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College of Agricultural and Life Sciences


Requirements for the Major
Honors in the Major

381/385 Horticulture Building, 1575 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-1490; hort@hort.wisc.edu; www.horticulture.wisc.edu

Professors Goldman (chair), Bamberg, Bussan, Colquhoun, Havey, Jiang, Nienhuis, Palta, Simon, Spooner, Yandell; Associate Professors Jansky, Jull, Krysan, Patterson; Assistant Professors Bethke, Harbut, Weng, Zalapa

Undergraduate advisor in the major: Kathryn Jones, kjones26@wisc.edu

Horticulturists work to enrich our lives by integrating and applying plant science, environmental science, molecular biology, biotechnology, genetics, physiology, and management. Specifically, horticultural science deals with the development, production, growth, distribution, and use of fruits, vegetables, greenhouse crops, ornamentals, turf, and specialty plant crops (used for flavoring and medicine). Horticultural science is one of the most diverse biological sciences one can study at a university. Not only are the biology and genetics of crop plants interesting, but the application of this knowledge is equally important in a myriad of situations. Undergraduate horticulture majors will obtain specialized training in greenhouse/field management and the production and use of fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbaceous/woody ornamentals, and turfgrass through the Bachelor of Science degree program.

Majoring in horticulture fits the needs of students who wish to graduate with the bachelor's degree, as well as of those planning on postgraduate work. The major provides an excellent background for graduate study in the field of plant sciences. Areas of graduate study include plant breeding and plant genetics, horticulture, agronomy, plant pathology, or other related fields such as biology, environmental science, natural resource management, agroecology and genetics.

Students with either undergraduate or graduate degrees in horticulture have a variety of career opportunities. The degree serves as excellent preparation for careers in food production, plant nurseries, community supported agriculture (CSA), public gardens, landscaping, urban agriculture, greenhouse production, teaching, public parks, vegetable fields, golf courses, urban agriculture, extension and community based educational work, work in research labs, and the health sciences. In addition, many horticultural science majors go on to work in public sector jobs including city and state positions with the Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, and University of Wisconsin Extension. Students with degrees in horticulture also work in hospitals (horticultural therapy), aerospace (food and recycling in space labs), and zoos (managing environments for animals and visitors). Although the career opportunities are numerous, horticulture students have a common desire to work intensively with plants to improve our environment and our health. Students who are interested in horticulture careers can subscribe to a weekly email summarizing current job postings and internships in the field by sending their contact info to hort@hort.wisc.edu.

Any student desiring to enter the program in horticulture should contact the department office or the undergraduate advisor. It is important to do so as early in the academic career as possible.

Requirements for the Major

The undergraduate curriculum concentrates on two major themes: (1) the plants (biology and use) that are commonly utilized in the profession, and (2) the control (physiology, genetics, and the environment) of the growth of these plants in production of final use situations. Many horticulture classes include lecture and lab sections, the lecture providing the theory and the labs providing hands-on application of that theory.

The basic requirements for the major include: chemistry, math, and biology. In addition, students take a set of Foundation courses in the areas of: entomology, genetics, soil science, botany, and plant pathology. Core courses in the horticulture major are: Hort 120 Survey, Hort 121 Colloquium, Hort 227 Propagation, Hort 320 Environments, Hort 334 Greenhouse Production, and three additional courses that provide a breadth of topics in the field. For this breadth requirement, students may select from areas including Fruit Crops, Vegetable Crops, Turf, Ornamentals, and Landscape Plants. Finally, students are required to take 5 credits of electives in CALS and complete a Capstone Experience via Hort 372 Organic Agriculture or Hort 374 Tropical Horticulture, or an independent research project (Hort 699). These requirements are outlined in detail below and in a curriculum sheet on the CALS website.

In addition, the culture of the Department of Horticulture strongly encourages students to participate in internship experiences and studies abroad. A weekly email is sent out listing a variety of internship opportunities for students; to subscribe to this email send a message to hort@hort.wisc.edu. Two of the courses (372 and 374), offered by the Department of Horticulture, contain study abroad components where students travel to Costa Rica over either winter or spring break. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of study abroad opportunities offered by CALS and the Office of International Academic Programs such as the semester abroad program in Wageningen or an international internship.

Students should plan on visiting with their academic advisor once each semester to ensure they are taking the proper courses for timely graduation.

Required Courses

Courses may not double count within the major (unless specifically noted otherwise), but courses counted toward the major requirements may also be used to satisfy a university requirement and/or a college requirement. A minimum of 15 credits must be completed in the major that are not used elsewhere.

Mathematics and Statistics

Math 112 and 113, or 114, or 171* or may be satisfied by placement exam
3 credits required from: Math 210, 211, 217*, 221, 222, Stat 301, 371, Comp Sci 302
*If Math 171 is taken, Math 217 must also be taken.


Chem 103 and 104, or Chem 109


One of the following sets:
(a) Botany 130 and Zoology 101 and 102  
(b) Biology/Botany/Zoology 151 and 152  
(c) Biocore 301 (381, effective spring 2014) and 303 (383, effective spring 2014) and two of the following labs:  Biocore 302, 304, or 324 (382, 384, or 486, effective spring 2014) [catalog update 8/23/13]


Entom 302 or 351
Genetics 160 or 466
Hort/Soil Sci 326 or Botany 500
PL Path 300 or 309
Soil Sci 301


One course required from: Botany 300, 400, 401, 455, 460, 500
Hort 120
Hort 121
Hort 227
Hort 320
Hort 334*
3 courses required from: Hort 345*, 370, 375 (section 001)—Plants and Human Wellbeing, 232* or 233*, [261 or 375—Lawns, Society and the Environment], 263 [catalog update 8/23/13]
*Alternate years


5 credits required from any combination of the following subsets:
Ag Social Science: AAE 320, 322, 323, 421, 474, C&E Soc 140, 222, 230, 578, 650, L Sc Com 111, 212, 320 (L Sc Com 111 prereq)
Biological Systems Engineering: BSE 201, 216, 218, 243, 356, 372, 472
Food Science: Food Sci 440, Nutr Sci 510
Nutritional Science: Nutr Sci 132, 311, 332, 350, 540
Ecological Sciences: F&W Ecol 110, 230, 314, 335, 360, 430, 455, 460, 550, Entom 342, Land Arc 361
Resource Management and Conservation: Entom 500, 541, F&W Ecol 379, 410, 501, 561, 652, 655, Geog 339, Land Arc 250, 651, 666, Pl Path 309, Zoology 315, 316, 651


Hort 372 or 374 or a course as approved by advisor and chair of the curriculum committee,* usually taken as a Hort 399 or 699.
*Example activities include broad-based internships or broad-based international study.

Recommended Horticulture Electives

Chem 341, Gen Bus 310, 311, Hort 375 (Arboriculture and Landscape Maintenance), 461, 501, 502, 550, 555, 561, L Sc Com 270
Other Hort courses depending on student focus

Honors in the Major

To earn Honors in the Major, students are required to take at least 20 honors credits.  In addition, students must take Horticulture 289, 681 and 682 when completing their thesis project; please see the Honors in Major Checklist for Horticulture for more information. The Department of Horticulture also works collaboratively to strongly support students through the Honors in Research program.

Interested students should check with the department advisor, Kirsten Brown, once per semester to seek guidance about planning the best possible Honors in the Major curriculum.

Certificate Program

Currently the department does not offer a certificate. Students majoring in other subjects who desire some training in horticulture will find Hort 120 Survey of Horticulture, Hort 334/335 Green House Production, Hort 370 World Vegetable Crops, and Hort 372 Colloquium in Organic Agriculture of special interest.