The purpose of the Department of Applied Plant Science is to prepare graduates with a foundation of artistry, technology, and science for careers in horticulture, agronomy, crop and soil science, and agricultural technology. Food production, conservation of the environment, and design and management of rural and urban landscapes is one of the most important human endeavors in society. From small urban gardens to large production farms, understanding how to manage constructed and natural resources for crop production and aesthetics has never been in more demand than it is today. The emphasis on both production and aesthetics in the department's programs has prophetic roots:
"There is a great work for the Saints to do. Progress, and improve upon and make beautiful everything around you. Cultivate the earth, and cultivate your minds. Build cities, adorn your habitations, make gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labors you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations." Brigham Young, Deseret News, Aug. 8, 1860, 177.
Aside from classroom and laboratory instruction, students gain applied experience in the Thomas E. Ricks Gardens and Greenhouses, Hill View Farm, Plant Shop, Ag Mechanics Shop, and Flower Center. Students provide produce and ornamentation for the BYU-Idaho campus, events, community, and local farmers markets.