University of Minnesota
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences
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Home > Undergraduate Students > Current Students > Majors and Minors > Horticulture


Attention incoming freshmen and transfer students: Please note that the Horticulture major no longer accepts new students. We encourage incoming students to consider our new Plant Science major, our new Food Systems major, or other CFANS majors.

About the Horticulture Major

The horticultural major educates students for rewarding careers in diverse areas such as research (plant breeding/genetics or plant molecular biology); food and plant production (sustainable/organic); plant use and function (design/reclamation/restoration); or recreation (golf courses/parks). Students gain experience in the use of plants to alter environments, restore damaged landscapes, improve health and well-being of individuals, educate people about science, agriculture, improve community environments, provide recreational and practical benefits to the public.

The coursework for the undergraduate horticulture major is flexible. Students take introductory courses in biology, chemistry, math, and Horticultural Science, then specialize their degree by selecting from upper-level courses offered by Horticultural Science and its related disciplines. The Department has developed five programs of study (in bold below), which serve as guidelines to students. Students whose interests or career goals fall outside these programs of study may choose to develop their own program of study in consultation with their adviser. Your program of study must consist of at least 24 credits, eight credits must have a HORT designator at the 3XXX level or above. The additional credits completing the program should be from the related disciplines as listed above. From the total 24 credits, a minimum of 18 credits must be at or above the 3XXX level.

Students who are interested in managing the growth of plants in a nursery, greenhouse, or botanical garden are encouraged to focus on the Nursery and Floriculture Production area of study. This concentration will provide a strong foundation for understanding and implementing a variety of different growing techniques. Students will find themselves prepared for jobs including native-plant producer, garden-center management, nursery foreman or manager, greenhouse grower, and botanical-garden grower. Along with these courses, an internship that reflects a student’s particular interests will provide in-depth knowledge of plant growth and health.

Organic food sales are growing 15-20% per year. Consumer interest in the health and environmental benefits of organically produced crops creates tremendous opportunities for new professionals in all segments of the food system. The Organic Horticulture and Local Foods area of study takes advantage of local and on-campus resources to provide students with a “hands-on” experience of the organic-food system – from conception, to production, to marketing, to consumption. Course work stresses a strong understanding in soils, plant pathology, entomology, and basic horticultural science, emphasizing systematic approaches to solving horticultural problems.& Students have the opportunity to grow organic fruits, vegetables, and flowers on Cornercopia (The Student Organic Farm) and market the organic food to restaurants, dining services, and farmers’ markets. Students also learn the latest season extension techniques through the sue of low- and high tunnels. This area of study seeks to educate students who will be innovative and passionate about organic and sustainable foods. Many students choose to complete the minor in Sustainable Agriculture or Sustainability Studies in coordination with their Horticultural Science major. Graduates successfully complete for professions in the fields of food production and food marketing, organic certification, non-profit, community engagement, and education.

The Plant Breeding & Genetics area of study (Science Option only) will allow students to explore an exciting and rapidly changing field. Courses in genetics and molecular biology will give students a strong foundation in basic science. Our department offers multiple plant-breeding courses and several additional courses focused on horticultural plants. The Horticultural Science faculty include plant breeders whose work develops new varieties of fruits (including the Honeycrisp apple), vegetables, ornamental plants, flowers, and turfgrass. The Plant Breeding & Genetics area is designed to prepare students for graduate school or careers in research and development of horticultural crops.

Restoration Ecology is the process of repairing dysfunctional ecosystems to provide essential ecological goods and services to society. This area of concentration prepares students for potential careers in restoration ecology, a field that requires an understanding of the causes of land degradation, as well as strategies for recovery of landscapes that human have damaged, degraded, or destroyed. Students also learn to cultivate native plants for use in conservation settings. The primary objective for this concentration is to introduce broad concepts in the applied sciences, emphasizing horticultural practice. The degree requires primary horticulture courses; this program emphasizes advanced horticulture courses combined with courses in the departments of Plant Biology, Ecology, Hydrology, Soil Science, Environmental Science, and Engineering.

Millions of acres across the United States are devoted to turfgrass. Home lawns, parks, athletic fields, golf courses, and other turf areas play an important role in environmental quality. Students that pursue the Turfgrass Science area of study will learn about turfgrass physiology and how it is related to management practices. Our program emphasizes managing quality turf areas with reduced inputs, thereby reducing potential risk to the environment. Courses in other disciplines, such as soil science, plant pathology, and entomology will allow students to become well-rounded scientists who are able to find solutions to the challenges that are facing the turfgrass industry. Graduate have pursued careers as golf-course superintendents, athletic-field managers, lawn-care specialists, research scientists, and salespersons.

For more information, visit the Department of Horticultural Science website.

Academic Planning

Major Requirements and Core Courses

University Catalog (current requirements for this major)

Programs of Study

Minor Information


Department of Horticultural Science

Career Info

Involvement Opportunities

Contact Us

Academic Advisor
Sheryl Bolstad
Skok Hall B50A

Major Coordinator
See CFANS Major Coordinators list .