Cal Poly’s Horticultural and Crop Science Department Changes Name to Plant Sciences to Better Reflect the Program’s Academic Mission

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Horticulture and Crop Science Department has formally changed its name to the Plant Sciences Department. The agricultural and environmental plant sciences major will also be renamed to reflect predominant employment opportunities more accurately for graduates and prospective students.

The department, which was formed in 2002, offers curriculum that is designed to train plant scientists who are ready upon graduation to make informed decisions and recommendations regarding sustainable farming or horticultural practices that maximize plant production and protection while minimizing economic, environmental and social impacts. The name change enables the program to clearly convey its academic mission and broaden recruitment of applicants who may or may not have a background in agriculture and allow them to be successful in robust careers throughout California and beyond.

“The Horticulture and Crop Science Department embarked upon careful consideration of the proposed name change with input from industry, its advisory council, and market analysis assessing prospective student interests,” said Scott Steinmaus, head of the department. “The name, ‘Plant Sciences,’ better reflects the interests of prospective students, predominant employment opportunities for graduates, aligns with programs at competitor institutions, and the department's academic mission.”

Within the plant sciences major, students can focus on three concentrations: environmental horticultural sciences, fruit and crop science and plant protection science.

Cal Poly students majoring in plant sciences are graduating and accepting jobs as production managers, agronomists, horticulturalists, food safety technicians, pest control advisors, certified crop advisors, government positions, and sales representatives throughout the country.

“This change reflects the department’s expertise in providing students with the tools, knowledge and abilities to meet the challenges of tomorrow — from best practices in drought management to the sustainable growing of plants, both indoors and outside,” said Andrew Thulin, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “Students are given direct learning opportunities in the university’s fields, gardens, orchards, and labs; students are encouraged to look for solutions to real-world problems.”

About Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, comprehensive polytechnic university. The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is comprised of expert faculty members who take pride in their ability to transform academically motivated students into innovative professionals ready to solve the complex challenges associated with feeding the world in sustainable ways. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories — including organic and conventional crop land, orchards, vineyards, forests and rangeland — all of which provide the basis for Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing methodology. It is the fifth-largest college of agriculture in the country with more than 4,100 undergraduate students. For more information, visit

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