Cannabis college: study the plant at these 4-year universities
Many people have their first cannabis experience in college. Student interest stays high despite university policies against the plant. Nowadays, that can be an advantage. The industry is developing rapidly, creating new career paths in its wake. This has reached American colleges as they add cannabis-focused college programs to their catalogs.
Each institution has a personalized offering. Some have built a Bachelor’s program, while others only offer cannabis education to graduate students. There are also many four-year universities with continued education certification programs diving into various sectors of the cannabis space.
Here’s a solid rundown of university-level cannabis education in the U.S. today.
University of San Diego
Students at USD can opt in to four Green Flower courses designed to guide someone into a cannabis career.
- The Business of Cannabis
- Compliance & Risk Management
- Cannabis Healthcare and Medicine
- Cannabis Agriculture & Horticulture
University of California Riverside
Like USD, UCR chose Green Flower to shepherd interested cannabis students into the space. The university offers the same four courses as its southern counterpart.
Cal Poly Humboldt
Located in one of California’s cannabis wonderlands, Cal Poly Humboldt offers students a Bachelor of Arts in Cannabis Studies. The major hones in on the social and environmental responsibility of cannabis legalization. There is no plant-touching in these courses, but instead, an in-depth history and discussion on the state of the plant.
University of Colorado
Graduate students at the Anschutz Medical Campus can take a course for a certificate in cannabis science and medicine. The online course offers insight to healthcare workers and researchers who want to understand cannabis science, current clinical research, and regulatory issues.
Colorado State University Pueblo
This state school offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Cannabis Biology and Chemistry. Students can select a Hemp/Agriculture, Analytical, or Natural Products concentration. The courses are designed for those hoping to work in a lab, natural products, plant chemistry, or cannabis research.
University of Denver
The private research college University of Denver offers four non-credit online courses from Green Flower to prepare students to enter the cannabis industry. The same four certificates are offered at U of D that are available at USD.
University of Connecticut
As of the Spring 2023 semester, UConn will offer a Cannabis Cultivation minor to students of the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. Courses will cover propagation, cultivation, processing, commercial application, and potential markets for cannabis entrepreneurs.
Western Illinois University
Students at WIU can minor in Cannabis & Culture or Cannabis Cultivation as of the Fall 2020 semester. The Culture minor is interdisciplinary, including Philosophy, Policy, Anthropology, History, and more departments. As for Cultivation, students will spend time digging into Horticulture, Agriculture, Botany, and other plant sciences.
University of Maine
Those interested in cannabis cultivation careers can enroll in a one-credit short course at the University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture. The Introduction to cannabis cultivation course can be completed online or in person and provides an overview of the plant from seed to sale.
This business college has always focused on providing real-life skills to students, which is why they have multiple cannabis programs. Science-focused students can acquire a B.S. in Medicinal Plant Sciences or an Associate of Applied Sciences (A.A.S.) in Cannabis Sciences. Beal also has an A.A.S. in Cannabis Business Administration and a Diploma program in Cannabis Business Operations.
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy
Two graduate programs at this university focus on cannabis medicine. The Master of Science is a two-year program at the Universities at Shady Grove in a hybrid online and in-person experience.
To earn the Graduate Certificate in Medical Cannabis Science, Therapeutics, and Policy, students complete a two-semester online course. Both programs are designed to prepare people to enter cannabis work, whether it’s a clinical, scientific, or policy role.
Northern Michigan University
Locals and NMU students can enroll in the same Green Flower cannabis-focused non-credit programs at the University of Denver.
Lake Superior State
This state school offers multiple options for students interested in entering the cannabis space. The B.S. in Cannabis Business takes a comprehensive look at the industry.
Those with a health-focused eye can enter the Cannabis Chemistry degree program or earn a Cannabis Health Certificate. There is even a certificate for Cannabis Production. LSS students can enjoy a bevy of educational offerings on the plant.
Saint Cloud University
Saint Louis University
At this school for professional studies, students of cannabis have two choices. There is the post-baccalaureate certificate in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutic Management, which provides an overview of cultivation, lab technology, sales, quality assurance, and more.
That offering requires an undergraduate degree, but the Cannabis Science and Operations certificate only requires a GED or high school diploma. SLU has something for everyone when it comes to cannabis entrepreneurship.
Stockton University New Jersey
At SUNJ, students can Minor in Cannabis Studies or opt for a customizable online Cannabis Studies Certificate. To achieve a minor, students will complete four set interdisciplinary courses that provide a general overview of the space.
The certificate option is more flexible. Students select six out of the ten offered classes based on their interest. Topics include press relations, social justice, cultivation, and more.
Ivy League institution Cornell offers a Hemp Sciences program to students pursuing a Master of Professional Studies in Integrative Plant Science concentration.
Courses are taught by researchers, faculty, and extension educators in a multidisciplinary approach to the subject. The offering focuses on industrial hemp, covering:
- Hydroponic and outdoor cultivation
- Processing methods
- Product development
- Regulatory challenges
Medgar Evers College
Those attending this city university can minor in Introduction to the World of Cannabis. The discipline is a fast track for hopeful entrepreneurs, covering various aspects of the industry. Those who select this minor will get entrepreneurial support for their cannabis business ideas.
There are a few ways to study weed at SUNY Morrisville. The specialty crops & cannabis production certification program can be completed for the certificate and experience, or it can feed into an A.A.S. or Bachelor of Technology (B.tech) degree.
A cannabis industry minor focuses on the plant’s botany and production methods. It keys students into the nuance of the volatile market.
Like many educational institutions on the list, Syracuse University has a certificate and minor program available for cannabis-industry hopefuls. The Cannabis Studies Certificate keys students into business operations, law & policy, cultivation, science, and more. Those who minor in Cannabis Studies will cover the same information, but credits will be applied to an undergraduate degree.
Minot State University
As of Fall 2019, Minot State added a concentration of Medicinal Cannabis Chemistry to its catalog. The program will be a part of the Chemistry major, covering extraction, purification, and lab analysis of the plant and its compounds. Students will clock 600 lab hours pursuing this unique concentration in cannabis science.
Thomas Jefferson University
Cannabis science is the focus at TJU in Philadelphia, a university that offers a Cannabis Science Certificate and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Medical Cannabis Science and Business.
The certificate program takes one year and covers botany, cannabinoid pharmacology, and an analysis of plant compounds and formulations. The master’s program is more extensive, diving deep into cannabis chemistry and covering business throughout eleven required courses.
University of Rhode Island
Two certificate programs are available from this East Coast college. One certificate is catered to those already in the cannabis industry who want to deepen their understanding.
The other offering is a Cannabis Studies Undergraduate Certificate taught by experts in medicinal plants, functional foods, product chemistry, biosynthesis, microbiology, and research and development. Both are designed to provide specialized skills and ethical guidelines in the cannabis space.
Johnson & Wales University
This private university in Provid., R.I. offers a B.S. in Cannabis Entrepreneurship. Entering the program requires a 2.75 high school GPA. Courses include topics like cannabis law, cultivation, chemistry, plant and fungi applications, product development, and more. By the end of the program, students will be guided through the process of developing and launching a CBD product.
The thoughtfully planned courses and topics are taught at a 15:1 student to teacher ratio. Students looking for a more focused and intimate college experience may appreciate what JWU has to offer.
University of Vermont
This four-year college offers two continued education courses built around the cannabis plant. The Cannabis Science and Medicine Professional circuit is meant for medical professionals, dispensary workers, and regulators. This 7-week program is designed by Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at The University of Vermont Department of Pharmacology.
The Cannabis Plant Biology professional circuit was created by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for dispensary workers, cultivators, extractors, quality control, and compliance officers. It centers on evidence-based research on best cultivation practices, genetics, and more.
University of Wisconsin Platteville
UW Platteville enlisted the help of Green Flower for their cannabis certification programs. They offer the same four certifications as the formerly listed partners.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
This university built a 13-module continuing education course entitled Cannabinoids as Medicines. The series was developed by the Division of Pharmacy Professional Development, School of Pharmacy at the university. There are no current offerings of the course, though those interested can reach out to the program coordinator.
Western Washington University
Like many other educational institutions, Western Washington University opted to outsource cannabis education. WWU offers all four of the non-credit Green Flower courses.
Many of the biggest names in cannabis are self-made, navigating the complex space without formal education about the plant. Now, more than 20 American colleges offer cannabis education. With certifications, diplomas, baccalaureates, and masters, the industry’s future is bright.