Plant and Soil Science


The mission of the Department of Agriculture, Landscape, and Environment (formerly Plant and Soil Science) is to expand, integrate, and extend the knowledge of agricultural systems and environmental quality in plant/soil ecosystems affecting the people of Vermont, the region, and the world. The department will provide excellence in education, research, and extension that will foster environmentally, economically, and socially sound practices.

The department offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in all fields in plant science and soil science and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in plant science and soil science. A thesis, based on original research, is required for the M.S. degree, and completion of the requirements normally takes 2.5 years. A dissertation, based on original research, is required for the Ph.D. degree, and completion of the requirements typically takes 3 to 4 years.

The department is comprised of faculty representing the disciplines of agroecology, agronomy, entomology, horticulture, landscape design, plant pathology, and soil science. Research faculty are involved in studying plant, soil or insect interactions within environments managed for food, fiber, waste utilization, or for landscape purposes. The objectives of these studies are: (1) to develop fundamental knowledge of environmental impacts and interactions and (2) to apply knowledge to better manage systems and promote environmental health. Specifically, departmental projects have included:

  • Biological control of insect pests – entomopathogenic fungi
  • Integrated pest management (IPM) in greenhouse and field situations
  • Agro-ecological practices in Vermont and international communities
  • Ecological landscape design
  • Green stormwater infrastructure for improving water quality
  • Design and analysis of experiments and surveys
  • Field and forage crop management and utilization, forage quality, pasture and grazing management, and pest/weed management
  • Analytical procedures for testing soils and environmental samples
  • Effects of nitrogen (from acid rain) on forest soils and bog ecosystems
  • Interaction between soil manganese oxides and heavy metals
  • Nutrient dynamics and management in agricultural systems
  • Invasive earthworms
  • Nematodes and microarthropods as environmental indicators for terrestrial and wetland soils
  • Development of sustainable apple production systems
  • Evaluation and identification of woody and herbaceous landscape plants adapted to environmental conditions in Vermont/New England
  • Diversified horticulture which involves the planning, production, handling, and marketing of horticultural crops with emphasis on multiple, diverse crops produced with environmentally and economically sound techniques.


Plant and Soil Science M.S.

Plant and Soil Science Ph.D.