- Environmental Management Systems (Environmental Analysis and Risk Management; Policy Analysis; Resource Conservation)
- Plant & Soil Systems (Crop Science; Environmental Horticulture; Horticultural Science; Landscape Management; Soil Science; Sustainable Production Systems; Turfgrass Management)
The School of Plant, Environmental & Soil Sciences offers degree programs in environmental management systems and plant and soil systems curricula. These curricula provide students with excellent preparation for careers in management, consulting, regulatory and public relations, or sales and services in agricultural, natural resources, or environmental industries. Some students use these science-based curricula as foundations to pursue graduate studies in agronomic, horticultural or environmental sciences or professional degrees in medicine or law.
Students are given opportunities to gain valuable experience through internships in the agronomic, horticultural or environmental business communities, special research projects with faculty members, and/or part-time student employee positions.
Environmental Management Systems
Louisiana is blessed with abundant natural resources. To protect public and ecological health, and restore air, soil, and water quality, Louisiana has developed one of the strongest professional environmental communities in the world. The environmental management systems curriculum provides students with the knowledge and skills to work as part of this environmental community in a variety of areas of specialization, including air permitting, environmental enforcement, soil conservation, water quality, wetland delineation, environmental compliance, coastal restoration, and risk assessment and management. Environmental management systems graduates are well-qualified for a variety of careers because of their solid training in sciences, problem-solving, and written and oral communication, all of which will be critical for the fast paced, ever-changing future job market that will favor workers who are well-trained and demonstrate flexibility and adaptability.
The environmental management systems curriculum is partitioned into three areas of concentration: (1) environmental analysis and risk management, (2) policy analysis, and (3) resource conservation. Each concentration includes a variety of elective courses that allow students to gain expertise in specific areas that interest them. Particularly in their junior and senior year, students interact with a wide range of accomplished environmental professionals to refine their program of study and career goal, and focus on specific career paths within the broad environmental management field. However, the environmental management systems curriculum is designed to be sufficiently flexible to allow students to prepare for positions in the public or private sectors working in the office, laboratory, or field.
Graduates with a concentration in environmental analysis and risk management will have a knowledge and practical understanding of: chemistry (analytical, organic, and quantitative analysis, instrumentation, soil and water chemistry); environmental microbiology; environmental fate and transport geology (hydrology); land use planning (including GIS/GPS); site investigation principles and collection methods; human and ecological risk assessment; and federal and local regulations governing site assessment, site evaluation, and site remediation.
Graduates with a concentration in policy analysis will have a knowledge and practical understanding of: role and scope of state and federal regulatory agencies; environmental laws and regulations; mechanisms for implementation of regulations, compliance with regulations, permits, audits, etc.; environmental auditing systems; environmental permitting; the role of risk assessment in decision-making; and land use planning.
Graduates with a concentration in resource conservation will have a knowledge and practical understanding of: chemical, physical, and biological properties of soil; soil and water conservation and associated federal programs; coastal restoration; soil-plant relationships; fundamentals of forestry, wildlife, and agricultural management; land use planning (including GIS/GPS); soil and water assessment and remediation principles; and ecological risk assessment.
Environmental management systems students vary widely in their interests and career goals, but they all share a commitment to a professional career and a passion to preserve our natural resources and protect environmental quality.
Plant & Soil Systems
Consolidation of curricula in Agronomy, Entomology, Horticulture, and Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology resulted in the curriculum in Plant & Soil Systems. All students in this curriculum take core courses that provide a basic knowledge required for specialization in one of nine areas of concentration: agricultural pest management, crop science, environmental horticulture, horticultural science, landscape management, soil science, sustainable production systems, turf grass management, and urban entomology. Each area is further individualized by the addition of approved and free electives.
Students interested in pursuing a minor in agronomy, agricultural pest management, or horticulture may take suggested courses for the minor as part of the approved and free electives. (See the section on College of Agriculture minors for details.)
The sustainable cropping systems concentration is a blend of applied agronomy and horticulture, with less emphasis on science and more focus on economics than the other concentrations. It prepares students for careers in management, consulting, agricultural sales, and other production-related occupations.
Students pursuing agronomic interests can concentrate their studies in the areas of crop science, soil science, or agricultural pest management. In addition to the basic curriculum outlined for plant and soil systems majors, students selecting the crop management area of concentration take courses in agronomy, biological sciences, economics, entomology, experimental statistics, genetics, and plant health, as well as several hours in approved electives.
The agricultural pest management area of concentration is an interdisciplinary program of study in weed science, plant pathology, and physical sciences, and practical training through an internship work experience. A range of restricted and non-restricted electives allow students to personalize their degree program based on employment goals.
Four areas of horticultural concentration (environmental horticulture; landscape management; turfgrass management; and horticultural science) are designed to prepare students for various career opportunities using a cross-disciplinary studies approach. Prior to entering the program, students are encouraged to consult the curriculum coordinator for guidance in selecting courses.
Students selecting the environmental horticulture area of concentration will be prepared for careers in ornamental crop production, landscape horticulture, or the production and processing of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Students will become familiar with essential aspects of landscape and interiorscape installation and maintenance. Careers include interior and exterior landscape managers, horticulture educations, wholesale production of horticulture plants, retail managers and owners, arboreta, botanical gardens, and tissue culture propagation. Career opportunities in vegetable and fruit science include jobs as field representatives and farm consultants, food processors, agricultural chemical suppliers, and produce brokers.
Students selecting the landscape management area of concentration are prepared to construct landscape sites, as well as plant and maintain woody and herbaceous plants, turfgrass ornamental bulbs, and related crops. Course work in this area is more closely allied to landscape management and less so to production practices. Careers are centered on owning and operating landscape management companies.
Students selecting the turfgrass management area of concentration pursue careers as sports field managers; golf course superintendents; or professionals employed by the urban agricultural products industry. In addition to the basic core courses in the curriculum, students study turf and ornamental management, pest identification and control, pesticide application techniques, landscape design and small engine maintenance. Twelve hours of business electives provide additional experience in financial and personal management.
Students selecting the horticultural science area of concentration are prepared to pursue graduate studies in horticulture and related sciences. Horticultural scientists conduct research in areas such as crop culture and management; molecular biology; plant breeding and genetics; plant growth and development; plant metabolism and nutrition; propagation; post harvest and stress physiology; and tissue culture.