Enjoy spending time outdoors? Why not study citrus? This bachelor’s degree at Florida Southern College takes horticulture to a whole new level.
|Program Name:||Major in Citrus|
|Program Type:||4-year Bachelor’s Degree|
|University:||Florida Southern College|
|Department:||Department of Citrus|
Florida Southern College offers the only bachelor’s degree in the nation where you can specifically study citrus. This 4-year program is extremely hands-on, allowing students to learn about the industry by experiencing it.
You will take classes outside, spend time in nature, and complete a paid professional internship in the field.
Florida Southern is known for its emphasis on active and engaged learning. For students of citrus, there are greenhouses and small groves of fruit trees on campus. In addition, nearly every class has a lab component to help students hone real-world skills.
How is this different from a degree in horticulture?
A degree in citrus goes beyond.
Citrus is different from other crops. “It’s kind of an outlier,” explains Dr. Malcolm Manners, Professor of Citrus Science and Department Chair. It requires specific techniques in grove and nursery production, as well as processing and packaging– all things that you can learn at Florida Southern.
Because of the unique nature of citrus, the industry finds it useful to have people specifically trained in the field. That’s why an estimated 60% of workers in the citrus industry are graduates of the Florida Southern program.
What kinds of classes would I take?
The program is structured so that students not only study citrus, but also general horticulture and marketing.
Class examples include Citrus Grove Management, Citrus Postharvest Practices, Principles of Turf Management, Nursery Design and Management, General Botany, and Marketing Principles.
What kind of internship would I do?
Every student takes part in a paid summer internship of at least 400 hours, usually divided into ten 40-hour weeks. At the end of the summer, students present a formal presentation in front of faculty and invited employers.
“They come to really understand how the business works and put into practice what they learned in the classroom.” — Dr. Malcolm Manners
You get great field experience, hopefully a letter of recommendation, and maybe even a job. Some students opt to do two internships.
Will the school help me find an internship?
A one semester-hour class teaches you to write a resume and prepare for an interview. If you know what aspect of citrus interests you most, say juice processing, the school helps to find an internship in that area. If you’re unsure, they can also offer suggestions based on feedback from past student experiences.
Once at your internship, you will journal about your time. You will also be protected by a contract signed between the school, the company and the student.
When did this program start?
The early 1950s. Florida Southern began offering a major in citrus after World War II, when American soldiers returning to the country needed help to find good, paying jobs.
How do I apply?
Interested students should apply for admission to Florida Southern College. Once admitted to the college, they can declare their major in citrus.
What do students do after graduation?
The majority of students go on to work in production management. They often complement this major with a minor in business administration, accounting or economics.
About a quarter of graduates go into research. Others join the agri-chemical industry, sales, or become teachers.
Why should I study citrus?
“It’s an industry that historically pays well,” explains Dr. Manners.
“In addition, it’s an interesting business. There’s always something new and different coming up for people who like to spend significant time outdoors.” — Dr. Manners
Many students initially come to Florida Southern for programs like environmental science. After a while, though, they realize that they don’t want to work at a desk all day. Citrus provides a good alternative.