Plant Sciences Major

Plant Sciences is the study of plant growth, reproduction, evolution, and adaptation, as well as the use of plants for food, fiber, and ornamental purposes. While students majoring in Plant Sciences necessarily share a common enthusiasm for plants, the variety of available courses and research opportunities encourages a great diversity of individual interests and career paths. Plant Sciences students gain the expertise necessary to advance research in and address many local, regional, and global challenges, such as:

  • Producing enough food for a growing world population.
  • Breeding plants to tolerate the heat- and drought-stress caused by climate change.
  • Developing sustainable cropping practices to produce healthful and nutritious food.
  • Investigating new methods to fight plant diseases.
  • Restoring damaged ecosystems to better support those who live there.
  • Conserving species, through plant collections in gardens and arboretums, for future generations.


  • Ecology of Managed Landscapes (Ecology)
  • Plant Breeding & Genetics (Breeding)
  • Plant Computational Biology (Big Data)
  • Plant Evolution and Systematics (Evolution)
  • Plant Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology (Physiology)
  • Plant Pathology & Plant Microbe Biology (Disease)
  • Plants and Human Health (Phytotherapy)
  • Soil Science (Soils)
  • Sustainable Plant Production (Sustainability)
  • Design Your Own Concentration (DYOC)

Employment Fields

  • Organic Farming
  • Farming
  • Agriculture Business; Sales, Marketing & Management
  • Horticulture
  • Research

What recent graduates are doing

  • Certified Organic Produce Farmer
  • Assistant Orchard Manager
  • Ornamental Horticulture Assistant
  • Graduate and professional study in education, horticulture, plant breeding, public gardens management, plant protection, plant pathology, genomics & computational biology, crop & soil science, and medicine
  • Research assistant at an urban botanical garden
  • Assistant grower of fruits and vegetables
  • Retail Branch Manager at a nursery

Sample Classes

PLBIO 2410 Introductory Plant Biodiversity and Evolution

Introduction to plant diversity, ecology, structure, reproduction, and evolution, with an emphasis on the flowering plants and the history of life on earth. Laboratory and lectures are integrated to provide hands-on skills and concepts. First and second weeks of laboratory are field trips, starting with the first full week of classes.

PLBRG 2250 Plant Genetics

This course surveys modern plant genetics and how this information is integrated with the principles of plant biology. Students learn about plant genomes, cross pollination, and methods for the analysis and manipulation of genes from different crop and plant species.

PLSCS 4140 Tropical Cropping Systems: Biodiversity, Social, and Environmental Impacts

This course investigates how the characterization of natural, physical, and social resources—including climate, water, and soil—determine different farming systems. Learn about the sustainability and environmental impact of different crop systems found in the tropics.

    More about Plant Sciences from the Department-The School of Integrative Plant Sciences