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Master of Professional Studies in Horticulture

Horticulture Major web header image resized
  • Level: Graduate
  • Credits: 30 
  • No GRE required

Horticulture is the art and science of growing and maintaining ornamental plants and fruits, vegetables, and nuts to eat and use in and around our homes. Though a part of agriculture, horticulture does not include agronomic crop production or other agricultural products for animal consumption.

What Is the MPS in Horticulture?

Our master's degree in horticulture is an applied (rather than research-based) degree, focused on coursework and learning that you can apply directly to growing and managing plants.


Why Choose the MPS in Horticulture?

The Horticulture degree is

  • Relevant—This is an applied, rather than a research degree. You'll gain knowledge you can apply immediately to the care and management of plants.
  • 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.

Requirements and Courses

Degree Requirements

Requirement Credits Options
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)

Related Fields 12 credits APS 5XXX level courses for HORT and other approved courses
HORT 6002 Capstone: Problem Solving in Horticulture 3 credits  
Total 30 credits  

Introductory Coursework

As part of your degree requirements, you may need to complete introductory coursework in soils, plant pathology, and entomology, in consultation with the HORT Director of Graduate Studies.

Course Options

The following lists are just a sampling of the courses you can apply to your degree.

For detailed course information, visit the U of M Schedule Builder.

Course Name Course Number Credits
Common Medicinal Plants HORT 4011 3
Turfgrass Management HORT 4061W 3
Turfgrass Weed and Disease Science HORT 4062 3
Turfgrass Science HORT 4063 3
Applications of Plant Biotechnology HORT 4071W 4
Spring Flowering Bulbs HORT 4110
Prairie Perennials and Grasses HORT 4111 1
Flowering Trees and Shrubs HORT 4112 1
Scheduling Crops for Protected Environments HORT 4141W/6141 4
Horticultural Marketing HORT 4461 3
Medicinal Plants: Classification, Identification, and Application HORT 5011 3
Medicinal Plants: Growing and Processing
Public Garden Management
HORT 5012 3
Fruit Production and Viticulture for Local and Organic Markets HORT 5031 3
Organic Vegetable Production HORT 5032 3
Plant Cytogenetics HORT 5058 3
Problem Solving in Horticulture HORT 6002 3
Plant Propagation HORT 1001/6011 4
Supervised Teaching HORT 8005 2
Evolution of Crop Plants HORT 8023 3
Advanced Plant Breeding HORT 8201 3
Course Name Course Number Credits
Ecological Design for Horticulture APS 5101 3
Garden Design: Theory and Application APS 5102 2
Integration of Sustainable Agriculture Concepts APS 5103 3
Conservation at Botanic Gardens APS 5104 1
Finance for Nonfinancial Managers APS 6312 3
Data for Decision Making APS 6313 3
Leading Projects and Teams APS 6314 3
Course Name Course Number Credits
Biology, Ecology, and Management of Invasive Plants AGRO 4505 3
Issues in Sustainable Agriculture AGRO 4888 2
Introduction to Plant Breeding AGRO 5021 3
Ecology of Agricultural Systems AGRO 5321 3
Physiological Ecology of Plants in Natural and Managed Ecosystems AGRO 8305 4
Advanced Management of Agroecosystems AGRO 8605 3
Honey Bees and Insect Societies ENT 4021 3
Forest and Shade Tree Entomology ENT 4251 3
Insect Structure and Function ENT 5011 4
Insect Biodiversity and Evolution ENT 5021 4
Scientific Illustration of Insects ENT 5051 3
Insects, Aquatic Habitats, and Pollution ENT 5081 3
Applied Experimental Design ENT 5121 4
Insect Pest Management ENT 5211 3
Medical Entomology ENT 5275 3
Biological Control of Insects and Weeds ENT 5341 3−4
Aquatic Insects ENT 5361 3
Course Name Course Number Credits
Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management    
Water Quality and Natural Resources ESPM 4061W 3
Environmental Interpretation ESPM 4811 3
Ecological Restoration ESPM 5071 4
Conservation of Plant Biodiversity ESPM 5101 3
Ecology of Managed Systems ESPM 5108 3
Environmental Conflict Management, Leadership, and Planning ESPM 5202 3
Methods for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy ESPM 5242 3
Sustainable Land Use Planning and Policy ESPM 5245 3
Natural Resource Law and Management of Public Land/Water ESPM 5256 3
Wetland Soils ESPM 5555 3
Environmental Life Cycle Analysis ESPM 5603 3
Agroforestry in Watershed Management ESPM 5703 3
Ecological Restoration Project Planning and Management LA 5576 3
Metropolitan Landscape Ecology LA 5204 3
Plant Pathology    
Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions PLPA 5103/8103 3
Field Plant Pathology PLPA 5202 2
Introduction to Fungal Biology PLPA 5203 3
Current Topics in Molecular Plant Pathology PLPA 5300 1
Plant Genomics PLPA 5301 3
Ecology, Epidemiology, Evolutionary Biology of Plant-Microbe Interactions PLPA 5444 3
Principles of Plant Pathology PLPA 5480 3
Plant Disease Resistance and Applications PLPA 5660 3
Course Name Course Number Credits
Managing Recreational Lands FNRM 4232W 4
Forest Ecology FNRM 5104 4
Hydrology and Watershed Management FNRM 5114 3
Science and Politics of Global Environmental Change FNRM 5146 3
Forest and Wetland Hydrology FNRM 5153 3
Forest Fire and Disturbance Ecology FNRM 5203 3
Landscape Ecology and Management FNRM 5204 3
Productivity and Ecology of Forest Soils FNRM 5205 3
Measuring and Modeling Forests FNRM 5218 3
Visitor Behavior Analysis FNRM 5259 3
Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis of Natural Resources and Environment FNRM 5262 4
Advanced Forest Management Planning FNRM 5264 3
Managing Forest Ecosystems: Silviculture FNRM 5411 4
Managing for Ecosystems: Silviculture FNRM 5413 1
Urban Forest Management: Managing Greenspaces FNRM 5501 3
Ecological Restoration Project Planning and Management LA 5576 3
Metropolitan Landscape Ecology LA 5204 3
Course Name Course Number Credits
Conservation Biology and Soil    
Introduction to Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology FW 2001W 3
Principles of Conservation Biology FW 4102 3
Principles of Wildlife Management FW 4103 3
Field Study of Soils SOIL 4511 2
Soil Science for Teachers SOIL 5125 3
Vadose Zone Hydrology SOIL 5232 3
Soil Genesis and Landscape Relations SOIL 5515 3
Wetland Soils SOIL 5555 3
Soil Biology and Fertility SOIL 5611 3
Course Name Course Number Credits
World Food Problems APEC 4103 3
Ethics APSC 8123 0.5
Ecology BIOL 5407 3
Plant Physiological Ecology EEB 4068 3
Ecosystem Ecology EEB 4609 3
Holistic Approaches to Improving Food System Sustainability FDSY 4101 3
Marketing Management MBA 6210 3
Marketing Research MKTG 6051 4
Buyer Behavior MKTG 6055 4
Colloquium in Sustainable Agriculture SAGR 8010 2
Applied Regression Analysis STAT 5302 4

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


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.


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)


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. 


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.

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.

Find Your Place in the Industry

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

Listen to Mary Meyer's interview about horticulture career options on KMOJ.

Seed Your Future also provides helpful job market data and videos that explore different professions in horticulture.

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


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

Faculty and Staff


Eric Watkins head shot

Eric Watkins
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.


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.

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 ask Steve a question at ccapssteve@umn.edu or 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.

Stay Informed

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