Plant and Environmental Sciences (B.S.)

FAST FACTS ›

  • This major was previously named soils and sustainable crop systems.
  • Clemson is home to a Student Organic Farm that covers 15 acres and conducts progressive research that follows the National Organic Program guidelines.
  • The variety of okra you eat today was developed at Clemson; when buying the plants, look for Clemson Spineless Okra.
  • Clemson’s soil judging team was recently a top-10 finalist at the regional soils competition held at West Virginia State University.
ABOUT.

Just a small handful of soil contains millions of microorganisms. These organisms all work to provide nutrients that are essential for plant growth and health. As our world continues to change, the science of protecting our environment and developing new agricultural practices must continue to evolve as well. A major in plant and environmental sciences (previously named soils and sustainable crop systems) covers topics such as plant biology, soil science, ecology, genetics and biotechnology. It’s important that, with our ever-growing population, scientists find practices to help growers produce more with less. Our graduates play a significant role in bringing sustainable approaches and modern technologies to agricultural and environmental practices.

CLASSES.

What you'll study:

As a freshman, you’ll start with a solid foundation in biology, chemistry and math and will be required to take an introductory course for the major. Then you’ll be prepared to tackle advanced course work in plant physiology, soil genesis, world crops, agricultural biotechnology and soil physics. This degree program is lab intensive and prepares you well for your career as well as possible graduate studies.

Agricultural Biotechnology Concentration: Study the scientific advances that are helping production agriculture keep up with the demands of an ever-growing global population while also battling the constraints on our natural resources such as land and water. Learn to use advances such as drought- or pest-resistant plants.

Agronomy Concentration: Within this concentration, you'll learn how to manage and adapt farming systems to cope with the intense demands of population growth as well as the instability of markets and weather. Understand the environmental and social concerns of modern-day farming, and implement practices designed to enhance the future of agriculture.

Soil and Water Science Concentration: Soil and water quality impacts all agricultural disciplines. In choosing this concentration, you’ll learn how to address compelling problems including management of agricultural and industrial wastes, reduction of contamination of ground and surface waters, and soil and water use in production of food and fiber crops.

Curriculum:

Popular Minors:

  • Agricultural Business Management
  • Biological Sciences
  • Entomology
  • Environmental Science and Policy
  • Genetics
  • Horticulture
  • Plant Pathology

Similar Majors:

BEYOND THE CLASSROOM.

Whether in the lab, the greenhouses or on the organic farm, students in soils and sustainable crop systems gain experiences outside the classroom. These applied skills make our students competitive for graduate programs and careers.

Internships and Research Projects:

COMPETE:
Each year, Clemson’s Soil Judging Team heads off to regional and national soil judging competitions. This year, students brought home a top-10 finish from a competition held at West Virginia State University.
MICROBES:
The first bioengineered soybean plant stock was introduced into the field at the Clemson Edisto Research Station in the late 1980s. This Clemson innovation led to the future technology to produce Roundup Ready Soybeans and BT Cotton.

Connect with Other Students:

CAREERS.

What are students doing at graduation?*

35%

Employed

58%

Grad School

2%

Seeking Employment

5%

Other

Where are students headed at graduation?*

Recent employers and job titles*

  • Denali National Park — Interpretation Coordinator
  • Peace Corps – Environmental Educator

Recent graduate schools and sought degree types*

  • Virginia Tech — Master’s
  • Clemson University — Master’s
  • Pennsylvania State University — Master’s

Common Career Areas**

  • Research
    • Biochemistry
    • Biofuel
    • Ecology
    • Mycology
    • Plant Biology/Pathology/Physiology
    • Plant Breeding/Genetics
    • Taxonomy
  • Production
    • Consulting
    • Greenhouse/Nursery
    • Plant Biotechnology
    • Sales/Marketing
    • Soil Scientist
  • Extension and Education
    • Administration
    • Consulting
    • Extension Agent
    • Research
    • Teaching
  • Communication
    • Outreach and Education
    • Sales/Marketing
    • Writing/Editing
  • Government and Law
    • Conservationist
    • Consulting
    • International 
    • Lobbying
    • Planning and Policy
    • Regulatory
*Represents only Clemson University graduates who completed Michelin� Career Center surveys from 2009 to 2011.
**Used w/permission from Univ. of Tennessee.
FIND OUT MORE.

Have more questions or want more information? Fill out the form below, which goes directly to the following department contact. If you’d also like to receive general University information from Clemson’s admissions office, please follow the link to the right and sign up to join our mailing list.

Katie Black, Student Recruitment Coordinator
888-472-5433 — hulse@clemson.edu