Horticulturists work to enrich our lives by integrating and applying plant science, environmental science, molecular biology, biotechnology, genetics, physiology, and management. Specifically, horticultural science deals with the development, production, growth, distribution, and use of fruits, vegetables, greenhouse crops, ornamentals, and specialty plant crops (used for flavoring and medicine). Horticultural science is one of the most diverse biological sciences one can study at a university. Not only are the biology and genetics of crop plants interesting, but the application of this knowledge is equally important in a myriad of situations. Undergraduate horticulture majors will obtain specialized training in greenhouse/field management and the production and use of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and herbaceous/woody ornamentals through the bachelor of science degree program.

In addition to obtaining a job with an undergraduate degree in horticulture, the major provides an excellent background for graduate study in the field of plant sciences. Areas of graduate study include plant breeding and plant genetics, horticulture, agronomy, plant pathology, or other related fields such as biology, environmental science, natural resource management, agroecology, and genetics.

Students with either undergraduate or graduate degrees in horticulture have a variety of career opportunities. Recent studies show that there are more jobs in agriculture in the U.S. than there are students graduating with agricultural bachelor of science degrees to fill them. As our world grapples with the need to contribute science-based solutions to feeding 9 billion people by 2050, students trained in the agricultural and horticultural sciences will be called on to contribute.

Horticulture graduates may find opportunities to develop higher-yielding crops or crops that can withstand more stressful growing conditions. Others may find opportunities working on improving qualities such as flavor, appearance, texture, and postharvest shelf life for a wide range of horticultural commodities from fruits to vegetables to flowers. Sustainable production is an area of growth where horticultural expertise can make a contribution.

The horticulture degree serves as excellent preparation for careers in food production, plant nurseries, community-supported agriculture (CSA), public gardens, greenhouse production, teaching, public parks, vegetable production, urban agriculture, extension- and community-based educational work, work in research labs, and the health sciences. In addition, many horticultural science majors go on to work in public sector jobs including city and state positions with the Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, and the University of Wisconsin Division of Extension. Students with degrees in horticulture also work in hospitals (horticultural therapy), aerospace (food and recycling in space labs), and zoos (managing environments for animals and visitors). Although the career opportunities are numerous, horticulture students have a common desire to work intensively with plants to improve our environment and our health. 

How to Get in

To declare this major, students must be admitted to UW–Madison and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). For information about becoming a CALS first-year or transfer student, see Entering the College.

Students who attend Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences have the option to declare this major at SOAR.  Students may otherwise declare after they have begun their undergraduate studies. For more information, contact the advisor listed in the Contact Box for the major.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Requirements

In addition to the University General Education Requirements, all undergraduate students in CALS must satisfy a set of college and major requirements. Courses may not double count within university requirements (General Education and Breadth) or within college requirements (First-Year Seminar, International Studies, Science, and Capstone), but courses counted toward university requirements may also be used to satisfy a college and/or a major requirement; similarly, courses counted toward college requirements may also be used to satisfy a university and/or a major requirement.

College Requirements for all CALS BS Degree Programs

Quality of Work: Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.000 to remain in good standing and be eligible for graduation.
Residency: Students must complete 30 degree credits in residence at UW–Madison after earning 86 credits toward their undergraduate degree.
First year seminar1
International studies3
Physical science fundamentals4-5
General Chemistry I
Chemistry in Our World
Advanced General Chemistry
Biological science5
Additional science (biological, physical, or natural)3
Science breadth (biological, physical, natural, or social)3
CALS Capstone Learning Experience: included in the requirements for each CALS major (see "major requirements")

Major Requirements

Courses may not double count within the major (unless specifically noted otherwise), but courses counted toward the major requirements may also be used to satisfy a university requirement and/or a college requirement. A minimum of 15 credits must be completed in the major that are not used elsewhere.

Mathematics and Statistics
Select one of the following (or may be satisfied by placement exam):5-6
and Trigonometry
Algebra and Trigonometry
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I 1
Select one of the following:3-5
Survey of Calculus
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II 1
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 2
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
Programming II
Select one of the following:5-9
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
Advanced General Chemistry
Select one of the following options:10-12
Option 1:
General Botany
Animal Biology
Animal Biology Laboratory
Option 2:
Introductory Biology
Introductory Biology
Option 3:
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics
Cellular Biology
And select two of the following:
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory
Cellular Biology Laboratory
Principles of Physiology Laboratory
Agricultural Breadth
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  302 Introduction to Entomology3-4
or ENTOM 351 Principles of Economic Entomology
GENETICS 466 Principles of Genetics3
Select one of the following:3-4
Plant Anatomy
Plant Morphology and Evolution
Plant Physiology
PL PATH 300 Introduction to Plant Pathology4
General Soil Science
and Meet Your Soil: Soil Analysis and Interpretation Laboratory
Horticultural Core
HORT 120 Survey of Horticulture3
HORT 121 Horticulture Colloquium1
HORT 227 Propagation of Horticultural Plants3
HORT 320 Environment of Horticultural Plants3
HORT/​AGRONOMY/​SOIL SCI  326 Plant Nutrition Management3
Select one of the following:3-4
Greenhouse Cultivation
and Survey of Controlled Environment Food Production
Greenhouse Cultivation
and Greenhouse Cultivation Lab
Select three of the following:8-11
Ornamental Plants
Sustainable Turfgrass Use and Management
and Turfgrass Management Laboratory
Landscape Plants I
Fruit Crop Production (alternate years) 2
World Vegetable Crops
Special Topics (Crop, Seed, and Weed ID)
Plant Breeding and Biotechnology
Select 5 elective credits (see list below)5
Students can complete a pre-approved course or an independent study or internship. Independent study and internship require individual pre-approval from the program, and students should talk to the Horticulture advisor to learn more about the process and forms.
Pre-approved course options:
Tropical Horticultural Systems
and Tropical Horticultural Systems International Field Study
Plant Microbiomes
Independent Study or Internship options (require individual pre-approval):
Coordinative Internship/Cooperative Education
Special Problems
Independent Study in Organic Agriculture
Total Credits69-84

If MATH 171 is taken, MATH 217 must also be taken.


Alternate years.

Elective Courses

Students may not double count courses within the major requirements (Agricultural Breadth, Horticultural Core, Electives, Capstone)

Business and Economics
A A E 101 Introduction to Agricultural and Applied Economics4
A A E/​ENVIR ST  244 The Environment and the Global Economy4
A A E 246 Climate Change Economics and Policy3
A A E 319 The International Agricultural Economy3
A A E 320 Agricultural Systems Management3
A A E 323 Cooperatives and Alternative Forms of Enterprise Ownership3
A A E/​ECON/​ENVIR ST  343 Environmental Economics3-4
GEN BUS 310 Fundamentals of Accounting and Finance for Non-Business Majors3
GEN BUS 311 Fundamentals of Management and Marketing for Non-Business Majors3
Ecology, Conservation, and the Environment
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  460 General Ecology4
F&W ECOL/​C&E SOC/​SOC  248 Environment, Natural Resources, and Society3
F&W ECOL/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  360 Extinction of Species3
F&W ECOL/​BOTANY  455 The Vegetation of Wisconsin4
F&W ECOL 550 Forest Ecology3
F&W ECOL/​LAND ARC/​ZOOLOGY  565 Principles of Landscape Ecology2
F&W ECOL/​BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  651 Conservation Biology3
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  120 Introduction to the Earth System3
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  127 Physical Systems of the Environment4
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  139 Global Environmental Issues3
GEOG/​BOTANY  338 Environmental Biogeography3
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  339 Environmental Conservation4
GEOSCI/​ENVIR ST  106 Environmental Geology3
HISTORY/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  460 American Environmental History4
LAND ARC/​ENVIR ST  361 Wetlands Ecology3
ZOOLOGY/​ENVIR ST  315 Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources2
ZOOLOGY 316 Laboratory for Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources2-3
Food, Health and Human Well-being:
A A E/​C&E SOC/​SOC  340 Issues in Food Systems3-4
AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​NUTR SCI  203 Introduction to Global Health3
AGRONOMY 300 Cropping Systems3
AGRONOMY/​A A E/​NUTR SCI  350 World Hunger and Malnutrition3
AGRONOMY 377 Global Food Production and Health3
C&E SOC/​SOC  222 Food, Culture, and Society3
C&E SOC/​SOC  650 Sociology of Agriculture3
FOOD SCI/​AN SCI  321 Food Laws and Regulations1
GEOG/​ENVIR ST  309 People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems3
HORT 345 Fruit Crop Production3
HORT 350 Plants and Human Wellbeing2
HORT/​A A E/​AGRONOMY/​PL PATH  367 Introduction to Organic Agriculture: Production, Markets, and Policy3
HORT 370 World Vegetable Crops3
HORT 380 Indigenous Foodways: Food and Seed Sovereignty2
NUTR SCI 132 Nutrition Today3
PL PATH 311 Global Food Security (Food Systems, Sustainability, and Climate Change)3
PL PATH 375 Special Topics1-4
Landscape Horticulture
BSE 243 Operating and Management Principles of Off-Road Vehicles3
BSE 301 Land Information Management3
F&W ECOL 375 Special Topics (Tree Risk Assessment and Decay Detection)1-4
HORT 234 Ornamental Plants3
HORT/​PL PATH  261 Sustainable Turfgrass Use and Management2
HORT/​PL PATH  262 Turfgrass Management Laboratory1
HORT/​LAND ARC  263 Landscape Plants I3
HORT/​SOIL SCI  332 Turfgrass Nutrient and Water Management3
HORT 334 Greenhouse Cultivation2
HORT 335 Greenhouse Cultivation Lab1
LAND ARC 250 Survey of Landscape Architecture Design3
LAND ARC 260 History of Landscape Architecture3
LAND ARC 211 Shaping the Built Environment3
Pest Management
ENTOM/​BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  473 Plant-Insect Interactions3
ENTOM/​F&W ECOL  500 Insects in Forest Ecosystem Function and Management2
PL PATH/​BOTANY  332 Fungi4
Plant Biology
BOTANY 300 Plant Anatomy4
BOTANY 305 Plant Morphology and Evolution4
BOTANY 400 Plant Systematics4
BOTANY 401 Vascular Flora of Wisconsin4
BOTANY/​ANTHRO/​ZOOLOGY  410 Evolutionary Biology3
BOTANY 422 Plant Geography3
BOTANY/​AMER IND/​ANTHRO  474 Ethnobotany3-4
BOTANY 500 Plant Physiology3-4
F&W ECOL 415 Tree Physiology3
HORT 240 The Science of Cannabis1
Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology
AGRONOMY/​C&E SOC/​MED HIST/​PHILOS  565 The Ethics of Modern Biotechnology3
BIOCHEM 501 Introduction to Biochemistry3
CHEM 341 Elementary Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 342 Elementary Organic Chemistry Laboratory1
CHEM 343 Organic Chemistry I3
HORT/​AGRONOMY  338 Plant Breeding and Biotechnology3
HORT/​AGRONOMY/​BOTANY  339 Plant Biotechnology: Principles and Techniques I4
HORT/​AGRONOMY/​BOTANY  340 Plant Cell Culture and Genetic Engineering3
HORT/​AGRONOMY  360 Genetically Modified Crops: Science, Regulation & Controversy2
HORT/​AGRONOMY  501 Principles of Plant Breeding3
HORT/​AGRONOMY  502 Techniques of Plant Breeding1
HORT/​GENETICS  550 Molecular Approaches for Potential Crop Improvement3
HIST SCI 202 The Making of Modern Science3
Public Policy and Environmental Ethics
C&E SOC/​SOC  541 Environmental Stewardship and Social Justice3
ENVIR ST/​GEOG  439 US Environmental Policy and Regulation3-4
ENVIR ST/​SOIL SCI  575 Assessment of Environmental Impact3
HORT/​HIST SCI  301 (Horti)Cultural Roots: Human Histories of Plants and Science4
POLI SCI 272 Introduction to Public Policy3-4
POLI SCI/​ECON/​ENVIR ST/​URB R PL  449 Government and Natural Resources3-4
Soil Science
SOIL SCI 321 Soils and Environmental Chemistry3
SOIL SCI/​PL PATH  323 Soil Biology3
SOIL SCI/​ENVIR ST  324 Soils and Environmental Quality3
SOIL SCI 327 Environmental Monitoring and Soil Characterization for Earth's Critical Zone4
SOIL SCI/​ENVIR ST  575 Assessment of Environmental Impact3
Weather and Climate Change
ATM OCN 101 Weather and Climate4
ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST/​GEOSCI  102 Climate and Climate Change3
ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST  171 Global Change: Atmospheric Issues and Problems2-3
ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  332 Global Warming: Science and Impacts3
ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST  520 Bioclimatology3

Honors in the Major

Students admitted to the university and to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences are invited to apply to be considered for admission to the CALS Honors Program.

Admission Criteria for New First-Year Students:

  • Complete program application including essay questions

Admission Criteria for Transfer and Continuing UW-Madison Students:

  • UW-Madison cumulative GPA of at least 3.25
  • Complete program application including essay questions

How to Apply

The application is available on the CALS Honors Program website.  Applications are accepted at any time.

New first-year students with accepted applications will automatically be enrolled in Honors in Research. It is possible to switch to Honors in the Major in the student’s first semester on campus after receiving approval from the advisor for that major.  Transfer and continuing students may apply directly to Honors in Research or Honors in the Major (after approval from the major advisor).


All CALS Honors programs have the following requirements:

  • Earn at least a cumulative 3.25 GPA at UW-Madison (some programs have higher requirements)
  • Complete the program-specific requirements listed below
  • Submit completed thesis documentation to CALS Academic Affairs


To earn honors in the major, students are required to take at least 20 honors credits. In addition, students must take HORT 289 Honors Independent Study, HORT 681 Senior Honors Thesis and HORT 682 Senior Honors Thesis when completing their thesis project; please see the honors program page for more information. The Department of Plant and Agroecosystems Sciences also works collaboratively to strongly support students through the honors in research program.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Acquire, integrate and apply knowledge of plant science to horticultural systems.
  2. Demonstrate interdisciplinary knowledge and competency in managing horticultural systems.
  3. Synthesize knowledge and use insight and creativity to better understand and improve horticultural systems.
  4. Appreciate and communicate the diverse impacts of horticulture on people.
  5. Demonstrate professionalism and proficiency in skills that relate to horticulture.

Four-Year Plan

Sample four-year plan with BIOLOGY/​BOTANY  130 in the first semester

Students must complete at least 120 total credits to be eligible for graduation. 

First Year
HORT 1203MATH 1133
BIOLOGY/​BOTANY  13015Ethnic Studies3
MATH 1123Electives5
COMM A Course3 
CALS First Year Seminar1 
 16 16
Second Year
HORT 3203CHEM 1045
CHEM 1034HORT 2273
COMM B Course3HORT 334
HORT 335
Horticulture Breadth6Humanities3-4
 16 14-15
Third Year
Agricultural Breadth26Agricultural Breadth26
Horticulture Breadth3Math / Statistics / Computer Science3
CALS International Studies33Humanities3-4
 16-17 15-16
Fourth Year
Agricultural Breadth23Agricultural Breadth23-4
Horticulture Breadth6Electives9
Horticulture Capstone3 
Social Sciences3-4 
 15-16 12-13
Total Credits 120-125

BIOLOGY/​BOTANY  130BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  101, and BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  102 is the preferred course to complete the biology requirment.


Please consult with a horticulture advisor to discuss when specific courses are typically offered.


Students can choose to complete the CALS international studies requirement using HORT 370 or HORT/​AGRONOMY  376 & HORT 378, which also fulfill horticulture major requirements.

Sample four-year plan with CHEM 103 in the first semester

Students must complete at least 120 total credits to be eligible for graduation. 

First Year
HORT 1203CHEM 1045
CHEM 1034MATH 1133
MATH 1123Ethnic Studies3
COMM A Course3 
CALS First Year Seminar1 
 15 16
Second Year
HORT 3203HORT 2273
5HORT 334
HORT 335
Horticulture Breadth3Horticulture Breadth6
COMM B Course3Humanities3-4
 14 15-16
Third Year
Agricultural Breadth26Agricultural Breadth26
Horticulture Breadth3Math / Statistics / Computer Science3
CALS International Studies33Humanities3-4
 15-16 15-16
Fourth Year
Agricultural Breadth23Agricultural Breadth23-4
Social Sciences 3Electives9
Horticulture Capstone3 
 15-16 12-13
Total Credits 117-122

BIOLOGY/​BOTANY  130BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  101, and BIOLOGY/​ZOOLOGY  102 is the preferred biology track.


Please consult with a horticulture advisor to discuss when specific courses are typically offered.


Students can choose to complete the CALS international studies requirement using HORT 370 or HORT/​AGRONOMY  376 & HORT 378, which also fulfill horticulture major requirements.

Advising and Careers


Students interested in learning more about the Horticulture major should meet with Kathryn Jones, kjones26@wisc.edu, or schedule an advising appointment via Starfish.


Majoring in horticulture prepares students for numerous career paths, including plant breeding and genetics, applied plant science, food crop production, greenhouse production, urban agriculture, community-supported agriculture (CSA), gardening and landscaping, horticulture education, extension- and community-based education, horticultural therapy, and the health sciences. 



Colquhoun, Goldman, Krysan (chair)

Associate Professors

Atucha, Dawson, Endelman, Jull,  Wang

Assistant Professors 

Ellison, Kovaleski

Instructional Staff

Calderon, Luiken, Oosterwyk

Wisconsin Experience


Internships are a great way for Horticulture students to get hands-on experience. Many of our students intern at locations that vary from seed companies to greenhouses to wineries to public gardens. Horticulture students also have many opportunities to intern during the year on or near campus at facilities such as the Allen Centennial Garden, the UW Arboretum, and the Agricultural Research Stations. Students have also interned abroad through the International Internship Program.

Research Experience

Horticulture students have many opportunities to get involved in research labs and fieldwork in the department. Students primarily find research opportunities by directly contacting faculty. Occasionally, opportunities are posted on the Student Job Center.

Study Abroad

Horticulture students are encouraged to participate in study abroad experiences. Studying abroad provides students the unique opportunity to contextualize the learning acquired in traditional face-to-face courses on campus. There are many opportunities for Horticulture students to study abroad through short-term and semester-long programs. Students can explore opportunities utilizing the Horticulture Major Advising Page and consulting with their advisor.  

Horticulture students also have some exciting opportunities to participate in short-term field experiences abroad led by program leaders from the Department of Plant and Agroecosystem Sciences. Some of these programs include UW Tropical Horticulture in Costa Rica and UW Food Systems and the Environment in Northern Japan.

Student Organizations

Connect with other Horticulture students and those interested in food and agriculture by joining a student organization. Organizations of particular interest to Horticulture students include People's Farm: Students for Sustainable Agriculture, Slow Food UWWUD Cuisine Committee, Food Recovery Network - Madison Chapter, UW Campus Food Shed, and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS)

Community Engagement and Volunteering

Students can choose from a variety of volunteer opportunities related to food, agriculture, gardening, etc. The Morgridge Center for Public Service provides resources to help students connect with volunteer opportunities based on their interests and goals.