Horticulture schools?

dosmann at IASTATE.EDU dosmann at IASTATE.EDU
Mon Jun 2 19:37:40 EST 1997

*The post is a bit longer than I thought it would be.  I'm long-winded!

There are quite a few colleges in the Midwest that offer fine programs in 
botany and horticulture (and other plant-related majors).  Making the 
choice of school and major will depend upon your specific interests.
After being exposed to the workings of several universities (and several
plant-programs within each), I see an underlying situation where students 
wind up in programs not geared towards their specific career goals.
Keep in mind that many, but not all, botany/plant science programs are 
structured to train students to enter research positions.  If your goal 
is to work in research, there are a plethora of programs in the plant 
sciences (in a variety of departments, from botany and horticulture, to 
agronomy and forestry).  These can provide you with outstanding 
facilities and instructors, training students to work in a variety of 
levels of science.

If you aspire to work with plants, but perhaps not necessarily in a 
research setting, my advice would be to investigate a horticulture, 
forestry, or agronomy department (depending upon what kinds of plants 
you want to work with).  My undergraduate degree is in public horticulture
from Purdue University.  Specifically, it provided training to work in 
botanical gardens, arboreta, and other plant collections.  Emphasis was 
placed on taxonomy of cultivated and wild taxa, in addition to general 
horticultural coursework (plant physiology, plant pathology, plant 
propagation, landscape installation/maint., etc) and the sciences 
(chemistry, biochem, organic chem, etc).  Other majors at Purdue exist, 
including landscape horticulture, fruit/veg production, landscape 
architecture, and horticulture science (a program very much like a botany 
program geared towards research).  While these programs hold their own, I 
think that the fruit/veg production option is a bit weak, compared to 
others.  Michigan State and Iowa State have better programs in this 
area.  Landscape hort, Landscape Arch. and Hort Sci. at Purdue are very 
good programs, in addition to the Public Hort major.

I am currently a graduate student at Iowa State University, in the 
department of horticulture.  Like Purdue's (and other land grant 
universities), ISU's program has fine options in landscape hort, 
fruit/veg production, hort science in addition to an excellent turf program.

Check out your local land grand university and see what they have to offer. 
Just keep in mind the level at which you want to work with plants and 
don't be afraid to ask the department outright if they can fully provide 
what you are looking for (I have seen several students wind up in plant 
science programs when what they are looking for was better found in 
ecology horticulture or forestry).  *For the botanists reading this:  I'm 
not harping on plant science programs!  I just want to make sure a good match
is made!*

Sorry this was long!
Hope it helps

Michael S Dosmann                    
dosmann at iastate.edu             . . .  
Graduate Research Assistant      . . 
Department of Horticulture      . . . 
Iowa State University          

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