By earning an online bachelor's degree in horticulture, you gain the specialized knowledge and skills needed to pursue diverse careers related to plant production, landscaping, and environmental sustainability. This guide can help you choose the program that best suits your academic interests and career goals.
Read on to learn more about common admission requirements, courses, and career paths in horticulture.
What Are the Best Horticulture Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top Two:
|1||Oregon State University||Corvallis, OR|
|2||Colorado State University - Fort Collins||Fort Collins, CO|
Students who earn an online bachelor's degree in horticulture receive a science-based education centering on plant biology and environmental stewardship. Graduates are equipped to pursue entry-level positions as landscape technicians, greenhouse growers, and arborists.
This degree also helps you develop the applied research competencies needed to obtain an online master's degree in horticulture. You can also pursue graduate education in a related field, such as environmental science, urban planning, and agriculture business. A graduate-level degree can open the door to management and postsecondary teaching careers.
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2020 Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Horticulture Programs
Oregon State University
|Corvallis, OR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Based in Corvallis, OSU enrolls nearly 33,000 students each year. The school provides an extensive array of degrees, including an online bachelor's in horticulture that prepares candidates for careers as conservation scientists, crop and livestock managers, and park naturalists. The program offers flexible course scheduling and four yearly start dates.
The 180-quarter-credit curriculum covers topics like plant nutrition, environmental economics and policies, and applied ecology. Students learn how to cultivate sustainable landscapes and implement organic farming/gardening initiatives. Candidates must also complete a 360-hour internship.
OSU prefers first-year applicants with a 3.0 GPA or higher. The university maintains a test-optional policy, allowing students to decide whether they want to submit their ACT/SAT scores.
Colorado State University - Fort Collins
|Fort Collins, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 71%||
CSU powers distance education with the Canvas platform. Undergraduate students can pick from 12 online degree options, including a bachelor of science in horticulture with a horticulture business management concentration. By completing this 120-credit program, graduates gain the necessary skills to work as landscape technicians, greenhouse managers, and plant collections curators.
Required coursework covers topics like agricultural/resource economics and plant physiology. Distance learners also delve into horticulture entomology, focusing on food crops and landscape plants. Students can augment their online bachelor's degree in horticulture by pursuing a minor in a complementary field, like anthropology, political science, or global and environmental sustainability.
CSU offers fall, spring, and summer entry dates. Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA for admission. In addition to a low tuition rate that disregards residency status, distance learners can access military benefits and institutional scholarships.
Online Bachelor's in Horticulture Program Overview
To earn an online bachelor's degree in horticulture, you need to complete about 120 credits of coursework. This process usually takes four years, although you can sometimes expedite graduation by enrolling in intensive tracks that offer accelerated courses throughout the year. Depending on your transfer credit, these programs can allow you to earn your degree 1-3.5 years.
Undergraduate horticulture programs cover scientific knowledge and relevant business skills. Beyond general education requirements in math and science, core courses typically cover topics like botany, plant physiology, applied ecology, and insect biology. Students also learn to manage greenhouses and work as part of a multidisciplinary team.
Most online bachelor of science in horticulture programs also include practical experience through field research and a practicum or internship.
Common Bachelor's in Horticulture Degree Courses
- Plant Ecology
Students in this class examine the interactions that determine the abundance and distribution of plants in the environment. In addition to population biology, this course covers how different plant species interact in landscapes and ecosystems. Additional topics may include plant-soil relationships, global ecological patterns and processes, and human environmental influences.
- Landscape Plant Materials
In this core course, students delve into basic plant anatomy, taxonomy, and nomenclature. They learn to identify vines, shrubs, trees, and grounds used in landscape horticulture. Students also learn how these plants are used in various landscapes.
- Ecological Restoration
This specialized course covers the fundamentals of reclaiming disturbed landscapes and ecosystems. Students learn how to assess site conditions; determine restoration goals and their feasibility; and analyze hydrologic, biotic, and soil functions. They also gain the skills needed to measure the success of a restoration initiative in the contexts of government regulations and stakeholder priorities.
- Agricultural and Food Management
Students who take this business-oriented class explore the economic and operational principles related to areas like farming, food manufacturing, ranching, and packing and shipping. They develop skills in information management, financial analysis, and firm-level goal setting. This course may also cover the functions of domestic and international agricultural/food markets, with an emphasis on supply chains and marketing strategies.
- Precision Agriculture
In this course, students examine the hardware, software, and equipment used in data management planning for precision growing. They learn about technological innovations like autonomous vehicles, yield monitors, variable rate control systems, and GPS sensors for soil and crop placement. Precision agriculture is a crucial topic for students who want to pursue farming and ranching careers.
Online Bachelor's in Horticulture Admission Requirements
High School Diploma
To pursue an online bachelor's degree in horticulture, you need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Colleges and universities usually require applicants to submit transcripts. Depending on the program, you may need to take prerequisite courses in math and English.
Many programs maintain a GPA cutoff between 2.0 and 3.0. Competitive schools usually maintain higher standards. Some institutions operate a holistic evaluation process that considers a combination of high school performance, professional accomplishments, and leadership qualities.
This requirement asks you to write a 1-2-page statement describing your academic history and professional objectives. Colleges use this document to get to know you better on an individual level. Some schools ask you to respond to a general prompt, while other institutions require answers to short essay questions.
Standardized tests attempt to ascertain a student's potential for success at the postsecondary level. Although many colleges and universities continue to require entrance exams, there is a growing movement to eliminate standardized testing altogether.
Many schools require a current resume or CV. Additionally, your school might require you to submit recommendation letters from former professors, employers, and/or mentors.
Online Bachelor's in Horticulture Career Paths
After earning an online bachelor's degree in horticulture, you can pursue entry-level careers related to plant/livestock production and the use of plant materials in natural and constructed landscapes. You can also find work in national parks as a conservationist or in government agencies as an urban or regional planner.
To pursue the highest-level positions in the field, you most likely need to earn a master's or doctoral degree. By enrolling in a business-focused program, you can gain the project leadership skills needed to succeed in managerial and policy roles. Alternatively, science-centered graduate programs can help prepare you for work as a dedicated researcher or college professor.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What do horticulturalists do?
Horticulture is the science of growing and maintaining flowers, vegetables, trees, and grass. Horticulturists may also examine ecosystems and global change, making them great conservationists and sustainability experts. As part of their job, horticulturists may also oversee greenhouses and landscaping crews.
- How long does it take to get a bachelor's degree in horticulture?
Traditional bachelor's programs take four years to complete. If you have prior college courses or relevant professional experience, transfer-friendly programs can allow you to graduate in less time.
- Is a horticulture degree hard?
Difficulty varies and is based on your personal academic strengths and weaknesses. Bachelor's in horticulture programs emphasize scientific knowledge. In addition to coursework in general chemistry and biology, you can expect to take classes in plant pathology and nutrition, as well as ecology and biodiversity.
- How much do horticulturists make a year?
According to PayScale, horticulturists make an average annual salary of about $41,000. However, salaries vary greatly based on your location and industry. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that scientists who work in food manufacturing make about $69,000 each year.
- Is horticulture a good career choice?
Horticulture is a growing field. The BLS projects agricultural and food science positions to grow by 7% between 2018 and 2028, adding about 38,000 new jobs to the U.S. economy.
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