Plant Science

Students in this major study the growth and development of plants. After taking core courses, all Plant Science majors work with an advisor to develop their own specialization. This gives you the freedom to focus on the plant-related topics that most interest you!

What can I specialize in with this major?

Develop your own focus, based on your personal or career interests. Below are some of the most common specialty areas for this major:

Plant Science

  • Agroecology: Focus on the interaction of plants with their environment. Study soils, plant physiology and ecology.
  • Agronomy Production: Focus on plant growth and sustainability of agronomic (grain) crops.
  • Horticultural Production: Focus on plant growth and sustainability of horticultural crops (conventional and/or organic systems).
  • Integrated Plant Science BS/MS Applied Plant Science - Plant Breeding: CFANS offers an integrated bachelor of science (BS) in plant science and master's of science (MS) in applied plant sciences (plant breeding and molecular genetics track). The integrated BS/MS program offers students the opportunity to earn both degrees in five years by working toward a master's degree while simultaneously working toward their undergraduate degree.
  • Nursery and Floriculture: Study how to manage the growth of plants in nurseries, greenhouses and botanical gardens.
  • Plant Breeding: Study how to develop new varieties of crops (fruits, vegetables, grains, flowers, turf) through standard propagation and through biotechnology and molecular biology.
  • Sustainable Plant Health: Study the needs of plants in relation to nutrients, pathogens and insects.
  • Turfgrass Science: Focus on plant physiology and the management of home lawns, parks, athletic fields and golf courses

In the curriculum section farther below, you'll find requirements and a sample “4-Year Academic Plan” for each of these focus areas.

What jobs can I get with this major?


This major opens the door to many career choices. Plant Science graduates find positions in horticulture and plant breeding (such as nurseries and greenhouses), plant research and development, food and plant production, biotechnology, landscape restoration, golf course management, pest and weed control, and much more.

See a list of sample job titles and other career information from the Career and Internship Services office. This office provides professional career counselors to all CFANS students.

Why choose CFANS for this major?

CFANS is a leading center of plant research in the United States. We provide students with many opportunities for hands-on experience with diverse plants, crops and landscapes. CFANS has outdoor crops and 75,000 square feet of greenhouse space right on the St. Paul campus.

CFANS Plant Science faculty have done renowned work in plant breeding. We are particularly known for developing the famous Honeycrisp apple! CFANS faculty have developed new cold-tolerant fruit, flower and vegetable breeds.

Plant Science is an interdisciplinary major, with faculty from four different CFANS departments. Interdisciplinary programs are the wave of the future. By working with professors and researchers from multiple specialties, students in this major gain diverse knowledge and collaborative skills. This helps our graduates succeed in the sciences and in the job market.

What classes are required? What's the curriculum like?

All Plant Science students take a set of core courses, then follow an individualized plan. Core courses cover plant genetics, production and breeding, as well as basic biology, botany, and soil science. Students will also learn about plant issues specific to the Minnesota landscape. The curriculum offers flexibility, and includes a focus on hands-on learning.

Find requirements for this major in the University Catalog. For more academic planning information, including sample "4-Year Plans", see the Plant Science major website, which leads to links and details for each of the focus areas.


This major was officially approved by the University of Minnesota Regents on May 9, 2013. The CFANS departments affiliated with this major are: Agronomy and Plant Genetics; Entomology; Horticultural Science; Plant Pathology.