September 3 – December 11, 2019

Instructor: Elsa Petit, Ph.D.

Contact: Elsa Petit <>

3 credits


Plant pests include insects, pathogens and weeds. It is estimated that over 40% of the world’s food is lost to insects and pathogens. In developed countries, weeds reduce crop yield by 5% and in undeveloped countries weeds cause a 25% loss. The cost of controlling pests is a significant part of agriculture and control practices have a significant impact on our environment. Sustainable pest management should include both agricultural productivity and ecosystem health. How can plant pests be managed more sustainably? How is sustainability influenced and regulated at the national and international level?

In this online course on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) the students will learn about current techniques to solve pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment and will be asked to think about the future of IPM. Through case studies, students will be asked to think critically about the consequences of management decisions when trying to manage plant pests. As a semester project, students will develop IPM strategies for a specific crop, evaluating current pest management methodologies and proposing improvements for these practices.

PREREQUISITES: STOCKSCH 265 (Sustainable Agriculture) or permission of instructor (contact for permission to enroll)


  • Understanding the IPM concept and its components
  • Recognizing the importance of ecological and evolutionary knowledge in IPM success
  • Understanding the methods used to manage plant pests
  • Increasing student ability to think critically about sustainable agriculture and pest management decisions
  • Developing the ability to design a sustainable pest management program for a given crop


Mary Louise Flint-2012- IPM in Practice: Principles and Methods of Integrated Pest Management– Second Edition, UCANR Publications – Garden pests – 292 pages


Readiness quizzes 20%: Most weeks, quizzes will evaluate students’ understanding of the subject. Each quiz will be posted on Blackboard and will cover the course material (power point slides and lecture notes).

Forum requirement 20%: Readings from the textbook or other sources will be assigned each week. Each student will post to the class website a question or opinion based on the readings, then respond to the posting of another student. Strong opinions and civility are strongly encouraged.

IPM workbook 30%. Each student or group of student will choose a cultivated plant, aka a crop, or cropping system of interest and will build an IPM workbook for that cropping system. For each course section, the student will be asked a few questions in relation to that section to answer in the context of her/his crop.

Final exam 30%: The final exam will cover all of the semester’s material.

The scale will be as follows:

A = 95-100
A- = 90-94
B+ = 87-89
B = 83-86
B- = 80-82
C+ = 77-79
C = 73-76
C- = 70-72
D+ = 67-69
D = 60-66
F = 59 or below

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to providing an equal educational opportunity for all students. If you have a documented physical, psychological, or learning disability on file with Disability Services (DS), you may be eligible for reasonable academic accommodations to help you succeed in this course. If you have a documented disability that requires an accommodation, please notify me within the first two weeks of the semester so that we may make appropriate arrangements.

Academic Honesty

No form of cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, or facilitating of dishonesty will be condoned in the University community. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to:

  • Cheating – intentional use or attempted use of trickery, artifice, deception, breach of confidence, fraud and/or misrepresentation of one’s academic work
  • Fabrication – intentional and unauthorized falsification and/or invention of any information or citation in any academic exercise
  • Plagiarism – knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own work in any academic exercise. This includes submitting without citation, in whole or in part, prewritten term papers of another or the research of another, including but not limited to commercial vendors who sell or distribute such materials
  • Facilitating dishonesty – knowingly helping or attempting to help another commit an act of academic dishonesty, including substituting for another in an examination, or allowing others to represent as their own one’s papers, reports, or academic works

Sanctions may be imposed on any student who has committed an act of academic dishonesty. Any person who has reason to believe that a student has committed academic dishonesty should bring such information to the attention of the course instructor as soon as possible. Formal definitions of academic dishonesty, examples of various forms of dishonesty, and the procedures which faculty must follow to penalize dishonesty are contained in the Academic Honesty Policy.


This class fulfills requirements for all three of the online programs offered by the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School of Agriculture in Sustainable Food and Farming: