Graduates from the Plant Science major can look forward to an extremely wide array of career opportunities in California’s growing horticultural, agronomic, and fruit industries. These careers also include many areas that provide support to these industries such as landscape irrigation, water management, soil science and conservation, agricultural biology, entomology, plant biotechnology, postharvest physiology, and environmental protection of water, farmlands, open space, and landscaped areas.
Increasing urbanization in many parts of California has created the need for professionals educated in the urban landscape and urban/rural interface issues. Students in landscape development focus on production and management of landscapes that are attractive yet functional, conserve water, have lower maintenance requirements, and serve the needs of society. Students also concentrate in areas of nursery management, turfgrass, sports and golf course management, arboriculture, propagation and pathology. Many large and small landscape design, development and maintenance companies in the local area and across the nation provide internships and job opportunities for students pursuing careers in the green industry.
California leads the nation in the production of over 350 crops. Over the past two decades production has shifted significantly from field and cereal crops to specialty fruits, vegetables, and horticultural crops with our curricula following that trend. Employment opportunities in this field are numerous. In addition to commercial tree and crop production management, students are prepared for careers in pest control advising, the seed and nursery industry, produce marketing, postharvest physiology and agricultural chemicals. Students interested in organic production of food have the opportunity to pursue coursework in sustainable agriculture.
Many important career opportunities support commercial food, nursery and landscape areas. Graduates enter careers that protect our natural resources, the urban landscape and food production systems. Students pursuing studies in Landscape Irrigation Science design modern irrigation systems, provide irrigation water management and develop and implement best management practices that improve efficiency and protect our valuable water resources in California. Soils are the basis for all of our food, fiber and landscape developments. Students pursuing careers in this area study conservation, environmentally sound fertility practices, and modern analysis methods to assist growers and landscape designers. Agricultural biologists are experts in pest detection and prevention managing populations of insects, vertebrate pests, weeds, and plant diseases. Many graduates enter into careers in environmental health, crop management advising and regulatory enforcement work, via agricultural commissioners, public health specialists, and homeland security.