About the Program
Our undergraduate programs prepare students for public and private sector careers and/or graduate school by providing cutting-edge coursework and experiential learning opportunities in the basic and applied plant and environmental sciences. Students go on to diverse, exciting and impactful careers.
Many of our graduates pursue careers that help to feed the world while also improving and protecting the environment. They may become plant breeders and develop new varieties of crops that are better adapted to different and changing climates or they may develop alternative cropping systems and practices to help feed a growing world population. They may work as agronomists, water scientists and soil scientists to help preserve and maintain our soil and water resources. They may work in environmental remediation and restoration to transform contaminated or damaged sites into healthy and productive ecosystems. Our graduates often use cutting edge technologies such as the latest genetic engineering tools, new production systems as well as drones and robotics in their work.
Additionally, graduates work at commercial companies, foundations, or governmental and non-governmental organizations, while others go on to develop their own businesses ranging from environmental consulting firms, farmer’s market farms, vineyard’s, greenhouses and nurseries to landscape and turf management companies.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook is strong for all majors in SPES:
Overall employment of agricultural and food scientists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of agricultural and food scientists is projected to grow as research into agricultural production methods and techniques continues. Median wage is $64,000 – the lowest 10 percent earn less than $39,000 and the highest 10 percent earn more than $117,000.
Employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Heightened public interest in the hazards facing the environment, as well as increasing demands placed on the environment by population growth, are expected to spur demand for environmental scientists and specialists. Median wage is $71,000 – the lowest 10 percent earn less than $43,000 and the highest 10 percent earn more than $125,000.