Program Description

Are you interested in plants, soils, and a sustainable safe, healthy food supply and livable landscapes?

Food, Environment, Landscapes and Urban Agriculture

Tropical Agriculture and the Environment (TAE)

TAE students can choose from our five STEM program specializations:

Plant Sciences (PDF)

Plant Production and Management (Horticulture) (PDF)

Environmental Soil Sciences (PDF)

Environmental Urban Horticulture (PDF)

Pest, Pathogens, and Invasive Species (PDF)

In these specializations students will gain knowledge in these specific Areas of Study

Can we sustainably feed more people using less land and fewer inputs? Can urban living spaces be more inviting and more efficiently managed? Your future can make a difference.

Learn the sciences that will shape a sustainable greener world. Students in our undergraduate program master the knowledge, skills and technologies that will feed, house, design and fuel the future, including plant breeding and genetics, plant disease and pest management, plant/soil interactions, and agribusiness management. Our curriculum prepares you to contribute in careers that improve

  • food systems
  • the environment
  • towns and cities
  • quality of life

Meet a Growing Need

As world population increases, we face growing demand for food and the potential for greater food shortages. To keep pace, world food production must increase by at least 60 percent in the next 25 years, while adverse environmental impacts must be minimized to make food production safe, reliable and sustainable. At the same time, our societies are increasingly urban. Livable green cities require sustainable landscape design and maintenance, coupled with sustainable food production and distribution systems.

There is already a shortage of trained professionals who can innovate to solve problems of world food supply. Science is crucial to meeting these future challenges, and diverse career paths are open in plant and soil sciences ­– in the field, the lab, the office, or all three.

A Variety of Options

The Tropical Agriculture and the Environment program (TAE) offers students broad, hands-on experience in a range of agricultural systems, covering ornamental horticulture and landscape design, vegetable and fruit production, and agribusiness management. Our goal is to prepare and empower you to contribute to more efficient, sustainable, less resource-intensive production systems that conserve our living environment. This goal requires an understanding of complex social, legal and economic issues, as well as data-based decision making, creative problem solving, and policy analysis. The skills you learn can be applied to

  • improve energy efficiencies
  • remediate contaminated soils
  • help farmers adapt to changing weather
  • develop new sustainable production systems with reduced inputs
  • develop new crop varieties that tolerate drought, diseases and pests
  • create beautiful and functional living environments
  • manage supply chains to minimize waste and ensure availability of safe, nutritious food

A World-Class Program—With World-Wide Reach

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UH Mānoa, the University) is an accredited land-grant university in the tropics, and its program in Tropical Agriculture and the Environment has a unique tropical emphasis. Regions near the equator  are experiencing rapid population growth and significant environmental stress. Our program emphasizes the study of food crops such as vegetables, tropical fruits and nuts, coffee, and new crops with potential for future growth. Other vital areas of study focus on urban agriculture and the quality of urban and suburban living, including landscape and foliage plants, anthuriums, orchids, tropical lei, cut flowers, nursery plants and turfgrass.

Career Choices

Our graduates become researchers, consultants, teachers and professional officers. They accept jobs in private firms, universities and government agencies, or they run their own businesses. The diversity of agricultural careers places many of these jobs in cities rather than farms. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( shows increasing demand for graduates with a Bachelor’s degree related to food and agricultural sciences.

Our graduates are employed as

  • Agricultural production managers
  • Biotechnologists
  • Commercial researchers
  • Conservationists
  • Consultants and managers
  • Ecologists
  • Educators
  • Environmental managers
  • Horticulturists
  • Landscape designers, installers and managers
  • Molecular biologists
  • Pest control specialists
  • Physiologists
  • Plant breeders
  • Plant pathologists

These jobs are available in government and industry. Our graduates are employed in:

Public service Government agencies (EPA, FDA, USDA-APHIS, FBI, FWS, NPS, HPD, HDOA, HDOH)
Commercial research Pesticide development, biotechnology and seed technology companies
Science education Elementary, intermediate and high schools; science communications in media
Consulting and management Privately and publicly held businesses; banks
Sales Agricultural suppliers
Entomological services Urban pest control
Teaching, research and extension Universities and colleges