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Master of Professional Studies inTurfgrass Management

Program summary

Move your turf career forward by refining your turfgrass technology, business, and project management skills. This program allows you to focus your electives on turfgrass science or business while learning how to manage the day-to-day challenges of running a turfgrass facility.

100% Online

Complete your Penn State course work at your own pace and 100% online.

Application deadline

Apply by March 15 to start May 13

Credits and costs

30 Credits$1,017 per credit

Gain Skills to Grow as a Turfgrass Professional

  • Integrate research findings and practical knowledge of turfgrass science to design appropriate methodologies that address problems in the field.

  • Inform the decision-making process by effectively communicating the application of scientific concepts, technical knowledge, and research findings to lay persons.

  • Define, conceptualize, and critically analyze turfgrass management problems and possible solutions, considering the scientific, economic, and political circumstances.

Customize Your Turfgrass Course List

This 30-credit program offers two areas of emphasis:  

  • turfgrass-specific courses for students whose education and work experience have emphasized personnel management skills
  • course of study devoted to management skills if your background is primarily in the turfgrass sciences

The MPS-TM program requires the completion of four core courses in which students learn to apply scientific concepts to fundamental problems encountered in the management of complex turfgrass ecosystems. A capstone individual study in turfgrass management course is also required. The capstone course integrates theory and practice in addressing real problems encountered in turfgrass facility management.

In addition to the required courses, students also take an additional 15 credits of elective course work to focus on their particular interest within turfgrass facility management. A total of 18 program credits must be 500-level or higher, with at least 6 credits of 500-level course work. This requirement is met through the required courses, the project, and at least one 500-level elective.

The Master of Professional Studies in Turfgrass Management consists of five required courses (15 credits) and five elective courses (15 credits). Your elective courses will determine your area of concentration for the turfgrass management master's degree.

Become a Turfgrass Management Leader

The MPS-TM program offers students two areas of emphasis from which to choose. This innovative approach allows students whose educational and work experience has emphasized personnel management skills to focus on turfgrass-specific courses. Conversely, if your background is primarily in the turfgrass sciences, you may pursue a course of study devoted to management skills.

The required core course of study offers experience in:

  • turfgrass physiology
  • plant population biology
  • turfgrass health management
  • turfgrass science literature

Required Courses (15 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Creative projects, including nonthesis research, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses. Used by students to work with an adviser on their capstone project.

  • 3
    credits

    Lectures and exercises designed to develop student competency in plant selection to promote ecological diversity and genetically superior plants.

  • 3
    credits

    Lectures, reading assignments, and exercises designed to develop student competency in plant physiology as it relates to turfgrass management strategies.

  • 3
    credits

    Lectures and exercises designed to develop student competency in solving turfgrass pest problems, as well as disease resistance in turfgrasses.

  • 3
    credits

    Introduction to turfgrass research publications, interpretation of the data, and discussion of the significance of the results.

Elective Courses (31 credits)

Electives cannot be used if taken to satisfy undergraduate degree requirements.

Turfgrass Electives (16 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Introduction to biology of turfgrass pathogens and management of cool- and warm-season turfgrass.

    • Prerequisite

      TURF 235

  • 3
    credits

    A study of turfgrass maintenance practices and how their interrelationships can be utilized to develop management systems.

    • Prerequisite

      TURF 235

    • Recommended preparation

      SOILS 101

  • 3
    credits

    Characterization of soil's physical and chemical properties for the establishment and maintenance of sports turf; includes root zone construction.

    • Prerequisite

      TURF 235

    • Recommend preparation

      SOILS 101

  • 4
    credits

    Study of turfgrass nutrition and growth; emphasizing constructed and mineral soil fertility, nutrient uptake and function, and fertilizer-use efficiency.

    • Prerequisite

      TURF 235

    • Recommended preparation

      SOILS 101

  • 3
    credits

    Case study and discussion considering integrated management of selected turfgrass sites; emphasis on problem analysis, principle application, and decision-making.

    • Prerequisite

      TURF 235 and (TURF 434 or TURF 435)

    • Recommended preparation

      TURF 238 and TURF 425

Business-Related Electives (select 15 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Theories and strategies important for conceptualizing, developing, and managing conflict negotiation, mediation, and third-party intervention.

    • Prerequisite

      CAS 100

  • 3
    credits

    Legal context of employment in the United States.

  • 3
    credits

    Current human resource topics in the context of organizational strategy, planning, and responsibility.

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides students with an overview of selected managerial behavior and career topics in modern organizations.

  • 3
    credits

    A problem-based, interdisciplinary course in project management skills and techniques needed to manage projects in a modern business environment.

    • Prerequisite

      graduate standing

  • 3
    credits

    A problem-based course that addresses techniques for planning the project development process, including securing resources and resource management.

    • Prerequisite or concurrent

      MANGT 510

  • 3
    credits

    Review of research and application of behavior principles in the areas of management and supervision.

  • 3
    credits

    The study of social influence, leadership and status, and social cohesion and commitment processes in small groups.

    • Prerequisite

      SOC 003 or PSYCH 420

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

Advance Your Turfgrass Career

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The MPS in Turfgrass Management program was created for golf course and sports field professionals who want to extend their careers into facility management and operations. You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.


Job Titles Related to This Degree

If you are interested in product development and regional sales for fertilizer and pesticide companies, this graduate degree can provide you with a solid foundation for a successful career. The following roles are often held by people with this type of degree:

  • Agricultural Research Technologist
  • Field Agronomist
  • Golf Course Manager
  • Golf Course Superintendent
  • Seed and Fertilizer Specialist

Employment Outlook for Occupational Fields Related to This Degree

Estimates of employment growth and total employment are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and are subject to change. While these occupations are often pursued by graduates with this degree, individual outcomes may vary depending on a variety of factors. Penn State World Campus cannot guarantee employment in a given occupation.

Soil and Plant Scientists

4.7%
employment growth (10 years)
16,010
total employment

Agricultural Technicians

4.5%
employment growth (10 years)
13,140
total employment

Agricultural Inspectors

2%
employment growth (10 years)
14,000
total employment

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

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From the day you're accepted as a student, you can access resources and tools provided by Penn State World Campus Career Services to further your career. These resources are beneficial whether you're searching for a job or advancing in an established career.

  • Opportunities to connect with employers
  • Career counselor/coach support
  • Occupation and salary information
  • Internships
  • Graduate school resources 

Ready to Learn More?

Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.

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Learn more about this program

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Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State master's degree?

Apply by March 15 to start May 13. How to Apply 

Costs and Financial Aid

Learn about this program's tuition, fees, scholarship opportunities, grants, payment options, and military benefits.

Costs and Financial Aid

Graduate Tuition

Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2023–24 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?Cost
11 or fewer$1,017 per credit
12 or more$12,203 per semester

2024–25 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?Cost
11 or fewer$1,027 per credit
12 or more$12,325 per semester

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

A Leader in Turfgrass Education

Penn State launched one of the first turfgrass programs in 1929. As the first university to offer a two-year program for golf course superintendents, and the first to offer a major in turfgrass science, we built a solid foundation for the turfgrass management programs offered through World Campus.

Who Should Apply?

The MPS in Turfgrass Management is ideal if you have completed an undergraduate degree and want to improve your turfgrass technology skills. If you already have a solid understanding of turf, this degree can help you gain the business and project management skills to round out your career development.

Set Your Own Pace

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Whether you are looking to finish your program as quickly as possible or balance your studies with your busy life, Penn State World Campus can help you achieve your education goals. Many students take one or two courses per semester.

Our online courses typically follow a 12- to 15-week semester cycle, and there are three semesters per year (spring, summer, and fall). If you plan to take a heavy course load, you should expect your course work to be your primary focus and discuss your schedule with your academic adviser. 

To Finish Your Degree in One to Two Years

  • Take 3–4 courses each semester

To Finish Your Degree in Two to Three Years

  • Take 2–3 courses each semester 

To Finish Your Degree in Three to Four Years

  • Take 1 course each semester

Convenient Online Format

This program's convenient online format gives you the flexibility you need to study around your busy schedule. You can skip the lengthy commute without sacrificing the quality of your education and prepare yourself for more rewarding career opportunities without leaving your home.

A Trusted Leader in Online Education

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Penn State has a history of more than 100 years of distance education, and World Campus has been a leader in online learning for more than two decades. Our online learning environment offers the same quality education that our students experience on campus.

Information for Military and Veterans

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Are you a member of the military, a veteran, or a military spouse? Please visit our military website for additional information regarding financial aid, transfer credits, and application instructions.

How to Apply to Penn State

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Apply by March 15 to start May 13

Application Instructions

Deadlines and Important Dates

Complete your application and submit all required materials by the appropriate deadline. Your deadline will depend on the semester you plan to start your courses.

  • Summer Deadline

    Apply by March 15 to start May 13
  • Fall Deadline

    Apply by June 30 to start August 26
  • Spring Deadline

    Apply by October 31, 2024, to start January 13, 2025

Steps to Apply

  1. For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.

    GPA — Students who do not have a GPA of 3.0 will be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the quality of their overall application. Applicants who are still completing their baccalaureate requirements at the time of application may be admitted to the Graduate School, conditional on the awarding of the baccalaureate degree.

    Work Experience — Students are also expected to have a minimum of two years of full-time work experience prior to admission.

  2. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:

    Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed — Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.

    English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

    References — You will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names, email addresses, and mailing addresses of two references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. Please inform all recommenders they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.

    Program-Specific Questions/Materials

    A 1- to 2-page letter of professional introduction in which you describe your professional experiences and education, delineate your career goals, and discuss how the MPS-TM program will enable you to meet your objectives

  3. To begin the online application, you will need a Penn State account.

    Create a New Penn State Account

    If you have any problems during this process, contact an admissions counselor at [email protected].

    Please note: Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application or create a new Penn State account. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions.

  4. You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.

    • Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
    • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus

    Checking Your Status 
    You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form. 

    Technical Requirements  
    Review the technical requirements for this degree program. 

  5. 5. Complete the application.

Admissions Help

If you have questions about the admissions process, contact an admissions counselor at [email protected].

Contact Us

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Have questions or want more information? We're happy to talk.

To learn more about the Master of Professional Studies in Turfgrass Management, please contact:

World Campus Admissions Counselors
Phone: 814-863-5386
[email protected]

Dianne Petrunak
242 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 814-863-0139
[email protected]

Learn from the Best

Penn State's turfgrass science program is widely regarded as the foremost program of its kind in the world. This program was developed and is taught by faculty from the Plant Science, Entomology, and Plant Pathology departments in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Faculty

  • Michael Fidanza

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Agronomy, University of Maryland
    • Degree
      M.S., Agronomy, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Agricultural Science, Penn State

    Dr. Michael Fidanza is a professor of plant and soil sciences at Penn State Berks. His research and teaching focuses are turfgrass ecology, the translational evaluation and exploration of plant health products (fungicides, herbicides, and plant growth regulators), soil surfactants, seed technology, bio stimulants, turfgrass physiology, cultural practices in turfgrass ecosystems, and the biology and ecology of fairy ring disease in turf. He is the director of Penn State's Center for the Agricultural Sciences and a Sustainable Environment, and he is a Fellow in the American Society of Agronomy.

  • David Huff

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Genetics, University of California, Davis
    • Degree
      M.S., Genetics, University of California, Davis
    • Degree
      B.S., Crop and Soils Sciences, Michigan State University

    Dr. David Huff is a research scientist who performs basic and applied genetics on a wide range of grass species, including some native to North America. In the area of crop improvement, his program focuses on enhancing turf quality, seed yield, persistence, disease resistance, and tolerance to salinity and extreme temperatures (both heat and cold). He also performs a range of genomic investigations on the reproductive biology of these grasses, including such systems as apomixis, dioecy, and fungal-induced hermaphroditism.

  • Max Schlossberg

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Agronomy, University of Georgia
    • Degree
      M.S., Agronomy, University of Georgia
    • Degree
      B.S., Agronomy, Texas A&M University

    Dr. Max Schlossberg's comprehensive instructional approach supports effective management of turfgrass in every hemisphere. His primary research focuses on developing fertilizer programs to optimize resilience, playability, and nutrient use efficiency of turfgrass systems. His laboratory team has identified cultural methods for rapid soil pH optimization of turfgrass root zones, enhanced efficiency mechanisms of N fertilizers, factors controlling soil water repellency development, and topographic dependence of soils fertility.

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Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State master's degree?

Apply by March 15 to start May 13. How to Apply