Are you interested in climate justice? Are you interested in inclusive economic development and social justice? Do you want to preserve the beauty in cities and create ecologically sustainable cities? Those are some of the goals you can learn to achieve when you major Landscape and Urban Studies. You will learn to integrate the biological, physical, and social sciences; humanities; arts; and technology to develop the skills that will help you play an important role in creating a more inclusive and sustainable future.

The major provides students opportunities to specialize in several directions: Culture, Health and Community; Restoration and Ecological Design; and Urban Studies. The major also provides students opportunities to explore the design and planning professions. Students who graduate from the major are prepared for starting positions in public or private agencies that oversee conservation, land management, cultural landscape conservation, and planning or for continuing on to graduate school, in particular, professionally accredited programs in Landscape Architecture, Planning, or Environmental Studies. This is the major for people who care about the natural world and human creation by understanding cultural and natural resource protection, green infrastructure, social equity, and policy, and more. 

Students who intend to declare their major in Landscape and Urban Studies are encouraged to schedule an appointment with the Undergraduate Advisor in the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture.

Students who attend SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration) session with the College of Letters and Science have the option to declare this major at SOAR.  Students may otherwise declare after they have begun their undergraduate studies.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree requirements.


Mathematics Complete two courses of 3+ credits at the Intermediate or Advanced level in MATH, COMP SCI, or STAT subjects. A maximum of one course in each of COMP SCI and STAT subjects counts toward this requirement.
Foreign Language Complete the third unit of a foreign language.
L&S Breadth Complete:
• 12 credits of Humanities, which must include at least 6 credits of Literature; and
• 12 credits of Social Science; and
• 12 credits of Natural Science, which must include 6 credits of Biological Science and 6 credits of Physical Science.
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework Complete at least 108 credits.
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced Coursework Complete at least 60 credits at the Intermediate or Advanced level.
Major Declare and complete at least one major.
Total Credits Complete at least 120 credits.
UW-Madison Experience Complete both:
• 30 credits in residence, overall, and
• 30 credits in residence after the 86th credit.
Quality of Work • 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
• 2.000 in Intermediate/Advanced level coursework at UW–Madison


Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements. They do not need to complete the L&S Degree Requirements above.

Requirements for the Major

Students interested in the major are required to complete a set of introductory courses, breadth in the major under three categories: Biological and Physical Environment, Social and Cultural Studies and Technology and 15 credits of electives (see an Advisor and the Advising tab for recommended focused elective sets).

Landscape and Urban Studies majors must complete at least 48 credits in the major, including the following:

introductory courses

LAND ARC 211 Shaping the Built Environment3
URB R PL 215 Welcome to Your Urban Future3
LAND ARC 250 Survey of Landscape Architecture Design3
LAND ARC 260 History of Landscape Architecture3
Total Credits12

Biological and Physical Environment

Complete two courses from:6-9
Survey of Botany
General Botany
Introductory Ecology
General Ecology
Environmental Biogeography
Environmental Conservation
Soil: Ecosystem and Resource
General Soil Science
Total Credits6-9

Social and Cultural Studies

Complete two courses from:6-7
History of American Vernacular Architecture and Landscapes
Person and Environment Interactions
Principles of Microeconomics
Principles of Economics-Accelerated Treatment
Urban and Regional Economics
Introduction to Human Geography
Global Environmental Issues
The Making of the American Landscape
American Environmental History
Dimensions of Material Culture
Latino Urbanism: Design and Engagement in the American City
Social Justice and the Urban Landscape
Introduction to American Politics and Government
Introduction to Community and Environmental Sociology
Urban and Regional Economics
Evolution of American Planning
Evidence-Based Policy Making
Analytic Tools for Public Policy
Total Credits6-7


Complete two courses from:6-8
Introduction to Design Frameworks and Spatial Technologies
An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Advanced Visual Communication in Landscape Architecture
Applications of Geographic Information Systems in Planning
Applications of Geographic Information Systems in Natural Resources
Total Credits6-8


Complete one course from:3
Social Justice and the Urban Landscape
Cultural Resource Preservation and Landscape History
Restoration Ecology
Site Planning
Urban Design: Theory and Practice
Total Credits3

Electives 1

15 credits, chosen from:15
Grassland Ecology
Archaeology of Wisconsin
Indians of Wisconsin
American Indian Folklore
Native American Environmental Issues and the Media
Poverty and Place
History of American Vernacular Architecture and Landscapes
Dimensions of Material Culture
Plant Systematics
Vascular Flora of Wisconsin
The Vegetation of Wisconsin
Person and Environment Interactions
Extinction of Species
Conservation Biology
People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems
Space and Place: A Geography of Experience
Introduction to the City
People, Wildlife and Landscapes
Revolutions and Social Change
US Environmental Policy and Regulation
American Environmental History
Historical Geography of European Urbanization
Local Culture and Identity in the Upper Midwest
Introduction to Landscape Architecture Design
Environment and Behavior Studio - Designing Health Promoting Environments
Wetlands Ecology
Latino Urbanism: Design and Engagement in the American City
Social Justice and the Urban Landscape
Prescribed Fire: Ecology and Implementation
Restoration Ecology
Cultural Resource Preservation and Landscape History
The Real Estate Process
Urban and Regional Economics
Soil Biology
Marketplaces and Entrepreneurship
Government and Natural Resources
Gentrification and Urban Restructuring
Transportation and the Built Environment
Climate Action Planning: Sustainable Transportation
Site Planning
Urban Design: Theory and Practice
Community Development
Total Credits15

Residence & Quality of Work

  • 2.000 GPA in all LAND ARC and URB R PL courses and courses that count toward the major
  • 2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level credits, taken in Residence
  • 15 combined credits in LAND ARC and URB PL , taken on the UW–Madison campus

See an Advisor and the Advising tab for recommended focused elective sets


Intermediate and Advanced level courses accepted in the major are Upper Level

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Demonstrate competence and critical judgment in creatively applying the intellectual and technical skills necessary for site and landscape-scale natural and cultural resource conservation, planning, and management; these skills include cultural, historical and landscape literacy, data collection and analysis, spatial and temporal analysis, multidisciplinary problem-solving approaches and communication skills.
  2. Demonstrate critical thinking and the ability to explore ideas and synthesize information, both independently and in collaboration with interdisciplinary team members.
  3. Understand, apply and evaluate the principles, theories and research findings underlying at least one of the following advising pathways, Ecological Restoration and Design; Culture, Health, and Community; and Urban Studies.
  4. Integrate social, cultural, ecological and technological dimensions in solving design and planning problems concerning the conservation or management of sustainable natural and cultural landscapes.
  5. Be able to perform as a member of a public, private or non-profits office or agency in the fields represented within the department.

Sample Four-Year Plan

This Sample Four-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it—along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools—to make their own four-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests. As students become involved in athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, volunteer experiences, and/or work, they might adjust the order of their courses to accommodate these experiences. Students will likely revise their own four-year plan several times during college.

First Year
Communications A3URB R PL 2153
Quantitative Reasoning A3Biological or Physical Environment (major requirement)4
Foreign Language (if required)4Ethnic Studies (complete within your first 60 credits)3
Physical Science Breadth3Quantitative Reasoning B3
 16 16
Second Year
Major Elective3LAND ARC 2603
Communications B3Biological and Physical Environment (major requirement)3
Social and Cultural Studies (major requirement)3Social and Cultural Studies (major requirement)3
Literature Breadth3Literature Breadth3
INTER-LS 2101Electives3
 16 15
Third Year
Technology (major requirement)3Technology (major requirement)3
Biological and Physical Environment (major requirement)3Biological and Physical Environment (major requirement)3
Major elective3Major elective3
L&S electives6L&S electives6
 15 15
Fourth Year
L&S elective9Capstone (major requirement)3
Major elective6Electives9
 15 12
Total Credits 120

Students enrolled in the major Landscape and Urban Studies have 3 opportunities for advising:

  1. Our undergraduate coordinator can assist with general questions about registration, student assistance and progress in meeting major requirements.
  2. All students entering the program may choose a faculty advisor (see People/Instructors) to assist with guidance specific to the curriculum (e.g. coursework, internships, research) and career opportunities.
  3. The College of Letters and Science offers advice on career paths, networking, and job search preparation (see below).

L&S career resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.


Professors:  David Bart, Sam Dennis Jr., Ken Genskow, Evelyn Howell, James LaGro, Dave Marcouiller, Alfonso Morales, Brian Ohm, Kurt Paulsen

Associate Professor:  Carey McAndrews

Assistant Professors: Edna Ledesma, Revel Sims

Distinguished Faculty Associate: Shawn Kelly

Faculty Associate:  Eric Schuchardt

Assistant Faculty Associate: Edward Bosewell

Senior Lecturers:  Doug Hadley,  James Steiner

Lecturers: Jacob Blue, Nathan Larson

Earth Partnership Program

Director: Cheryl Bauer Armstrong

Outreach Specialists: Claire Bjork, Maria Moreno

Academic Advising

Undergraduate Academic Advising Manager: Deborah Griffin

Administrative Staff

Department Administrator:

Financial Specialist: Tori Cooper

IT Support Specialist: Rob De Roos

Department Chair: Alfonso Morales

The Wisconsin Experience combines learning in and out of the classroom, helping students develop intellectual and personal growth. The Landscape and Urban Studies major mixes traditional learning with community-based learning in and out of the classroom. Students are encouraged to take opportunities that supplement classroom learning by engaging in research, study abroad, internships, student clubs, and community interactions. The major engages students in exploring people-place, culture-nature phenomena and how they might, in their professional and personal lives, apply continuous learning to the planning of environments that benefit people, cultures, and the environment at the local, state, national, and global levels.

Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH)

This scholarship provides amounts ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 each to help students participate in a first-time internship opportunity that is unpaid or provides a limited stipend.


The Hilldale Undergraduate/Faculty Research Fellowships support undergraduate research done in collaboration with UW–Madison faculty or research/instructional academic staff. Approximately 97–100 Hilldale awards are available each year. The student researcher receives $3,000, and faculty/staff research advisor receives $1,000 to help offset research costs (e.g., supplies, faculty or student travel related to the project).


The Holstrom Environmental Scholarships support undergraduate research done in collaboration with UW–Madison faculty or research/instructional academic staff. Research proposals must have an environmental focus, and applicants must have at least a junior standing at time of application.


The annual Undergraduate Symposium showcases undergraduate creativity, achievement, research, service-learning, and community-based research from all areas of study at UW–Madison including the humanities, fine arts, biological sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences.


The Undergraduate Research Scholars program (URS) is dedicated to enhancing the academic experience of UW–Madison students by providing first- and second-year undergraduates with opportunities to earn credit for participating in the research and creative work with UW–Madison faculty and staff. The program has been designed to include partnerships between students and mentors, seminars on research-relevant issues, and practice in research/artistic presentations. The many benefits of the program are found in the fluid interaction between these activities.


Wisconsin Idea Fellowships are awarded annually to undergraduate student projects working toward solving a challenge identified along with a local or global community partner. Fellowships are awarded to semester-long or year-long projects designed by an undergraduate student (or group of students) in collaboration with a community organization and a UW–Madison faculty or academic staff member.