Plant and Soil Sciences

What is Plant and Soil Sciences?

Plant and Soil Sciences is an interdepartmental curriculum in areas of agronomy, entomology, horticulture, and plant pathology. The ultimate goal of this field is to satisfy the needs of society for food and fuel while making sure the environment is sustainably cared for. 

Why study Plant and Soil Sciences at LSU?

Agriculture makes up 3.2 billion dollars of Louisiana’s state economy. As the state’s flagship university, LSU is in a prime position to help grow and foster the next generation of agriculture professionals to drive this sector of economic growth. In addition to the hands-on education provided by world class educators, students are able to expound upon their education through internships, part-time work, and research.


The curriculum in plant and soil systems consolidates the curricula in the areas of agronomy, entomology, horticulture, and plant pathology and crop physiology. Students in this curriculum take core courses that provide a basic knowledge required for specialization in one of the nine areas of concentration: Agricultural Pest Management - Entomology, Agricultural Pest Management - Plant Pathology, Crop Science, Horticultural Sciences, Soil Science, Sustainable Production Systems, Turf and Landscape Management, Urban Entomology. Each area is further individualized by the addition of approved and free electives.


Study the science behind pest control as you learn about crop science, weed control, and the environmental impact of pest and pest management. Enhance your knowledge of insect, weed, and disease pests as you explore pest biology, biological control, and plant resistance. Students in this major receive a broad education that prepares them for a variety of career paths.

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 Dig into the latest approaches in plant cultivation, nutrition, and the processing of fruits and vegetables. Students will have the opportunity to complete internships and research focused on the management and production of organic and sustainable crop. 

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In the Horticultural Sciences you will learn the latest approaches in plant propagation, cultivation, nutrition, plant protection, and processing of ornamentals, fruits, and vegetables. You will also have the opportunity to complete internships and/or undergraduate research focusing on areas such as breeding or organic/sustainable and conventional production and management. Students in this major receive a broad education across horticultural crops that prepare them for a variety of career paths.

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Study the science behind growing a variety of plants in highly controlled environments for medicinal uses. This science-based curriculum focuses on plant identification, propagation, growth processing, as well as entomology, plant pathology, and chemistry related aspects of the medicinal plant industry.

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Students will learn the properties of soil, and its importance in agricultural production and environmental sustainability. Maintaining soil health by monitoring crop production, soil fertility, soul conservation, and air and water quality are crucial to crop survival and will be the focus on study in this concentration. 

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Students will explore the food industry’s latest approaches to the cultivation, processing, and marketing of agronomic crops, fruits, and vegetables. This concentration is a blend of applied agronomy, horticulture, and business. 

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In this concentration, students learn the management processes of landscapes, including golf courses, sports fields, botanic gardens, and residential and commercial landscapes. They will learn plant and turfgrass selection, installation, and maintenance. 

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Students will discover the methodology of controlling arthropod pests and gain an understanding of how these pests interact with urban environments. Studies include learning the behavior, physiology, and genetics of urban insects to better understand their habits. 

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Career Paths

Our world-class faculty prepares students to work in varied careers, including crop consulting, state and federal regulation, and public relations along with agricultural, horticultural, and environmental industries. Our students also go on to graduate studies in agronomic and environmental sciences or in professional degree programs like medicine or law.

Some career opportunities include:


Athletic Turf Manager

Crop Consultant / Scout / Advisor


Floral Designer

Golf Course Superintendent

Greenhouse Manager


Landscape Designer

Plant Breeder

Plant Pathologist

Plant Geneticist

Regulatory Scientist

Research & Development Scientist

Sales Representative

Seed Production Agronomist

Soil Scientist


plant and soil sciences pathways

Companies hiring LSU Plant and Soil Sciences Graduates

Combine harvesting wheat


Program Details

Department: School of Plant, Environmental & Soil Sciences
College: LSU College of Agriculture
Location: LSU - Baton Rouge


Bachelor's of Science

degree plan

B.S. in Environmental Management Systems (4-year plan courses)
B.S. in Plant & Soil Systems (4-year plan courses)


Agricultural Pest Management Minor (Courses)
Agronomy Minor (Courses)
Environmental Management Systems Minor (Courses)
Horticulture Minor (Courses)

undergraduate contact

Heather Kirk-Ballard
Assistant Professor School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences


For more information, contact


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