Brigham Young University
Back Agronomy and Horticulture



Chair: Richard E. Terry
Graduate Coordinator: Laren R. Robison
289 WIDB
Provo, UT 84602-5183
(801) 378-3825


Agronomy and Horticulture are two fundamental sciences concerned with feeding, clothing and beautifying the world. They are among the primary sciences associated with genetic engineering to improve the quality of life for humanity. The academic thrust of the department is to ground students firmly in the science of these two disciplines to qualify them for further graduate work or for employment in industry, government, or private enterprise.

The Department of Agronomy and Horticulture offers two degrees:

Agronomy—MS and Horticulture—MS. The department also offers Molecular Biology—MS as an interdepartmental program.

Areas of specialization within the degrees: Crop Science, Soil Science, Horticulture, Developmental Agriculture.

There will usually be an average of eight graduate students pursuing the MS degree. The program is intended to be completed in two calendar years.

Agronomy, Horticulture, Molecular Biology—MS

Agronomy: Agronomy is the science that feeds the world. It is a composite title for issues associated with the major food crops, soils, environmental restoration, reclamation, genetic engineering, Third-World development, etc.

Horticulture: Horticulture is the science of fruit and vegetable production. These food products are finding greater essential use in our diet as scientific knowledge about human needs is defined. Horticulture also finds expression in the beauty of growing plants and in the floral art form.

Molecular Biology: The molecular biology program is a multidepartmental program in the College of Biology and Agriculture that allows students to learn modern procedures and techniques used in research at the molecular level. Students who successfully complete the MS degree in this discipline are fully qualified to compete for a PhD graduate program in the same discipline at another university.

Students should apply to the molecular biology program in the college and designate agronomy or horticulture as the study specialization. Refer to the Molecular Biology section of this catalog for a program description.

Admission and Entry.

Agronomy or Horticulture (MS): baccalaureate degree in agronomy or horticulture or related field.

Molecular Biology (MS): baccalaureate degree in molecular biology or biological or physical science, including one year of general university physics, mathematics equivalent to Math 113, one year of organic chemistry with laboratory, and one year of cell biology and genetics equivalent to Botny-Mcbio-Zool 341 and 342.

Requirements for Degree.

Thesis Option (30 hours): minimum 24 course work hours plus 6 thesis hours (AgHrt 699R).

Project Option (36 hours): minimum 30 course work hours plus 6 project hours (AgHrt 698R).

Molecular Biology: additional specific requirements of Chem 481, 582, 586; Stat 337 or 501; Mcbio 351, 425, 441, 442, and 642 or Zool 526.


Financial assistance is available for these programs through the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. The department has from four to seven assistantships. There are also funds for tuition offsets granted through the department from the Office of Graduate Studies. Other financial aid is available through the university.


Agriculture Station. The station encompasses several sites, all of which support research in basic and applied agriculture. Station facilities include: an 837-acre farm in Spanish Fork, Utah, a few miles south of Provo, with 80 acres of orchards, crop research plots, a 440-cow dairy, a 60-head beef herd, and a 70-sow swine unit; the 9,388-acre BYU Skaggs Research Ranch near Malta, Idaho; and several livestock project areas in north Provo, among them the Ellsworth Meat and Livestock Center and poultry, sheep, and horse projects. At these facilities research can be conducted on soils and on field, forage, and horticultural crops.

Ezra Taft Benson Agriculture and Food Institute. The major objective of the institute is to raise the quality of life among the people of the world through improved nutrition and enlightened agricultural practices. Emphasis is placed on teaching and training students who wish to work in foreign countries and on training people from those countries in agriculture and food science practices that can be used to improve life. Research to improve agricultural practices, family nutrition, and appropriate technology is encouraged.

M. L. Bean Life Science Museum. Exhibits and collections of biological specimens are housed in the M. L. Bean Life Science Museum. The exhibits include habitat studies of local as well as exotic plant and animal species and a large and valuable collection of trophies from North America, Africa, and Asia.

USDA Forest Service Shrub Science Laboratory. Housed on the BYU campus, this laboratory supports one of the finest research programs on native shrubs in the world. Here eleven PhD research scientists with adjunct faculty appointments work with BYU faculty members and graduate students. Laboratories, greenhouses, and gardens on campus and around the state support studies on desert shrubs.

Other Laboratory and Field Resources. On the Provo campus are an arboretum, a small animal vivarium, a tissue culture room, and several environmental chambers. Laboratory facilities include gas chromatographs-mass spectrometers, isotope ratio mass spectrometers, transmission and scanning electron microscopes, ultra centrifuges, visible ultraviolet and infrared spectrophotometers, gas chromatographs, high-performance liquid chromatographs, infrared gas analyzers, atomic absorption spectroscopy, and many other items. Besides excellent greenhouse facilities and environmental chambers, the department has an experimental research area at the BYU Agriculture Station and a horticulture study area where all-American vegetable and flower selections are grown.

Faculty and graduate students are currently engaged in a number of significant and interesting research projects, funded both internally and externally. Some of these are: mineral uptake by plants; ecology and seed physiology; photosynthetic rate and water-use efficiency in plants; plant breeding and molecular genetics; forage research; and environmental science.

For a more detailed description of the graduate program requirements, send for a copy of the department's bulletin.


Class Schedule

501R. (AgHrt-AnSc-FSN) Village Agriculture and Nutrition in Latin America (1)

Prerequisite:  experience in Latin America and/or in issues relative to the seminar.

Problems, successes, failures, and challenges facing those who work in agricultural research, training, and development related to small-scale farmers.

511. Soil Physics. (3)

Prerequisite: AgHrt 282, Chem 105, Math 113. Recommended: Phscs 121.

Physical relationships of water, heat, and gases in soils; physical and chemical properties of clays. Mathematical modeling of physical properties and transport processes.

514. Soil Microbiology. (3)

Prerequisite: Chem 106, 107, or equivalent.

Ecology and role of soil microorganisms in nutrient cycling, decomposition of organic matter and waste materials, and degradation of agricultural chemicals in soil.

520. Saline and Sodic Soils. (3)

Prerequisite: AgHrt 305, Chem 105, 106, 107, or equivalent.

Physical and chemical properties of saline and sodic soils and irrigation waters—their diagnosis, reclamation, and management for sustainable crop production.

540. Crop Physiology. (3)

Prerequisite: AgHrt 460, Botny 440.

Plant-soil-climate relationships; crop management practices related to physiological processes in plants.

550. Developmental Plant Physiology (3)

Prerequisite: AgHrt 318, 320; Botny 440 or equivalent.

Developmental phenomena in higher plants, emphasizing seed physiology, plant growth regulation, and plant stress responses.

559. (AgHrt-Botny) Advanced Plant Breeding and Biotechnology. (3)

Prerequisite: AgHrt-Botny 485; Botny 341; or equivalent.

Genetics and methods of plant breeding and biotechnology related to improving agronomic and horticultural crops.

560. Soil and Plant Analysis. (3)

Prerequisite: AgHrt 305 or Chem 223.

Laboratory chemical analysis of soils and plant materials in soil and plant research.

573. (AgHrt-Botny) Plant Cytogenetics. (3)

Prerequisite: Botny 341, 342, 343; AgHrt-Botny 559; or equivalent.

Plant chromosome morphology and structure, polyploidy, aneuploidy, replication and endoreduplication, classical and molecular cytogenetic analytical methods, chromosome evolution, and chromosome engineering.

595. Agricultural Experimentation: Design and Analysis. (2)

Prerequisite: Stat 501 or equivalent.

Planning, experimental design, and techniques of analysis in agriculture.

598R. Advanced Topics in Agronomy and Horticulture. (1-3)

605. Soil-Plant Relationships. (3)

Prerequisite: AgHrt 282, 305; Botny 440; organic or biochemistry course.

Soil-plant nutrition including mechanisms of nutrient uptake, transfer, and assimilation; mechanisms of nutrient immobilization and toxicity in soils and plants.

694R. Seminar. (1)

697R. Research. (1-9)

698R. Master's Project. (1-6)

For project option only.

699R. Master's Thesis. (1-9)


ALLEN, PHIL S., Associate Professor. PhD, University of Minnesota, 1990. Seed Physiology; Ornamental Horticulture; Seed Physiology.

ELLSWORTH, D. DELOS, Associate Professor. MS, Cornell University, 1959. Real Estate Appraisal and Analysis.

HORROCKS, R. DWAIN, Professor. PhD, Pennsylvania State University, 1967. Crop Physiology; Ecological Modeling; Forage Production and Utilization.

JEFFERY, LARRY S., Professor. PhD, North Dakota State University, 1966. Physiology of Weed Growth and Competition.

JELLEN, ERIC N., Assistant Professor. PhD, University of Minnesota, 1992. Classical and Molecular Cytogenetics; Genetic Mapping; Plant Breeding.

JOLLEY, VON D., Professor. PhD, Iowa State University of Science and Technology, 1976. Mineral Nutrition in Plants; Chemistry of Iron Uptake in Plants.

NELSON, SHELDON D., Professor. PhD, University of California, 1971. Soil Physics; Irrigation Management; Herbicide Degradation in Soils.

ROBISON, LAREN R., Professor. PhD, University of Minnesota, 1962. Plant Genetics; DNA Analysis of New Crop Species; Agriculture Development.

STEVENS, MIKEL R., Assistant Professor. PhD, University of Arkansas, 1993. Plant Breeding; Molecular Genetics.

TERRY, RICHARD E., Professor. PhD, Purdue University, 1976. Soil Microbiology; Reclamation and Restoration of Environmentally Disturbed Sites.

WILLIAMS, C. FRANK, Professor. PhD, Oregon State University, 1971. Plant Propagation; Turf Management; Organic Materials Recycling; Water Quality.


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