Plant and Soil Systems

Overview

Plant & Soil Systems is an interdepartmental curriculum in areas of agronomy, entomology, horticulture, plant pathology, and crop physiology. All students in this curriculum take core courses that provide a basic knowledge required for specialization in one of eight areas of concentration:

  • Crop Science
  • Horticulture Sciences
  • Medicinal Plant Sciences
  • Soil Science
  • Sustainable Production Systems
  • Turf and Landscape Management
  • Agricultural Pest Management
  • Urban Entomology

Each area is further individualized by the addition of approved and free electives. For information about the Agricultural Pest Management concentration, see the website for the Department of Entomology or the Department of Plant Pathology and Plant Physiology. For the Urban Entomology concentration see the Department of Entomology. 

The Crop Science concentration focuses on the science behind healthy farming. Students will apply basic agronomic information to radical situations or problems by studying weeds, forage, soils, crop physiology, insects, genetics, precision agronomy, and experimental statistics. The concentration provides a good background for students in a variety of career paths: such as, crop scientist, consultant, extension and state regulatory agencies, farm manager, landscape manager, nursery manager, plant breeder, public health, and graduate or professional school.

Students selecting the Horticulture Sciences concentration will be prepared for careers in ornamental crop production, the production and processing of fruits, nuts, and vegetables or graduate studies in horticulture and related sciences. Careers include interior and exterior landscape managers, aquaculture specialist, greenhouse grower, sports groundskeeper, arborist, horticulture educators, wholesale production of horticulture plants, landscaping, horticulture consultant, green industry suppliers, retail managers and owners, horticulture research, arboreta, botanical gardens, urban farmer or forester and tissue culture propagation. Career opportunities in vegetable and fruit science include jobs as field representatives, farmers and farm consultants, county agents with cooperative extension, food processors, agricultural chemical suppliers, and produce brokers. Horticultural scientists may also conduct research in areas such as crop culture and management; molecular biology; plant breeding and genetics; plant growth and development; plant metabolism and nutrition; propagation; post-harvest and stress physiology; and tissue culture.

Students selecting the Medicinal Plant Sciences concentration are prepared to grow a variety of plant species in highly controlled environments for medicinal uses. This science-based education will encompass courses focused on plant identification, propagation, growth, processing, as well as courses in entomology, plant pathology, and chemistry. Careers within this area would include owning or working for intensive plant growing operations, professional employment by the urban agricultural products industry, or prepares students for graduate education.

The Soil Science concentration focuses on soil and its importance in agricultural production and environmental sustainability. Students in this concentration learn about physical, chemical, and biological factors that affect crop production, soil fertility, air and water quality, and soil conservation. The soil science concentrations prepares students for careers across a variety of ecological systems as soil scientist, soil conservationist, field and lab technicians, extension and state regulatory agencies, and graduate or professional school.

The Sustainable Production Systems concentration is a blend of applied agronomy and horticulture, with less emphasis on science and more focus on economics than the other concentrations. It prepares students for careers in management, consulting, agricultural sales, and other production-related occupations.

Students selecting the Turf and Landscape Management concentration are prepared to construct landscape sites, plant and maintain woody and herbaceous plants, turfgrass, ornamental bulbs, and related crops. Careers include owning and operating landscape management companies, sports field management, golf course superintendents, or professional employment by the urban agricultural products industry. In addition to the basic core courses in the curriculum, students study pest identification and control, pesticide application techniques, and landscape design.

Minors

Agronomy

To graduate with a minor in agronomy, students must complete seven hours consisting of AGRO 2051 and AGRO 3000 and 11 additional hours in agronomy. At least six hours of the 11 must be at the 3000 or 4000 level. The minor in agronomy is not available to students in plant and soil systems.

Required classes:
AGRO 2051 Soil Science
AGRO 3000 Principles of Crop Production

And 11 hours chosen from Agronomy, at least six of which must be at the 3000 or 4000 level.

Note: some of these classes have prerequisites (see catalog or check with instructor).

Horticulture

To graduate with a minor in horticulture, students must complete seven hours consisting of HORT 2050 and 2061; and 11 additional hours in horticulture. This minor is not available to students majoring in plant and soil systems.

Required classes:
HORT 2050 General Horticulture
HORT 2061 Plant Propagation

And 11 hours chosen from Horticulture.

Note: some of these classes have prerequisites (see catalog or check with instructor). 

Agricultural Pest Management

To graduate with a minor in agricultural pest management, students must complete a minimum of 18 hours of course work in pest management. Specific requirements include: ENTM 2001 or PLHL/ENTM 2050; PLHL 4000; AGRO 4070; and eight additional hours chosen from ENTM 4001, 4005, 4006, 4012, ENTM/PLHL 4018, PLHL 4001, AGRO 4071. Of the eight elective hours, at least one course must be from entomology.

Required classes:
ENTM 2001 Insects in the Environment or PLHL/ENTM 2050 Introduction to Pest Management
PLHL 4000 General Plant Pathology
AGRO 4070 Weed Science and the Environment

And 8 hours chosen from:
ENTM 4001 Household and Structural Pests
ENTM 4005 Insect Taxonomy
ENTM 4006 Fundamentals of Applied Entomology
ENTM 4012 Fundamentals of Horticultural Entomology
ENTM 4018 Forest Insects and Diseases (cross-listed with PLHL 4018)
PLHL 4001 Plant Disease Management and Control
AGRO 4071 Weed Biology and Ecology
(At least one course must be from Entomology.)

Note: some of these classes have prerequisites (see catalog or check with instructor).