Backround and skills to succeed in the programme





The International Programme in Landscape Architecture is a so-called “conversion master” programme where applicants from a range of backgrounds in disciplines which are closely aligned to landscape architecture – so called “neighbouring disciplines” - can transfer the knowledge and skills from their previous degrees and then add to these from the subjects taught here. So what are these preferred subjects?

Landscape architecture/landscape design/environmental design

These are the subjects which most easily provide a base for entering the programme – if you have a bachelor degree from a recognised programme in landscape architecture then it is a simple transfer into the master programme which is already part of a so-called 3+2 degree (three years bachelor plus two years master under the European Bologna system). You must demonstrate your design skills in three dimensions as well as knowledge of eg. computer-aided design and graphics, drawing etc. through a full portfolio. Landscape design and environmental design degrees may also closely resemble a “standard” landscape architecture degree and the same requirements apply.

Architecture and related subjects

The transfer from a knowledge base in architecture or subjects such as architectural technology is usually fairly straightforward because these programmes focus on 3-D design, urban planning, construction, use of computer-aided design and graphics etc. It is usually knowledge about natural systems and plants which is most lacking and for which the programme amply supplies courses to cover. Sometimes architecture students have also received introductory courses on landscape design which also helps. You must demonstrate, through your portfolio, your knowledge and skills in design, construction and use of relevant software and, where possible, in outdoor space design.

Civil engineering

This subject deals with larger scale construction and manipulation of the earth through excavation. This means that students who can transfer to landscape architecture should have knowledge of surveying, drainage, construction at different scales in a range of materials, and understand something about soils and slopes, for example, as well as the use of computer-aided design software and probably Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It is likely that the missing ingredients are spatial and 3-D design, awareness of aesthetic issues, natural systems and plants and presentation graphics, all covered in the programme through a variety of courses. For your application you need to demonstrate, via a portfolio of projects and possibly supported by reports on engineering solutions, your competences in the areas described above.


This subject is wide-ranging and can include, for example, physical geography, cultural geography, urban geography etc. These disciplines typically cover a range of scales of landscape and yield an understanding of what makes up a landscape and how it has evolved over time. Description and analysis of landscapes is usually a strong feature helping the transfer to landscape architecture. Skills should include familiarity with GIS. It is likely that the subject areas lacking are spatial and 3-D design, awareness of aesthetic issues, familiarity with computer aided design or graphics, technical construction and plant knowledge. Your portfolio could include mapped studies of specific landscapes/territories, studies on landscape history of specific places, cultural evaluation, urban development studies etc. 


These subjects include deep knowledge of natural systems, plant communities, soils, vegetation cultivation and management, environmental protection as well as use of GIS and surveying and possibly subjects like urban trees and recreation management. These form a good background but miss spatial planning and 3-D design, awareness of aesthetic issues, urban studies (unless urban forestry or ecology has been studied), computer-aided design and graphics and technical construction. A portfolio or collection of materials such as mapping studies, ecological inventories, plant community studies, management plans or reports on specific aspects relating to particular sites or ecosystems would demonstrate the potential to transfer knowledge to landscape architecture.


These subjects provide an excellent knowledge of plants used in parks and gardens, how to grow and manage them and, usually, some aspect of designing with plants in a garden or park setting. Some construction techniques are also often included and also garden design principles and drawing. This provides a good starting point on which to add 3-D and spatial design, planning and technical aspects such as landscape construction as well as use of computer-aided and graphic design. A portfolio of planting design projects and/or garden or park management plans should be offered as evidence of your suitability to proceed into the master programme.

Useful additional skills

If you have any background in drawing and sketching, then this is also an advantage – it probably depends on whether you did art at school or have an interest in it. So a sketchbook would also be a good element to include in your portfolio.