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Horticulture: MPSH

Specialization(s): Water-Efficient Landscaping
Department: Plants, Soils, and Climate Department
College: College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences


The master of professional studies in in horticulture has a required specialization in water-efficient landscaping. The primary purpose of the MPSH is to prepare students for positions in urban water conservation, with a focus on urban landscape water management. The program is designed so it can be completed in one academic year, but completion in one year is not required. The courses serve to increase student knowledge of landscape water use and conservation techniques that can be meshed with more broad-based knowledge of how to develop, market, and manage a landscape water conservation program.

Using water efficiently in the landscape is a multi-faceted issue involving biology, design, engineering, politics, law, natural resources, history, psychology, economics, and social science. The purpose of this degree is to create horticulturists with an understanding of the complexity of water management and the ability to convey this to the public. These skills are currently in demand by the water industry.

Because USU’s MPSH program with a specialization in water-efficient landscaping is designated as a Western Regional Graduate Program, students from participating western states qualify for in-state tuition. For more information, visit


Students must choose a specialization.

  • Water-Efficient Landscaping:

  • MPSH - Logan Campus

The primary goal of the MPSH program is to create highly qualified water conservation specialists for various organizations. Graduates can also pursue a variety of careers, including:

  • Water conservation programs with federal agencies, cities, counties, or water districts
  • Manager of water conservation gardens
  • Water conservation specialist
  • Garden directors
  • Working for Extension as county agents
  • Aid with water-efficient irrigation planning
  • Landscape construction, maintenance, and design

Admissions Requirements

Applicants are not required to have an undergraduate degree in horticulture or plant science, but they must have taken the following prerequisite courses or equivalents:

  • PSC 2600 Annual and Perennial Plant Materials
  • PSC 2620 Woody Plant Materials: Trees and Shrubs for the Landscape
  • PSC 3300 Residential Landscapes
  • PSC 3400 Landscape Management Principles and Practices
  • PSC 3810 Turfgrass Management
  • PSC 3000 Fundamentals of Soil Science

Recommended Prerequisites:

  • PSC 4500 Soil Reclamation
  • PSC 3420 Landscape Irrigation Design

Application Requirements

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Score at or above the 40th percentile on the GRE
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation
  • Complete a short essay on your motivation for entering the program. The essay should be sent to Larry Rupp, and can also be used as the statement of interest required in the USU graduate school application.
  • In addition to your essay, please provide a complete description of your background in horticulture or another related field.
  • Complete a telephone or in-person interview with the faculty of the Center for Water Efficient Landscaping who direct the MPSH-WEL program. This interview is to determine student potential for success within the program

International students have additional admissions requirements.

Admissions Deadlines

Applications for graduate programs are accepted year-round. However, it is preferred that students being coursework spring semester so they can complete a semester and then continue with an internship over the summer.

Master's Degree Plan Option(s)

Students receiving the MPSH must complete this plan option:

  • The Plan C option, which does not involve a thesis or a defense meeting and is comprised of coursework only.

Financial Assistance

A variety of funding opportunities are available, including fellowships, scholarships, assistantships, tuition awards, and travel support. Additionally, students may be eligible for subsidized health insurance through qualifying assistantships.

Brent Black, PhD, Oregon State University
Associate Professor
Area: Pomology
Office: AGSC 308
Phone: (435) 797-2174

Janis Boettinger, PhD, University of California – Davis
Area: Soil genesis, classification and mineralogy
Office: AGSC 354
Phone: (435) 797-4026

Grant Cardon, PhD, University of California – Riverside
Associate Professor
Area: Soil management and environmental quality
Office: AGSC 164
Phone: (435) 797-2278

John Carman, PhD, Texas A&M University
Area: Plant reproduction and development
Office: BTEC 211
Phone: (435) 797-2238

Earl Creech, PhD, Purdue University
Assistant Professor
Area: Agronomy
Office: AGSC 328
Phone: (435) 797-7319

Daniel Drost, PhD, Cornell University
Area: Vegetable production
Office: AGSC 310
Phone: (435) 797-2258

Robert Gillies, PhD, University of Newcastle, England
Associate Professor
Area: Biometeorology
Office: JQL 231
Phone: (435) 760-8023

Paul Grossl, PhD, Montana State University
Associate Professor
Area: Soil chemistry, biogeochemistry
Office: AGSC 348
Phone: (435) 797-0411

Lawrence Hipps, PhD, University of California – Davis
Area: Biometeorology
Office: AGSC 360
Phone: (435) 797-2009

David Hole, PhD, Texas A&M University
Area: Cereal breeding
Office: AGSC 334
Phone: (435) 797-2235

Astrid Jacobson, PhD, Cornell University
Assistant Professor
Area: Soil chemistry
Office: AGSC 356
Phone: (435) 797-2184

Jiming Jin, PhD, University of Arizona, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Assistant Professor
Area: Global climate modeling and analysis
Office: NR 358
Phone: (435) 797-8175

Paul Johnson, PhD, University of Minnesota
Professor, Associate Department Head
Area: Turfgrass science
Office: AGSC 306
Phone: (435) 797-7039

Scott Jones, PhD, Utah State University
Associate Professor, PSC Graduate Program Coordinator
Area: Soil physics
Office: AGSC 158
Phone: (435) 797-2175

Roger Kjelgren, PhD, University of Washington
Area: Ornamental horticulture
Office: AGSC 316
Phone: (435) 797-2972

Kelly Kopp, PhD, University of Connecticut
Associate Professor
Area: Turfgrass science
Office: AGSC 314
Phone: (435) 797-1523

Jennifer MacAdam, PhD, University of Missouri
Associate Professor
Area: Forage production and physiology
Office: AGSC 330
Phone: (435) 797-2364

Jeanette Norton, PhD, University of California – Berkeley
Area: Soil microbiology
Office: AGSC 352
Phone: (435) 797-2166

Corey Ransom, PhD, Michigan State University
Assistant Professor
Area: Weed science
Office: AGSC 336
Phone: (435) 797-2242

V. Philip Rasmussen, PhD, Kansas State University
Area: Sustainable agriculture
Office: AGSC 305 B
Phone: (435) 797-3394

Jennifer Reeve, PhD, Washington State University
Associate Professor
Area: Organic and sustainable agriculture
Office: AGSC 332
Phone: (435) 797-3192

Teryl Roper, PhD, Washington State University
Department Head, Plants, Soils, and Climate Department
Area: Pomology
Office: AGSC 322C
Phone: (435) 797-8698

Larry Rupp, PhD, Cornell University
Area: Ornamental horticulture
Office: AGSC 322
Phone: (435) 797-2099

Simon Wang, PhD, Iowa State University
Assistant Professor
Area: Climate diagnostics and prediction
Office: AGSC 136
Phone: (435) 757-3121

Ralph Whitesides, PhD, Oregon State University
Area: Weed science
Office: AGSC 326
Phone: (435) 797-8252

Stanford Young, PhD, Oregon State University
Research Professor
Area: Seed production
Office: AGSC 320
Phone: (435) 797-2082

Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

American Society for Horticultural Science: ASHS supports the science for specialty crops, global solutions for nutritious food sources, and healthy, beautiful environments. ASHS members (researchers, faculty, and other educational personnel, Extension agents, federal and state experiment station representatives, and growers and distributors of horticultural products) continue to make significant advances in these areas, and are well-positioned to lead the rapid evolution of horticultural science through the 21st century.

American Water Works Association: AWWA is the authoritative resource on safe water, with more than 60,000 members worldwide sharing knowledge on water resource development, water and wastewater treatment technology, water storage and distribution, and utility management and operations.

Ecological Society of America: ESA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of scientists founded in 1915 to improve communication among ecologists, raise public awareness of the importance of ecology, and influence environmental decision making by enhancing communication between the ecological community and policy makers.

Labs, Centers, Research

Center for Integrated BioSystems: The CIB leads a progressive, interdisciplinary effort in research, core services, and education serving agriculture and life sciences. The CIB is where the first hybrid animal, a mule, was cloned, and was named one of “30 Awesome College Labs” by Popular Science magazine. The CIB has a research program with several active projects in diverse areas of life science that encompass plant, animal, and microbe functional genomics.

Center for Water-Efficient Landscaping: CWEL conducts research on effective irrigation techniques, landscape water demand analysis, low-water use landscaping, and plant water needs. The center’s goal is to promote water conservation and quality through research in amenity landscaping irrigation and sustainability and through outreach education of the green industry and water purveyors.

USDA ARS Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory: The Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory identifies toxic plants, and its interdisciplinary teams of chemists, geneticists, pathologists, physiologists, plant and range scientists, toxicologists and veterinarians provide an interdisciplinary approach of applied and basic research to develop solutions to intoxication.

Utah Agricultural Experiment Station: The UAES is part of a network of researchers and facilities at the nation’s land-grant universities and is committed to improving agriculture and managing natural resources for the people of Utah. At research facilities on the USU campus and throughout the state, UAES supports hundreds of research projects that promote agriculture and human nutrition and enhance the quality of rural life.

Utah Botanical Center: The UBC, located in Kaysville, Utah, is home to research and demonstration projects focused on sustainable living in the Intermountain West. Studies of water conservation, horticulture, water quality enhancement, wetland ecology, integrated pest management, urban forestry, agriculture, fish and wildlife, highway enhancement, and storm-water management combine to make the center a living laboratory.

Utah Center for Water Resources Research: The UCWRR facilitates water research, outreach, design, and testing elements within a university environment that supports student education and citizen training.

Water Initiative: Utah State University supports a broad community of students and faculty engaged in water education, research, and outreach. The USU Water Initiative provides an overarching umbrella for the activities of this community aimed at fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and collegial sharing of ideas related to water across the departments and colleges of USU.


Larry Rupp
Office: AGSC 322
Phone: (435) 797-2099

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