Academic Programs Catalog

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Department of Horticulture

William Vance Baird, Chairperson

The Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University was established in 1883 as the first university horticulture department in the United States, and remains a leader in the field and the industry to this day.  Horticulture is a complex and diversified, yet fully integrated discipline that encompasses the biological, molecular and physical sciences, business management, and the arts. Horticulturists work to improve the production of nutritious, high-quality and safe food, advance the development and use of new specialty crops, enhance human health and well-being, and positively impact the natural and built environments.  As such, horticultural crops (fruits, vegetables, and landscape ornamentals) and their utilization establish the important connection between plant scientists, growers, consumers, society and the environment.

For students seeking a bachelor's degree, we offer concentrations in horticultural science; sustainable and organic horticulture; and landscape design, construction and management. Additionally, multiple two-year certificate programs are offered both on-campus in East Lansing, as well as off-campus in Northwest, West, and Southwest Michigan. The two-year programs offer a fast track for students interested in the landscape, nursery, greenhouse, fruit, vegetable, and organic horticulture industries. All of our programs require a professional internship experience with an industry or academic employer, typically during the summer months. Our curriculum integrates theoretical, practical and hands-on experiences to help students develop problem-solving skills in science, technology, production, design and management.

Students are extensively involved in professional and social activities beyond the classroom and design studio: gaining experience in research laboratories; assisting in field-based projects; managing the Horticulture Association spring show and plant sale; working with the Ecological Food and Farm Stewardship Club; and training for and participating in academic and field events associated with the National Collegiate Landscape Competition.

Our facilities include classroom and laboratories that are housed in the Plant and Soil Sciences Building, the nationally recognized Horticultural Demonstration Gardens, 4-H Children’s Gardens, the Clarence E. Lewis Arboretum, and the Horticulture Teaching and Research Center (HTRC). The Student Organic Farm is located at the HTRC where students gain practical, non-credit experiences and produce food for a Community Supported Agriculture program as well as MSU’s residential housing service.
 


Undergraduate Program


Horticulture

Horticulture is the science and art concerned with the culture, production, marketing, and utilization of high–value intensively cultivated plants. Horticultural crops are diverse, including annual and perennial species, food and ornamental plants, and plants grown outdoors and in controlled environments. Horticultural foods and food products, flowers, and landscapes sustain and enrich our lives. The primary horticulture discipline areas include floriculture, landscape horticulture, olericulture (vegetables), and pomology (fruits).

Graduates with a major in horticulture may enter a broad range of challenging and rewarding professional careers in production, management, marketing, education, consulting and service industries, or research. In addition, graduates frequently become entrepreneurs or obtain employment in horticultural business enterprises (e.g., commercial production operations, landscape design/build and maintenance companies, nurseries, retail flower shops, or fruit and vegetable markets). Graduates may also pursue careers in nontraditional areas that require a knowledge of horticulture such as secondary education, the publication industry, or international development.

The study of horticulture is highly integrative combining scientific and technical knowledge, and problem–solving skills for application in various professions related to horticulture. Students in horticulture combine diverse fundamental disciplines in physical science (chemistry), biological sciences (botany, genetics, plant physiology, entomology, and plant pathology), environmental science (soil science), with horticultural crop production, and business (economics, management, and marketing). Communication and computer skills are also cultivated within the horticulture curriculum. Students complete one of three concentrations: Horticultural Science, Sustainable and Organic Horticulture, or Horticulture Landscape Design, Construction, and Management. In all concentrations, students obtain hands–on experiences through laboratory exercises in the greenhouses, in the horticulture gardens, or at the farms. Field trips expose students to successful horticultural businesses, industries, and support services within Michigan. Students may gain professional work experience through internships, independent study, and part–time employment in research and extension programs within the Department of Horticulture.

Students who are enrolled in the Bachelor of Science degree program with a major in horticulture may elect a Specialization in Agricultural and Natural Resources Biotechnology.  For additional information, refer to the Specialization in Agricultural and Natural Resources Biotechnology statement.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Horticulture

  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 Horticulture.

    The University's Tier II writing requirement for the Horticulture major is met by completing Horticulture 404. That course is referenced in item 3. a. below.

    Students who are enrolled in the Horticulture major leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in the Department of Horticulture 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.

    The completion of Mathematics 116 or its equivalent in fulfillment of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources mathematics requirement which also may 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.
  3. The following requirements for the major:
    a. All of the following courses: (34 credits)
    CEM 141 General Chemistry 4
    CEM 143 Survey of Organic Chemistry 4
    CEM 161 Chemistry Laboratory I 1
    CSS 210 Fundamentals of Soil Science 3
    HRT 203 Principles of Horticulture 3
    HRT 204 Plant Propagation 2
    HRT 205 Plant Mineral Nutrition 1
    HRT 206 Training and Pruning Plants 1
    HRT 207 Horticulture Career Development 1
    HRT 361 Applied Plant Physiology 3
    HRT 362 Applied Crop Improvement 1
    HRT 404 Horticulture Management (W) 3
    HRT 493 Professional Internship in Horticulture 3
    PLB 105 Plant Biology 3
    PLB 106 Plant Biology Laboratory 1
    b. One of the following concentrations (33 to 37 credits):
    Horticultural Science (33 credits):
    (1) All of the following courses (12 credits):
    CSS 350 Introduction to Plant Genetics 3
    ENT 404 Fundamentals of Entomology 3
    HRT 221 Greenhouse Structures and Management 3
    PLP 405 Plant Pathology 3
    (2) Complete 9 credits from the following:
    HRT 310 Nursery Management 3
    HRT 323 Floriculture Production: Herbaceous Perennials and Annuals 3
    HRT 332 Tree Fruit Production and Management 3
    HRT 336 Viticulture and Berry Production 2
    HRT 341 Vegetable Production and Management 3
    (3) Complete 3 credits from the following:
    CSS 288 Principles of Weed Management 3
    HRT 211 Landscape Plants I 3
    HRT 212 Landscape Plants II 3
    HRT 218 Irrigation Systems for Horticulture 3
    HRT 242 Passive Solar Greenhouses for Protected Cultivation 1
    HRT 243 Organic Transplant Production 1
    HRT 253 Compost Production and Use 1
    HRT 475 International Studies in Horticulture 3
    (4) Three of the following courses (9 credits):
    CSS 451 Biotechnology Applications for Plant Breeding and Genetics 3
    HRT 401 Advanced Horticultural Crop Physiology 3
    HRT 403 Handling and Storage of Horticultural Crops 3
    HRT 407 Horticulture Marketing 3
    HRT 486 Biotechnology in Agriculture: Applications and Ethical Issues 3
    Sustainable and Organic Horticulture (31 credits):
    (1) All of the following courses (13 credits):
    CSS 360 Soil Biology 3
    ENT 479 Organic Pest Management (W) 3
    HRT 251 Organic Farming Principles and Practices 3
    HRT 253 Compost Production and Use 1
    PLP 405 Plant Pathology 3
    (2) Complete 9 credits from the following:
    CSS 288 Principles of Weed Management 3
    HRT 221 Greenhouse Structures and Management 3
    HRT 242 Passive Solar Greenhouses for Protected Cultivation 1
    HRT 243 Organic Transplant Production 1
    HRT 332 Tree Fruit Production and Management 3
    HRT 336 Viticulture and Berry Production 2
    HRT 341 Vegetable Production and Management 3
    HRT 475 Internatinal Studies in Horticulture 3
    HRT 490 Independent Study 1 or 2
    (3) Three of the following courses (9 credits):
    CSS 451 Biotechnology Applications for Plant Breeding and Genetics 3
    CSUS 343 Community Food and Agricultural Systems 3
    HRT 401 Advanced Horticultural Crop Physiology 3
    HRT 403 Handling and Storage of Horticultural Crops 3
    HRT 407 Horticulture Marketing 3
    HRT 486 Biotechnology in Agriculture: Applications and Ethical Issues 3
    Horticulture Landscape Design, Construction, and Management  (37 credits):
    (1) All of the following courses (22 credits):
    CSS 202 The World of Turf 2
    HRT 211 Landscape Plants I 3
    HRT 212 Landscape Plants II 3
    HRT 218 Irrigation Systems for Horticulture 3
    HRT 311 Landscape Design and Management Specifications 4
    HRT 411 Landscape Contract Management 3
    PLP 407 Diseases and Insects of Forest and Shade Trees 4
    (2) Complete 15 credits from the following:
    CSS 288 Principles of Weed Management 3
    LA 140 Graphics and Two-Dimensional Design Studio 4
    LA 230 Site Construction Materials and Methods 4
    HRT 213 Landscape Maintenance 2
    HRT 213L Landscape Maintenance Field Laboratory 1
    HRT 214 Landscape and Turfgrass Business Operations 2
    HRT 219 Landscape Computer Aided Design 2
    HRT 220 Annual and Aquatic Landscape Plants 3
    HRT 310 Nursery Management 3
    HRT 323 Floriculture Production: Herbaceous Perennials and Annuals 3
    HRT 401 Advanced Horticultural Crop Physiology 3
    HRT 407 Horticulture Marketing 3
    HRT 415 Natural Landscapes, Native Plants, and Landscape Restoration 3
    HRT 460 Green Roofs and Walls 1
    HRT 475 International Studies in Horticulture 3


Minor in Horticulture

The Minor in Horticulture, which is administered by the Department of Horticulture, is designed to provide an opportunity for students to gain a fundamental understanding of the science of horticulture and tailor their studies to food production, greenhouse and nursery crops, landscape design and management, or plant breeding and genetics.

The minor is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs at Michigan State University other than the Bachelor of Science Degree in Horticulture.  With the approval of the department and college that administers the student’s degree program, the courses that are used to satisfy the minor may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the bachelor’s degree.

Students who plan to complete the requirements for the minor should consult an undergraduate adviser in Horticulture.

Requirements for the Minor in Horticulture

Complete 17 credits from the following:

1. Both of the following courses (5 credits):
HRT 203 Principles of Horticulture 3
HRT 204 Plant Propagation 2
2. Complete 12 credits from the following:
HRT 205 Plant Mineral Nutrition 1
HRT 206 Training and Pruning Plants 1
HRT 211 Landscape Plants I 3
HRT 212 Landscape Plants II 3
HRT 213 Landscape Maintenance 2
HRT 213L Landscape Maintenance Field Laboratory 1
HRT 218 Irrigation Systems for Horticulture 3
HRT 219 Landscape Computer Aided Design 2
HRT 220 Annual and Aquatic Landscape Plants 3
HRT 221 Greenhouse Structures and Management 3
HRT 242 Passive Solar Greenhouses for Protected Cultivation 1
HRT 243 Organic Transplant Production 1
HRT 251 Organic Farming Principles and Practices 3
HRT 253 Compost Production and Use 1
HRT 310 Nursery Management 3
HRT 311 Landscape Design and Management Specifications 4
HRT 323 Floriculture Production: Herbaceous Perennials and Annuals 3
HRT 332 Tree Fruit Production and Management 2
HRT 336 Viticulture and Berry Production 2
HRT 341 Vegetable Production and Management 3
HRT 361 Applied Plant Physiology 3
HRT 362 Applied Crop Improvement 1
HRT 403 Handling and Storage of Horticultural Crops 3
HRT 407 Horticulture Marketing 3
HRT 411 Landscape Contract Management 3
HRT 415 Natural Landscape, Native Plants, and Landscape Restoration 3
HRT 460 Green Roofs and Walls 2
HRT 475 International Studies in Horticulture 3


Minor in Plant, Animal and Microbial Biotechnology

The Minor in Plant, Animal and Microbial Biotechnology is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in Bachelor of Science degree programs with majors in animal science, biosystems engineering, fisheries and wildlife, food science, forestry, horticulture, and plant, soil and microbial sciences.  The minor is administered by the Department of Horticulture.

The minor provides the opportunity for students who are enrolled in biological science–related undergraduate programs to become familiar with the concepts, techniques, and issues related to modern biotechnology.  The minor is designed for students who may be planning to pursue graduate study in biotechnology–related disciplines or who may be interested in careers with corporations or agencies for which a basic familiarity with biotechnology is a prerequisite.

With the approval of the department and college that administer the student's degree program, courses that are used to satisfy the requirements for the minor may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the bachelor's degree.

Requirements for the Minor in Plant, Animal and Microbial Biotechnology

The student must complete:

1. All of the following courses (8 credits):
BMB 401 Comprehensive Biochemistry 4
HRT 461 Seminar in Plant, Animal and Microbial Biotechnology 1
HRT 486 Biotechnology in Agriculture:  Applications and Ethical Issues 3
2. One of the following courses (3 or 4 credits):
ANS 314 Genetic Improvement of Domestic Animals 4
CSS 350 Introduction to Plant Genetics 3
IBIO 341 Fundamental Genetics 4
3. One of the following courses (3 credits):
ANS 425 Animal Biotechnology 3
BE 360 Microbial Systems Engineering 3
CSS 451 Biotechnology Applications for Plant Breeding and Genetics 3
MMG 445 Microbial Biotechnology (W) 3
4. One of the following courses (1 credit):
ANS 490 Independent Study 1
BE 490 Independent Study 1
CSS 490 Independent Study 1
HRT 492 Undergraduate Research 1

Graduate Study

The Department of Horticulture offers graduate study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees in horticulture, plant breeding, and genetics and biotechnology - horticulture. Faculty members in the Department of Horticulture possess an array of interdisciplinary plant science expertise ranging from breeding, genetics, genomics, molecular biology, bioinformatics, and biochemistry, to developmental/environmental/reproductive physiology, sustainable and organic cropping systems, and marketing of horticultural/specialty crops. These integrated approaches foster new discoveries in the plant sciences and technological innovations in the sustainable production of food, floral, and landscape crops. Faculty and graduate students engage in scholarly research, teaching, and outreach programs that are recognized nationally and internationally by our peer institutions and horticultural industries. Numerous fellowships and grant-funded assistantships are available on a career interest and competitive basis. Contact faculty members directly to explore the potential to earn an advanced degree working in their research and outreach programs.

Students who are enrolled in Master of Science degree programs in the Department of Horticulture may elect a Specialization in Food Safety.  For additional information, refer to the statement on the specialization in the College of Veterinary Medicine section of this catalog.

 


Horticulture - Master of Science

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

Students must have completed a Bachelor of Science degree or its equivalent in a plant related field, a basic course in horticulture, 15 credits in plant or soil sciences including plant physiology, and one course each in trigonometry, physics, and organic chemistry. Exceptions must be approved by the departmental Graduate Affairs Committee. Applicants lacking the necessary undergraduate background will be required to complete either collateral courses in addition to the requirements for the master's degree or a second Bachelor of Science degree with a major acceptable to the department.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Horticulture

The student may elect either Plan A (with thesis) or Plan B (without thesis). A total of 30 credits is required for the degree under Plan A or Plan B.
The program of study for the Master of Science degree will include courses from departments other than the Department of Horticulture, but it should include at least 3 credits in the 800 series in horticulture in addition to research. For Plan A, at least 6 but not more than 10 credits of master's thesis research (Horticulture 899) is required. For Plan B, at least 2 but not more than 5 credits of research (Horticulture 898) is required. All programs of study are subject to departmental review.

A final oral examination on courses and research pursued during the program will be scheduled at the end of the student's final semester of enrollment.

 


Horticulture - Doctor of Philosophy

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Horticulture

An oral qualifying examination may be conducted by the guidance committee shortly after the student begins advanced graduate study to determine his or her qualifications and to provide a basis for developing the program of study.

At least 6 credits in the 800 series in horticulture are recommended. Three of the six credits may have been completed as part of master's degree requirements.

 


Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology - Horticulture

The Department of Horticulture offers Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs in plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology–horticulture. Students meet the requirements for admission and the requirements both for Horticulture, as specified above, and for Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology, as specified in the statement on Interdepartmental Graduate Programs in Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology.