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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Agronomy (AGRO)

Program Home Page (Opens New Window)

ERIN L. CONNOLLY, Head of the Department of Plant Science
102 Tyson Building

PETER LANDSCHOOT, Graduate Program Coordinator
413 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building

Degrees Conferred:

Ph.D., M.S.

The Graduate Faculty


The Programs

Agronomy graduate programs emphasize research that increases the efficiency of production of agronomic crops, improves the quality of food, feed, and fiber available for humans and animals, assists in the use and development of land resources, develops an understanding of the basic soil-plant-animal climate complex of which humans are a part, and improves the overall quality of the human environment. Within this framework, students may specialize in soil science, crop science, or soil and crop management, including turfgrass management. Areas of specialization in soil science include chemistry, fertility, genesis and morphology, microbiology, mineralogy, and physics. Crop science specialties include breeding and genetics, ecology and management, physiology, and weed science.

Research facilities include a 340-acre experimental farm with irrigation facilities, a 22-acre turfgrass research center, and 18-acre landscape management research center, greenhouses, service areas, and a number of well-equipped experimental laboratories. The department enjoys close collaboration with the USDA Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Laboratory, which adds substantial strength to the research and graduate education capabilities of the department.

Admission Requirements

Scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), or from a comparable substitute examination, are required for admission. At the discretion of the graduate standards committee, a student may be admitted provisionally for graduate study in the program without these scores. Requirements listed here are in addition to general Graduate School requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

Prerequisites for major work in agronomy vary with the area of specialization and the degree sought, but courses in chemistry, mathematics, physics, geology, basic and applied biological sciences, and English communication skills are required. A baccalaureate degree in basic or applied natural sciences is preferred for M.S. degree applicants.

A minimum junior/senior grade-point average 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) is required in all courses in the biological and physical sciences regardless of when taken. Exceptions to these requirements may be made for students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests.

For admission to the Ph.D. program, an M.S. or equivalent degree with an emphasis on basic and applied natural sciences is preferred. Applicants for the Ph.D. program will be evaluated on the quality of work completed in all previous degree programs.

Students who lack some of the prerequisite courses may be admitted but are required to take these courses without degree credit. The best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces available for new students.

Master's Degree Requirements

In addition to the general requirements for the M.S. degree as defined by the Graduate School, the department requires 6 credits of 400- or 500-level formal courses in a minor or general studies area. Participation in at least one Master's students are required to participate regularly in a departmental seminar and to register for at least 1 credit of the seminar during the M.S. program. Students must register for at least 1 credit of AGRO 602 Teaching Experience. An advisory committee will be appointed for each student, and additional courses and requirements may be determined by this advisory committee.

A thesis based on field and/or laboratory research is required for the M.S. degree.

M.S. candidates must pass a final examination.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Beyond the general requirements for the Ph.D. defined by the Graduate School, the department has a number of specific requirements regarding course level and distribution that are defined in the departmental publication "Graduate Degrees in Agronomy." While a minimum number of courses for the degree is not specified, the doctoral advisory committee has the responsibility of specifying courses and credits essential for the education and development of the candidate. Students are expected to be educated in depth in a specific subfield of agronomy and to have a perspective of the general field. Normally, 55 to 60 credits in formal course work beyond the B.S. degree are required. Doctoral candidates are required to participate regularly in a departmental seminar and to register for at least 2 credits of the seminar during the Ph.D. program. A teaching experience, consisting of two separate semesters, is also required of all Ph.D. students.

The communication and foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. degree may be met either by demonstrating a knowledge of at least one foreign language or by completing at least 6 credits of course work in an area of English communications approved by the student's advisory committee.

Other Relevant Information

Every student has a close professional relationship with his or her faculty adviser. While research that is done for the thesis will be on subjects that fall within the ongoing research program of the adviser, students are encouraged to propose research projects that are of interest to them. For the most part, all costs relative to the research program will be covered by the department. The department encourages professional development of students through participation in meetings of relevant professional societies and organizations.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships and other forms of student aid are described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

AGRONOMY (AGRO) course list  See also Soil Science (Opens New Window).



Last Revised by the Department: Summer Session 2008

Blue Sheet Item #: 36-04-062

Review Date: 1/15/08

Faculty linked: 5/12/14

Contact info updated: 7/22/16


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