Turfgrass and roots side view

Associate in Science in
Turfgrass Science and Management

Program summary

Learn to plan and implement projects, communicate effectively, conduct training programs, and manage finances in this online degree program designed for those interested in or already working in the turf industry.

Application deadline

Apply by October 31 to start January 8

Credits and costs

61 Credits $626/$671 per credit

Advance Your Career with an Online Turfgrass Degree

Have turf maintenance experience? Penn State's online Associate in Science in Turfgrass Science and Management program can provide you with the ability to plan and implement projects, communicate effectively, conduct training programs, and manage finances. And the program gives you the flexibility to earn your degree while you continue to work and build skills for a successful career in turfgrass management.

Why a Turf Degree Online at Penn State?

Legacy — Penn State became a leader in turfgrass education in 1929, when we launched one of the first turfgrass programs in the United States. As the first university to offer a two-year technical program specifically for golf course superintendents, and as the first to offer an undergraduate major in turfgrass science, we built a solid foundation for the turfgrass management courses that we offer today.

Unique Course Work — This 61-credit degree includes courses in biology, chemistry, and ethics, in addition to the core curriculum courses titled Turf and Ornamental Weed Control, Turfgrass Insect Pest Management, and Turfgrass Pesticides.

Who Should Apply?

If you have an interest — or have been working — in the turf industry, whether at a golf course, sports facility, or other venue, the Associate in Science in Turfgrass Science and Management can give you the skills and advantage you need to move your career forward.

Turfgrass Video

Learn more about the World Campus turfgrass programs in this video:


The 61-credit online degree program in turfgrass science is an excellent way for working adults everywhere to get a reputable degree conveniently, without having to leave work or home to attend classes on a campus.

Some of the courses earned in the basic and advanced certificates will apply toward satisfying the 31 major course credits requirement in the associate degree, but it is not possible to earn either certificate completely within the associate degree.

Contact admissions to learn more.

For those wishing to continue their studies further, the 61 credits earned toward an associate degree can often be applied toward the requirements of a bachelor's degree at Penn State, or at another institution. However, some additional course work may be necessary.

Requirements for the Major (61 credits)

This includes 15 credits in General Education courses:

  • 6 credits in GN courses
  • 3 credits in GQ courses
  • 3 credits in GWS courses
  • 3 credits of GH courses

All the courses that comprise Penn State's associate of science degree program in turfgrass science and management can be completed around your own schedule — wherever and whenever it's most convenient for you. All core courses in the program are 1 semester in length (15 weeks for the fall and spring semesters and 12 weeks for the summer semester). The start and end dates for the core courses correspond to the University calendar.

A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better in all courses required for the major.

Prescribed Courses (31 credits)

  • 3

    An introduction to fundamental biological topics (including cells, energy transduction, genetics, evolution, organismal structure/function, ecology) for non-majors biology-related fields.

    • GN

      The credits earned in this course may be applied toward the Natural Sciences (GN) requirement.

  • 3

    Introduction to organic chemistry, with emphasis on the properties of organic compounds of biochemical importance.

    • Prerequisite

      CHEM 101 or CHEM 106 or CHEM 110 or CHEM 110H or CHEM 130

  • 3

    An intensive, rhetorically based experience in reading and writing that will prepare you both to understand the communications that surround you and to succeed in your own communication efforts.

    • Prerequisite

      ENGL 4 or satisfactory performance on the English placement examination

    • GWS

      The credits earned in this course may be applied toward the Writing/Speaking (GWS) requirement.

  • 3

    Introduction to entomology and management of insect pests of cold- and warm-season turfgrass.

    • Prerequisite Concurrent

      TURF 235

  • 3

    Quadratic equations; equation in quadratic form; word problems; graphing; algebraic fractions; negative and rational exponents; radicals.

    • Prerequisite

      MATH 4 or satisfactory performance on the mathematics placement examination.

  • 3

    Ethical theory about virtue, duty, autonomy, and life quality applied to moral problems, including character, violence, oppression, abortion, and suicide.

    • Prerequisite

      ENGL 15 or ENGL 30

    • GH

      The credits earned in this course may be applied toward the Humanities (GH) requirement.

  • 3

    A study of soil properties and processes and relationships to land use, plant growth, environmental quality, and culture.

    • GN

      The credits earned in this course may be applied toward the Natural Sciences (GN) requirement.

  • 1

    Covers chemical toxicity, formulations, environmental fate, labels, MSDS, calibration, IPM, safety, handling, storage, and Pennsylvania certification and regulations.

  • 3

    Characterization of the primary plant species used for sports, lawn and utility turf; includes turfgrass morphology, environmental adaptation, and cultural requirements.

  • 3

    Introduction to the development of integrated weed management strategies utilizing a variety of cultural and chemical methods.

  • 3

    Supervised off-campus, nongroup instruction including field experience, practica, or internships. Written and oral critique of activity required.

    • Prerequisite

      Prior approval of proposed assignment by instructor.

Additional Courses (select 3 credits)

    • 3

      First semester of a two-semester, comprehensive general chemistry course that introduces students to the basic principles of chemistry with an emphasis on the relationships between the microscopic structure and the macroscopic properties of matter.

      • Prerequisite

        Completion of or placement beyond MATH 22

    • or:

      This course is a one-semester rigorous college-level introductory Chemistry course covering the fundamental principles of general, organic, and biochemistry. One year of high school chemistry is strongly recommended.

      • Prerequisite

        Completion or placement beyond MATH 21

Supporting Courses (18 credits)

General Education Requirements

Some General Education requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.

  • Arts (GA): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 3 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 3 credits
  • Quantification (GQ): 3 credits
  • Any General Education course, including Integrative Studies (Inter-domain or Linked courses): 3 credits
  • United States Cultures (US), or International Cultures (IL) or combined designation (US; IL): 3 credits
    May be satisfied by designated courses that also meet other degree or General Education requirements.
  • Writing Across the Curriculum (W, M, X, Y): 3 credits
    May be satisfied by designated courses that also meet other degree or General Education requirements.

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.

Costs and Financial Aid

Undergraduate Tuition

Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State.

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? If you have 59 or fewer credits If you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer $626 per credit $671 per credit
12–19 $7,602 per semester $8,206 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

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? If you have 59 or fewer credits If you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer $632 per credit $678 per credit
12–19 $7,678 per semester $8,288 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

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.

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.

  • Spring DeadlineApply by October 31 to start January 8
  • Summer DeadlineApply by March 15 to start May 13
  • Fall DeadlineApply by June 30, 2024, to start August 26, 2024

New students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1. Please visit the Office of Student Aid website for more information about applying for financial aid and recommended deadlines.

Admissions Help

Thank you for your interest in applying to this program. Contact an admissions counselor to discuss your educational goals, financial aid options, and application deadlines.

Admission Requirements

To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate or have completed your GED. 

What You Need

Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need the following items to complete your application:

High school transcripts or GED transcript — First-year applicants are required to submit Self-Reported Academic Records (SRAR). Official high school transcripts will only be required at the time a student accepts an offer of admission to Penn State.

Official college or university transcripts, if you attended another institution, and/or official military transcripts (if applicable) — All college or university transcripts are required regardless of the length of time that has passed, the grades earned, or the accreditation of the institutions attended. Acceptance of transfer credit toward your degree is subject to final approval by the academic department. For detailed information, see the Transfer Students page.

Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Please send your transcripts by mail or electronically through Parchment, eScrip-Safe, or the National Student Clearinghouse directly to Penn State from the college/university where course work was attempted.

Submit official documents by mail to:

Undergraduate Admissions Office
The Pennsylvania State University
201 Shields Building
University Park, PA 16802

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 Language Proficiency section on the Undergraduate Admissions International Requirements page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

Start Your Application

Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions.

If this is your first time applying to Penn State, you'll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Review the application instructions before beginning.
  2. Complete the online application and submit all official documents.
  3. Pay the application fee.

Checking Your Status

You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form and choosing "MyPennState — Check Application Status." Your decision letter (confirming your acceptance or denial) will be mailed four to six weeks after receipt of all application materials. An admissions counselor will contact you if additional information is required.

Technical Requirements 

Review the technical requirements for this degree program.

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.

* required 1/3

I agree to be contacted via phone, email, and text by Penn State World Campus and affiliates. I understand my information may also be shared with select providers to offer ads that may be of interest to me. Privacy Policy. reCAPTCHA protected. Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Learn more about this program

Download Program Brochure All my programs 

Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State associate degree?

Apply by October 31 to start January 8. How to Apply

Start or Advance Your Career

Two business professionals reviewing work on a tablet in an office setting

This program was created for golf course and sports field professionals who want to earn a college degree. 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

As a student in this associate degree program, you can earn credits while working toward advancement in a variety of areas, including:

  • Grounds Crew Supervisor
  • Grounds Foreman
  • Groundskeeper
  • Integrated Pest Management Technician (IPM Technician)
  • Lawn Service Supervisor
  • Lawn Technician

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.

Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers

employment growth (10 years)
total employment

First-Line Supervisors of Landscaping, Lawn Service, and Groundskeeping Workers

employment growth (10 years)
total employment

Pesticide Handlers, Sprayers, and Applicators, Vegetation

employment growth (10 years)
total employment

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

Student having a virtual meeting on a laptop with a career counselor

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 

Earn a Valuable Credential along the Way

A figure walking on a path that includes a certificate part of the way through their progress

Show mastery of specific subjects before your degree is complete. Thanks to shared courses across programs, students can often earn a certificate along with their degree in less time than if they earned them separately.

Certificate Program Related to This Degree

The following certificate can be earned while completing this degree program:

Build upon your existing skills and explore more advanced turfgrass topics, such as pest management, turfgrass cultural systems, turfgrass edaphology, and case studies in turfgrass management with this certificate.

Learn more about the Undergraduate Certificate in Turfgrass Management, Advanced  

A Head Start toward a Bachelor’s Degree

A figure standing halfway up a set of stairs leading towards a graduation cap

Not only can this program help create opportunities in your career, it can also give you a solid head start toward a full bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor's Degree Program Related to This Associate Degree

Some or all credits earned for this certificate can be applied to the following Penn State World Campus degree program:

Sharpen your skills in business management and communications as you build a strong foundation in contemporary turfgrass management. This program's integrated curriculum can help you take your turf career to the next level.

Learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Turfgrass Science  

Contact Us

To learn more about the Associate in Science in Turfgrass Science and Management, offered in partnership with the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, please contact:

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


  • Jeff Borger

    • Degree
      M.S., Agronomy, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Turfgrass Science, Penn State

    Jeff Borger, assistant teaching professor of turfgrass weed management, has been with Penn State for more than 25 years. He oversees a turfgrass field research program that encompasses the evaluations of grassy and broadleaf weed control and plant growth regulators. He teaches numerous courses in both the resident and Penn State World Campus four-year and two-year turfgrass programs.

  • 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.

  • Brad Jakubowski

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Agronomy, Penn State, in progress
    • Degree
      M.S., Soil Science, Colorado State University
    • Degree
      B.S., Comprehensive Environmental Geography, University of Nebraska
    • Degree
      A.A.S., Printing Technology and Industry, Central Community College

    Brad Jakubowski is an instructor of golf course irrigation and drainage, landscape irrigation and water management, and turfgrass management. He is experienced in water management, irrigation management, turfgrass management, and soil. As a Ph.D. candidate, he is studying impact attenuation on natural and synthetic athletic turfgrass fields.

  • Benjamin McGraw

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Entomology, Rutgers University
    • Degree
      M.S., Entomology, University of Massachusetts Amherst
    • Degree
      B.S., Animal Science, University of Maine

    Dr. Benjamin McGraw's main teaching foci at Penn State are general turfgrass management (TURF 235, 496a) and entomology courses (ENT 317, 952a). His research program focuses on understanding the biology and ecology of turfgrass insect populations to improve current management practices and develop novel, more sustainable management and monitoring programs. 

  • 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.


Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State associate degree?

Apply by October 31 to start January 8. How to Apply