll also learn transferable skills such as problem solving, self-management and communication, developing teamwork and peer review skills.
This course will support you in understanding the range and the scope of the profession, developing a sense of your own values and charting your own career path.
The environmental aspects of the course can lead to a wide range of professions in countryside, environmental, social health and wellbeing inclusivity, garden design, and landscape and estate advisors including management. The course also provides a good entry to the professions of landscape architecture, urban design and conservation of landscapes.
Thank you to Kirsten for speaking to us about the course!
Get an in-depth perspective on landscape design practice, against a background of contemporary regional and global issues with AUB Online’s MA Landscape Architecture Studies: