Tropical Agriculture and the Environment (TAE)

We offer a B.S. degree with specializations in Plant Physiology, Plant Genetics and Breeding, Plant Production and Management (Horticulture), Soil Sciences, Landscape Design and Management, and Insect, Disease and Invasive Pest Management. All specializations in the B.S. degree program can support subsequent enrollment in an advanced degree program leading to an M.S. or Ph.D.

The undergraduate program includes classes required in the University General Education core and the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR, the College) core, as well as program-specific requirements. Developed to meet your individual needs, our program emphasizes a multi-disciplinary education in plant sciences, biotechnology, soil sciences, and crop production for food, fuel, fiber and landscapes. Our graduates are expected to demonstrate key skills in critical thinking, data analysis, problem solving, communication with a range of audiences, teamwork and leadership.

Plant Sciences

Specializing in plant physiology, genetics and breeding allows students to cross the traditional boundaries that have separated the disciplines of plant genetics, plant physiology and plant molecular biology, both as fundamental fields of research and in their application to crop production. By linking laboratory approaches and plant production systems through the use of plant biotechnology, students learn to solve multi-disciplinary problems. Students can select courses that allow concentration on genetic engineering or whole-plant physiology and plant breeding to address real-world problems.

Plant Production and Management (Horticulture)

Students are prepared to produce, manage and market plants grown as crops or in landscapes, with emphasis on productivity, appropriate pest and disease management, and environmental protection. Students learn to solve horticultural problems using evidence-based methods.

Academic Minor in Plant Production and Management

A minimum of 15 credits of upper-division courses must be completed with a grade of C (not C-) or higher in each course. Transfer credits toward the minor with a grade of C (not C-) or higher will be accepted if an appropriate UH Mānoa course is determined to be equivalent. Required courses are TPSS 200, 300, and 364. Several optional courses can be selected. See the TPSS academic advisor for details (Dr. Ken Leonhardt,

Environmental Soil Sciences

Students learn to effectively manage soils for agricultural production and to conserve this important natural resource for human benefit and environmental conservation. Students understand the complex chemical and biological processes that govern soil formation and nutrient cycling, which are critical for plant growth and the protection of the environment.

Environmental Urban Horticulture

The landscape design and management specialization prepares students to design, install, and maintain landscapes that enhance the environment with trees, shrubs, flowers, houseplants and turfgrass. Through theoretical study and hands-on practice, students in the program learn how to create and implement environmentally and economically sustainable landscapes.

Pests, Pathogens and Invasive Species

Students who specialize in insect, disease and invasive species management learn to design and implement pest-management programs and conduct basic and applied research using multi-disciplinary approaches. Students receive interdisciplinary education in entomology, plant pathology, weed science and invasive species management.

Requirements for All Specializations

Students must complete the General Education Core requirements of the University. As an alternative for the Hawaiian/Second Language requirement, TAE students are required to take a minimum of 12 credits of courses that improve their oral and written communication, critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills. TAE students can meet this requirement by showing proficiency in a Hawaiian/Second Language (HSL) at the 202 level: or, show proficiency in a Hawaiian/Second Language (HSL) at the 102 level and take one additional 3-credit semester course in the Social Sciences (DS) and one additional 3- or 4-credit semester course in Natural Sciences (DB, DP): or, take two additional 3-credit semester courses in Social Sciences (DS) and two additional 3- or 4-credit in Natural Sciences (DB, DP). One of the courses in the Natural Sciences must include a laboratory (DT). An updated list of the recommended courses that satisfy the University Core requirement is available from the undergraduate advisers:

CTAHR has a core consisting of the following three courses, which also satisfy elements of the University core requirement:

  • NREM 310 – Statistics in Agriculture and Human Resources
  • TPSS 492 / 492L – Internship

Students must complete the following courses in the program:

  • TPSS 200 (DB) – Agriculture, Environment, and Society
  • TPSS 304 (DP/DY) – Fundamentals of Soil Science
  • TPSS 470 / 470L (DY) – Plant Physiology / Plant Physiology Lab
  • TPSS/PEPS 499 – Directed Studies Research
  • BIOL 265 (DB) – Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • PEPS 421 (DB) – Foundations of Pest Management