Plant Sciences

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About the Department of Plant Sciences

PLSC four image collageThe Department of Plant Sciences at North Dakota State University is a diverse department with regional, national, and world-respected expertise. As part of the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources, the department offers academic programs that prepare students for careers in expanding job markets.  Undergraduate majors include Crop and Weed Sciences, Food Science, and Horticulture. Graduate programs include the M.S. in Plant Sciences/Horticulture, Cereal Science, and the Ph.D. in Plant Sciences and Cereal Science.

Agriculture is a fascinating and complex industry with international dimensions. The demand for Plant Sciences graduates is high, not only in North Dakota and the region, but throughout the United States and the world. The Department of Plant Sciences provides students with the knowledge, skills and understanding critical for professional success in a changing world. If you have an interest in plants and an interest in making a difference, this department is for you. Invest in your career by investing in Plant Sciences.

Mission

The mission of the Department of Plant Sciences is to:

  • Teach the sciences of plant breeding and genetics, weed science, biotechnology, horticulture, agronomic crop production, turfgrass management, and cereal and food science.  [Undergraduate and Graduate Programs]
  • Perform basic and applied research to advance the field of crop, weed, horticultural, and cereal and food sciences.  [Research]
  • Provide information to the public in the form of professional publications, Extension bulletins, and programs.  [Extension]

Programs of Study

Undergraduate Majors

A bachelor of science degree in one of the Plant Sciences areas provides a strong base for advanced degrees and prepares you for a variety of careers. The Department of Plant Sciences offers three undergraduate majors and cooperates in one interdisciplinary major. Within these programs, you can become a generalist or you can specialize in one or more of the several diverse areas such as crop science, weed science, plant breeding, genetics, horticulture, turfgrass management, laboratory sciences, field sciences, or food science.

  • Crop and Weed Sciences - offers options in biotechnology, agronomy, science, and weed science
  • Food Science - delivers education in food processing, food chemistry, cereal technology, food microbiology, food analysis and food product development
  • Horticulture - offers options in biotechnology, science, landscape design, landscape management, production-business, sports and urban turfgrass management, and urban forestry and parks
  • Biotechnology - an interdisciplinary field with faculty advisors spread among several academic departments in the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources and the College of Science and Mathematics

Graduate Studies

The Department of Plant Sciences offers graduate studies leading to the M.S. degree in Plant Sciences, Cereal Science, and Horticulture, and to the Ph.D. degree in Plant Sciences and Cereal Science. Specialized academic and research training is available and each study area is designed to provide students with a comprehension of the discipline and of relevant regional and global-community social issues.

  • Cereal Science - students gain knowledge and comprehension of the composition, functionality and utilization of cereals/grains that will allow them to solve and analyze challenges within their field of employment
  • Plant Sciences/Horticulture - training in the basic and applied sciences is emphasized, along with an original research project.

Faculty, Staff and Students

Members of the department are a close-knit group where almost everyone knows each other by name. A low student-to-faculty ratio gives students numerous opportunities to work closely with faculty mentors, both in and outside the classroom, and in relevant research activities that range from laboratory to greenhouse to field research. [Meet the faculty and staff]

Facilities

Plant Sciences offices, laboratories and greenhouses are located in modern facilities that include special classrooms and laboratories devoted to subjects such as plant identification, computer-aided class materials, biotechnology and plant growth. Large field research areas and an 80-acre arboretum are also available. The Plant Sciences Learning Center offers a unique atmosphere for students to work together, learn from one another with assistance from faculty and staff, and participate in hands-on experiences.  Campus buildings that house Plant Sciences activities include:

Student Organizations

Most Plant Sciences undergraduate students belong to either the Agronomy Club, the Food Science/Food Safety Club, the Horticulture and Forestry Club, or the Turf Club, all recognized by national organizations. Graduate students are members of the Plant Sciences Graduate Student Association.  As a member of one of these clubs, you can cultivate your professional interest in plant sciences while developing valuable friendships and associations with faculty members and fellow students. [Learn more about student organizations]

Scholarships

Numerous undergraduate scholarships are available in the Department of Plant Sciences. Scholarships are awarded based on scholastic merit and range from $300-$2,000 per year, totaling about $30,000 annually. Plant Sciences students are also eligible for scholarships available through the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources. [Learn more about scholarships]

Internships

Plant Sciences students have numerous opportunities for field experience internships, especially during the summer. Examples include scouting for crop consulting firms, research assistants for plant protection and plant breeding companies, and sales assistants for chemical companies. International opportunities also are available. [View internship opportunities]

Career Opportunities

The demand for Plant Sciences graduates is high, not only in North Dakota and the region, but throughout the United States and the world. A bachelor of science degree in one of the Plant Sciences areas provides a strong base for advanced degrees and prepares you for a variety of careers.  Employment opportunities include:

  • Crop consulting
  • Crop production and management
  • Farming
  • Pesticide, fertilizer, or seed sales
  • Greenhouse or nursery management
  • Landscape design
  • Ornamental horticulture
  • Grounds, sports turf, or golf course management
  • Lawn care operations
  • Research technician for a private or public research institution or university
  • Plant biotechnology
  • International programs
  • Natural resources conservation service
  • Extension service

[View career resources]

Agriculture is North Dakota's Largest Industry

Crops account for more than 60 percent* of the state's total cash farm income, not including crops grown as feed and forage for the livestock industry. North Dakota is a major producer of hard red spring wheat, durum wheat, barley, sunflower, flaxseed, dry edible beans, and potatoes. By attending NDSU, located in the heart of one of the world's most productive agricultural regions, Plant Sciences students have access to an impressive breadth of scholarship, internship, research and career opportunities. (*Figure based on 2010 data.)

Unlimited Future

This is your opportunity to do meaningful work in the world of people and plants. By choosing Plant Sciences, you have chosen an opportunity to meet new people, to become professionally involved, and to prepare for your future career. The Department of Plant Sciences can provide you with the opportunity to develop a competitive edge and prepare for a career that will make a difference, help feed the world, and pave the way to an unlimited future.

Transfer Students

Students transferring from other colleges and universities, including graduates of two-year programs, are encouraged to consider Plant Sciences at NDSU. [Learn more about NDSU Transfer Student Services]

Prospective Students

Undergraduate

For more information about North Dakota State University and admission application procedures, call the NDSU Office of Admission at 1-800-488-NDSU (toll-free) or 701-231-8643 (local).  The Office of Admission will be happy to help you arrange a visit to campus, including the Department of Plant Sciences.

For information about a Plant Sciences major, you may call the Department of Plant Sciences direct at 701-231-7971, contact us by fax at 701-231-8474, send an e-mail to ndsu.plantsciences@ndsu.edu, or complete and submit the Plant Sciences Prospective Student form.

Graduate

For more information about North Dakota State University and admission application procedures, contact the Graduate School at (701) 231-7033 or ndsu.grad.school@ndsu.edu.  Their staff will be happy to help you arrange a visit to campus, including the Department of Plant Sciences graduate programs. 

Students interested in graduate studies must apply through the Graduate School.  Applications will not be considered until complete.

North Dakota State University is an equal opportunity institution.

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