The 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 curriculum of UH Mānoa’s Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences (TPSS) encourages a broad understanding of how plants interact with the physical, chemical, and biological environment at the molecular, tissue, whole-plant, and population levels. 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.
Despite today’s challenging economy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts promising employment prospects for TPSS students. The United States currently generates an estimated 54,400 annual job openings in the agricultural, food, and renewable natural resources sectors for individuals holding baccalaureate or advanced degrees, while at the same time fewer plant scientists, soil scientists, and horticulturalists are entering the job market. On average, 29,300 graduates in agriculture and natural resources enter the work force each year, as do about 24,200 degree holders in allied fields. In the next several years, demand for skilled agriculture, forestry, and environmental science graduates is expected to outstrip supply.