Plants, Soils & Climate

Our Program

Department of Plants, Soils and Climate courses emphasize understanding the physical, chemical and biological mechanisms that operate in the continuum of the soil, plants and atmosphere and how they affect the management of a wide range of agricultural and natural systems.

Undergraduate courses focus on acquiring and applying knowledge and developing the skills students will need in their chosen field of study. The program also prepares students to develop lifelong learning skills, understand and appreciate diversity, be productive citizens of the world and be professionals in their vocations.

In addition, the department trains students for graduate school and offers strong graduate programs in climate sciences, plant science and soil science. Research that underlies the graduate program is conducted in climate sciences, crop biotechnology, crop ecology, crop physiology, crop science, horticulture (general and ornamental), plant breeding, soil microbiology, pedology, soil chemistry, soil physics, soil fertility, environmental soil and water science and arid landscaping.

A major effort is directed at extending research and teaching programs to all citizens of the state of Utah.

PDRF Perks
  • Four-year fellowship
  • $10,000 scholarship (each year for four years)
  • Full-tuition award (each year for four years)
  • Departmental Assistantship
  • Health insurance
  • Enrollment in Research Certification
  • Exclusive socials, special guests, and trainings
  • One-on-one support from the Associate Vice President

Application Requirements

Please contact Jeanette Norton at with your questions.

  • GRE requirements have been waived for Fall 2021 applicants in light of pandemic restrictions
  • Meet all School of Graduate Studies requirements for general admission to USU
  • Have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA
  • Complete your Master’s degree in a related field

Youping Sun
Our Faculty

Dr. Youping Sun

Dr. Sun's area of research is landscape horticulture with an emphasis on water conservation. Specifically focusing on better understanding whole-plant responses to water stress and promoting the use of native plants for water-efficient landscaping through developing efficient propagation protocols and sustainable cultural practices.