Students gather around a TPSS faculty memberThe University of Hawai‘i was founded in 1907 as the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, and agriculture has been central ever since to its land-grant mission of research, extension (outreach), and instruction. The academic program of UH Mānoa’s Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences (TPSS) is the Tropical Agriculture and the Environment (TAE) undergraduate program. This undergraduate program spans two departments: TPSS and Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences . The combined program encourages a broad understanding of how plants interact with the physical, chemical, and biological environment at the molecular, tissue, whole-plant, and population levels. Five undergraduate specializations and customized graduate coursework provide opportunities to explore tropical plants and soils in the laboratory, greenhouse, and field settings. Coursework in enterprise management with an emphasis on analytical decision-making provides valuable skills for students seeking a career in business.

Students are expected to have achieved the following goals upon the completion of their course of study. These outcomes related to the knowledge and skills acquired, and their attitudes and commitment to wider professional and community needs. For horticulture, these outcomes are the same as the published learning outcomes for four-year horticulture programs (HortTechnology 2013 Vol 23 p 237)

  • Communicates appropriately and clearly in a variety of oral and written forms to both professional and non-technical audiences.
  • Apply analytical, problem-solving, business management and technological skills to everyday and discipline-related challenges.
  • Develop positive and ethical personal characteristics (e.g., honesty, integrity, and a moral character) and appropriate interpersonal and leadership skills.
  • Gain a broad understanding of real world experiences and global issues through the exploration of and involvement in career-related opportunities.
  • Integrates discipline- and thematic-specific knowledge of basic and applied plant and soil sciences to its application, analysis, and evaluation in the production, management, and improvement of managed and natural ecosystems.
  • Demonstrates an awareness of practices that minimize damage to the environment and ensures a safe food supply.
  • Perform competitively in the diverse professions available to them and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by changing situations.

Hawai‘i is one of the 15 states that participate in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Undergraduate TPSS applicants from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming are eligible to request a reduced tuition rate (150 percent of Hawai‘i-resident tuition) at UH Mānoa through the Western Undergraduate Exchange. The MS and PhD degree programs in TPSS are recognized as Western Regional Graduate Programs. Residents of WICHE states are, upon admission to a TPSS graduate program, eligible to enroll at Hawai‘i-resident tuition rates.