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The Horticulture and Crop Science Department's curriculum is designed so that students may enter the agricultural industry in production and related fields or a graduate program upon completion of the Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences (AEPS) bachelor's degree. The students in the department may choose one of three concentrations during their freshman year: Environmental Horticultural Science, Fruit and Crop Science, or Plant Protection Science. They may also pursue a Master of Science in Agriculture with a specialization in Crop Science, Environmental Horticultural Science or Plant Protection Science. Facilities include a 15-acre Environmental Horticulture Unit that consists of one and a half acres of greenhouses and outdoor nursery growing areas, a five-acre arboretum and extensive planted areas, a plant protection research/teaching laboratory, and excellent industry relations with landscape and nursery industry personnel and landscape horticulture firms throughout the state.

Cal Poly's College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES), the largest non-land grant agricultural program in the United States, awards nearly half of all baccalaureate agriculture degrees granted in California. The college is a leader providing students with real world skills based on learn by doing laboratory and field intensive curriculum, contemporary instructional technology, and uncommon access to senior faculty in small class settings. The college spans more than 6,000 acres of land adjacent to the campus core and consists of nine departments, and approximately 170 faculty, 80 staff, and 4,000 students in 15 majors. In addition, the college is home to a number of unique enterprise projects, centers and institutes, and is responsible for the operation and maintenance of Swanton Pacific Ranch, a working ranch in Santa Cruz, California with over 3,300 acres of rangeland and cropland.