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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
    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    Faculty and Staff


    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.


    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.

    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 Addictions Counseling 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.