We conduct research, teaching, and extension programs in three distinct disciplines, which are key to plant productivity, protection and quality:

  • Plant pathology - the study of plant diseases, plant pathogens and their management;
  • Plant physiology - the study of plant function, growth and development, and response to environmental stresses; and
  • Weed science - the study of weed biology, ecology and management.

We offer Master of Science (thesis and non-thesis) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in plant pathology, plant physiology and weed science. See Course Descriptions for the courses we offer.

Curriculum

The Department has a set of course recommendations for all departmental curricula which students, in consultation with their advisor, should use in developing a Program of Study. Each Program of Study must be approved by the student's Advisory Committee. In addition, students participate in the AREC Tour (PPWS 6004) and complete the requisite teaching component.

Course work for both an M.S. and Ph.D. degree include a core course (PPWS 5054) that covers plant pathogenic agents, their biology, and effects on plants. In addition, Principles of Plant Disease Management (PPWS 5204), Diseases of Crop Plants (PPWS 5214), and Clinic and Field Experience (PPWS 5034) are recommended classes for plant pathology students. Students are also required to present seminars, and participate in the AREC Tour (PPWS 6004).

Most Ph.D. students also take the following courses, which are offered in alternate years: Advanced Topics: Plant Disease Epidemiology (PPWS 6004) and Plant Disease Physiology and Development (PPWS 5454). These courses highlight theoretical concepts of Plant Pathology.

Course work for both an M.S. and Ph.D. degree include a core course (PPWS 5054) that covers plant pathogenic agents, their biology, and effects on plants. In addition, Principles of Plant Disease Management (PPWS 5204), Diseases of Crop Plants (PPWS 5214), and Clinic and Field Experience (PPWS 5034) are recommended classes for plant pathology students. Students are also required to present seminars, and participate in the AREC Tour (PPWS 6004).

Most Ph.D. students also take the following courses, which are offered in alternate years: Advanced Topics: Plant Disease Epidemiology (PPWS 6004) and Plant Disease Physiology and Development (PPWS 5454). These courses highlight theoretical concepts of Plant Pathology.

Weed science degree recommendations are similar to those for a degree in plant physiology, but also include core applied courses in weed science, namely Weed Science Principles and Practices (PPWS 4754) or Turf and Ornamental Weed Science; Pesticide Usage (PPWS 4264); and Molecular Weed Science (PPWS 6004).

Affiliate Programs

The Translational Plant Sciences program accepts student interested in the molecular plants sciences; after a first year that includes lab rotations, the student selects an advisor and departmental program in which they will graduate.

The Genetics, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology program is its own major, but received contributions from faculty from a number of departments in the life sciences, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Statistics.

A non-thesis Master of Science degree is offered with emphasis on plant protection and pest management. Students pursuing a non-thesis M.S. in Plant Protection complete a number of core courses and approved electives, as well as an internship or equivalent project. Students completing this program will be well prepared to move into a variety of positions in the agricultural, plant protection, and pest management industry. Students planning to pursue a Ph.D. degree are advised to complete a M.S. with thesis, since the Ph.D. is a research degree.

Graduate Student Organization

PPWS Graduate Student Organization (GSO) Officers
2017-18

  • President: Unnati Sonawala
  • Vice President: Navjot Kaur
  • Secretary: Sayantan Sarkar
  • Treasurer: Jordan Craft

Graduate School GSA Representatives:

  • Rachel Brooks
  • Ariel Heminger

Contact

If you are interested in more information about graduate study in PPWS, contact PPWS Admissions.

Anton Baudoin
Graduate Program Head
417 Price Hall
170 Drillfrield Drive
540-231-5757
abaudoin@vt.edu

Cris Thompson
Graduate Student Coordinator
413 Price Hall
170 Drillfrield Drive
540-231-0740
cris75@vt.edu