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Plant Science

Note: MSU's programs in the biological sciences are distributed across multiple departments.  MSU does not have a single Department of Biology.  For additional options see   Biological Sciences at MSU.

Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology

Plant Science involves a thorough background in the liberal arts and a comprehensive understanding of the scientific principles underlying plant sciences. Plant systems are the fundamental basis for life on earth and are also a major contributor to the economy. Modern plant science encompasses many areas, impacting such diverse interests as agriculture, biotechnology, and recreational land management.

Faculty members who advise students and teach courses are also active researchers in their respective disciplines. Students learn current knowledge and technology through formal course work and gain valuable first hand experience in departmental laboratories, greenhouses, and field research farms. Students are encouraged to gain additional learning experiences outside the classroom by working as research assistants in faculty programs, summer jobs, and internships with private industry and government agencies.

Each student works closely with a faculty advisor to formulate a program of study that is appropriate with the student's career goals and also fits into either the Crop Science or Plant Biology options.

Crop Science Option

Continued increases in food and fiber crop production are essential for the future of humankind. Yet increased production places increased pressure on our soil, water, and other finite resources. The challenge for crop scientists is to implement crop and soil management schemes that maintain and/or increase production, but at the same time conserve our soil and water resources and preserve the delicate balance in the agroecosystem.

Course requirements in the Crop Science option are designed to acquaint students with the principles underlying crop and soil management. Thus soil fertility, plant physiology, crop production, crop breeding, and pest management, along with courses in the biological and physical sciences are included in this area of study.

Graduates from this option find careers in farming and ranching; as crop production specialists; in pest management; in seed, fertilizer, and chemical industries; with banks and other lending institutions; Cooperative Extension Service and with a government agency such as the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Plant Biology Option

Plant biology provides a broad education in the plant sciences. The expertise of the Plant Sciences faculty provides an opportunity to focus at the cellular and molecular level, but opportunities also exist for emphasis in plant ecology and systematics. Course requirements include beginning and advanced courses in biology, microbiology, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, plant development, ecology, and systematics.

Graduates are prepared for post-graduate school, and academic and professional careers.

Curricula in Plant Science


Freshman Year Credits
BIOB 170--Prncpls Biological Diversity 4
BIOB 160--Principles of Living Systems 4
CHMY 121--Intro to General Chemistry 4
CHMY 123--Intro to Organic and Biochem 4
WRIT 101W--College Writing I 3
M 145Q--Math for Liberal Arts 3
BIOB 110CS--Introduction to Plant Biology 3
University Core and Electives 5
Sophomore Year Credits
ECNS 101--Econ Way of Think 3
Take one of the following:
     BMGT 205--Professional Communication Fundamentals 3
     WRIT 201--College Writing II 3
     WRIT 221--Intermediate Tech Writing 3
BIOO 220--General Botany 5
BIOO 262--Introduction to Entomology 3
ENSC 245IN--Soils 3
Take one of the following:
     BIOB 318--Biometry 3
     STAT 216--Introduction to Statistics 3
University Core and Electives 9
Junior Year Credits
AGSC 341--Field Crop Production 3
PSPP 342--Forages 3
ENSC 351--Nutrient Cycling 3
ENSC 443--Weed Ecology & Mgmt 3
BIOM 421--Concepts of Plant Path 3
Take one of the following:
     BIOB 375--General Genetics 3
     BIOB 377--Practical Genetics 3
Take two of the following:
     ACTG 220--Surveying of Accounting 3
     AGBE 210IS--Economics of Agricultural Business 3
     AGBE 321--Economics of Agricultural Marketing 3
     AGBE 341--Farm & Ranch Management 3
     AGED 353--Co-op Bus Prin & Pract 3
     BMGT 335--Management & Organization 3
     BMKT 325--Marketing 3
     ECNS 204IS--Microeconomics 3
     BMKT 241--Sales 3
     MKTG 242--Introduction to Global Marketing 3
University Core and Electives 6
Senior Year Credits
AGSC 428--Sustainable Cropping Systems
BIOO 433 --Plant Physiology
Take one of the following:
     BIOB 430--Plant Biotechnology 3
     AGSC 441--Crop Breeding 3
Take two of the following:
     BIOE 370--General Ecology 3
     GPHY 357--Fund & Applic in Mapping 3
     AGSC 401--Integrated Pest Management 3
     ENSC 454--Landscape Pedology 3
     AGSC 450--Plant Disease Control 3
     HORT 337--Vegetable Production 3
University Core and Electives 12

A minimum of 120 credits is required for graduation; 42 of these credits must be in courses numbered 300 and above.


Freshman Year Credits
CHMY 141--College Chemistry I 4
CHMY 143--College Chemistry II 4
COM 110US--Public Communication 3
     OR CLS 101US-University Seminar
WRIT 101W--College Writing I 3
M 161Q--Survey of Calculus 4
BIOB 318--Biometry 3
    OR STAT 216Q--Introduction to Statistics 3
University Core and Electives 5
Sophomore Year Credits
CHMY 211--Elements of Organic Chemistry 5
PHSX 205--College Physics I 4
PHSX 206--College Physics II 4
University Core and Electives 10
Junior Year Credits
BIOB 375--General Genetics 3
BIOE 370--General Ecology 3
University Core and Electives 19
Senior Year Credits
BIOB 420--Evolution 3
BIOO 433--Plant Physiology 3
University Core and Electives 24

Additional Requirements:
A minimum of 20 credits of advisor-approved plant biology electives must be taken, at least 15 of which must be upper division. Up to 7 total credits may be included from BIOB/HORT 490R, BOIB/HORT 492, and PSPP/HORT 498 courses. Electives could come from any plant biology courses in the Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology Department (e.g., AGSC 454--Agrostology, AGSC 456R--Plant Systematics, BIOO 437--Plant Development, BIOO 458--Plant Cell Physiology), other plant courses in the Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology Department (e.g., BIOM 421--Concepts of Plant Pathology, BIOM 423--Mycology, etc.), and selected courses in the departments of Animal & Range Sciences, Land Resources & Environmental Sciences, Ecology, Microbiology, Cell Biology & Neuroscience, Earth Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, and Computer Science.

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