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Horticulture Program Leads to Rewarding Careers

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Elizabeth Knutson hopes a degree in horticulture will lead to a career in research, most likely in plant breeding. 

Knutson, who will be a junior this fall, is one of about 40 students majoring in horticulture at NDSU. 

The Horticulture program also can lead to a number of other careers, including arborist, landscape designer, landscape manager, sports turf manager, golf course superintendent and crop producer. 

“The best part about the program is all the hands-on experience we can get here on campus,” Knutson says. “I spend a lot of time in the teaching greenhouse, and I think it’s great that we can have classes right next door to our ongoing experiments. I’ve also taken a woody plant identification class, and nearly all of the trees and shrubs we learned about were right here on campus for us to see. I feel very lucky to be studying here at a college that values hands-on experience so much.” 

Senior Benjamin Inman agrees the best part of the program is the hands-on experience. 

“I physically get to work with plants, insects and plant diseases and it is quite fascinating and engaging,” he says. 

The Plant Sciences Department is in the process of changing the program’s name to Horticulture and Urban Agriculture. Todd West, program coordinator, hopes this will help double the number of students in the program. 

“The term ‘horticulture’ has always been difficult because most people, especially younger people, do not have a clue what it is,” he says. “By adding urban agriculture, we are hoping to attract a wider audience of students and increase exposure of what we do. 

“Horticulture and urban agriculture encompasses conventional and sustainable practices for the development, production, distribution and utilization of vegetables, fruits, turfgrass, woody landscape and greenhouse plants,” he adds. “Horticulture becomes more important as an area becomes more urban.” 

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Todd West, (701) 231-6476,