Curriculum & Electives

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Designed by horticulturists and botanists, the academic courses introduce and explore the multifaceted field of horticulture. Students are preregistered for all required courses. Students complete 647 class hours of academic courses, and 60 hours of personal enrichment (optional). Classes are held in the Watson and Library buildings.

- Botany
- Horticulture
- Landscape Design
- Communications & Business Management
- Personal Development


Courses encompass a broad range of topics, i.e., anatomy, morphology, physiology, systematics, ecology, evolution, and field studies.

Basic Science Review Workshop

Has it been awhile since your last science class? This course is required as preparation for Botany I, but it can also be used as a refresher course on basic laboratory techniques. Discuss essential biological concepts and practice hands-on laboratory skills, such as working with dissecting and compound microscopes, and making wet-mount slides with fresh botanical materials.
Hours: 9 — BOT 314

Plant Structure

Learn about the basic plant body, from the cell to the main component parts, including roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit. Use both dissecting and compound light microscopes to view plant parts. The fundamental chemistry required for understanding how plants function is presented.
Hours: 20 — BOT 315

Plant Physiology

The role of plant hormones in growth and development is discussed as well as plant movement, water transport through the plant body, and plant metabolism, including photosynthesis and respiration (anaerobic and aerobic). All the basic chemistry needed to understand plant physiology is presented in class.
Hours: 20 — BOT 316

Plant Diversity

Study morphological, anatomical, and life cycle features of the major divisions of organisms traditionally grouped in botany. An introduc- tion to the principles and mechanics of evolution and classification provides the framework for understanding how these divisions are defined. Fundamental nutrient cycles and ecological concepts are presented.
Prerequisite: Plant Structure–BOT 315.
Hours: 24 — BOT 317

Morphology of Flowering Plants

Angiosperms (flowering plants) are the dominant plants in most of the habitats of the world today. Through laboratory demonstrations and dissections, examine the morphology of flowers, fruits, and vegetative plant parts, and learn about the development of these structures.
Hours: 16 — BOT 431

Systematic Botany

Survey bryophytes, ferns, lycophytes, gymnosperms, and major families of the angiosperms (flowering plants), the dominant group of plants on Earth today. Learn the characters and principles used to classify them, newly recognized higher order groupings of species, evolutionary trends in reproductive and vegetative structures, and recently reconstructed evolutionary histories (phylogenies) of plants.
Hours: 21 — BOT 432


Courses are designed to increase and enhance understanding of plant identification, culture, selection, and sustainable landscape management practices.

Soil Science I: Physical Properties

Soil is the very foundation of sustainable horticulture and agriculture. This course focuses on the texture, structure, density, and color of different soils and the dynamic relationship that exists among soil, water, and plants. Learn irrigation and drainage techniques, and explore the importance of soil organic matter and microbiology in relation to plant health and soil conservation.
Hours: 18 — HRT 301

Soil Science II: Chemistry and Nutrition

Learn how to feed the soil so it can feed your plants. Gain an understanding of the cornerstones of soil chemistry: pH and its effects on nutrient availability to plants and the ionic exchange capacities of soil. Macronutrient cycles in the soil will be studied with emphasis on the complex nitrogen cycle and its importance to environmental and horticultural sustainability. Explore the use of organic and inorganic fertilizers and composted soil amendments. Students will perform an analysis of their own soil sample in class. In addition, study commercial soil tests and plant tissue tests as important tools in monitoring plant nutrition and health.
Hours: 16 — HRT 302

Horticultural Techniques: Landscape Gardening

Learn the basic techniques of landscape gardening, with an emphasis on practical skills. Topics include soil preparation, efficient water and fertilization practices, planting and transplanting, cultivation techniques, and maintaining healthy plants. Wear comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes, and come prepared to work outdoors.
Hours: 12 — HRT 311

Horticultural Techniques: Greenhouse Practices

This course introduces students to the practical skills required for growing plants in greenhouses. Topics include structures and equipment, soils and other growing media, irrigation and fertilization practices, potting and repotting, and cultural techniques. Wear work clothes and bring pruning shears to class.
Hours: 18 — HRT 312

Horticultural Techniques: Basic Horticultural Construction

Learn basic horticultural construction techniques such as installing posts and rails, mixing and using concrete, installing paving stones and path edging, building stone walls, carpentry, plumbing repairs, and painting.
Hours: 12 — HRT 314

Horticultural Techniques: Turf Equipment

This course will introduce students to the various equipment used in the maintenance of grounds, arboretum, and turfgrass. Proper use, care, and safety will be discussed. Students will be able to operate various pieces of equipment, and maintenance techniques will be demonstrated.
Hours: 8 — HRT 315

Pruning Principles and Practices

This course combines knowledge with practice. Topics include woody plant structure and physiology as they relate to pruning; correct pruning techniques and tools; pruning timing; and pruning as an integral part of plant health care. Pruning of trees and shrubs, conifers, and evergreen and deciduous plants is covered. Creation and maintenance of hedges is considered, along with authentic pollarding techniques.
Hours: 14 — HRT 321

Ornamental Woody Plants: Fall Trees and Shrubs

Explore the identification and landscape use of major groups of shade trees and shrubs grown for ornamental foliage and fruit. Major groups studied include Acer, Quercus, Viburnum, and other genera, which are particularly ornamental in fall.
Hours: 12 — HRT 331

Ornamental Woody Plants: Broad-leaved Evergreens

Learn native and exotic broadleaved evergreens; become familiar with their cultural requirements, identification features, and ornamental value. Learn how to incorporate this important group of plants into both naturalistic and formal landscape settings. Major plant groups studied include Ilex, Rhododendron, Buxus, and evergreen groundcovers.
Hours: 8 — HRT 332

Ornamental Woody Plants: Conifers

Learn the identification, classification, and landscape use of ornamental conifers. Major plant groups studied include Chamaecyparis, Picea, Pinus, and other genera that may be grown in the northeastern United States. Gain a working knowledge of the best species and cultivars of conifers for landscaping.
Hours: 12 — HRT 333

Ornamental Woody Plants: Spring Trees and Shrubs

Learn the identification, classification, and landscape use of spring-flowering trees and shrubs. Major plant groups include Magnolia, Malus, Prunus, Viburnum, and other genera, which are particularly ornamental in spring.
Hours: 12 — HRT 334

Grounds Management

Examine the most important factors in the management and maintenance of shrubs and small ornamental plants in residential or commercial settings, including planting and cultural practices. Using sustainable management methods, learn how, why, and when to prune; soil fertility options; how to restore old or overgrown plants; and effective winter protection techniques. Common insects, diseases, and physiological problems are discussed.
Hours: 12 — HRT 335

Ornamental Herbaceous Plants: Spring Perennials

This course is designed for horticulturists and gardeners who are familiar with the basic culture of perennials. Learn the identifying characteristics, classification, scientific and common names, and landscape uses of approximately 60 spring-blooming perennials.
Hours: 9 — HRT 336

Ornamental Herbaceous Plants: Summer and Fall Perennials

This course is designed for horticulturists and gardeners who are familiar with the basic culture of perennials. Learn the identifying characteristics, classification, scientific and common names, and landscape uses of approximately 60 summer- and fall-blooming perennials.
Hours: 9 — HRT 337

Ornamental Herbaceous Plants: Annuals

Become familiar with the identification, culture, and landscape use of annuals and select tender perennials. Review major groups of common as well as more unusual types. Learn how to choose low-maintenance plants, and review the scientific and common names and the identification of approximately 60 annuals.
Hours: 8 — HRT 341

Ornamental Herbaceous Plants: Bulbs

This course is designed for horticulturists who are familiar with the culture of bulbs and who wish to learn more about the biology, identification, and classification of ornamental bulbs. Learn about common and unusual spring-, summer-, and autumn-flowering bulbs.
Hours: 12 — HRT 342

Mathematics for Horticulturists

This course is designed for horticulturists who are responsible for maintaining or directing the maintenance of outdoor landscapes. Methods of calculating areas, application rates for fertilizers, and amounts of soil amendments are reviewed during the first session, and a set of homework problems is analyzed during the second session.
Hours: 6 — HRT 356

Preparation for Pesticide Applicator: Certification Examination

Prepare now for the Core (Basic) and Category 3 (Ornamentals and Turf) Pesticide Applicator Certification examinations given by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and required of all pesticide applicators. Topics include handling, use, storage, and application of pesticides; safety and environmental considerations; and insect and disease problems. Several manuals are required. New York State mandates either three years of work experience or at least 30 hours of class instruction to be eligible to take the certification exams.
Hours: 30 — HRT 357

Ornamental Tropical Plants

Learn the identification, classification, and culture of houseplants and greenhouse plants. Major plant groups to be studied include aroids, bromeliads, Marantaceae, and other ornamental tropicals grown indoors.
Hours: 14 — HRT 361

The Basics of IPM (Integrated Pest Management)

Study principles and practices of IPM, including problem identification, monitoring techniques, and pest management strategies. Students discuss applications of chemical, cultural, genetic, and biological controls to greenhouse crops, woody ornamentals, turfgrasses, and vegetables. Participate in scouting exercises where possible.
Hours: 12 — HRT 380

Insect Pests of Ornamental Plants

Learn to identify the insects common to the northeastern United States that feed on woody and herbaceous plants and the damage that they cause. Learn to judge the severity of an infestation and to select and implement control measures based on the insect’s biology.
Hours: 15 — HRT 381

Plant Propagation I: Basic Principles

Learn the principles and techniques of plant propagation by seed and cuttings. Explore the basics of sexual and asexual propagation, with attention to fruit development, seedling production, root initiation, stem and leaf cuttings, and layering.
Hours: 18 — HRT 411

Through lectures and laboratories, learn how to work with plants that are difficult to propagate by seed or cuttings. Subjects include advanced seed propagation and techniques of grafting, budding, and micropropagation.
Hours: 16 — HRT 412

Turf Management

With increasing pressure to eliminate or greatly reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, this course examines the concept of sustainable turf management. Through analyzing traditional turf maintenance practices, learn how to efficiently and effectively develop management programs that reduce adverse effects on the environment.
Hours: 14 — HRT 421

Tree Management

Topics include planting and transplanting, pruning, fertilization, root system management, common problems, tree defenses, and lightning protection. Samples of tree problems, supplies, and tools are exhibited.
Hours: 14 — HRT 422

Winter Tree Identification

Learn the basic techniques of woody plant identification. Buds, bark, and growth habits of deciduous plants as well as interesting characteristics of conifers are taught. Specialized techniques and tools of the trade are discussed.
Hours: 12 — HRT 440


Gain a basic understanding of the structure, growth, and development of insects. Learn about their harmful and beneficial effects, and how to control insects and arthropod forms. Find out how to collect, identify, classify, and preserve a wide variety of insects.
Hours: 15 — HRT 480

Disease Identification and Management

Learn about common diseases of woody and herbaceous ornamentals caused by bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and viruses, and the cultural, biological, and chemical strategies for their control. Discuss diagnoses of plant problems, including identification of insect- and nutrient- related symptoms.
Hours: 15 — HRT 481

Weed Identification and Management

Learn how to identify and manage the common turf and landscape weeds found in residential and commercial sites. A variety of weed control methods, including non-chemical approaches, are examined. Weed biology, biochemical pathways, herbicides and their application techniques, and equipment calibration and care are studied, as are seasonal weed-control programs.
Hours: 18 — HRT 482

Nursery and Greenhouse Management

Commercial plant production is a driving factor in the multibillion-dollar greenhouse and nursery industries, and there is an increasing need for skilled personnel trained in sound business practices and advanced horticultural techniques. Learn the basic principles and best practices of industry-associated economics, greenhouse and nursery construction and design, and commercial greenhouse and field plant production. Understand the elements of managing a commercial growing operation, including site selection, planning and layout, and production methods of greenhouse and nursery crops, both in the field and in containers.
Hours: 24 — HRT491

Landscape Design

Courses include graphics, design, development, and construction of sustainable outdoor landscapes.

Landscape Design History

Study theories and principles that have shaped the design of landscapes throughout history, from antiquity to the 21st century. Explore Eastern and Western garden traditions. Survey all types of gardens and landscapes, including corporate and public spaces, through visual presentations by the instructor, assigned readings, projects, and classroom discussions. Landscape designs will be considered in the context of the times and societies in which they were created.
Hours: 24 — LAN 301

Graphics I

Graphics are used to develop and communicate landscape design ideas. Learn and practice techniques of graphic expression, and learn how to organize and render landscape plans on paper for optimal presentation to clients. Work with drawing materials and drafting equipment.
Hours: 24 — LAN 311

Landscape Design I: Site Analysis and Schematic Design

Learn how to understand and analyze existing landscapes, and to formulate the programmatic and functional requirements of a design project. Translate these into schematic design solutions. Take part in class discussions and critiques, and present projects.
Hours: 24 — LAN 401

Communications & Business Management

Courses help students prepare for the horticulture profession by providing them with skills for public speaking, job acquisition, and business management. All COM courses are compulsory and are taught in workshop style.

Introduction to Public Speaking

Possessing effective public speaking skills is as crucial as knowing how to edge a display border. Both indicate that the speaker has a high level of professionalism. Learn what you need to know to become a good public speaker: how to research, write, and deliver. Students will deliver several presentations during the course.
Hours: 12 — COM 101

Career Preparation

How do I start? Where do I look? These are some common questions that job seekers have, whether they are seasoned horticulturists or looking for a career change. This course is geared specifically for the horticulture profession, from preparing résumés with key industry terms to targeting public gardens and dressing for the interview. This course prepares students to embark on their second-year internship search.
Hours: 8 — COM 102

Advanced Presentation Skills

This advanced-level course focuses on how to create presentations for different purposes (sales pitch, slide presentation, and graduation speech), how to utilize audiovisual equipment and computer programs, and how to deliver speeches. Students prepare and deliver speeches of varying lengths.
Hours: 10 — COM 103

Introduction to Business Management

Through lectures and assigned readings, students learn different components of business management: staffing, marketing, operations, financial management, and customer/client development. Students prepare a marketing plan.
Hours: 12 — COM 104

Personal Development

Students may take up to 60 hours of elective courses of their choosing offered by the Garden. These courses are optional and are solely for students’ personal enrichment.