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 1972-1983, Conrad Hamerman was the primary design professor for the landscape horticulture program and his teachings and fellowship galvanized many of his students and generations of students afterwards to not only pursue a career in landscape architecture, but also expand the curriculum and educational opportunities for the field at UD. Since Dr. Hamerman’s tenure there had been discussions of creating a Landscape architecture program at UD, but the talks did not result in the growth of the program until years later.
In 2006, the landscape horticulture program expanded and hired two additional design faculty and much more courses in the design concentration, which had quickly become one of the most popular concentrations within the major. From 2006-2012, many faculty members had been working to establish a Master program in landscape architecture, but in 2012 Dean of the CANR Mark Rieger commissioned a focused educational survey which suggested that a Bachelor program was more requested by the public than a Master program. The conversation promptly switched to the creation of a Bachelor program instead of a Master.
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 Sciences 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. In September 2016, 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.
Dr. Tara 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. Additionally, Dr. Trammel studies ecosystem function in residential lawns where most urban residents interact with their environment. She uses a variety of field, lab, and modeling techniques to understand how carbon and nitrogen travel through urban environments.
Dr. Susan Barton investigates roadside vegetation management strategies that enhance the environment, are aesthetically pleasing, and economically sound. She works with the Delaware Department of Transportation to try to get more sustainable roadside vegetation models implemented throughout Delaware. 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, will help build more healthy ecosystems, and will not become invasive species. Dr. Barton also promotes good landscape practices through demonstration projects and presentations in the area.
Dr. Jules 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.
Anna Wik, MLA, is 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. Carmine 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 cause 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. John Frett is the Director of the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens and works with Master students addressing current topics in public garden administration.
There are many different pathways and interest areas that students majoring in landscape architecture can get involved in. 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. For more information, visit the ASLA Professional Practice Networks site to see the many interest areas of current practitioners.
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 and participation in both local and national conferences. The semi-annual student-run symposia will allow 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.
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 28th, 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. The letter from the ASLA declaring our program’s candidacy status can be viewed below.
Visit the ASLA website for more information about what a landscape architect does and why their work is so important.
Learn about computer requirements. It is the preference of the BSLA program that students use a PC system, as this is the platform used to teach introductory computer aided design.
DeLA Club is focused on exploring every aspect of the field of Landscape Architecture. The club’s events throughout the semester include guest lectures from professionals in the landscape architecture field and similar fields, artistic and creative projects designed for the natural world, and discussions on methods to improve environmental health through various landscapes. Students will have the opportunity to meet and network with professionals and to further explore the field of landscape architecture through art and plant science. For more information, contact Faculty Advisor Dr. Jules Bruck at email@example.com.
For more information, visit the UD Online Catalog.