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Track in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA)

Director of Graduate Studies: Murat Kacira,


The Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) track or subplan of the Applied Biosciences GIDP is designed to prepare students who wish to possess a graduate-level education that integrates science and engineering-based approach to provide specific controlled environments for plant productivity while optimizing resources including water, energy, space, capital and labor, and more specifically incorporate knowledge in management and business. Graduates of this track will be prepared for careers in controlled environment agriculture industry, academia and government.   

The CEA is an agricultural production practice for year round continuous production of nutritionally high quality foods, with crop yields that can exceed field production by as much as 10-fold, and with the potentials to utilize local renewable energy resources, and optimize water, energy, space, capital, and labor resource use efficiency well above field traditional capabilities. This production technology, can employ crop production systems, provide harvest much less dependent of season, and can generate higher crop yields, quality, safety, nutritional value, with consistency and predictability, while utilizing less land in an environmentally friendly way.

There has been significant advancement in agriculture due to enhanced cultivars by plant breeding, minimized use of chemicals and effects of pests by integrated pest management, improved production quality, produce uniformity and reduced labor via automation and mechanization. These continuous advancements in production practices and technology have maintained an acceptable food quality and low cost food supply, however, resulted in more demand for highly educated and skilled employees. The controlled environment agriculture systems are integrated systems consisting of hydroponics, mechanization and automation, climate control, production management processes which demand continuous system monitoring and control. Thus, technical understanding and crop production skills are needed for specific crop needs and through understanding of plant and microclimate interactions are needed so the systems can be effectively operated and precisely controlled to improve growth, production quality, and resource use efficiency. This necessitates potential graduates to acquire technical, production, management, people, business skills.

Therefore, the CEA track will prepare students for rewarding employment in the controlled environment agriculture sector with technology, science and engineering, business and management oriented education and training to prepare current and future employees to meet the needs of this important industry segment to successfully compete in the global market place.


In common with other ABS tracks, the CEA track requires the successful completion of 36 units (credit hours), within the course of a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 6 years.

The CEA track includes a wide selection of courses relevant to the mission of the ABS and the IMB track.  These courses are grouped into clusters.  The track has the following curricular requirements:

Curricular Requirements

Science Module 15 Units
Professional Preparation Module 12 Units
Internship 9 Units
Total 36 units

Courses recommended for the CEA track clusters are listed in the ABS Student Handbook.  Other classes may be substituted for the classes listed in the attached Table with the agreement of the Director of the Graduate Studies (DGS) and the Advisor and the Committee of the student.  Initial selection of the appropriate courses within each cluster and for the study plan in general will be done by agreement between the student and the DGS, based on a draft study plan assembled by the student and submitted to the DGS.  This plan should be based on the particular needs and interests of the student, considering the career path the student is pursuing. Fine tuning and other necessary changes of the course plan will be made by the Advisor and the student’s Committee, in agreement with the DGS. 

Please find a list of recommended courses for Controlled Environment Agriculture track from the ABS Student Handbook.

Last updated 10 Feb 2022