Academic programs in the Department of Plant Sciences span the art, science and technology of plant use in society. With the increasing emphasis placed on plants in urban areas, we offer particularly extensive training in landscape horticulture: planning, implementation and management for landscapes, turf and gardens. We also offer comprehensive programs in plant biotechnology, bioenergy and organic plant production.
Upon entering our department, each student is assigned a faculty advisor to guide them in selection of career specialties and elective courses. The 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 specific to each concentration. Students are able to customize their program by selecting electives. Students in all concentrations are trained to work knowledgeably in general plant culture. Students are encouraged to earn a minor degree in a supportive field to further enhance their academic training and professional competitiveness. While firmly grounding students in the knowledge and skills of the plant sciences and arts, our curricula emphasize critical thinking and creative activity. Our students also gain the theoretical education necessary for continuing on for advanced degrees in plant related fields.
Concentrations within the Plant Sciences Major
— This concentration is designed for students wishing to pursue a career in biofuels and bioenergy. The concentration's focus is on the breeding and developments of plants that are suitable for converting energy from the sun into fuels via plants, bioprocessing and conversion.
— This concentration consists of genetic engineering and the molecular and cellular manipulation of plants and tissues, enabling more efficient agriculture, better nutrition, and cleaner environment and improved health.
Horticulture Science and Production
— This concentration includes production of ornamental plants, fruits and vegetables, nursery and greenhouse management, medicinal plants, and plant breeding. Additional preparation in the business of the green industry is available.
— This concentration focuses on all the elements that create the landscape, by balancing the concerns of people and the environment in designing landscapes, installing plantings and stewarding these creations; melding art, science and business into creative acts of beautifying our surroundings.
— This concentration integrates plant science with soil science, agricultural economics, entomology, ecology and plant pathology, giving students the knowledge and skill needed for production and management of organic cropping systems. This concentration is suitable for those interested in food policy, food production, agronomy and the business of organic food production.
— This concentration is for students interested in professional careers which promote horticulture and emphasize people and their education and enjoyment of plants. Diverse classes prepare students for a wide variety of careers in horticulture and related fields.
Turfgrass Science and Management
— This concentration is for students interested in a variety of careers in the turf grass industry, including: managing gold courses, athletic fields, industry-wide sales and services, commercial and residential turf programs. It is a diverse program combining the study of grasses, soils, water and pests. A programming focus is the production and maintenance of grasses for recreational, aesthetic and environmental uses.