Department of Horticulture


Susan Gruber
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 517-353-0326


Horticulture is the art and science concerned with the production and utilization of high-value, intensively cultivated plants used for food, landscaping and environmental design. Horticultural plants include annual and perennial species, food crops and ornamental plants that can be grown outdoors and in controlled environments. The study of horticulture is for those who valus and appreciate plants and how they enrich our lives. Horticulturists cultivate human and environmental health.

The Horticulture major combines diverse fundamental disciplines - physical science, biological science, environmental science, social science, art and design - with horticultural crop production and business operations. Srudents gain hands-on experiemces through laboratory exercises in the MSU greenhouses and the Horticultural Demonstration Gardens, and at the MSU Horticulture Teaching and Research Center, which includes the Student Organic Farm.

Students choose one of the following concentrations. Elective courses in each track allow students to customize the program to suit their interests and career goals. 

  • Horticultural Science - prepares graduates for careers in the nursery and greenhouse production of ornamental plants, fruit and vegetable production, and marketing and management. This option is also ideal for students interested in controlled-environment production, biotechnology, plant breeding and genetics, and graduate studies in plant sciences. Core areas of study include commodity-specific production courses, plant genetics, soil science, entomology and plant pathology.

  • Sustainable and Organic Horticulture - prepares graduates for jobs in organic farming, community food systems, permaculture and urban agriculture. Core areas of study include vegetable and fruit production, soil biology, organic pest management, organic farming principles and practices, compost production and use, and plant pathology.
  • Landscape Design, Construction and Management - prepares graduates for a variety of careers in the landscape and nursery industries, landscape and urban tree management, and public gardens and arboreta. Core areas of study include landscape plant identification, irrigation systems, landscape design and management, landscape contract management, and the management of diseases and insects of trees.

Horticulture professional internship program

Horticulture students complete a professional internship as part of the requirements for graduation. An internship takes place the summer before the final year of the program. Students, employers and faculty advisors work together to create internship experiences that are an appropriate and meaningful part of the degree program.

The Department of Horticulture provides guidance on resume preperation, job interviewing, employer selection and internship objectives as part of the prerequisite course, HRT 207, Horticulture Career Development.

Core areas of study

  • Plant biology, physiology and genetics
  • Plant production and management
  • Soil science and biotechnology
  • Entomology and plant pathology
  • Horticultural business management

Student activities

Horticulture Club

Ecological Food and Farming Stewardship Club


The Department of Horticulture awards more than $80,000 in undergraduate scholarships each year. Scholarships are also available to horticulture majors from industry and civic groups.

Career opportunities

  • Community-supported agriculture
  • Organic food production and marketing
  • Greenhouse and garden center management
  • Horticultural commodity buying or brokering
  • Landscape construction, maintenance and design
  • Irrigation system design and installation
  • Plant propagation/growth
  • Vineyard or orchard management
  • Crop services provision
  • Public garden and arboretum management

Course listing

To read more about this major and the classes required for it, visit: https://reg.msu.edu/academicprograms/ProgramDetail.asp?Program=0386