Landscape & Lawn Management Program - Grand Rapids, Michigan

Michigan State University and Grand Rapids Community College

Welcome to the program! This guide is intended to provide you with answers to the most commonly asked questions students have as they work toward completing the Landscape and Lawn Management program.  You are highly encouraged to meet regularly with your academic advisor to plan courses and review your objectives. Please note that ultimately you, and not your advisor, are responsible for meeting the requirements for graduation. 

Program Description

The MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology has offered "short courses" in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources for over 100 years. These short courses have developed into highly focused certificate programs in a variety of fields. 

The Landscape and Lawn Management program in Grand Rapids allows you to combine horticulture courses with business courses and simultaneously earn both a MSU Certificate and a GRCC Associate degree.  The program also provides a focused curriculum in the plant sciences area, along with a business emphasis. In the landscape and nursery industry, many employers and alumni testify to the significance of sound business knowledge in managing their companies.  This program brings MSU courses to you without the need for commuting to East Lansing. 

MSU offers two to three courses each Fall and Spring semester in the evening at locations in Grand Rapids. Some classes are offered by ITV, an interactive television system that connects you to the best instructors possible. You meet your classmates in a special classroom that has interactive TV technology, where you both see and hear your instructor.  Likewise, your instructor is able to answer your questions and speak to you directly.  Other classes are taught on-site by MSU faculty and/or highly qualified and experienced industry leaders.  You may also connect to campus resources by computer.

Choosing Credentials

This program meets your needs by offering you two options. Either complete the requirements for the MSU Certificate, or take the full complement of courses and earn the GRCC Associate degree, along with the MSU Certificate.

The MSU Certificate is widely recognized by professionals in the Landscape, Turfgrass, and Nursery industries, and there is great demand for graduates of this program. This option is best for you if you want to gain immediate employment in the industry, or improve your credentials for professional development.

In addition to the MSU Certificate requirements, the GRCC Associate degree requires additional courses in Business, English, Social Science, Natural Science, and Humanities.  While all students are encouraged to complete these requirements, they are most beneficial if you are interested in owning your own business or plan to continue your education at a four-year institution.

Click here for the Certificate Requirements

Click here for the Associate Degree Requirements.

Click here for a detailed schedule of the MSU courses.

Admission and Enrollment

Since you'll actually be taking courses from two institutions, you'll need to be admitted to the Landscape and Lawn Management program through both MSU IAT and GRCC. The application, registration procedures, tuition and fees are administered independently by each institution. All high school graduates are eligible to apply. The following information on this page covers the specifics for the MSU portion of the program.

For a summary of GRCC procedures, visit the GRCC website.

Applying to the MSU Institute of Agricultural Technology

Complete an application for admission to the IAT, including a $50 application fee, and mail it to the East Lansing address on the application form. You'll also have to contact your high school and/or other post-secondary institution to request they send an official transcript to IAT. You'll receive a student number so you can register for classes on-line. There's no need to ever come to East Lansing! And remember, you'll have the assistance of an academic advisor from MSU who is a professional horticulturist and can advise you in choosing courses and making career decisions.

Please complete your MSU IAT application for admission by July 1 for fall semester or by November 1 for spring semester admission. Students who wish to apply after the deadline should contact the program coordinator.  

Click here for the IAT Landscape and Lawn Management Application.


The MSU Program Coordinator is available for personal advising prior to registration for each semester. Contact Marcus Duck directly to schedule an appointment. You are encouraged to meet regularly with an academic advisor to plan courses and review your objectives. Please note that ultimately you, and not your advisor, are responsible for meeting the requirements for graduation.

Transferring Previous College Credits to MSU

You may be able to transfer credits earned from other institutions to help satisfy some MSU course requirements. Have official transcripts forwarded from previous colleges for evaluation when you apply for admission. After a review by the program coordinator, courses that cover similar content will be accepted in transfer if the grade received was a C (2.0) or better. Up to 24 transfer credits may be applied toward completion of the MSU Certificate.

Academic Standards

A passing grade must be earned in each required and elective course. You'll need to maintain a 2.0 overall GPA in order to remain in good academic standing, and to graduate.

Internships (Placement Training)

A professional internship is required. The internship places you in a professional learning environment that challenges your ability to combine knowledge and hands-on mastery, and your interpersonal and professional skills. You'll earn credit for supervised on-the-job training. Employers are eager to hire MSU graduates, in part because of the field experience you'll take to that first job. Internships are individualized, and are as diverse as our students. You'll have flexibility in scheduling and employment options.

Generally, you'll obtain your own employment and negotiate wages and work schedule. We require that both you and your employer complete a written agreement, outlining the terms of employment and expectations. Then, you'll report monthly to your advisor and receive regular feedback from your supervisor. You can expect a personal visit from your advisor during the time you're employed. You're encouraged to seek new or expanded work opportunities for your internship rather than return to familiar employers. If you own your own business we can negotiate a series of independent projects, which will help you satisfy this requirement. The best internships are planned long in advance and benefit from the counsel of your academic advisor. 

Click here for more details on the Internship Requirements.

Career Opportunities

  • Landscape Design, Maintenance, and/or Construction
  • Nursery Manager
  • Nursery Production
  • Retail/Wholesale Garden Center
  • Irrigation Installation, Design, and/or Maintenance
  • Opportunities for full-time positions are extremely favorable
  • Job placement throughout Michigan, across the US, and internationally
  • For more details on career opportunities, visit The Land Lovers web site
  • Visit our Internship and Job Posting web page for current and archived postings for internships, part-time and full-time jobs, homeowner requests, etc.

Completing the Program

At the end of the last semester of study, credits, must be transferred from GRCC to MSU in order for the Certificate requirements to be met.  Similarly, MSU credits, which apply to the Associate degree must be transferred to GRCC. Transcripts are sent directly from one institution to the other. Copies released to you will not be accepted by either school.

Click here for useful tips about the Landscape & Lawn Management program.

For more information:

Marcus Duck   Marcus Duck
   Landscape and Lawn Management Program Coordinator
   Michigan State University
   A240-D Plant & Soil Sciences Building
   East Lansing, MI 48824-1325
   Phone: (517) 355-5191 x 1351
   Fax: (517) 353-0890