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Master of Professional Studies in Horticulture

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Horticulture is the art and science of growing and maintaining plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and nuts to eat or use. Horticulturists work mainly on small-scale landscapes, farms, gardens, and orchards.

Our MPS in Horticulture is an applied (rather than research-based) degree, focused on teaching skills that you can apply directly to growing and managing plants.

    Why Choose the MPS in Horticulture?

    The Horticulture degree is

    • Career-focused—You'll gain knowledge you can use to boost or start a career in the cultivation of plants, flowers, trees, or grasses.
    • Customizable—With only 15 required Horticulture credits, you can take related courses that match your interests (see our Sample Specializations below).
    • Marketable—The world needs people who know how to responsibly grow, maintain, and restore landscapes, plants, and vegetables.
    • Welcoming—We aim to promote diversity, inclusivity, and equity to provide an enriching and rewarding experience for everyone.

    Meet the Horticulture Director of Graduate Studies

    As Director of Graduate Studies, Eric Watkins supervises and coordinates the Horticulture program, guides and improves the educational experience, and serves as a liaison among students, faculty, staff, and administration.

    Learn more about this award-winning professor and his turfgrass research.

    Requirements and Courses

     

     

    Degree Requirements

    Requirement Credits Options
    HORT 6101: Introduction to the MPS in Horticulture Program 1 credit  
    Horticulture Courses 15 credits

    HORT 4xxx-level courses (up to 9 cr)

    HORT 5xxx-level courses

    HORT 6003 Internship (1–3 cr)

    HORT 6011 Plant Propagation (4 cr)

    Entomology; Plant Pathology; or Soil, Water, and Climate Courses 3 credits Take 3 or more credits from ENT, PLPA, or SOIL coursework
    Related Fields 9 credits APS 5XXX level courses for HORT and other approved courses
    HORT 6002 Capstone: Problem Solving in Horticulture 2 credits  
    Total 30 credits  

    Course Options

    MPS in Horticulture students can choose from a number of different course and thematic options at University in varying colleges and departments, such as:

    • Horticulture (HORT)
    • Agronomy (AGRO) and Entomology (ENT)
    • Environmental Sciences (ESPM) and Plant Pathology (PLPA)
    • Natural Resource Management (FNRM)
    • Conservation Biology (FW) and Soil, Water, and Climate (SOIL)

    For detailed course information, visit the U of M Schedule Builder and enter the designator above.

    Students are also encouraged to explore Applied Professional Studies (APS) courses to complement their professional goals and career preparation. These include:

    Ecological Design for Horticulture APS 5101 3 cr
    Garden Design: Theory and Application APS 5102 2 cr
    Integration of Sustainable Agriculture Concepts APS 5103 3 cr
    Conservation at Botanic Gardens APS 5104 1 cr
    Finance for Nonfinancial Managers ASCL 6312 3 cr
    Data for Decision Making ASCL 6313 3 cr
    Leading Projects and Teams ASCL 6314 3 cr

    What Can I Do With a Master's Degree in Horticulture?

    You can go into a variety of related fields. Companies are looking for employees who not only have a plant science background but can also communicate and manage effectively.

    Read the video transcript.

    Opportunities in the Horticulture Industry

    • 49%Employment growth in Minnesota in occupations related to horticulture between 2019-29*

    Horticulturists can work in a wide variety of organizations—owned by industry, government, institutions, or privately—that are involved in the care and maintenance of plants, such as:

    • Parks, aquariums, or zoos
    • Greenhouses or garden centers
    • Botanical or public gardens
    • Nurseries or orchards
    • Golf courses or athletic fields
    • Sod or tree farms
    • Landscaping companies

    Seed Your Future also provides helpful job market data and videos that explore different professions in horticulture. Some positions of our graduates could include:*

    • Climate Research Farm Manager
    • Agricultural Specialist
    • Garden Manager
    • Farm Manager
    • Ranch Manager
    • Agronomist

    * Burning Glass Technologies: Program Insight™, accessed 08/5/21

    Align Your Skills with a Rewarding Career

    The chart below can help you see how your interests might position you in the job market.

    Trees, Flowers, Landscapes

    Infographic-trees, flowers, landscapes
    Landscape designer or gardener, greenhouse technician, garden manager, plant collection manager, nursery owner, conservationist, arborist

    Food Production

    Infographic-food production
    Orchardist, vegetable specialist, urban farm manager, community garden manager

    Turfgrass

    Infographic-turfgrass
    Golf course, athletic field, or park manager, caretaker, groundskeeper, park superintendent, lawn care specialist

    Pest Management

    Infographic-pest management
    Controller of insects, diseases, and other pests for public spaces

    Restoration Ecology

    Infographic-restoration ecology
    Crew manager, conservationist, land care manager, plant records analyst

    Public Gardens

    Infographic-public gardens
    Education manager, teacher, curator, horticulture manager, landscape gardener, conservationist

    Sample Specializations

    The program areas described below are suggestions; we encourage you to pursue your own interests and objectives in consultation with the Horticulture Director of Graduate Studies.

    Public Garden Management

    Public Garden Management

    For students interested in conservation, display gardens and plant collection management involving arboreta, botanic gardens, zoological gardens, parks, and other organizations.

     

    Restoration and Conservation

    Restoration and Conservation

    For students who seek positions involving the design, development, restoration, and maintenance of natural and man-made landscapes.

     

    Sustainable Landscape Plant Production

    Sustainable Landscape Plant Production

    For students who are interested in sustainability issues involving fruit and nut crops, vegetables, nursery, and greenhouse crops within our rapidly changing climate.

     

    Urban Agriculture and Food Production

    Urban Agriculture and Food Production

    For students interested in food and ornamental plant production practices that emphasize organic, community-focused methods and strategies.

     

    Additional Areas of Interest

    You might also consider these areas of study.

    • Landscape design
    • Safe and healthy food
    • Horticultural marketing
    • Horticultural education
    • Horticultural therapy
    • Environmental horticulture
    • Urban horticulture
    • Horticultural writing and illustration

    Admission

    Fall Semester Application Deadline: March 15
    Spring Semester Application Deadline: October 15

    Admission to the Master of Professional Studies in Horticulture is competitive, and the faculty committee reviews all applications to ensure a good fit for academic success. Admission decisions are and made and notification sent within four to six weeks of application deadline.

    We strive to be equitable in the admissions process. Our program thrives with the inclusion of students from different backgrounds and cultural experiences. Our admissions committee reviews applications holistically including all components of the application, and does not require standardized test scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). If you have questions about the admission requirements or would like advice on how to put together application materials, please contact us.

    Prerequisite course work may be completed at the University of Minnesota or at other educational institutions and is subject to transfer review.

    Algebra

    Any one of the six math courses listed below satisfies the algebra requirement.

    • MATH 1031 College Algebra and Probability (3 credits; prereq. 3 years of high school math and placement exam or GC 0731 with a grade of C or better)
    • MATH 1051 Precalculus I (3 credits; prereq. 3 years of high school math and placement exam or GC 0731 with a grade of C or better)
    • MATH 1142 Short Calculus (3 credits; prereq. 3−5 years of high school math or MATH 1031 with a grade of C or better)
    • MATH 1151 Precalculus II (3 credits; prereq. 3−5 years of  high school math and placement exam or MATH 1051 with a grade of C or better)
    • MATH 1155 Intensive Precalculus (5 credits; prereq. 3 years of  high school math and placement exam or GC 0731 with a grade of C or better. Equivalent to MATH 1051 plus 1151)
    • MATH 1271 Calculus I (4 credits; prereq. 4 years of  high school math including trigonometry and placement exam or MATH 1151 or MATH 1155 with a grade of C or better)

    Chemistry

    Either of the two chemistry courses listed below satisfies the chemistry requirement:

    • CHEM 1015/1017 (or CHEM 1011) Introductory Chemistry (4 credits; prereq. high school chemistry and 2 years of high school math; high school physics recommended; for students not passing placement exam)
    • CHEM 1021 Chemical Principles I (4 credits; prereq. placement exam, or CHEM 1011, or CHEM 1015/1017)

    Biology, Botany, or Plant Propagation

    Any one of the three options below satisfies this requirement:

    • BIOL 1009 General Biology (4 credits; prereq high school chemistry, one term of college chemistry recommended)
    • BIOL 2022 General Botany (3 credits; prereq. BIOL 1001 or BIOL 1009)
    • HORT 1001 Plant Propagation (4 credits; no prereq.)

    Several of the courses listed above are also prerequisites for other classes you’ll likely take.

    The following items are required for admission:

    • a bachelor's degree from an accredited post-secondary US institution, or its foreign equivalent
    • a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.8*
    • evidence of knowledge of current, introductory college level concepts of algebra and chemistry and biology or botany or plant propagation

    The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is not required.

    * In exceptional circumstances, promising applicants with lower GPA or less work experience may be considered for the program. An explanation for the GPA, and evidence that academic success at the graduate level is achievable, must be addressed in the application (extenuating circumstances).

    1. First, access the online application. (In the application select University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Continuing and Professional Studies, Horticulture - MPS)
    2. All required application materials must be electronically attached to your application.

    Applicant Statements

    • Professional statement: Typically one to two pages, double-spaced, should describe your personal and/or career goals.
    • Diversity statement: Optional.
    • Extenuating Circumstances statement: If your undergraduate GPA is below 2.8 or you have less work experience, please provide an explanation.

    Letters of Recommendation

    Two letters of recommendation are required. Letters should be solicited from individuals who can provide a candid assessment of your abilities (including strengths and weaknesses), personality, character, and potential for graduate-level academic success and professional achievement. 

    Transcripts

    Unofficial transcripts or academic records for each institution (even if you didn’t receive a degree) should be uploaded directly to the online application. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. If possible, make sure the institution has put your name on the transcript/record. 

    Resume or CV

    Submit a current resume or CV.

    GRE Scores

    The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is not required.

    Application Fee

    A nonrefundable application fee must be paid on submission. 

    You may be able to transfer up to 10 credits of graduate-level coursework completed prior to admission, with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

    Transfer coursework requirements:

    • Taken at the University of Minnesota or another accredited institution 
    • Completed at the graduate level and listed on a graduate transcript
    • Earned a grade of B or better
    • Completed no more than five years prior to admission to the program 

    Transfer Coursework Taken as an Undergraduate

    You may be able to transfer up to 6 of the 10 transfer coursework credits taken as an undergraduate, with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the Associate Director for Graduate Programs.

    Prebaccalaureate transfer coursework requirements:

    • Completed as a prebaccalaureate student pursing an undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota and listed on your undergraduate transcript
    • Taken at the graduate level
    • Earned a grade of B or higher
    • Completed no more than five years prior to admission to the program
    • Not counted toward completion of a bachelor’s degree

    In order to transfer your graduate-level credits completed as a prebaccalaureate student, submit:

    1. A petition form, signed by an undergraduate program advisor confirming credits were not used toward undergraduate degree 
    2. Syllabi from course(s), preferred
    3. Full APAS report

    The DGS and the Associate Director for Graduate Programs will review the information and jointly decide on the use of the credits in your graduate program.

    If your native language is not English, please submit scores from the TOEFL, MELAB, or IELTS English proficiency examination. Read more about required scores.

    • Required TOEFL scores are 84 or above, with section scores of at least 21 on writing and at least 19 on reading.
    • Required IELTS score is 6.5, with section scores of at least 6.5 on both writing and reading.
    • Required MELAB score is 84.

    For information on visa status, contact the International Student and Scholar Service for information on visa status.

    How to Register for Undergraduate Courses to Satisfy Prerequisites

    Complete steps 1−5 found on the One Stop page for nondegree students. Please note that undergraduate courses used to satisfy prerequisites will not count toward your degree requirements. 

    How to Register for Graduate-level Courses BEFORE Being Admitted to a Graduate Program

    Credit courses taken before admission may be applied toward this degree. You can take a graduate-level course before being admitted if:

    • the course is graduate-level (4xxx-level or above), and
    • you register for credit as a nondegree graduate student and pay graduate-level tuition.

    Follow these step to register:

    1. Download and submit a Registration Request for Graduate Credit for Nondegree Students Form. Registration for nondegree students is not available online.
    2. Send the form to the department offering the courses for authorization. This form must be used each term until you are admitted to a program.
    3. Upon authorization, the department offering the graduate course will forward the form to the registrar or provide you with further instructions.
    4. Check email and mail for confirmation and payment instructions.
       

    Faculty and Staff

    Director of Graduate Studies

    Eric Watkins

    Eric Watkins head shot

    As Director of Graduate Studies, Eric supervises and coordinates the Horticulture program, guides and improves the educational experience, and serves as a liaison among students, faculty, staff, and administration. He is a professor in the Department of Horticultural Science at the University of Minnesota. Eric received his PhD in plant biology from Rutgers University. His research focuses on the development of low‐input turfgrass cultivars for use in cold climates. Research activities involve germplasm improvement of several cool‐season turfgrass species including fine fescues and perennial ryegrass. He is also involved with turfgrass cultivar evaluation and other turfgrass science research.

    Faculty

    In addition to teaching many of the courses you’ll be taking, Horticultural Science faculty are also accessible to students as internship and directed studies supervisors, program plan advisors, and as career mentors. You’ll also routinely take courses from faculty in other departments across the University, most notably in Soil, Water and Climate; Plant Pathology; and Entomology.

    The best way to contact a faculty member is to send a brief email message with "Master of Professional Studies-Hort" noted in the subject line.

    Department of Horticultural Science Faculty

    Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid

    We want to ensure you have access to the education you want. Find out more about financial aid or talk to our scholarship advisor.

    HORT students are not provided any financial support from the program in the form of fellowships, research/teaching assistantships, etc.

    HORT students fund their own degree program through personal savings, loans, off-campus employment, and other external sources of financial aid. To learn more about financial aid or CCAPS scholarship eligibility, talk to our scholarship advisor.

    If you would like to be considered for any available scholarship funding for newly admitted graduate students, you must complete the annual FAFSA for the upcoming academic year. Choose the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities as your school within FAFSA.

    COVID-19 Information

    Prospective Students: Please connect with enrollment advisor Steve Wicks with your questions or to schedule an appointment.

    Current Students: Reach out to your academic advisor with any questions.

    The U of M Online website offers helpful tips and resources for students for successful online learning.

    Let's Connect

    You can learn more about the Horticulture program in a way that works for you. Enrollment Advisor Steve Wicks is here to help.

    Steve Wicks headshot

    Or you can give Steve a call at 612-301-6127.

    Do you have a more detailed question or want to tell us a little bit about yourself before the meeting? Fill out this brief questionnaire.

    Meet Steve

    Steve works with prospective students who are interested in one of our graduate programs or certificates. He is happy to answer your questions about our degrees, admission requirements, and the application procedure. In his free time, he can usually be found in the woods or on the water, or cheering on all the Wisconsin sports teams.