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Graduate Programs

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.


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.

Download our degree requirements.

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.

Plant Physiology

Detailed course requirements for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees can be found in our program degree requirements document. Doctoral students take Advanced Plant Physiology and Metabolism I and II (PPWS 5524 and PPWS 5534), Molecular Biology for the Life Sciences (PPWS 5344) and Plant Stress Physiology (PPWS 5304). M.S. students are encouraged to enroll in both semesters of Advanced Plant Physiology and Metabolism and Molecular Biology for the Life Sciences. Supporting course requirements include Biochemistry for the Life Sciences (BCHM 5124) and Statistics (STAT 5605 or 5615). Graduate students are also required to present a seminar (PPWS 5004) once for M.S. and twice for Ph.D and participate in the AREC and Ag Industry Tour special topics course (PPWS 6004). 

Weed Science

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

Translational Plant Sciences (TPS)
The Translational Plant Sciences program in doctoral studies 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.
Genetics, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology (GBCB)

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

Non-Thesis MS Plant Protection

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

  • President: Shelton Boyd
  • Vice President: Unnati Sonawala
  • Secretary: Kasia Dinkeloo
  • Treasurer: Kevin Failor

Graduate School GSA Representatives:

  • Steven Haring
  • Ranjeet Randhawa


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

Cris Thompson
Graduate Student Coordinator
413 Price Hall
170 Drillfrield Drive