Plant Biology Undergraduate Programs
The curricula supported by faculty in the Department of Plant Biology, Agriculture and Food Systems, Biotechnology, and Plant Science, prepare students for careers or further study in areas related to food production, organic and sustainable agriculture, turfgrass management, natural products and medicinal plants, ornamental plant production, pest management, plant breeding, plant pathology, plant protection, plant molecular biology, or horticultural therapy.
The curricula offered are interdisciplinary, drawing from faculty expertise in six departments and providing students with the breadth of relevant course offerings. Faculty actively participate in undergraduate education through instruction, advising, and mentoring for undergraduate research.
The Agriculture and Food Systems major appeals to students who are interested in an entrepreneurial and innovative education in the agricultural sciences, spanning the entire range of production to table. Students in this curriculum may focus their coursework in areas such as sustainable agriculture, controlled-environment and precision agriculture, agricultural policy and entrepreneurship, energy efficiency, agro-tourism, and community-supported agriculture. In addition to the major in Agriculture and Food Systems, the curriculum also offers a minor.
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 Plant Science curriculum is designed for students with career interests in areas related to food, fuel and fiber, turfgrass, natural products, plant breeding, plant pathology, and plant disease resistance. Independent research is a central theme in this program: students can have field or laboratory experiences with a faculty member on a specific research topic in plant-related investigations.
The program offers one Plant Science major with three options: General Plant Biology, the research option for students interested in graduate study or laboratory work; Horticulture and Turf Industry, a more applied option for students intending to work directly in plant-related industries after graduation; and Natural Products, which emphasizes the study of historical and cultural botany, economic botany (the study of the interaction of people and plants), and indigenous and modern medicinal plants. The curriculum also offers minors in Agroecology, Horticultural Therapy, Medicinal and Economic Botany, and Plant Science; and certificates in Horticultural Therapy, Medicinal and Economic Botany, and Turfgrass Science.