As an integral part of the internship program, each intern takes both semesters of the university course "Issues in Arboretum Management, (I and II)." This course is taught by Arboretum staff and is offered through the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania. Interns receive graduate-level credit per semester for successfully completing the class.
Issues in Arboretum Management (I and II) is designed as an introduction to all aspects of public gardens. Course topics include the role of gardens as public institutions, basic horticultural, botanical and ecological concepts and practices underpinning public garden management, the management and curation of living plant collections, as well as education, public programs, sustainability, historic preservation, and storm water management, as related to public gardens. This interdisciplinary course looks at public gardens as a whole, integrating both theoretical and hands-on, practical coursework, and often utilizing the Morris Arboretum as a case study. Course work includes short written assignments, practical work, and a final exam at the end of each semester.
Each intern completes an independent study project that is geared towards advancing his or his career development and the Arboretum's mission. Each project consists of an oral presentation and a written report. Towards the conclusion of the internship program, all independent study projects are presented to the Arboretum staff. The intern projects contribute to the LARP 755 and 756 course grades for each intern.
Interns also participate in extracurricular sessions designed to enhance their internship experience and education, introduce them to the Arboretum and its staff, and offer opportunities for networking and career development. In past years, these sessions have included visits to neighboring public gardens, natural areas and institutions such as Longwood, Chanticleer Gardens, Tyler Arboretum, and the Academy of Natural Sciences. These sessions are typically scheduled for one day a week outside of the academic year, but may include an overnight trip.