Plant Sciences – Landscape Design and Construction Concentration Major Guide for 2011-2012

What is Plant Sciences – Landscape Design and Construction Concentration

When you hear the word “landscape”, what images first pop into your head? If you’re like most, it is usually trees, shrubs and flowers. Did you know that landscape also refers to lighting, irrigation, arbors, fountains, swimming pools, walls, terraces, patios, play structures, sports fields and many other things? The landscape is everything outside. Thanks to this diversity, students choosing this area as a field of study can sample a wide variety of career options and at some point begin to focus on a specific area or two in which to specialize. Courses in basic landscape design are followed in sequence as a student is exposed to fundamentals, landscape graphics, construction, plant identification, estimating, advanced and computer-aided design.

Career Opportunities in Plant Sciences – Landscape Design and Construction Concentration

Professional landscape design and construction is an investment, not a cost. According to Smart Money magazine (March 2003) “Investing 5 percent of the total value of a home on landscaping, and doing it wisely, can add 15 percent or more to the value of a home.” It is easy to see then why spending on landscape design and installation has more than tripled in the last five years (Money magazine May 2003). Graduates in this concentration have numerous career opportunities available to them. Many students become employed with large landscape contracting companies upon graduation while others enjoy the challenges of landscape management or design. Since this is a relatively easy area in which to begin a business, it is also very common for graduates to become self-employed. This can be a lucrative option, and these individuals understand the importance of taking several business courses while in school. Those with the necessary skills may also go on to pursue a Masters of Landscape Architecture degree. Regardless of the path, many graduates express deep satisfaction in knowing they are involved in an industry that truly makes the world more beautiful.

Salary Trends in Plant Sciences – Landscape Design and Construction Concentration

It is typical for someone in the area of Landscape Design and Construction to earn approximately 10% of their annual sales volume or more. While this may not sound like much initially, when one considers that the average investment in landscaping is $30-40K for upper end homes, it is common for someone to sell $600K annually which equates to a $60K salary. Many of the larger companies have realized how important human resources are and are offering substantial benefit packages to their employees. More information on salaries in the green industry may be found at Professional Landcare Network,

High School Preparation

High school students considering a college career path in the area of Landscape Design and Construction are encouraged to take advantage of courses in art, horticulture, computer technology and biology/botany. Core courses in English, communications (written and verbal), chemistry and math are also part of the general education requirement at any university. In addition, obtaining summer work at a local garden center or for a landscape contractor will help gain early exposure to the overall feel of landscape design and construction.

How to Major in Plant Sciences – Landscape Design and Construction Concentration

Landscape Design and Construction is one of six concentrations in the Plant Sciences Department. Our faculty and students enjoy talking with prospective students. A faculty member (or a student, if you prefer) will be happy to guide you through our new landscape and environmental design lab and the accompanying UT Gardens, and answer your questions about the department. It is important to declare the Landscape Design and Construction concentration early (preferably at or before enrollment), to avoid having to make up specific required courses. There are provisions for elective courses to be taken in specific subject areas at various stages of your degree program. Students consult with their faculty advisor each semester about their interests and the appropriate classes to meet their needs.

Requirements for Plant Sciences – Landscape Design and Construction Concentration

The Landscape Design and Construction curriculum builds upon the university-wide general education requirements with critical courses in botany, soils, and business, and adds a set of required departmental courses. Students are able to customize their program by selecting electives. Students in all Plant Sciences concentrations are trained to work knowledgeably in general plant culture. Students are encouraged to earn a minor degree in a supportive field, such as business or graphic design, to further enhance their academic training and professional competitiveness. While firmly grounding students in the knowledge and skills of landscaping, the curriculum emphasizes critical thinking and creative activity.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

All students in Landscape Design and Construction are required to participate in a summer internship program. This is not only a great experience for the student to learn new skills and sharpen their communication skills, it is also an opportunity to see and live in a different part of the country or world. Future employers do not look just at grades achieved in college. Many emphasize the importance of early experience in the green industry as well as extracurricular activities during your college years (The Green-T- Student Landscape Organization, plant sales, community service, etc.).

Highlights of Plant Sciences – Landscape Design and Construction Concentration

There is something extremely satisfying in watching a project go from paper to reality. We are a society who expects instant gratification and that is often achieved in the field of landscape design and construction, especially on residential projects. Creating gardens is a noble and self-sustaining endeavor. The joy of seeing the satisfied expression on a client’s face after what was once a raw or modest piece of property has been creatively transformed into a place of beauty is seldom matched in any career.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

Students are encouraged to participate in faculty-led study abroad programs sponsored by CASNR, which include Thailand and Jamaica. Other UT faculty-led and semester abroad programs are offered through the Center for International Education. CASNR does offer some scholarships for CASNR students participating in study abroad programs. Students, faculty and staff participate in the annual Unity through Diversity Dinner held each fall. Some students select a minor in Modern Foreign Languages and Literature.

Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
1 Arts and Humanities Elective* 3
Biology 111*, 112* 8
Chemistry 100* or 120* 4
Computer Science 100* 3
English 101*, 102* 6
Mathematics 113*, 123* or 151* 3
1,2 Social Sciences Elective* 3-6
 Critical Courses: BIOL 111-112; ENGL 101-102  
Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Communication Studies 210* or 240* 3
2 Economics Elective* 3-4
Environmental and Soil Sciences 210 4
Plant Sciences 210, 220, 280 9
Technical Electives 9
Unrestricted Elective 2-4
Critical Courses: PLSC 210, 220 or 221, 280; CMST 201 or 240  
Junior Year Credit Hours
1 Cultures and Civilizations Elective* 3
Plant Sciences 350, 380 6
Select from Plant Sciences 226, 230, 240, 330, 348, 360, or 370 5-6
Plant Sciences 290 or 291 3
Technical Electives 6
Unrestricted Electives 3-8
(Summer) Plant Sciences 492 3
Critical Courses: CHEM 100 or 120  
Senior Year Credit Hours
1 Arts and Humanities Elective* 3
1 Cultures and Civilizations Elective* 3
Plant Sciences 421, 460, 480, 485 13
Select from Plant Sciences 348, 410, 427, 429, 430, 434, 437, 441, 446,
450, 469, 470, or 493
Technical Electives 4-5

1 Choose from the University General Education lists. Selection should be made in conference with academic advisor.
2 Economics 201 (4) Principles of Economics satisfies the University General Education-Social Science requirement and the major requirement for economics. If the student transfers Economics LD for 3 credits, it will satisfy the major requirement for economics but will not satisfy the General Education-Social Science requirement. In these cases, the student should take two courses from the approved General Education-Social Sciences list.

For More Information

Department of Plant Sciences
2431 Joe Johnson Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996-4561
Phone: (865) 974-7324



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.