Landscape architects draw from natural elements to form and design outdoor spaces. The Landscapes and Ecology Systems Certificate provides knowledge of plant systems and their ecological value; plant classification and identification; and ecological processes, patterns and practices. Introductory and advanced studio formats offer the tools to successfully select plant species for specific uses, lessons on sustainable applications, and the ability for students to produce meaningful spatial design concepts.

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Spring 2018 CE Catalog

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Certificate requires a minimum of 9 credits from the following:

  • MNS1003 Botany, 3 credits
  • MNS2009 Plant Taxonomy, 3 credits
  • MNS2004 Ecology Systems, 3 credits
  • SUS2022 Sustainable Planting Design and Practice (advanced students), 3 credits
  • Fundamentals of Design Studio* (students without design experience), 3 credits

Certificate Enrollment

To enroll in the Landscapes and Ecological Systems Certificate, submit a Certificate Enrollment Form to Continuing Education in the Registrar's Office. For course registration information, visit Continuing Education Students.


Learning Goals

MNS1003 Botany

  • Understand how and why all life is dependent on green organisms.
  • Understand fundamental principles of life.
  • Understand the unique structure of plant cells.
  • Obtain knowledge of primary functions and forms of plant organs.
  • Obtain knowledge of the development and current use of Binomial System of Nomenclature.
  • Obtain knowledge of seed plant distinctions.
  • Characteristics and uses of well-known plant families.
  • Obtain knowledge of various human uses of plants.
  • Understand how plants respond and adapt to environmental stimuli, biotic and abiotic stresses.
  • Understand the importance of plants in relation to current pressing problems and future challenges.
  • Understand how plants' morphological features and reproductive strategies determine their uses in the landscape.

MNS2009 Plant Taxonomy

  • Introduction to plants, the taxonomy and characteristics of various species.
  • Obtain knowledge of North American plants and ecosystems.
  • Natural and cultural systems including principles of sustainability.
  • Understand a range of plant species, how to classify these, and what types of species are suited for various applications.
  • Attend field trips at the Arnold Arboretum to gain knowledge of plant species.

MNS2004 Ecology Systems

  • Understand ecological systems and processes.
  • Understand project sites as part of greater regional systems.
  • Understand the application of ecological science in creating sustainable mega-regions.
  • Interpretation of ecological patterns.
  • Review of projects and practices that incorporate ecological thinking through spatial design.

SUS2022 Sustainable Planting Design and Practice (advanced students)

  • Develop design concepts supported by planting design and plant material choices.
  • Understand site specific plant material applications.
  • Consider plant material properties when developing planting designs.
  • Understand sustainability issues and demonstrate ethical decision making processes.
  • Include sustainable design applications to planting designs.
  • Apply technical knowledge to support healthy plant growth.

Fundamentals of Design Studio* (students without design experience)

  • Understand the elements and principles of design.
  • Express ideas developed in the design process through visual media (ideation drawings and sketches).
  • Explore multiple ideas for solving design problems.
  • Apply space planning techniques to the design process.