Horticulture, Plant and Soil Sciences touches your life every day. The Horticulture, Plant and Soil Sciences profession is concerned with plants used for food, fiber, forage, oil, recreation, landscaping, enhancement of the human environment, conservation of our soil and water resources, and all related services. If you’re interested in understanding how plants grow, if you enjoy the basic sciences and using advanced computer technology, if you’d like to work outdoors or own a farm or business, if you want to educate others or have the opportunity for international travel, then consider a major in Horticulture, Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Kentucky.

The Program

Our graduates function effectively as professionals because they have the technical and scientific skills—as well as the communication, computational, leadership, and interpersonal capabilities—necessary for success.

You may select one of four areas of emphasis in the Horticulture, Plant and Soil Science program.

Areas of Emphasis

Crops and Livestock

Emphasizes the intersections between the crop and livestock industries. Graduates find their niche in agricultural extension or livestock and crop consulting, farm management, and production agriculture, or agricultural supply business.

Crop, Soil and Horticulture Science

Horticultural Enterprise Management

Emphasizes horticultural production and business skills. Careers include managing nurseries, greenhouses or fruit/vegetable enterprises; installing and maintaining ornamental plants; and managing botanical gardens.

Turfgrass Science

Emphasizes the science and business aspects of intensively managed grass plantings. Graduates are employed in golf course management, the commercial lawn care industry, and the management of turf fields for other sports.

Your Professors

The University of Kentucky is a large teaching/research/service university. Here you will have the opportunity to interact with faculty and staff who are experts in their fields. Your professors are developing the latest technology or knowledge, or using the latest technologies to seek solutions to applied problems and research questions. They also conduct statewide educational programs which communicate the latest technology to professionals in the plant and soil industries and to consumers.

At the University of Kentucky you will also have the opportunity to become involved in national and regional activities of professional associations. Your faculty advisor will provide personalized academic and career advising, and guide you through every stage of your college career. Only at a land-grant university like the University of Kentucky is it possible to obtain this high quality education in Horticulture, Plant and Soil Sciences.

The 100-acre University of Kentucky Lexington-Fayette County Arboretum is an outstanding teaching facility for plant identification classes. Extensive plantings include ornamental trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, vegetables, and fruits. Modern, well-equipped farms, greenhouses, and laboratories provide opportunities for practical experiences and for demonstrating cultural and management techniques and use of sophisticated equipment.

After wandering around in several majors, I found my home in horticulture. Walking into classes each semester and recognizing friendly faces makes the learning experience that much more enjoyable! And the College of Agriculture faculty and staff are the most friendly, helpful, and welcoming people in the university.

Brandellin Nickles

Turf management allows me to be around the things that I love: people, sports, and the outdoors. And the College of Agriculture allows me to be around the most friendly faculty, staff, and students in the university. Here everyone knows me by name, and I know everyone else.

Nicholas Whobrey

I’m thrilled to have a hands-on major that incorporates my love of the outdoors. And the Agronomy Club is not only a great place to meet people, but also provides wonderful opportunities for travel and networking. When you add in caring faculty and a family atmosphere, you’ve got one terrific College!

Katie Wetzel

Potential Career Pathways

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics 

Student Groups Associated with this Program

Our college supports dozens of organizations to help students apply their learning outside the classroom and gain valuable work and leadership experience.  To learn more about the organizations listed below, click here.

  • Horticulture Club
    provides the means for students to gain additional knowledge, experience and friendship center around horticulture

  • Agronomy Club
    experience agronomy as you have the opportunities to travel, compete and experience the industry together 

  • Environmental Science Club 

    join like-minded students that share a common interest in all things environmental; hiking, potlucks, service

  • UK Forestry Club
    promotes the practice of forestry, through involvement in conclave events, fire cats, tree plantings, and service

Horticulture, Plant and Soil Science on Social Media

Contact an Ambassador

Want to know more about this major?
Ask someone who knows first-hand.

  • Kelly Pohlman, kmpo243@uky.edu
    Plant and Soil Sciences major from Independence, KY

Pre-Professional Tracks

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment has specialized advising services for students planning to attend professional school (Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Law, etc.).  

In addition to helping students fulfill foundational coursework, the college's pre-professional advisor also helps student secure relevant experience such as internships, volunteer opportunities, and job shadowing positions. 

For more information on the college's pre-professional advising, click here.