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Why Major in Turfgrass Science?

Graduates of the Penn State Turfgrass Science program are in high demand. Our program has a long history of preparing students for the workforce.

Initiated in 1929 through the efforts of committed clientele, the Penn State Turfgrass Program was one of the first in the nation. It was the first to employ a turfgrass extension specialist (1934), the first to graduate a Ph.D. turfgrass scientist (1950), the first to offer a two-year technical program specifically for golf course superintendents (since 1957), and the first to offer an undergraduate major in turfgrass science (since 1992). But being first is not all that counts; it is the quality of the program that really matters.

The curriculum for the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in turfgrass science emphasizes the broad array of principles and practices for effectively managing golf, sports, lawn, and utility turfs. These principles and practices are systematically covered in a series of turfgrass courses totaling 30 credits in a 120-credit curriculum. The remaining credits are from basic science, communications, quantification, health, arts, humanities, social science, business, and professional courses.

While the curriculum is designed to prepare students for professional careers in the turfgrass industry, students wishing to pursue graduate study in preparation for careers in academic institutions or elsewhere can choose additional basic science and quantification courses as their professional courses.

Goals and Objectives

Knowledge

Goal 1 - Acquire knowledge and skills necessary to obtain or pursue a professional position or graduate/professional education in turfgrass science and management.

Objectives - by the time you complete your degree, you will:

  1. Know the principles and practices of producing, establishing, and managing the primary turfgrass species and cultivars.
  2. Be able to identify the primary turfgrass species based on their morphological characteristics and have a basic knowledge of their environmental adaptation and cultural requirements.
  3. Be aware of the environmental issues associated with the principles and practices of sustainable turfgrass management.
  4. Know how to identify and manage key pests of managed turfgrass communities.
  5. Know principles of plant biology, particularly as they apply to the propagation and management of turfgrasses.
  6. Have extensive knowledge and practical experience in turfgrass establishment and management, including mowing, fertilization, irrigation, and other cultural operations.
  7. Have the opportunity to obtain professional certifications for various purposes, including pesticide application.

Goal 2 - Identify and use appropriate quantitative methods to analyze physical, biological, and social phenomena.

Objectives - by the time you complete your degree, you will:

  1. Use basic mathematical operations to solve problems in turfgrass management.
  2. Understand the application of mathematics in properly proportioning and applying seed, plant growth regulators, fertilizers, and other agricultural chemicals.
  3. Use computer hardware and software for displaying and analyzing data.
  4. Accurately comprehend and draw appropriate inferences from numeric data and quantitative models.

Goal 3 – Understand and use appropriate methods of inquiry.

Objectives - by the time you complete your degree, you will:

  1. Use observation, exploration, experimentation, and simulation to build a personal body of knowledge about turfgrass management issues and solutions.
  2. Devise methods of inquiry to distinguish cause and effect, and to solve relevant problems in turfgrass management.
  3. Conduct an investigation or experiment and acquire results as the basis for making informed decisions.

Goal 4 – Use acquired knowledge, skills, and ingenuity to solve complex problems.

Objectives - by the time you complete your degree, you will:

  1. Recognize the complexity of most problems arising in the practice of turfgrass management.
  2. Identify the resources and approaches necessary to work toward a resolution of these problems.
  3. Use your knowledge to make informed choices among various management options based on scientific and/or economic principles.
  4. Evaluate the results of your choices, reassess, and alter your management strategies accordingly.

Communication

Goal 1 – Gather and interpret information from diverse sources.

Objectives - by the time you complete your degree, you will:

  1. Locate, compile, and organize information from print and electronic media
  2. Critically evaluate information gleaned from various sources.

Goal 2 – Communicate clearly and effectively using a variety of methods.

Objectives - by the time you complete your degree, you will:

  1. Organize information for presentation.
  2. Speak and write logically and effectively for diverse audiences.
  3. Produce and deliver a presentation suitable for a large audience.
  4. Acknowledge information sources in an appropriate format.

Goal 3 – Recognize the value of and participate in teams with members representing diverse learning styles.

Objectives - by the time you complete your degree, you will:

  1. Understand the perspectives of diverse learning styles.
  2. Interact effectively with peers and other professionals.

Personal Growth

Goal 1 – Understand and apply ethical principles to issues, problems, and professional practices.

Objectives - by the time you complete your degree, you will:

  1. Develop and explain a personal environmental ethic.
  2. Know the ethical standards of your professional organizations in which you have membership.

Goal 2 – Develop an awareness of global community and ecology in their physical, biological, and social dimensions,

Objectives - by the time you complete your degree, you will:

  1. Become familiar with Earth systems and the impact of human activities on these systems.
  2. Recognize the diverse global human cultures and their relationships with the environment.

Goal 3 – Develop a sense of responsibility to self, community, and society.

Objectives - by the time you complete your degree, you will:

  1. Understand and respect differences among diverse populations.
  2. Know how to find, earn, and keep a position in your professional field.
  3. Demonstrate leadership in solving a societal problem

Facilities

Located in a state-of-the-art building completed in 1991, the Department of Plant Science has more than 78 offices and 20,000 square feet of laboratories . In addition to sharing the extensive resources of the University - including libraries , computation centers , and research institutes - it also maintains a 22-acre irrigated turfgrass research center , a landscape management research center , greenhouses , and several well-equipped field laboratories.

Penn State is among the leading research and teaching institutions in the country. More than 42,000 students are located on the University Park campus in State College, the cultural center of the region. Excellent recreational opportunities are available both on campus and in the surrounding open countryside and mountain forests.