Specializations and Minors

MSU offers a number of specializations and minors that may be used to complement academic majors or to accommodate studies that are not available as a major. Both specializations and minors are noted on a student's transcript upon graduation.


Specializations are 14- 20 credit hours of linked courses, from more than one Department or College. Minors are typically 15-18 credits of courses offered by one Department.

These options require the use of elective credits. For a student pursuing a degree in Horticulture beginning in the freshman year, there are sufficient elective credits in the program to complete a specialization or minor and still remain within the four years and 120 credit minimum for graduation. For a transfer student with extensive elective credit from the previous institution, specializations may require additional credit beyond the minimum for graduation.

Specializations and minors that may be of particular interest to Horticulture students are listed below. Brochures and detailed material about these specializations are available from the contact person(s) listed for each specialization. A comprehensive list of Specializations and Minors offered at MSU can be found at here.

Specializations offered by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources are listed here.

Specialization in Agribusiness ManagementA crate of apples

Offered through the Department of Agricultural Economics, this specialization combines broad training in business with specialized training in the unique problems of managing agribusiness firms. Horticulture majors interested in more information about this specialization should speak with their horticulture advisor, or contact Ruthi Bloomfield, at (517) 423-5298. Click here for more information.

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems

The objective of SAFS is to provide an active learning exploration of sustainable agriculture and food systems that encompasses the biological, ecological, sociological, economic and political aspects of food production. For more information, contact Julie Cotton (517) 355-0271 x 1234, or visit the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems webpage.

Specialization in Biotechnology

This specialization, offered by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, provides the opportunity for students to become familiar with the concepts, techniques, and issues related to modern biotechnology. Students planning to pursue graduate study in biotechnology-related fields, or who may be interested in careers with corporations or agencies for which a basic familiarity with biotechnology is important, should consider this specialization. For brochures or more information click here, or contact Susan Gruber, (517) 355-5191 x 1326.

Specialization in International Agriculture

This specialization is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in bachelor's degree programs and is designed for students who have an interest in international agriculture. It seeks to increase student understanding of global agriculture, particular agriculture-related problems and issues in developing and developed nations, and issues related to sustainability and stewardship of the Earth. Students who complete this specialization will be prepared for effective employment in the arena of international agriculture and/or multinational firms. Contact Russ Freed or click here for more information.

The Liberty Hyde Bailey Scholars Program

This specialization in connected learning is available to all students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Much of the program is tailored to fit the specific interests of the student. Three core courses are combined with courses and experiences that best suit the student's development and interests and are complimented by many unique, community planned learning activities. For more information, contact the Bailey Scholars Program Senior Director Glenn Sterner at (517) 432-0732 or the Bailey Scholars website.

The Environmental Studies Specialization

Students identifying a treeThis specialization is designed to increase undergraduate students understanding of the physical environment that is inhabited and influenced by humans, and the ways in which direct and indirect policy-making by social, economic, and political institutions affect environmental issues. The curriculum includes opportunities to study topics ranging from wetlands remediation to global information systems mapping (GIS). In addition, students may elect to study alongside world-class faculty engaged in environmental research.

Incoming freshman may elect to pursue this specialization and participate in RISE: Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment. RISE participants live together in designated floor of Hubbard hall, where they share access to many unique resources. The Environmental Studies Specialization includes three distinct RISE seminars in which students explore environmental issues through field trips, guest speakers, community projects and a senior level integrative experience.

For more information on this specialization visit the RISE webpage, or contact Program Director, Dr. Laurie Thorp at (517) 432-4944.


Minor in Agronomy (Currently a specialization: Program change initiated for FS 09)

This minor is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in bachelor's degree programs at Michigan State University and is designed to serve students with majors in fields other than Crop and Soil Sciences who are interested in agronomy and who plan to pursue careers in agriculture for which a basic familiarity with the science of cropping systems is important. The specialization will provide an opportunity for students to gain a fundamental understanding of the science of food production, including crop management, soil management, and plant breeding and biotechnology. Click here for more information. 

Minor in Entomology

The Minor in Entomology, which is administered by the Department of Entomology, is designed to serve students in other fields who desire additional training in the insect sciences. It provides an introduction to a range of entomological knowledge, including insect identification, ecology, and management. Click here to learn more.

Minor in Educational Studies

The Minor in Educational Studies, which is administered by the College of Education, provides an opportunity for students interested in the intersection of learning, education, and society. The minor is a valuable addition for those pursuing careers in the social and behavioral sciences, law, social justice, or education. This minor does not offer professional training for teaching or lead to a teaching certificate or license. Click here for more information.