Academic Programs Catalog

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences

Undergraduate Programs
Crop and Soil Sciences

The Crop and Soil Sciences major is based upon the continuously expanding knowledge base of the biological and physical sciences and the utilization of those sciences to produce food and fiber of high quality on a competitive basis to promote sustainability, and to obtain increased nutrient–use efficiency, proper land use, increased plant adaptation to environmental and other stresses, decreased soil erosion, and decreased environmental pollution. Crop and soil scientists utilize the principles of genetics, plant breeding, crop physiology, weed science, turfgrass science, soil physics, soil fertility, soil genesis and classification, and soil chemistry.

Majors complete a common core of courses and one concentration: Agronomic Sciences, Turfgrass Management or Advanced Study. Students enrolled in this degree program, based on the agreement of cooperation between Michigan State University and Beijing Forestry University, Northeast Agricultural University, Sichuan Agricultural University, and Suzhou Polytechnic Institute of Agriculture in China must complete the concentration in Turfgrass Management.

  1. Agronomic Sciences is designed to prepare students to work as agronomists. These scientists have career opportunities in agricultural business and in government agencies such as departments of agriculture and/or natural resources, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Extension Service. They also work and consult pest management specialists and managers of grower organizations and with land appraisal firms, agencies involved with environmental issues, and in international agriculture.
  2. Turfgrass Management is designed to prepare students for the rapidly expanding area of urban agriculture. Graduates have career opportunities in the industries involved with management of golf courses, athletic fields, lawns and park and grounds management.
  3. Advanced Study is specifically designed for those students who plan to pursue graduate studies. Although students who complete the other concentrations may pursue graduate study, this concentration requires the completion of advanced levels of mathematics and advanced courses in the basic science.

Students may qualify to teach agriscience in high school under a plan of study cooperatively developed by the student’s faculty advisor and the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Crop and Soil Sciences

  1. The University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog; 120 credits, including general elective credits, are required for the Bachelor of Science degree in Crop and Soil Sciences.

    The University's Tier II writing requirement for the Crop and Soil Sciences major is met by completing two courses as specified below:

    Agronomic Sciences:  Both of the following courses:  Crop and Soil Sciences 488 and 492.  Those courses are referenced in items 3. a., and 3. b. below.

    Turfgrass Management:  Both of the following courses:  Crop and Soil Sciences 382 and 492.  Those courses are referenced in items 3. a., and 3. b. below.

    Advanced Study:  Both of the following courses:  Crop and Soil Sciences 488 and 492.  Those courses are referenced in items 3. a., and 3. b. below.

    Students who are enrolled in the Agronomic Sciences or Turfgrass Management concentrations of the Crop and Soil Sciences major leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, may complete an alternative track to Integrative Studies in Biological and Physical Sciences that consists of the following courses:  Plant Biology 105 and 106 and Chemistry 141, 143, and 161.  The completion of Plant Biology 106 and Chemistry 161 satisfies the laboratory requirement.  Plant Biology 105 and 106 and Chemistry 141, 143, and 161 may be counted toward both the alternative track and the requirements for the major referenced in item 3. below.

    Students who are enrolled in the Advanced Study concentration of the Crop and Soil Sciences major leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, may complete an alternative track to Integrative Studies in Biological and Physical Sciences that consists of the following courses: Plant Biology 105 and Chemistry 151, 152, and 161. The completion of Chemistry 161 satisfies the laboratory requirement. Plant Biology 105  and Chemistry 151, 152, and 161 may be counted toward both the alternative track and the requirements for the major referenced in item 3. below.

    The completion of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources mathematics requirement may also satisfy the University mathematics requirement.
  2. The requirements of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources for the Bachelor of Science degree.
    Certain courses referenced in requirement 3. below may be counted toward College requirements as appropriate.  For students who select the Advanced Study concentration, the completion of Mathematics 124 and 126 satisfies the College's mathematics requirement.
  3. The following requirements for the major:
    a. All of the following courses (7 credits):
    CEM 161 Chemistry Laboratory I 1
    CSS 110 Computer Applications in Agronomy 2
    CSS 210 Fundamentals of Soil Science 3
    CSS 492 Professional Development Seminar II 1
    b. One of the following three concentrations (61 to 72 credits):
    Agronomic Sciences (61 or 62 credits):
    (1) All of the following courses (53 credits):
    CEM 141 General Chemistry 4
    CEM 143 Survey of Organic Chemistry 4
    CSS 101 Introduction to Crop Science 3
    CSS 101L Introduction to Crop Science Laboratory 1
    CSS 192 Professional Development Seminar I 1
    CSS 288 Principles of Weed Management 3
    CSS 330 Soil Chemistry 2
    CSS 340 Applied Soil Physics 2
    CSS 350 Introduction to Plant Genetics 3
    CSS 360 Soil Biology 3
    CSS 470 Soil Resources 3
    CSS 480 Soil Fertility and Management 3
    CSS 488 Agricultural Cropping Systems: Integration and Problem Solving 3
    CSS 493 Professional Internship in Crop and Soil Sciences 3
    ENT 404 Fundamentals of Entomology 3
    MTH 116 College Algebra and Trigonometry 5
    PLB 105 Plant Biology 3
    PLB 106 Plant Biology Laboratory 1
    PLP 405 Plant Pathology 3
    (2) One of the following courses (3 credits):
    HRT 361 Applied Plant Physiology 3
    PLB 301 Introductory Plant Physiology 3
    (3) One of the following courses (2 or 3 credits):
    CSS 222 New Horizons in Biotechnology 2
    CSS 441 Plant Breeding and Biotechnology 3
    CSS 451 Biotechnology Applications for Plant Breeding and Genetics 3
    (4) One of the following courses (3 credits):
    EC 201 Introduction to Microeconomics 3
    EC 202 Introduction to Macroeconomics 3
    Turfgrass Management (67 credits):
    (1) All of the following courses (64 credits):
    CEM 141 General Chemistry 4
    CEM 143 Survey of Organic Chemistry 4
    CSS 178 Turf Irrigation 3
    CSS 181 Pesticide and Fertilizer Application Technology 3
    CSS 232 Turfgrass Management 4
    CSS 262 Turfgrass Management Seminar 1
    CSS 267 Performance Turf Design and Construction 2
    CSS 269 Turfgrass Strategies: Integration and Synthesis 2
    CSS 272 Turfgrass Soil Fertility 2
    CSS 282 Turfgrass Physiology 2
    CSS 292 Management of Turfgrass Weeds 3
    CSS 330 Soil Chemistry 2
    CSS 340 Applied Soil Physics 2
    CSS 350 Introduction to Plant Genetics 3
    CSS 360 Soil Biology 3
    CSS 470 Soil Resources 3
    CSS 493 Professional Internship in Crop and Soil Sciences 3
    EC 201 Introduction to Microeconomics 3
    ENT 364 Turfgrass Entomology 3
    MTH 116 College Algebra and Trigonometry 5
    PLB 105 Plant Biology 3
    PLB 106 Plant Biology Laboratory 1
    PLP 266 Turf Pathology 3
    (2) One of the following courses (3 credits):
    HRT 361 Applied Plant Physiology 3
    PLB 301 Introductory Plant Physiology 3
    Advanced Study (72 credits):
    (1) All of the following courses (68 credits):
    BMB 401 Comprehensive Biochemistry 4
    CEM 151 General and Descriptive Chemistry 4
    CEM 152 Principles of Chemistry  3
    CEM 251 Organic Chemistry I 3
    CEM 252 Organic Chemistry II 3
    CSS 101 Introduction to Crop Science 3
    CSS 101L Introduction to Crop Science Laboratory 1
    CSS 192 Professional Development Seminar I 1
    CSS 288 Principles of Weed Management 3
    CSS 330 Soil Chemistry 2
    CSS 340 Applied Soil Physics 2
    CSS 350 Introduction to Plant Genetics 3
    CSS 360 Soil Biology 3
    CSS 470 Soil Resources 3
    CSS 480 Soil Fertility and Management 3
    CSS 488 Agricultural Cropping Systems: Integration and Problem Solving 3
    CSS 499 Undergraduate Research 3
    ENT 404 Fundamentals of Entomology 3
    MTH 132 Calculus I 3
    PLB 105 Plant Biology 3
    PLB 106 Plant Biology Laboratory 1
    PLP 405 Plant Pathology 3
    (2) One of the following courses (3 credits):
    HRT 361 Applied Plant Physiology 3
    PLB 301 Introductory Plant Physiology 3
    (3) One of the following courses (3 credits):
    CSS 441 Plant Breeding and Biotechnology 3
    CSS 451 Biotechnology Applications for Plant Breeding and Genetics 3
    (4) One of the following courses (3 credits):
    EC 201 Introduction to Microeconomics 3
    EC 202 Introduction to Macroeconomics 3
    (5) The following course:
    STT 421 Statistics I 3