The Plant Biology and Agriculture and Food Systems majors prepare students for careers or further study in areas related to food production, organic and sustainable agriculture, turfgrass management, ornamental plant production, pest management, plant breeding, plant pathology, plant protection, plant molecular biology, horticultural therapy, or science and agricultural education. In the plant science major students may select an emphasis in applied horticulture and turfgrass management (Horticulture and Turf Industry option); for students intending to go on to graduate school the research option is available, and for students intending to pursue careers in plant protection, education or horticultural therapy the professional certification option is available. In the agricultural science option students may select an emphasis in plant agriculture (Plant Science option), animal agriculture (Animal Science option), or organic and sustainable crop production (Agroecology option). The department also offers minors in Agroecology and Plant Science; and certificates in Medicinal and Economic Botany and in Horticultural Therapy.
Approximately 45 different courses are offered by the 40 faculty members that teach and advise students in the plant science and agricultural science curricula. Courses in theses curricula are offered in all sessions (including summers) and some are available in the evening hours for students that work during the daytime hours. Over $80,000 in scholarships and fellowships are given each year to students studying in the plant and agricultural sciences curricula.
The Biotechnology Curriculum provides students with fundamental knowledge and laboratory skills in biotechnology, including molecular biology, underpinned by a firm foundation in biology and the physical sciences. The primary objectives of the program are to broadly educate students for positions in the biotechnology industry and to prepare students for graduate and professional study in the life sciences. The strong life and physical sciences foundation of the curriculum involves extensive laboratory and work and research experience, as well as a choice of specialization in one of the following fields: microbial biotechnology; animal biotechnology; bioinformatics; and plant biotechnology. Within each of these areas, students are exposed to current problems in the biological sciences and the role that biotechnology can play in solving them, and importantly to the diverse social issues relating to biotechnology.
The curriculum is interdisciplinary, drawing from faculty expertise in six departments and providing the students with the breadth of relevant course offerings. There are ten core faculty who teach the majority of the courses, advise students, and actively participate in curriculum development. They are enthused about the program and its excellent students and have worked selflessly in offering the program. Additional faculty serve as mentors for undergraduate research students and teach courses offered by other curricula.