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Education Report Card
Alli Rael, LC/DBM


Students of horticulture or other landscape related fields are most likely to find a school that offers a certificate, diploma, or associates in applied science degree: there are more than 240 of these programs nationwide. While there are more than 100 undergraduate programs available, there are only ten schools that offer graduate degrees, including doctorates. Forty-seven percent of LC/DBM readers have bachelor's degrees, while over 16 percent have either a master's degree or doctorate, or have completed some grad school. Click here for larger image.

After extensive research, we found upwards of 337 schools nationwide that offer some form of a degree in horticulture or other industry relevant program.

Of those 337 schools, 44 are in California. Illinois had the second-highest number with 24 schools offering programs. North Carolina wasn't far behind Illinois, with 21. Each state was represented by at least one school, though Alaska, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Rhode Island each only had one showing.

Students seeking diplomas, certificates or associate degrees will have the most luck finding a school in their area, with more than 240 programs offered at this level. More than 120 programs offer bachelor's degrees or minors in horticulture or a related program.

Looking for a master's degree or a doctorate? There are only 10 schools that offer graduate-level or higher horticulture programs nationwide.


Auburn University researchers are trying to determine how far bacterial gall disease in the loropetalum plant has spread in nurseries. The plant disease was first found in the United States in 2013. Nurseries in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina have reported nearly $1 million in losses due to infected loropetalum.

Some Schools of Note: Research and Unique Programs
Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi
image  Mississippi State University offers bachelor's degree programs that can be completed in three years instead of the standard four. Students here can also earn their master's as well as a doctoral degree in horticulture. Additionally, a landscape contracting degree is offered.

"One of the things that distinguishes our program from a lot of other programs is that it's housed in the department of landscape architecture," explained Jason Walker, associate professor in the department of landscape architecture and interim coordinator of the landscape contracting program. "We have landscape contracting students interacting on a daily basis and in the same classes with landscape architecture students, so they understand the process from design through implementation and construction. We believe it really enhances that level of communication starting in the classroom before going out in the field."

Another element that makes the landscape contracting program unique is the dual degree offering: by following a five year program, students can earn bachelor's degrees in both landscape contracting and landscape architecture, providing them with a strong opportunity for them to come out in the profession with knowledge of design, building and management.


Researchers at Mississippi State University are studying management of diseases, insects and weeds, as well as turf's resistance to herbicides. As a result, the researchers have developed four new cultivars of Bermuda grass. Photo: Norman A Berg, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database


Students at Penn State and Mississippi State universities have the option of earning a bachelor's degree in landscape contracting. Students can choose a design/build or management track at Penn State, while Mississippi State focuses on management and offers a dual degree within the landscape architecture department.

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
image  Students at Oklahoma State University can earn a bachelor's or master's in horticulture, and a bachelor's in landscape management.

There are currently about 20 students enrolled in the landscape management program at OK State. The program began in 1979 and was one of the first to be certified by the National Association of Landscape Professionals. As one of very few accredited four-year landscape management programs in the U.S., the program - and its graduates - are in high demand.

"The NALP has estimated that the industry is going to continue to grow at about two to three percent per year, and that growth is limited not by the amount of work but by the amount of qualified professionals who can do the work," said Dr. Janet Cole, program director, in an exclusive interview with LC/DBM. "Right now there's a shortage of people, so we're really working hard to try to let prospective students know about the industry and our program. That's true not only at Oklahoma State but at any program across the world that offers education related to any aspect of the green industry."

Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
image  Auburn offers a bachelor's degree in horticulture with four specializations: landscape horticulture, pre-landscape architecture, nursery and greenhouse science, and fruit and vegetable production.

Auburn also offers both a master's and Ph.D. program, as well as a graduate certificate in public horticulture.

Researchers from the university are working with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to determine the reach of bacterial gall disease in loropetalum plants in nurseries. The disease was first reported in the U.S. in 2013 and has caused almost $1 million in losses in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina.

Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas
image  The Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources at Kansas State University offers bachelor's degrees with emphases in production, science, landscape horticulture, and golf course & sports turf operations. Additionally, they offer two master's degree programs and a Ph.D. in horticulture as well as graduate certificates.

The Olathe Horticulture Research and Extension Center Field Day was held in July this year, marking the 20th year of the university's research on horticulture crops. Horticulture students and community members in attendance learned what was new in pollinator friendly plants and "foodscaping," and were able to participate in soil tests. The annual Horticulture Night was held in September and featured a discussion on low-water use turfgrass varieties.

Penn State, University Park, Pennsylvania
image  Penn State University is one of two schools we researched that offers a bachelor's degree in landscape contracting. Students are offered options in design/build or management.
As seen in LC/DBM magazine, December 2016.

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November 20, 2019, 1:56 pm PDT

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