Landscape Architecture Undergraduate Program
The Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture (BSLA) in the Plant and Soil Sciences Department (PLSC) at the University of Delaware is a professional degree program that provides undergraduate students with specific competencies for leadership within the profession of landscape architecture including the knowledge, skills and abilities required for successful practice.
Key subject areas include plants and ecosystems; communications; site design and engineering; design, planning and management; public policy and regulations; computer applications; natural and cultural systems; sustainability; history, theory and criticism; professional practice; professional values and ethics; creative problem solving, art, business, math and science.
The landscape architecture major at the University of Delaware evolved from the Plant and Soil Sciences (PLSC) Department’s long established and respected landscape horticulture and design program. Today, UD’s landscape architecture program calls the PLSC Department it’s home within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).
From 2006-2012, many faculty members had been working to establish a Master’s program in landscape architecture, but in 2012 Dean of the CANR Mark Rieger commissioned a focused educational survey which suggested that a Bachelor’s program was more feasible than a Master’s program. The conversation promptly switched to the creation of a Bachelor’s program instead of a Master’s.
In April 2015, Dr. Jules Bruck convened a focus group of professional landscape architects for a one-day workshop to help establish a relevant curriculum for a new Bachelor of Science Landscape Architecture (BSLA) program. After the curriculum was developed, the program proposal was sent to the University and approved by the faculty senate in the spring of 2016. That following September, the BSLA program, a First-Professional Degree Program, accepted its first class of 24 students and has been expanding its size and scope ever since.
The landscape architecture faculty conduct research in a wide variety of areas.
Bruck is a registered landscape architect who created the UD Coastal Resilience Design Studio, which aims to reduce the risk of flooding on the coasts and mitigate the hazards that coastal flooding poses to coastal communities. Her scholarship includes design-based learning, creativity, and public perception of sustainable landscape practices like designing to support improved ecosystem services. She also researches and designs green infrastructure for community redevelopment and recently extended that research into coastal resilience.
A registered landscape architect with experience in urban design, community engagement, and historic and cultural landscapes. She is passionate about equitable design and is interested in historical, social and cultural influences upon the urban landscape. Other research areas include outdoor learning environments and their effectiveness, productive landscapes such as edible forest gardens, and strategies of coastal resilience.
Dr. Bais's rhizosphere biology research is focused on understanding the biological significance of root exudation. Root-root, root-microbe, and root-nematode communications are continuous occurrences in the rhizosphere, but due to the underground nature of roots, these intriguing interactions have largely been overlooked. His lab research is taking a multidisciplinary approach by interfacing plant biology and chemistry to unravel the underground communication process.
Dr. Balascio works in the areas of low-impact development, stormwater management, urban hydrology, and hydrologic modeling. Dr. Balascio works to manage the cycles of water, the problems caused by storm water, and the quality of water in urban areas in conservative ways that affect the ecosystems in the least intrusive fashion. Dr. Balascio also researches the assessment of problem-based student learning and teaching with technology.
Dr. Barton investigates roadside vegetation management strategies that enhance the environment, are aesthetically pleasing, and economically sound. She promotes sustainable landscape practices through a variety of publications in the Plants for a Livable Delaware series, series of brochures that educates Delawareans on plants that will easily survive in Delaware’s climate, help build more healthy ecosystems, and not become invasive species.
Physiology and ecology of turfgrass responses to abiotic stresses and the use of synthetic and natural plant growth regulators for improved stress response.
Adaptation (variety and germplasm evaluation) and cultural management (irrigation, fertility, mowing, cultivation) requirements of cool- and warm-season turfgrasses used on golf courses, lawns, parks, athletic fields, and roadsides.
Ecology and adaptation of native grasses and forbs for pollinator meadows in the mid-Atlantic.
Dr. Frett teaches many plant and botany courses, including Woody Landscape Plants and Indigenous Woody Flora of the Eastern U.S. As the Director of the UD Botanic Gardens, he has developed an extensive collection of woody plants. While Dr. Frett never met a plant he didn’t like, he has a particular fondness for and specialties in magnolia, holly (Ilex), oak (Quercus), maple (Acer), viburnum, and false indigo (Baptisia).
Dr. Trammel is an urban ecologist whose lab studies how interactions with humans and the consequences of human society affect urban ecosystems’ structure and function. She investigates how collections of trees and plants that grow within cities respond to threats such as pollution and invasive species, and how these urban forests provide ecosystem services to the inhabitants of the city.
Dr. Fuhrmann investigates the ecology and diversity of microbial populations in soil-plant systems, microbial community responses to environmental perturbations, effects of soil-borne viruses on microbial communities and rhizobia, and symbiotic nitrogen fixation.
Students choose many different pathways and interest areas. The PLSC BSLA allows students the flexibility to obtain a minor and further develop their skills in the interest areas of their choice. Many students find work doing what they love – whether that is designing and planning ways to make the environment more sustainable or researching ways to preserve or conserve historic landscapes, the career options for landscape architects are plentiful. To see the many interest areas of current practitioners, visit the ASLA Professional Practice Networks website.
The fellowship provides a pathway for talented undergraduates to pursue their graduate education by offering financial support to assist with the cost of tuition. As potential fellows, top UD applicants to PennDesign’s Department of Landscape Architecture will receive special consideration each year to pursue either a master’s or a dual graduate degree.
Philanthropic support for students through the comprehensive campaign, Delaware First: The Campaign for the University of Delaware, will greatly help expand resources to fully prepare and support our landscape architecture students, including through partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s highly respected and cutting-edge landscape architecture master’s degree program.
To grow this partnership, the college seeks graduate scholarship support that will help financially support Blue Hens accepted to Penn’s master’s program, after gaining their undergraduate foundation in landscape architecture at UD. Donor support will greatly help further the landscape architecture program’s vision to fully provide for students, expanding opportunities for our CANR Blue Hens achieve their professional goals. Read more on this prestigious collaboration.
The BSLA program contributes to the community by engaging students in service learning projects. The program seeks to expose students to the most pressing issues of our times through relevant coursework, extracurricular activities, and participation in both local and national conferences. The semi-annual student-run symposium allows students to actively network and develop relationships with practitioners while honing their leadership skills.
As students engage in active learning in studio courses and complete a required internship, they develop their capacity to creatively and successfully solve problems while advancing critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.
We collaborate regularly with local, state, and regional partners on conceptual designs for projects ranging from urban design, to coastal resilience, to landscape management and master planning. If you are interested in interacting with our students in a visioning or conceptual design project, we would love to hear from you. If you are interested in a Landscape Design Community Partnership, please contact Anna Wik and fill out the questionnaire.
In recognition of the impact of the landscape architecture profession on public health, safety, and welfare, states regulate landscape architects through licensure. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is a group designed to spread the importance and legitimacy of the field of landscape architecture. One of the society’s main functions is to ensure that all programs comply with externally mandated minimum standards via their Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB), the official accrediting body for first-professional programs in landscape architecture.
On March 28, 2018, the landscape architecture program at UD achieved Candidacy Status – a designation given by the LAAB to programs in the early stages of development that have the potential and are likely to meet all standards and requirements for an accredited educational program in landscape architecture. UD’s program is eligible for accreditation review in Spring 2019. Once accredited, UD will have the only LAAB-accredited landscape architecture program in the state. View the letter from the ASLA declaring our program’s candidacy status.