a woman working on tomato plants

Horticulture Program

The Horticulture program provides fundamental and advanced education and practice to prepare graduates for successful entry into the workforce. Students develop knowledge and skills in a range of topics including horticulture and horticulture business, horticultural mathematics, landscaping and landscaping design, floral design, plant propagation, plant taxonomy, soils and fertilizers and sustainable urban agriculture.

Earn Associate in Applied Science degrees in Horticulture, Landscape Contracting and Management and Sustainable Urban Agriculture. Nine specialized certificates are designed to address the diverse nature of the horticulture industry and offer a sound foundation to students who wish to create their own small businesses. Students can choose from a wide variety of electives to customize their education and specialize in their areas of interest.

Horticulture program facilities are housed in the Technical Education Center (TEC). This $50-million facility is approximately 178,000 square feet and provides training across several disciplines. The TEC includes 31 classrooms, 16 state-of-the-art laboratories to accommodate 1,400 students, as well as space for raw material and storage. Outdoor areas of the facility include a landscape lab, a greenhouse and a sustainable urban agriculture lab.

Horticulture courses are offered day and night, in the following formats: in-person, hybrid, online, virtual class with over 60 course offerings. Students who are out of district should contact Brian Clement at clement@cod.edu.

The Horticulture program is accredited by the National Association of Landscape Professionals and the Equipment and Engine Training Council.

Determine Your Path

Horticulture offers rewarding careers for individuals who are passionate about working with nature and enhancing and caring for our environment.

Whether you are preparing for a career in horticulture, planning to transfer to a four-year baccalaureate-granting institution, or updating your skills, College of DuPage has the right program for you. We offer:

  • Dedicated instructors with years of practical industry experience, certification and licensing.
  • Instruction in top-notch facilities and on cutting-edge equipment.
  • Flexible schedules with day, evening, and online learning.
  • Practical, hands-on experience as well as classroom-based studies.
  • Affordable programs that get you on the fast track to success without breaking the bank.
  • Long-standing relationships with local companies and professional organizations that can help students get a foot in the door towards employment.
  • An articulation agreement with Devry University, enabling students to transfer seamlessly to earn a bachelor's degree.
  • Various horticulture scholarships for students planning to enroll in the horticulture program program. 

Horticulture

The Horticulture, Associate in Applied Science degree program is designed to meet the needs of students entering the horticulture industry as well as those presently employed who wish to gain new knowledge and skills.

Curriculum includes classes in horticulture and horticulture business, horticultural mathematics, plant propagation, plant taxonomy and soils and fertilizers. Also available are a broad range of electives that enable students to customize their education and specialize in their areas of interest.

Landscape Contracting and Management

The Landscape Contracting and Management, Associate in Applied Science degree develops a student’s ability to design, implement and maintain landscape projects.

Students build professional skills in plant healthcare, design, estimating, installation, construction, maintenance and irrigation while earning an Associate in Applied Science Degree. Landscape contracting graduates are well-placed to work in the growing field of landscape contracting and management.

Sustainable Urban Agriculture

The Sustainable Urban Agriculture, Associate in Applied Science degree program offers a hands-on approach to becoming a professional in the field of urban farming and sustainable urban agriculture.

The goals of the program are to provide students practical hands-on experience in urban agriculture, and teach students how to critically analyze historical and current food systems to offer more sustainable solutions. It includes management and marketing techniques for urban agriculture food production systems.

Horticulture

The Horticulture certificate program provides students with fundamental knowledge and skills in horticulture.

Students are required to complete 15 credits of coursework in topics such as horticulture, horticulture business, plant propagation, plant taxonomy, and soils and fertilizers.

Landscape Design and Construction

The Landscape Design and Construction certificate program provides students with the knowledge and skills used by landscape design professionals.

Students are required to complete 41 credits of coursework in topics such as horticulture, landscape design, landscape graphics, landscape maintenance, landscape construction, irrigation, and landscape plants, as well as computer-aided drafting and soils and fertilizers. Students are required to complete an internship to earn the certificate.

Landscape and Turf Maintenance

The Landscape and Turf Maintenance certificate program offers a broad range of instruction including horticulture, diseases and insects of ornamental plants, landscape maintenance, landscape construction, irrigation, soils and fertilizers, and turf science and management.

Students are required to complete 39 credits of coursework, which includes 30 credits in core required classes and nine credits in approved program electives. Students are required to complete an internship to earn the certificate.

Greenhouse Management

The Greenhouse Management certificate program provides students with core competencies required to effectively manage a greenhouse.

Students are required to complete 24 credits of coursework in a selection of topics including greenhouse crop production, bedding plant production, greenhouse operations and procedures, horticulture, horticulture business, plant propagation, and soils and fertilizers. Students are required to complete an internship to earn the certificate.

Nursery and Garden Center Management

The Nursery and Garden Center Management certificate program provides students with core competencies needed to effectively manage nurseries and garden centers.

Students are required to complete 35 credits of coursework in topics that include horticulture, horticulture business, herbaceous perennials, landscape plants, ornamental grasses, and plant propagation. Students are required to complete an internship to earn the certificate.

Sustainable Landscapes

The Sustainable Landscapes certificate program provides students with knowledge and skills incorporating principles of sustainable landscaping.

Students are required to complete seven credits of coursework covering topics such as green roofs, sustainable landscape design, landscaping or wildlife, perennial plant communities, and water use and conservation.

Sustainable Urban Agriculture

The Sustainable Urban Agriculture certificate program offers a hands-on approach to becoming a professional in the field of urban farming and sustainable urban agriculture. Students receive practical, hands-on experience working in urban agriculture. The program includes management and marketing techniques for urban agriculture food production systems.

Students are required to complete 28 credits in program requirements including sustainable urban vegetable and herb production, urban agriculture issues, hydroponic/aquaponic production systems, and local foods. Students are also required to complete an internship to earn the certificate.

Power Equipment and Technology

The Power Equipment and Technology certificate program is designed to provide students with the basic knowledge, required skills and hands-on experiences to maintain and repair outdoor power equipment such as lawnmowers, chainsaws, rotary tillers, portable power generators, compact diesel engines, small garden tractors, outboard motors, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, as well as the use of technical manuals.

This certificate requires 16 credits in program requirements including 2-cycle small engine repair and maintenance, 4-cycle small engine repair and maintenance, and compact diesel engines. Industry certifications are available.

Floral Shop Management

The Floral Shop Management certificate program prepares students for positions as designers or managers in floral shops. The curriculum includes classes in floral design, horticulture, horticulture business, and herbaceous perennials.

Students are required to complete 24 credits of coursework that includes 21 credits in core required classes and three credits in approved program electives. Students also are required to complete an internship to earn the certificate.

The mission of the College of DuPage Horticulture Department is to prepare students to enter the green industry as well as provide additional professional development opportunities for those already in the industry.

Objectives

  • Introduce students to occupations within the green industry.
  • Prepare students for successful employment through classroom and practical experiences while encouraging them to take pride in their work and establish a high standard of professionalism.  
  • Encourage students to be responsible stewards of the environment by demonstrating and valuing sustainable practices.
  • Demonstrate the safe use of equipment, chemicals and tools used in the industry.
  • Identify and explain benefits of professional organizations in the green industry.
  • Maintain strong industry contacts and link classroom knowledge with the industry through field trips and guest speakers.

Values

  • Integrity – We expect the highest standard of moral character and ethical behavior.
  • Honesty – We expect truthfulness and trustworthiness.
  • Respect – We expect courtesy and dignity in all interpersonal interactions.
  • Responsibility – We expect fulfillment of obligations and accountability.

The Horticulture program is accredited by the National Association of Landscape Professionals and the Equipment and Engine Training Council.

Accreditation Reports

Accredited by

 National Associate of Landscape Professionals

EETC - Accreduted Certification Logo 

Horticulture Program Video

Horticulture planting

The horticulture industry can enhance your creativity through nature, science and art.

Horticulture Apprenticeship Program

College of DuPage offers an apprenticeship program through Project Hire-Ed. Apprentices are hired by local employers to work full-time and earn full-time wages, while also taking coursework at COD.

Apprentices are able to use the knowledge they learn in horticulture courses and apply them to skills they are learning on-the-job.

Become an Apprentice

 

Get Started Today

The first step to getting started in Horticulture is to apply for admission.

Horticulture

Upon completion of the Associate in Applied Science Horticulture degree, students will be able to:

  • Identify and research career opportunities in the horticulture industry as well as emerging trends
  • Identify and practice safe use of tools, equipment and supplies used in horticulture careers
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the composition, fertility and biology of soil and how they relate to good plant growth
  • Propagate, grow, and maintain plants in horticulture production systems
  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of plant identification, selection, use and maintenance of plant material best suited for conventional and sustainable landscapes
  • Identify and prescribe sustainable options in horticulture which benefit the environment while maintaining productivity and economic viability
  • Identify common biotic and abiotic plant pests and disorders and develop strategies to manage them in an environmentally safe and sustainable manner
  • Apply horticultural skills and knowledge to operate various business entities found in the horticultural industry
  • Apply relevant mathematical principles and calculations inherent in all aspects of the Horticultural Industry
  • Successfully complete a three credit hour internship in the industry

Landscape Contracting and Management

Upon completion of the A.A.S Landscape Contracting and Management Degree, students will be able to:

  • Identify and research career opportunities in the horticulture industry as well as emerging trends
  • Identify and practice safe use of tools, equipment and supplies used in landscape careers
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the composition, fertility and biology of soil and how they relate to good plant growth
  • Demonstrate fundamental skills in landscape design elements, process and techniques.
  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of landscape construction and maintenance principles and practices
  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of hydraulics and irrigation design, installation and water management principles and practices
  • Apply horticultural skills and knowledge to operate various business entities found in the landscape industry
  • Utilize computer software program applications relevant to the field for communication skills, production decisions, business management and bidding and estimating
  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of plant identification, selection, use and maintenance of plant material best suited for conventional and sustainable landscapes
  • Demonstrate proficiency at implementing the principles and practices of sustainable landscape maintenance, turf management, and integrated pest management to care for and maintain landscapes and green spaces
  • Identify common biotic and abiotic plant pests and disorders and develop strategies to manage them in an environmentally safe and sustainable manner
  • Apply relevant mathematical principles and calculations inherent in all aspects of the Green Industry
  • Successfully complete a three credit hour internship in the industry

Sustainable Urban Agriculture

Upon completion of the Associate in Applied Science Sustainable Urban Agriculture Degree, students will be able to:

  • Identify and research career opportunities in the Sustainable Urban Agriculture industry as well as emerging trends
  • Identify and practice safe use of tools, equipment and supplies used in sustainable urban agriculture careers
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the composition, fertility and biology of soil and how they relate to good plant growth
  • Describe basic green roof design, construction and maintenance techniques
  • Apply an understanding of sustainable horticultural aspects to the development of landscape design to promote green living environments.
  • Apply an understanding of modern technology and its application to growing plants, with emphasis being placed on hydroponic production of commercially valuable crops
  • Identify the relationships between soil, water, insects, diseases and weeds in agricultural systems
  • Apply agricultural practices that are environmentally sound and productive, and provide a positive social impact on individuals and the community
  • Identify the major food producing plant families commonly found in the Midwest and niche market opportunities for urban agriculture
  • Integrate diverse perspectives to understand today’s complex food systems and understand the role urban agriculture plays in the food system
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the food and environmental movements and contribute to various efforts taking place in the urban setting
  • Identify common biotic and abiotic plant pests and disorders and develop strategies to manage them in an environmentally safe and sustainable manner
  • Apply relevant mathematical principles and calculations inherent in all aspects of the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Industry
  • Successfully complete a three credit hour internship in the industry

Horticulture

Upon completion of the Horticulture Certificate, students will be able to:

  • Identify and research career opportunities in the horticulture industry as well as emerging trends
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge and appreciation of the diversity of plants, their culture and utilization
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the composition, fertility and biology of soil and how they relate to good plant growth
  • Describe the basic principles of plant taxonomy, anatomy, morphology and physiology.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of functional business knowledge in the horticultural industry
  • Propagate, grow, and maintain plants in horticulture production systems
  • Successfully complete a three credit hour internship in the industry

Sustainable Landscape

Upon completion of the Sustainable Landscapes Certificate, students will be able to:

  • Describe residential and commercial water management as it relates to an understanding of the intersection of the Plant-Soil-Water continuum
  • Identify and recall components of an environmentally and ecologically sound landscape system
  • Describe basic green roof design, construction and maintenance techniques
  • Identify and choose plant materials for designs that will have a desired impact on naturalized landscapes
  • Apply an understanding of the effective use of practical and applied design strategies to determine meaningful solutions to landscape design problems pertinent to naturalized environments
  • Formulate creative new strategies that will effectively develop and manage sustainable landscapes
  • Successfully complete a one credit hour internship in the industry

Floral Shop Management

Upon completion of the Floral Shop Management Certificate, students will be able to:

  • Identify and research career opportunities in the horticulture industry as well as emerging trends
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge and appreciation of the diversity of plants, their culture and utilization
  • Create an arrangement illustrating the elements and principles of color theory and floral design
  • Distinguish floral industry standards for application to commercial venues
  • Identify and categorize varieties of flowers and foliage by genus and species
  • Illustrate and produce industry standard floral designs used in wedding décor, sympathy tributes, window display, permanent botanicals and event design
  • Identify business principles and practices of flower shop operation
  • Successfully complete a three credit hour internship in the industry 

Landscape Design and Construction

Upon completion of the Landscape Design and Construction Certificate, students will be able to:

  • Identify and research career opportunities in the horticulture industry as well as emerging trends
  • Identify and practice safe use of tools, equipment and supplies used in  landscape design and construction management careers
  • Describe the components and effects of environment and soils on plant growth and development.
  • Describe the techniques required for proper selection, installation and maintenance of softscape and hardscape materials
  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of landscape construction and maintenance principles and practices
  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of hydraulics and irrigation design, installation and water management principles and practices
  • Use a variety of computer applications relevant to landscape design, construction, and ornamental horticulture.
  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of plant identification, selection, use and maintenance of plant material best suited for conventional and sustainable landscapes
  • Identify and manage common landscape a pests and disorders in an environmentally safe and sustainable manner.
  • Apply relevant mathematical principles and calculations inherent in all aspects of the Horticulture Industry
  • Demonstrate fundamental skills in landscape design elements, process and techniques.
  • Successfully complete a three credit hour internship in the industry 

Greenhouse Management Certificate

Upon completion of the Greenhouse Management Certificate, students will be able to:

  • Identify and research career opportunities in the horticulture industry as well as emerging trends
  • Identify and practice safe use of tools, equipment and supplies used in greenhouse management careers
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the composition, fertility and biology of soil and how they relate to good plant growth
  • Demonstrate an understanding of functional business knowledge in the greenhouse industry
  • Propagate, grow, and maintain plants in horticulture production systems
  • Demonstrate understanding of sustainable production techniques commonly used in the greenhouse industry
  • Describe common greenhouse design features and the materials used to build them
  • Distinguish the various types of environmental control systems used in closed environments
  • Apply fertilizing techniques in a closed environment system
  • Apply horticultural principles to the successful growth and production of common greenhouse crops
  • Identify the most important greenhouse pests and diseases and be able to apply biological remediation techniques
  • Successfully complete a three credit hour internship in the industry 

Landscape and Turf Maintenance

Upon completion of the Landscape and Turf Maintenance Certificate, students will be able to:

  • Identify and research career opportunities in the horticulture industry as well as emerging trends
  • Identify and practice safe use of tools, equipment and supplies used in landscape and turf maintenance careers
  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of landscape construction and maintenance principles and practices
  • Describe identification, care, and maintenance procedures of turf and ornamental plants used in the landscape
  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of hydraulics and irrigation design, installation and water management principles and practices
  • Identify plant nutrient deficiencies and describe corrective measures.
  • Identify major plant pests, including weeds, insects, and diseases and describe corrective measures.
  • Apply relevant mathematical principles and calculations inherent in all aspects of the Green Industry
  • Demonstrate basic troubleshooting and maintenance skills for small gas engines.
  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of plant identification, selection, use and maintenance of plant material best suited for conventional and sustainable landscapes
  • Successfully complete a three credit hour internship in the industry 

Nursing and Garden Center

Upon completion of the Nursery and Garden Center Certificate, students will be able to:

  • Identify and research career opportunities in the horticulture industry as well as emerging trends
  • Identify and practice safe use of tools, equipment and supplies used in nursery and garden center management careers
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the composition, fertility and biology of soil and how they relate to good plant growth
  • Demonstrate an understanding of functional business knowledge in the nursery and greenhouse management industry
  • Propagate, grow, and maintain plants in horticulture production systems
  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of plant identification, selection, use and maintenance of plant material best suited for conventional and sustainable landscapes
  • Identify major plant pests, including weeds, insects, and diseases and describe corrective measures
  • Apply relevant mathematical principles and calculations inherent in all aspects of the Horticulture  Industry
  • Successfully complete a three credit hour internship in the industry 

Power Equipment and Technology

Upon completion of the Power Equipment and Technology Certificate, students will be able to

  • Demonstrate a foundation in theory, technology, equipment, safety, and industry standards
  • Understand the role of a small engine technician and the career opportunities in the outdoor power equipment field
  • Describe the basic operation of small engines and their systems and identify the parts of a typical 2-cycle, 4-cycle and compact diesel engine
  • Describe how to disassemble, rebuild, and reassemble a typical two-stroke,  four-stroke, and compact diesel engine
  • Understand and apply basic principles of testing, diagnosis, troubleshooting and servicing of small engines, outdoor power equipment and power generators
  • Identify, test and diagnose charging systems in generators
  • Describe the fundamentals, construction features and principles of operation of hydraulic and hydrostatic drive systems and components and maintenance procedures
  • Identify the types of drive trains found in outdoor power equipment and summarize how to service lawn and riding mowers as well as garden tractors
  • Apply theoretical knowledge and skills, and complete repair and maintenance tasks in accordance with the Equipment and Engine Training Council (EETC) and the outdoor Power Equipment and Engine Service Association (OPEESA)
  • Successfully complete a two credit hour internship in the industry 

Sustainable Urban Agriculture

Upon completion of the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Certificate, students will be able to

  • Identify and research career opportunities in the sustainable urban agriculture industry as well as emerging trends
  • Identify and practice safe use of tools, equipment and supplies used in sustainable urban agriculture management careers
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the composition, fertility and biology of soil and how they relate to good plant growth
  • Identify the relationships between soil, water, insects, diseases and weeds in agricultural systems
  • Apply agricultural practices that are environmentally sound and productive, and provide a positive social impact on individuals and the community
  • Identify the major food producing plant families commonly found in the Midwest and niche market opportunities for urban agriculture
  • Integrate diverse perspectives to understand today’s complex food systems and understand the role urban agriculture plays in the food system
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the food and environmental movements and contribute to various efforts taking place in the urban setting
  • Demonstrate an understanding of functional business knowledge in the sustainable urban agriculture industry
  • Successfully complete a three credit hour internship in the industry 

College of DuPage has several horticulture transfer agreements in place with four-year colleges and universities to save you time, money and make the transfer process easier.

Many of these agreements with other colleges and universities have specific course requirements and a pre-determined course plan that needs to be followed to be eligible to transfer. Contact a program faculty member or academic advisor to learn more as course requirements vary by institution.

 

Career Information

 

COD Stories

Zachary Rahn

"There’s a program for everyone, and with so many programs and opportunities, you can really find what you are passionate about. I am very excited to go out into the world and use my knowledge and experience I gained at College of DuPage in an industry that I love." - Zachary Rahn

Zachary's COD Story

COD Stories

Carolyn Gange

"You're not learning just through textbooks and lectures, but you're in the field identifying plants and understanding planting combinations or designing landscapes for existing construction." - Carolyn Gange

Carolyn's COD Story

COD Stories

Elaina Blankenhagen

"COD is unlike any educational environment I have ever been in. The entire staff is determined to help you reach your goals." - Elaina Blankenhagen

Elaina's COD Story

COD Stories

Dan Micholson

"While doing research of colleges in the area, I came across College of DuPage. My research as well as the reviews of the College’s education showed me that the Horticulture program at COD was the right choice for me.” - Dan Micholson

Dan's COD Story