Schools with Turf Management Programs: How to Choose

A number of schools offer programs suitable for aspiring turfgrass managers. Students in this program will learn about the production, performance, quality and maintenance of turfgrass in golf courses, residential landscapes, commercial landscapes, farms, parks, athletic fields, cemetaries, and recreation areas.

Programs in turfgrass management are typically available at 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities. Students can find educational opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

10 Turf Management Schools

These ten schools offer turf management programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degree offered Tuition* (In-state, 2015-2016)
Pennsylvania State University - World Campus University Park, PA 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Certificate $13,516 undergraduate, $19,328 graduate
Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Graduate Certificate $14,131 undergraduate, $16,272 graduate
Walla Walla Community College Walla Walla, WA 2-year, Public Associate's, Undergraduate Certificate $4,260
Washington State University Pullman, WA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $11,967
SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill Cobleskill, NY 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's $7,719
Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY 4-year, Public Associate's $9,482
Auburn University Auburn, AL 4-year, Public Master's $8,802
University of Georgia Athens, GA 4-year, Public Undergraduate Certificate $319 - $379**
Lincoln Land Community College Springfield, IL 2-year, Public Associate's, Undergraduate Certificate $5,232

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics, **School website

School Selection Criteria

Here are some important considerations when choosing a school.

  • Students should consider their educational background and career goals when choosing a school. Some certificate programs are designed for experienced professionals; degree programs provide a broad education that can benefit students seeking a career in the field.
  • It may be helpful to choose a school that offers hands-on experience opportunities, such as internships or on-site training, which provide practical experience.
  • Students who are balancing their education with full-time work or other obligations may try to find programs that offer programs in part-time or online formats.
  • Students who want to specialize in a particular type of turf, such as golf turf or sports turf, should find out if the school offers concentration options.

Associate's Degree Programs

An associate's degree program in turfgrass management is for individuals who want to gain entry-level employment in the field of turf management. An associate's degree program typically takes two years to complete and includes courses in irrigation and drainage design, plant biology, business communications and landscaping. Students may also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through labs and an internship.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

A bachelor's degree program in turfgrass management is for those who want to gain an advanced education and create more career opportunities. Bachelor's degree programs typically include an internship and take roughly four years to complete. At some schools, turf management is offered as a concentration within a broader agriculture or plant science major.

Master's Degree Programs

At a few schools, working professionals in the turf management field can pursue a master's degree. These programs typically include advanced courses in the scientific aspects of turfgrass, such as plant population biology and turfgrass physiology, as well as management courses that prepare students for leadership positions. Most programs do not include a thesis, but students may be required to complete a final capstone project.

Certificate Programs

At the undergraduate level, certificate programs provide basic education in turf management, preparing students for entry-level careers. Other certificate programs are designed for current professionals working in lawn care, as well as golf course managers. These programs may last 1-2 years and include coursework that helps students build their design, maintenance and technical skills. Topics of study include irrigation systems, horticulture and business management.

Both aspiring and experienced turf managers can find relevant educational opportunities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Some schools offer programs online.

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