Academic Programs

We offer four undergraduate programs:

Plant Sciences Major and Minor

A secure global future depends on scientists and leaders who understand the importance of plants in sustaining environmental and human health. To address the challenges of our rapidly growing population, we need bright, dedicated, skilled, and creative people to fill emerging careers in sustainable production of food, feed, medicine, fuel, and fiber from plants.

As a Plant Sciences major, you will be prepared to make a difference on a global scale by gaining knowledge and skills in biotechnology, genomics, molecular biology, plant propagation and breeding, medicinal chemistry, and other modern approaches to 21st century agriculture. Starting in the 2020-2021 Academic Year, the Plant Science major now offers two emphases that students must choose from.

Emphasis option 1: Plant Sciences General emphasis

Prepares students with a strong biological foundation through the lens of plants, while offering our students the ability to customize their specialization and future career options

Emphasis option 2: Plant Health Sciences emphasis

Trains students in both biotic and abiotic factors that impact plant health, ranging from the molecular to the microscopic to the macroscopic. Professionals working in Plant Health Science apply plant, microbial, and insect sciences to predict disease epidemiology, protect plant, environment and human health, and optimize plant growth or yields.

Students can work with their academic and faculty advisors to customize their coursework and decide which emphasis is best for them. After completing foundation courses, all Plant Sciences majors work with their advisor and faculty mentor to customize their coursework, selecting electives to fit their career goals.

A minor in Plant Sciences provides a thorough introduction to plant biology and complements many major subjects including Microbiology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Natural Resources, and Environmental Science.

Additional information about majoring or minoring in Plant Sciences, including required and elective courses:

2016-17 Catalog

2017-18 Catalog

2018-19 Catalog

2019-20 Catalog

2020-21 Catalog

2021-22 Catalog 

2022-23 Catalog

Sustainable Plant Systems Major and Minor 

The Sustainable Plant Systems program is an interdisciplinary major that prepares students to be leaders in 21st century agriculture and experts in agricultural technology, plant improvement, and innovative, responsible plant production systems for healthy urban and agricultural ecosystems. The School of Plant Sciences offers this major in partnership between the Department of Environmental Sciences and the Department of Biological Engineering.

A minor in Sustainable Plant Systems balances training in plant biology, soil science and genetics with focused electives relating to your area of interest. This minor complements majors in Nutritional Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Natural Resources, Agricultural Economics and Management, Biosystems Engineering, Geography and Anthropology.

For more information, please visit the website for the Sustainable Plant Systems program

Applied Biotechnology Major and Minor

The interdisciplinary Applied Biotechnology degree gives you the knowledge and tools you need to answer some of the world’s most pressing questions in the areas of food production, health, and sustainability. You may pursue careers in industry related to developing vaccines, biofuels, fermented food and beverages, biologic pharmaceuticals, or insect-resistant crops, or in basic research or medicine. The School of Plant Sciences offers this major in partnership with with the Schools of Nutritional Sciences and Wellness and Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences.

Majors in Applied Biotechnology can choose from three emphases:

Emphasis option 1: Food and Beverage Fermentation

The science of fermentation as it applies to producing food and beverages.

Emphasis option 2: Industrial Plant and Microbial Biotechnology

Genetic engineering and growth of plants and microbes to make products.

Emphasis option 3: Applied Biotechnology

Our most customizable emphasis with applications of biotechnology in a range of industries, including medicine.

Applied Biotechnology website

2020-2021 Major Checklist

2021-2022 Major Checklist

2022-2023 Major Checklist

2023-2024 Major Checklist

A minor in Applied Biotechnology includes training in microbiology and food and beverage fermentation and an understanding of how organisms can be used and manipulated to produce novel products. This minor complements majors in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Biology-Biomedical Science, Biosystems Engineering, Biochemistry, and Nutritional Sciences.

2020-2021 Minor Checklist

2022-2024 Minor Checklist

Microbiology Major, Minor, and Accelerated Master of Science

Disease prevention has come a long way, but you want to take it farther. You'll join the front lines of exploration and protection of the world, while gaining a fundamental understanding of microbes and their vital importance to our everyday lives.Students who major in microbiology may choose to specialize in food safety and consumer health, plant pathology and microbiology, environmental microbiology, microbial genomics and biotechnology, or medical microbiology. The School of Plant Sciences offers this major in partnership with the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences.
A minor in Microbiology allows you to study of the biology of microorganisms and how they interact with their surroundings, with a focus on the study of disease. This minor complements the Veterinary Science major, the Plant Sciences major, or other majors related to human, animal, or plant health. It also complements the Applied Biotechnology and Environmental Sciences majors, for students interested in learning about the beneficial uses of microbes.
For more information, please visit the website for the Microbiology program.