Plant Science

Department History

The Plant Science Department is the founding department of the Huntley College of Agriculture, and Cal Poly Pomona. In the Fall of 1938, a southern branch of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo was opened and the majors of Ag Services and Inspection, Subtropical Horticulture and Ornamental Horticulture were transferred from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to Cal Poly Pomona. The programs grew substantially, and in 1968, three distinct departments were formed, including Plant and Soil Science Department which included Agricultural Biology (Entomology), Ornamental Horticulture, and Agricultural Engineering, later renamed Landscape Irrigation Science. In 2008, during a time of severe university budget issues, all departments were consolidated into the Plant Science Department, as it currently exists.  There is currently one major in Plant Science, and six minors, including Agronomy, Horticulture, Pest Management, Soil Science, Urban and Community Agriculture and Water Resources and Irrigation Management. Most students choose at least one minor course of study, allowing for specialization in their career choice.

Urban and Community Agriculture is the newest focus area to be added to the Plant Science Department. In 2015, two new faculty members were hired to start a program that took into consideration Cal Poly Pomona’s agricultural history and the corresponding interest and urban movement in urban agriculture.  This has become a university-wide initiative with participation from many faculty members in all colleges on campus. All other traditional agricultural subjects continue to be taught.

Students in the Plant Science Department choose careers in field and tree crop production, landscape management, horticulture, irrigation science, arboriculture, small and urban farming, and work with governmental regulatory and other agencies. Student job placement is very high upon graduation (97%). A large number of graduating students continue on to graduate education all across the nation. The department has once again seen consistent growth in student numbers over the past 10 years. Due to the success of many alumni, the Plant Science Department has a substantial number of scholarships that are awarded each year.