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M.S. in Horticulture with an emphasis in Urban Food Systems

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Horticulture with an emphasis in Urban Food Systems at K-State Olathe focuses on sustainable agriculture, food systems project management, grant writing, horticultural science and safe food production in an urban environment.

Additionally, students will gain a solid foundation in horticultural science and food crop production while studying how the urban food system impacts economic development and provides a source of nutritious, safe food grown locally/regionally.

Program features

• Kansas City offers a vibrant urban agriculture scene with numerous community food-based projects, nonprofits and local urban and peri-urban farmers working to provide access to fresh, healthy food. 

• K-State Olathe's location provides opportunities to work at the Olathe Horticulture Research and Extension Center as well as other institutions in the metro region. 

• Work with an interdisciplinary cohort of students and faculty in Olathe and Manhattan. 


Choose between a 30 credit hours thesis track or a 36 credit hours professional track. Customize your program to your area of interest with eight to 18 elective credit hours. Students also have the opportunity to work on commercial farms, research stations and other nearby food projects in the practicum course.

Course topics

• Urban agriculture

• Urban food systems

• Professional development in urban food systems

• Urban food production practicum

• Urban agriculture study tour

• Sustainable agriculture

• Health-promoting phytochemicals of fruits and vegetables

• Postharvest technology and physiology of horticultural crops

• Farm to fork produce safety

Courses offered

See the course list and descriptions for this degree program. 

Career Pathways

In this rapidly growing field, you can have a strong influence through your understanding of how agriculture and food systems impact the lives of people in our communities. Be a force for change in community and economic development, local food accessibility, public and farmer education, or by working to provide nutritious, local and regional food to communities that need them. 

Graduates and current students are employed in:

Food systems project managementUrban farming or food production management
Nonprofit managementFood aggregation and distribution
Urban planning and landscape designFarmers market organization and management
Municipal (city/county) horticultureCommunity garden coordination
Extension and public education 



How flexible is the horticulture program at K-State? Can I work full-time while in the horticulture program?

Students will be able to work full-time while enrolled in the Horticulture program and have the option to pursue two different tracks, the thesis or professional track. Each track gives students a significant amount of electives to pursue research in their interest areas. Moreover, students will able to attend classes at K-State Olathe, as well as hybrid classes in conjunction with the Manhattan campus students.

How long will it take to complete K-State's horticulture degree?

The majority of full-time students will complete this degree in about 2 years. A minimum of 30 semester hours of credit is required to complete the Thesis Track and 36 hours to complete the Professional Track.

Is a graduate admission test or GRE required for K-State's horticulture degree program?

No, the GRE is not required for admission to the program.

Is an undergraduate degree in horticulture required to pursue a M.S. in urban food systems?

No. Many of our students have backgrounds in non-horticultural fields, such as liberal arts, history, sociology and others.

In addition, students interested in Urban Food System classes can take up to nine credit hours after applying to the Graduate School as a non-degree seeking student. 


See the admissions checklist to get started in your application process. 

Admissions Guide

See a two-page pdf of the admissions requirements to this program.

M.S. in Horticulture with an emphasis in Urban Food Systems Admissions Checklist

More Information

Learn more about the program here, including courses and program objectives.

To learn more about the admission requirements and application deadlines, contact and admissions representative at ksuolathe@k-state.edu or 913-307-7313.