Graduate students in Applied Plant Sciences gain a broad familiarity with all the disciplines within the program and gain in-depth knowledge within their area of specialization. The program's graduate faculty are drawn primarily from the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics and the Department of Horticultural Science, but also from the Departments of Plant Pathology; Plant Biology; Soil, Water, and Climate; and Landscape Architecture.
M.S. Degree Requirements
The M.S. degree is offered under Plan A (with thesis) and Plan B (with special project). Plan A requires a minimum of 20 credits in the major field and 10 M.S. thesis credits. Plan B requires a minimum of 30 credits in the major field.
A common curriculum comprises a thesis or project proposal seminar, and courses in statistical analysis, ethics and responsible conduct of research, and an orientation to Minnesota crop production and research methods. The additional course requirements are flexible and are determined in consultation with the student's adviser and advisory committee. Candidates for the M.S. degree must pass a final oral examination. Students usually complete the M.S. degree in 2.5 years.
Ph.D. Degree Requirements
The Ph.D. degree emphasizes original research that contributes significantly to the knowledge base in the student's field of specialization. Ph.D. students need to complete a minimum of 30 credits in the major field and 24 Ph.D. thesis credits. (Upon agreement of a student, adviser and advisory committee a student may register for doctoral thesis credits, APSC 8888, after admission to the Applied Plant Sciences Graduate Program.) Courses taken during M.S. studies may count towards these requirements.
In addition to the common curriculum required for M.S. students, Ph.D. students need to complete a supervised-teaching course, a current-topics course, and a thesis-proposal seminar. Additional course requirements are flexible and are determined in consultation with the student's adviser and advisory committee. Ph.D. students must pass a series of three tests that constitute the written preliminary examination followed by an oral preliminary examination. Ph.D. candidates must pass a final oral examination based on the candidate's Ph.D. dissertation. Students usually complete the Ph.D. in two or three years (after the M.S. degree).
Performance Evaluations and Prelim Exams
Current students in Applied Plant Sciences need to be making satisfactory progress towards the completion of their degrees. Annual performance evaluations are required for reappointment as research assistants. Ph.D. students are expected to begin taking the written prelim exams in their second semester of study.