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Undergraduate Catalog 2015-2016

Landscape Architecture (LARC)

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
2139 Plant Sciences Building, 301-405-4359
Chair: A. Murphy (Professor & Chair)
Director: D. Myers (Director, Graduate Program Chair, & Assoc Prof), D. Nola (Instructor & Undergraduate Coordinator)
Associate Professors: C. Ellis, D. Myers, J.B. Sullivan
Assistant Professors: V. Chanse, K. Cook, B. Kweon
Instructors: D. Nola
Lecturers: A. Anderson, A. Ison, J. Leonard

The Major

Landscape Architects lead, educate, and participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our built and natural environments.The Landscape Architecture curriculum is a four-year professional program. 

The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) degree is accredited by the  Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB) . The BLA degree meets the academic requirements for licensure. LAAB standards require that first-professional degree curricula must include the core knowledge skills and applications of landscape architecture: landscape architectural history, philosophy, theory, values, ethics, practice, planning, design, implementation, and management. The program is a site-based design discipline that also deals with regional and larger-scale environmental/social issues.  The curriculum, centered on a studio-based design curriculum, integrates ecological and social factors into the design and planning process.  Students take a series of lecture and studio design courses, beginning with an introduction to landscape design principles in the first year and culminating in an advanced research and studio design project in the graduating year. Courses include Site Analysis and Ecological Principles, Site Design Studio, Urban Design Studio, and Professional Practice, among others. Digital design studios allow the integration of computer-aided design, GIS, and other analytical and communication tools with fundamental design and drawing skills.

The Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture offers two additional undergraduate curricula that students may choose:  the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Plant Sciences or in Agricultural Sciences and Technology.  Information on these majors may be found elsewhere in the catalog.

Courses offered by this department may be found under the following acronyms:  PLSC and LARC.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the design process used in landscape architectural practice.
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate through visual literacy using hand graphics and computer technology.
  • Connect and build relationships with external groups in the appropriate fields of study.

Admission to the Major

Landscape Architecture is an open enrollment program.

Freshman Admission: The program's goal is to have the greater proportion of program majors admitted as freshmen. All entering freshmen will gain admission to the Landscape Architecture program directly from high school, as space permits. Early application is encouraged to ensure the best possible chance for admission.

Transfer Admission:  Admission of transfer students is limited by space considerations.  Students presenting an acceptable graphic portfolio, evaluated by the landscape architecture faculty, may be exempted from selected courses.  Landscape architecture faculty will evaluate all other LARC-equivalent courses transferred from another institution.

The Studio Placement Benchmark Review: Admission into the studio sequence is contingent upon attaining a successful benchmark review of a portfolio to meet content and quality standards as outlined by the LARC program. Students must earn a minimum of 80 points out of 100. Benchmark portfolio reviews occur in the spring semester. The portfolio also requires a Letter of Application to the Landscape Architecture Program. Each student must write a one-page letter, addressed to the Landscape Architecture Program Faculty. The letter must clearly and concisely state his/her reasons for wanting to be in the Landscape Architecture Program.

Other Policies Which Determine a Student's Retention in the Landscape Architecture Program:

Appeals:  Students who are unsuccessful in passing the Studio Placement Benchmark Review to the Landscape Architecture program and believe they have extenuating or special circumstances which should be considered, may appeal in writing to the Undergraduate Coordinator. The student will be notified in writing of the appeal decision.

BLA Degree Requirements.  The courses and credit hours that define the curriculum leading to the degree of Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) are described in the next section.  The curriculum includes required courses for the major as well as additional general education program requirements and electives. Following the successful Studio Placement Benchmark Review, students must have an overall average of a "C" (2.0) to be eligible for the BLA degree.  Students must also have grades of "C-" or better in all required courses with the LARC designation.

Requirements for the Major

ENGL393 Technical Writing 3
ENST200 Fundamentals of Soil Science
ENST444 Remote Sensing of Agriculture
and Natural Resources, OR
GEOG340 Geomorphology, OR
GEOG372 Remote Sensing  
LARC120 Digital Fundamentals 2
LARC140 Graphic Fundamentals Studio 4
LARC141 Design Fundamentals Studio 4
LARC160 Introduction to Landscape Architecture 3
LARC221 Digital Design Tools 3
LARC240 Graphic Communication and Design Studio 4
LARC263 History of Landscape Architecture 3
LARC265 Site Analysis and Ecological Principles 3
LARC320 Principles of Site Engineering 3
LARC321 Landscape Structures & Materials 3
LARC340 Site Planning and Design Studio 5
LARC341 Regional Design Studio 5
LARC389 Internship in Landscape Architecture 3
LARC420 Professional Practice 3
LARC440 Urban Design Studio 5
LARC450 Environmental Resources, OR 3
LARC451 Sustainable Communities  
LARC470 Landscape Architecture Seminar 3
LARC471 Capstone Studio: Community Design 5
MATH112  College Algebra with Applications and Trigonometry, OR 3
MATH115 Pre-calculus  
PLSC100 Introduction to Horticulture 4
PLSC253 Woody Plants for Mid-Atlantic Landscapes I 3
PLSC254 Woody Plants for Mid-Atlantic Landscapes II 3
Total Major Requirements 87



The Department has mandatory faculty advising for each of its major and minor programs.  Students are required to meet with their faculty advisor at least twice a year.  See the Undergraduate Coordinator of the Landscape Architecture Program in 2139 Plant Sciences Building (301-405-4359) for additional information.

Undergraduate Research Experiences

Landscape Architecture faculty members frequently have research opportunities for undergraduate students. Students are encouraged to contact faculty members for any opportunities. Students may also discuss these opportunities with their faculty advisors.


Internships are available at nearby federal, state and county agencies as well as in private landscape architecture firms. University of Maryland Landscape Architecture participates in the MDASLA Job Shadow Program. A list of participating firms can be found here .

Student Societies and Professional Organizations

The Student Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (SASLA) provides students with opportunities to get involved with on-campus activities.  The club is chartered by ASLA.

More information can be found online at: www.larch.umd.edu/people/student-asla-sasla

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

Several scholarships are awarded each year based on merit and need through the Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture. They include:

Undergraduate Awards

  • The Homeland Garden Club of Baltimore Award
  • Landscape Architecture Award of Excellence
  • ASLA Honor and Merit Award Nominees
  • Matt Weaver Scholarship

Contact the Associate Dean's office at 301-405-5308 for additional information.  The Department also maintains a listing of scholarships.  Contact Jessica Trotta in 2102 Plant Sciences, 301-405-4356.

The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) administers all types of federal, state and institutional financial assistance programs and, in cooperation with other university offices, participates in the awarding of scholarships to deserving students.  For information, visit: www.financialaid.umd.edu .

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