Want to get your hands dirty while making a difference? Our students work on solving the most complex agricultural and natural resource problems faced in Oregon, our nation and across the globe. Students who want to make a measurable difference in our communities are perfect candidates for a degree in either crop science or soil science. Graduates of our program, in demand across the United States, typically have several job offers by the time that they graduate.
If you want to feed the people of Oregon, the United States and the world; or be part of a team exploring biofuels and bioproducts to increase energy independence in the United States; or do cutting-edge gene research in crop plants or soil microbes; or use your soils knowledge to do remediation work on contaminated sites, the Department of Crop and Soil Science at Oregon State University is where you should be.
As an undergraduate, you'll have many chances for hands-on learning. Research opportunities for students include projects in breeding plants for food, oil and other uses, the science behind soil health, small farm operations and more, while your required internship will introduce you to the different career options available to you once you graduate. Student club activities will help you hone your leadership skills, positioning you for an exciting career in agronomy, soil science, or plant breeding.
In class, you'll build a strong foundation in the natural sciences, as well as participate in laboratory work, student-managed projects at Hyslop Farm, and problem-solving exercises. Explore the course catalog to get a feel for the classes you'll take, or learn more about completing an internship.
Undergraduate Program Learning Outcomes
1) Demonstrate both basic and advanced knowledge of core curriculum in crop and soil sciences.
2) Find, synthesize, and interpret credible scientific information reported in a variety of sources.
3) Effectively communicate scientific findings and issues in writing and in oral/visual presentations on technical and non-technical levels.
4) Demonstrate the ability to apply the scientific method to problems in crop and soil science.
5) Attain professional skills necessary for careers associated with crop or soil science, including tools to enable lifelong learning and skills for adapting to a changing world.
Opportunities for Research
The OSU College of Agricultural Sciences offers many diverse research and internship experiences across the state, nationally, and globally. Learn more about CAS research and internship opportunities
You can also elect to focus on research by becoming an OSU Undergraduate Research Fellow. Research fellows uncover new knowledge or apply existing knowledge to solving problems and are recognized by a transcript-visible Research Fellow designation. Learn more about becoming an OSU Research Fellow
In addition, numerous opportunities to study abroad, or to do international internships or research projects are available.
The knowledge and understanding that comes with studying in the Department of Crop and Soil Science is comprised of a variety of disciplines. Our community of experts include specialists in Crop Science, Soil Science, Horticulture, Genetics, Molecular Biology, Economics, and Entomology. Your work as a Department of Crop and Soil Science student will touch many of these fields and provide you with the expertise to tackle problems in agriculture and natural resource management.
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You can work towards one of three undergraduate degree options on campus:
Studying agronomy provides you with the knowledge and understanding to contribute directly to the sustainable production and quality of food, feed for animals, and fiber, seed and bioenergy crops. Working to improve plants is a key element in the effort to feed the world's growing population and crops play an ever-growing role in renewable energy production.
As a student working towards an agronomy degree, you will take background courses in chemistry and biology and further your studies in plant nutrition, integrated pest management, and crop production. Courses in ecology, conflict resolution, and agricultural business management will round out your education.
Recent graduates focusing on agronomy have gone on to work with the USDA or agricultural support companies, or have returned to family farms and ranches armed with the experience and knowledge needed to manage these businesses in the 21st century, or have gone on to study graduate-level agronomy at Oregon State and other universities.
Our undergraduates are required to complete an internship or research project before graduating. Ideally, the internship or research project will provide the opportunity for you to put into practice some of the concepts you have learned in the classroom and, at the same time, provide an opportunity for you to learn new skills and applications.
Curriculum for Agronomy Option
Soil, one of our most important natural resources, plays a vital role in sustaining human welfare and assuring agricultural productivity and environmental stability.
As a student earning a soil science degree, you will learn about the biological, chemical and physical properties of soil, and how best to use soils for a number of practical applications while protecting them for future users. In addition, global information tools and mapping systems are resources to assist you in characterizing landscapes and soils.
Recent graduates of the Soil Science option have gone on to work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, or have accepted positions with a number of environmental monitoring companies, or have attended graduate school at Oregon State University or other universities.
Our undergraduates are required to complete an internship or research project before graduating. This will provide you the opportunity to put into practice some of the concepts you have learned in the classroom and, at the same time, help you learn new skills and applications.
Curriculum for Soil Science Options
An interdisciplinary approach to applied plant breeding is the cornerstone of the Plant Breeding and Genetics option. After completing this degree, you will have gained fundamental knowledge in plant breeding that may be applied to a range of crops including annual and perennial horticultural crops, agronomic food and feed crops, and forestry products.
Graduates of the Plant Breeding and Genetics option often enter public or private sector breeding programs, or go on to attend graduate school.
As a student studying Plant Breeding and Genetics, you'll gain practical experience in breeding and genetic analysis working in the greenhouse, field, and lab. You'll also be able to take advantage of OSU's extensive, cross-campus interdisciplinary plant science network and the Pacific Northwest's largest plant breeding program to explore your research interests.
Internship Process and Requirements
Research/Thesis Process and Requirements
Curriculum for Plant Breeding and Genetics Option
More about the Plant Breeding and Genetics program
You can get either a B.S. in Horticulture or a B.S. in Crop and Soil Science with an option in Plant Breeding and Genetics.
All students majoring in Crop and Soil Science, regardless of option, are required to complete an internship (CROP PBG SOIL 410) or a research project (CROP PBG SOIL 401/ CROP PBG SOIL 403). Completing an internship or research project will provide you with the opportunity to gain practical experience while receiving credit for your work. During the internship or project, you'll apply the science and theory that you have learned in courses to real world situations.
For those students who have interest in an unfunded or partially funded internship, support dollars may be available. In 2008, Don and Mary Fisher, long time Willamette Valley farmers and OSU supporters from Junction City, provided funds to support internships in Crop and Soil Science with the specific goal of funding needy students participating in an unfunded or partially funded internship. Awards will typically be in the $250-1000 range, but requests for a larger amount may be granted with adequate justification. Award funds will be drawn from the spendable dollars in the Fisher Fund. Awards may be used for tuition, salary support, travel and living expenses related to an internship or other unusual internship costs. Talk with Stefan Seiter about application for these funds.
For a current list of internship opportunities in Crop and Soil Science contact the Intership Coordinator
Research can be an integral part of an Oregon State University education. For more information on research, its impact and how it can enhance your education, visit the the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and the Arts website or watch a presentation on how to get involved in undergraduate research at OSU.
Student Learning Outcomes
The purpose of the internship in the Department of Crop and Soil Science is to provide you with a learning experience that has immediate real world application. Ideally, you'll put into practice some of the concepts you have learned in the classroom, and you'll be provided an opportunity to learn new skills and applications. You're expected to work 100-120 hours for each internship credit taken. Variance from this level needs pre-approval from the internship coordinator.