The field of agricultural sciences includes a vast variety of subjects which include agronomy, dairy science, nutrition and food science, and horticulture. If you want to improve the nutritional value and quality of crops, and want to create greener urban landscapes, then a Master’s degree in Horticulture is ideal for you.
A typical horticulture curriculum consists of classes related to biotechnology, the practices of breeding and genetics, and the production, storage and marketing of horticultural plants.
Read this guide to find out more about the admission requirements, program requirements, and concentration options for students pursuing a Masters in Horticulture. The article will also provide an overview of the career options available to students of this program.
What Is Horticulture?
Horticulture is the science of production, development, and marketing of crops and ornamental plants. Environmental horticulture is composed of careers in landscape design, commercial nurseries and greenhouse production.
What Can You Do with a Master’s Degree in Horticulture?
This degree prepares candidates for professional careers in applied and basic plant science with an emphasis on ornamental crops, fuel, fiber and food.
After graduating, individuals can work for state and federal agricultural laboratories, garden centers, nurseries, and can even work in floral design. Individuals can also work with municipal parks and community or private gardens.
The masters in horticulture degree allows individuals to kick start their careers as Nursery Owners/Managers, Urban Foresters, Landscape Designers/Installers, and Agricultural and Food Scientists.
Agricultural and Food Scientists
These professionals find ways to improve the safety and efficiency of agricultural products and establishments.
Annual Median Salary, 2018: 64,020
Job Outlook (2018-2028): 7%
The category of Agricultural and Food Scientists is split into several sub-categories. Two of these are discussed below.
Food Scientists and Technologists
These professionals use the subjects of chemistry, microbiology and other sciences to study food deterioration, food content analysis, food safety determination etc.
Annual Median Salary, 2019: $68,970
Annual Mean Salary, 2019: $76,190
State with the Highest Salary, 2019: District of Columbia, 2019 - $100,790
State with the Highest Employment, 2019: California - 1,980
Soil and Plant Scientists
These individuals carry out research in yield, production, physiology, breeding, and management of agricultural plants, crops, shrubs, and trees. They also study how to control pests and improve crop productivity.
Annual Median Salary, 2019: $63,200
Annual Mean Salary, 2019: $69,860
State with the Highest Salary, 2019: Maryland - $101,010.
State with the Highest Employment Level, 2019: California - 2,580.
Note: These figures have been obtained from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What to Expect in a Master-Level Horticulture Program?
Read this section to find out more about the specialization options and modules that are available to the students.
Areas of Concentration
Students can concentrate in a number of areas, some of which include the following: Horticulture Marketing, Contained Environment Growing, Bioenergy, Sustainable Production Horticulture, Plant Physiology, Plant Nutrition, Plant Genetics and Breeding, Landscape Horticulture, and Ecology of Agricultural Ecosystems.
The Master’s program includes a variety of modules such as Statistical Methods for Bioscience, Genetic Mapping, Organic Vegetable Production, Fruit Crop Production, Plant Cell Culture and Genetic Engineering, Greenhouse Cultivation, Plant Nutrition Management, and Diseases of Trees and Shrubs.
How to Choose a Horticulture Program?
When choosing a Master's in Horticulture, you should consider the reputation of the school/program, accreditation status, duration of the program, location of the school, cost, curriculum, and the available concentrations.
How long it takes to complete a Masters in Horticulture depends on a number of factors, such as the mode of lesson delivery and full-time/part-time study options. Some online horticulture programs offer fast-track options, so you might want to research about online programs while choosing your degree options.
The admissions process varies by program and school. Students are expected to send the application admission forms along with the admission fee to their choice of school along with the necessary documents. These include GRE scores, letters of recommendations, and official transcripts.
Students have to meet the following admission criteria:
Must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited post-secondary US institution or a foreign institute
Must show evidence of knowledge of college level concepts of chemistry, algebra, and plant propagation, botany, or biology
GPA requirements and GRE score requirements generally vary from university to university
In order to graduate from a Master of Science in Horticulture, students are required to complete around 32 to 36 semester credit hours of approved coursework. The non-thesis option generally requires completion of 36 credit hours while the thesis option requires completion of 32 credit hours. While the thesis option requires completion of an original research project, the non-thesis track requires students to complete an internship. These requirements may vary from school to school.