Applied Plant Science

The Profession

Who they are: Plant scientists work to develop production practices that directly affect human health by providing high quality, nutritious food or that indirectly enhance health by ensuring a safe environment. Alarming trends in human health, such as obesity and heart disease, are related to consumption of highly processed plant materials.  Plant scientists are needed to work with health professionals and food processors to identify and develop alternative, healthy food choices.

What they do: One of the many areas plant scientists can specialize in is focused on improving the healthful benefits of the plant products we eat or use everyday. Plant scientists use analytical techniques to investigate the composition of plant products and test their safety. They use molecular techniques as well as breeding methods to identify and manipulate genetic components related to desirable plant traits.

Where they work: Plant scientists can perform research at universities or for governmental agencies. They can also work at private corporations in agriculture, food, or biochemical work.

Outlook: Jobs in plant science and related fields are growing faster than average. In the next ten years, the number of jobs in these fields nationally is expected to increase by 7%. 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


The Applied Plant Science is an interdisciplinary program offered through the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics in the College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences/Natural Resources. Hallmarks of the Applied Plant Science major include a flexible curriculum that easily allows students to minor or double major, small class sizes, one-on-one interactions with faculty, and many opportunities for hands-on experiences (internships, research projects, study abroad). Applied Plant Science is offered as an undergraduate major, Master of Science, or PhD.

U of M Program