Plant Sciences


What concentrations are available within Plant Sciences? Which one will you choose?

Plant Science combines basic science courses with applied technical classes to prepare students for the many and varied careers in this growing field.  Students seeking a Plant Science degree must complete requirements in one of the following areas of concentration:

  • Plant Biology combines basic science courses with applied technical classes to prepare students for the many and varied careers in this growing field. 

  • Turf and Golf Course Management and Urban Forestry place emphasis on the skills needed for leadership and management of organizations in the turf, design/build and urban forestry industries.

Emma Weiss, PLSC student, reflects on AGNR.

What do we do?

What is Plant Sciences?

Concentrations available:

Plant Biology

Areas of study:

  • Plant Ecology

  • Plant Pathology/Food Safety

  • Plant Physiology and Development

What issues do plant scientists research and help find solutions for? World hunger, climate change, environmental stress: drought, salt & temperature stress, food safety, crop security, and much more!

The Plant Biology concentration introduces students to the fundamental principles of plant biology using topical instruction, individual research, and collaborative project approaches. Plant Biology combines basic science courses with applied technical classes to prepare students for the many and varied careers in this growing field. 

Areas of Interest

Plant Ecology/ Conservation

Plant Physiology & Development

Plant Pathology & Microbiology

  • Urban/Forest/Wetland 

  • Ecology

  • Conservation biology

  • Population biology

  • Systematic taxonomy

  • Agricultural ecology

  • Fungal ecology

  • Plant physiology

  • Plant genetics

  • Plant adaptation to climate change

  • Developmental biology

  • Crop Improvement

  • Mechanisms of plant pathogen interactions

  • Virology

  • Food safety

  • Food security

  • Mycology


The Plant Biology concentration introduces students to the fundamental principles of plant biology using topical instruction, individual research, and collaborative project approaches. Topical subjects integrated into instructional programs include: food security, food safety, medicinal plant use, organic and sustainable food systems, conservation biology, human interactions with local and global ecosystems, and adaptation to global climate change. Students generally participate in research/learning communities centered around Plant Ecology, Plant Pathology/Food Safety, or Plant Physiology and Development. Graduates from the program go on to graduate school or to careers in biotechnology, government, and education.

Plant Biology is designed to prepare students for graduate or professional schools and/or a career in research. This area provides a strong foundation for postgraduate education in many aspects of plant biology including biotechnology, breeding, conservation, ecology, genomics or plant protection. Some of our alumni have gone on to medical school, pharmacy school, are growing plants for pharmaceutical production, amongst other great opportunities!

Contact us today!

Dr. Gary Coleman

Dr. Gary Coleman

Associate Professor & Director of Plant Sciences | 301-405-4371 | PLS 2128 
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Diana Cortez

Diana Cortez, General Questions

Academic Advisor & Lecturer

301-405-4359 | 


Dr. Gary Coleman, Director & Advisor for the Plant Sciences program, explains the Plant Biology curriculum.

Turf & Golf Course Management

Areas of study:

  • Turfgrass 

  • Sports turf 

  • Commercial turfgrass 

  • Parkland turfgrass


Turf and Golf Course Management provides the skills needed to succeed as a turfgrass professional in the golf course or sports turf industry, stressing an interdisciplinary approach to this career.

The University of Maryland Turfgrass Research is committed to developing and promoting sustainable management practices that improve turf utility while also maximizing beneficial environmental impacts.  Many of us enjoy turfgrass that supports sporting and leisure activities while reducing noise, heat, glare and dust. However, turfgrasses  that are maintained in an environmentally-informed manner also reduce soil erosion  and silt runoff while increasing water infiltration,  ground water filtration, and CO2 sequestration.  Our goal at UMD is to research and advance integrated pest management strategies that reduce water, fertilizer and pesticide inputs while promoting healthy and environmentally beneficial turfgrass stands. 

Why study Turf and Golf Course Management?

  • Continued suburbanization of the United States has resulted in the ever growing presence of turfgrass in the American landscape. For example, in several states along the eastern seaboard turfgrass acreage now exceeds that of all agricultural crops combined. The turfgrass industry is devoted to providing the goods, services, and expertise needed to maintain turf areas. This industry provides multiple, well-paying career track opportunities for those possessing expertise in turf, golf course, and sports field management.

  • Turfgrass is utilized in multiple ways to provide functional and aesthetic benefits to society. The intensity of management used to maintain turfgrass varies widely, and ultimately depends on the intended use of the turf. The skill set of today's turfgrass manager requires the individual to not only produce and maintain the desired appearance and functional capabilities of a turfgrass site, but also to meet the tripartite responsibilities of being a good steward of the land, an effective manager of people, and prudent user of resources. Successful development and integration of this skill set requires an in depth understanding of plant biology, pest management, soil science, and human resource management. The study of turf and golf course management provides the fundamental knowledge base for developing this skill set.

  • Individuals having a passion for outdoor sports will find that pursuing a degree in turf and golf course management provides them the opportunity to stay close to the sport they love. Graduates in Turf and Golf Course Management typically track into entry level management positions in golf course management, athletic field management, and sport facilities management upon graduation.

  • Not sure which direction you want to go? Internship opportunities to available students majoring in turf and golf course management far exceeds the number of students enrolled in this field of study. Where would you like to spend your next summer?

Career Opportunities

The management of turfgrasses is a highly specialized profession with numerous career opportunities for those possessing degrees in turfgrass management. Traditionally, the number of opportunities available to Turf and Golf Course Management students has exceeded the number of graduates. This trend is expected to continue in the future. Turf and Golf Course Management Program graduates are commonly employed as:

  • Golf course superintendent

  • Grounds superintendent

  • Stadium and professional sports facility manager

  • Parks and recreational facility manager

  • Regional sales or manufacturing representative

  • Sod production manager

  • Lawn care company owner/manager

  • Turfgrass facility construction specialists

  • Governmental or private sector turfgrass environmental specialists

Contact us today!

Dr. Mark Carroll

Dr. Mark Carroll

Associate Professor, Director for ENSP, & Advisor | 301-405-1339 | PLS 2132



*Please note that if you are using your phone to schedule an appointment be sure the calendar is set to EST and not GMT.

Diana Cortez

Diana Cortez, General Questions

Academic Advisor & Lecturer

301-405-4359 | 

Urban Forestry

Areas of study:

  • Urban tree and forest management

  • Greenspace tree canopy design and management

  • Urban forest health


Urban forestry provides the skills and experience necessary in is the art, science and technology of managing trees and forest resources in and around urban community ecosystems for the sustainable, sociological, economic and aesthetic benefits trees provide society.

Urban Forestry, provides the experience and skills necessary to manage urban trees and forests and enhance urban sustainability.  This program stresses tree biology, forest ecology and forest assessment and management tools and prepares students for careers with municipalities or government agencies as well as private industry such as power companies and the tree-care industry.

Why Study Urban Forestry?

  • Because you believe that a sustainable urban tree canopy can reduce the carbon footprint of cities and slow global warming

  • Because you want to lower energy use in city buildings and homes through proper tree selection and maintenance

  • Because you care about protecting our waterways from excessive storm water run-off by replacing paved surfaces with plants and trees

  • Because you have a vision of keeping the lights and heat on after a hurricane or winter storm through your planning and management of urban trees

  • Because you can be a leader in making our urban areas more beautiful, functional and sustainable by “Embracing the Impossible” in the Urban Forestry Program

What will you study?

The required coursework is multi-disciplinary and highly diverse to expose students to the wide range of skills and technology used by today's urban foresters.  Courses build a basic foundation in biology as well as applied courses in business management.  Students learn about all aspects of urban forestry and synthesize their knowledge in a capstone urban forest management project.

Career Opportunities

  • Consultants for urban forest management and tree care

  • Urban foresters and land managers with federal, state, and local jurisdictions

  • Managers and corporate administrators of urban tree care companies

  • Policy makers for government and private organizations

  • Researchers investigating the ecology of urban forests

Contact us today!

Dr. Joe Sullivan

Dr. Joseph Sullivan

Associate Dean, Professor, & Advisor | 301-405-1626 | PLS 2122


Diana Cortez

Diana Cortez, General Questions

Academic Advisor & Lecturer

301-405-4359 | 


*Please note that if you are using your phone to schedule an appointment be sure the calendar is set to EST and not GMT.

Minor: Landscape Management

Landscape Management

Landscape Management trains students for management positions in the landscape industry. The curriculum combines plant science, design and business management courses enabling graduates to meet the challenges of careers in the green industry.

Learn more

Did you know?

Plants can be used to fight diseases such as cancer and diabetes. We need more scientists to focus on this research. 

Will you be the one that makes a discovery?

What will you learn?

Program Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Students will develop technical and knowledge-based skills in the required areas of study.

  • Students will use technical and basic learned knowledge to collaborate, solve problems and then articulate conclusions.

  • Students shall develop effective communication skills and demonstrate the ability to present ideas with clarity to an appropriate audience.

  • Students will connect and build relationships with external groups in the appropriate fields of study.



You may want to also review the official catalog listing for Plant Sciences

Contact us today!

Interested in learning more about our programs? Visit us!

Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture. For a tour of the Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture, please fill out the form below. We look forward to your visit!

College of Agriculture & Natural Resources. Contact April Brohawn (, Assistant to the Dean for Recruitment, for an appointment to learn about how to join the AGNR family!

University of Maryland Tours. Don’t forget to schedule a campus tour! Also, check out the AGNR Prospective Students page for useful resources including information on financial aid and scholarships. 

Schedule a campus tour  Visit with the College of AGNR

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Are you a prospective undergraduate or graduate student?
For prospective students who intend to complete their first bachelors degree; and/or students desiring to complete a post baccalaureate degree.
For prospective students who intend to complete a post baccalaureate degree, Masters, and/or PhD.
Which topics are you interested in?
agronomy, environmental horticulture, agricultural education, soil science, greenhouse management, container nursery production, fresh fruit and vegetable production, plant protection, food safety, education
Agronomic, Precision Agriculture, Sustainability, Sustainable Agriculture, Plant Protection (Includes - Weed Science, Plant Pathology, Entomology), Crop Production, Soils, Grain Production, Small Grains, Corn, Soybean, Barley, Oats, Wheat, Rye, Alfalfa, "Feed, Food, Fiber, Fuel", Science, Technology, Crop Physiology, Agronomist, Crop Specialists, Food Production, Pest Management, Agronomy Student, Land Grant, Field Crops, Row Crops, Agroecology, Interdisciplinary, Hay, Silage, Haylage
Agriculture, Extension, Education, Ag Education, Outreach, teachers, FFA
design, urban agriculture, planning, community, sustainable planning, management, community design, urban design, ecological design, creative design, Landscape architecture, Ecological Design Ecological restoration, Natural resources conservation, Green infrastructure, Bioretention, Phytoremediation, Mine reclamation, Green roofs, Living walls, Constructed wetlands, Floodplain restoration, Living shorelines, Streambank stabilization, Greenways, Urban Design, Waterfronts, Plazas, Streetscapes, Community parks, Corporate campuses, Sports complexes, Light rail stations, Green roofs, Urban greenways, Complete streets, Arts districts, Arboreta, Redevelopment zones, Boulevards, Tactical urbanism, Green streets, Creative Design Earthworks, Metal fabrication, Concept and meaning, Lighting design, Materials and methods, Public art, Soundscapes, Digital modeling and visualization, Civic monuments, Form generation, Pop-up parks, Placemaking, Theatrical urban spaces, Community Design, Community response to sea level rise, Cultural resource preservation, Action research, Neighborhood design, Workshops, Urban agriculture, Face-to-face interviews, Participatory design, Crime prevention through environmental design, Healthy cities, Therapeutic landscapes
biochemistry, cell biology, ecology, molecular genetics, pathology, and physiology, business, management, entrepreneurship, design, turfgrass, plant biology, trees and forest ecology, business management, food safety
physiology, growth and development, genetics, genomics, breeding, molecular genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, metabolism, pathology