Schools with Horticulture Programs: How to Choose

Horticulture is the scientific study of plants and plant landscapes. Many degree levels exist in the field of horticulture, including certificates through doctoral degree programs. There are also a range of specialized fields of study to choose from in horticulture.

Many colleges and universities across the U.S. have departments of horticulture or plant science that offer education, research and practical application in the field. These specialized departments present a range of academic options, including nursery and arboriculture certificates, landscape and agricultural undergraduate programs and graduate studies in soil and environmental sciences.

Horticulture Schools

These schools offer horticulture programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
University of California - Davis Davis, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $13,951 in-state, $38,659 out-of-state
Cornell University Ithaca, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $49,116
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $6,381 in-state, $28,659 out-of-state
University of Massachusetts - Amherst Amherst, MA 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's $14,171 in-state, $30,504 out-of-state
University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $10,415 in-state, $29,665 out-of-state
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $13,790 in-state, $22,210 out-of-state
University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $15,054 in-state, $30,214 out-of-state
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $13,560 in-state, $36,360 out-of-state
Rutgers University New Brunswick, NJ 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $14,131 in-state, $29,521 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students should consider the following when deciding between different horticulture programs:

  • Prior to enrolling in a program, students are encouraged to outline a career path to ensure the degree level meets academic requirements for a chosen profession.
  • Students may look for programs that offer different areas of specialization, such as botanical and biotechnical research, landscaping and urban planning or farming and agricultural studies.
  • Schools that provide access to many horticultural facilities, like greenhouses, plant nurseries, orchards or small farms, allow students to develop a broad range of skills and knowledge within the field.
  • Practical hands-on experience, such as fieldwork, departmental projects and internship opportunities, offers complementary instruction to traditional classroom teaching.

Certificate

These programs usually take 1-2 semesters to complete and may allow for career advancement or provide supplemental training for a current profession. Certificates are often offered through community colleges or vocational schools.

Associate of Science

Associate degree programs focus on hands-on, practical experience in areas such as landscape design, plant management and restorative practices.

Bachelor of Science

Bachelor's degree programs provide a strong background in horticulture and other natural sciences, such as botany, chemistry or biology.

Master of Science

Graduate programs usually take 2-3 years of study and research to complete and require students to focus on a specific horticultural specialty. Depending on the field of study, students might participate in teaching assistantships, research projects or internship programs through affiliated organizations.

Horticulture programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. Students should consider programs that offer hands-on experience in addition to classroom learning, and they should look into the different areas of specialization that programs offer.

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