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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Agronomy (AGRO)

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ERIN L. CONNOLLY, Head of the Department of Plant Science
116 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building
814-865-2025

PETER LANDSCHOOT, Director of Graduate Studies in Agronomy
116 Agricultural Sciences and Industries Building
814-863-1017

Degrees Conferred:

Ph.D., M.S.
Dual-Title M.S. in Agronomy and International Agriculture and Development
Dual-Title Ph.D. in Agronomy and International Agriculture and Development

The Graduate Faculty

 

The Program

The Agronomy program is administered in the Department of Plant Science, College of Agricultural Sciences. Each student will be associated with an adviser who may provide financial support, research facilities, and/or office space. Applicants are encouraged to explore, study, and research opportunities by contacting faculty who may be prospective advisers.

This program provides opportunities for candidates interested in Agronomy to become a professional leader and an independent scholar. Faculty in this program are competent to prepare candidates in the subfields of Agronomy including: plant ecology, plant genomics, plant breeding, plant physiology, and field and forage crop management.

Admission Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin. Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission.

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 for graduate study in the program without these scores.

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.

Master's Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the DEGREE REQUIREMENTS section of the Graduate Bulletin.

A minimum of 31 credits at the 400, 500, 600, or 800 level is required, with least 18 credits at the 500 and 600 level, combined, including:

    • 12 credits of 400- or 500-level formal courses in the major field (at least 6 credits at the 500-level)
    • 6 credits of 400- or 500-level formal courses in a minor or general studies area
    • 3 credits in statistical methods at the 500-level
    • AGRO 501 (1 cr.)
    • AGRO 555 (2 cr.)
    • AGRO 590 (1 cr.)
    • 6 credits of thesis research (AGRO 600 or 610)

Students are required to participate in AGRO 590 each semester they are registered, but can only count a maximum of 1 credit of AGRO 590 towards the degree. In addition, M.S. students are required to complete 1 credit of Supervised Experience in College Teaching (AGRO 602); however, this 1 credit cannot be counted towards the degree requirements. The remaining elective credits may be chosen from a list of approved electives maintained by the program office.

The thesis must be accepted by the advisory committee members, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School, and the student must pass a thesis defense.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements stated in the DEGREE REQUIREMENTS section of the Graduate Bulletin.

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 including:

    • 12 credits of 500-level formal courses beyond the B.S. degree
    • A minor or general studies course work
    • 6 credits in statistical methods beyond the B.S. degree, of which a minimum of 3 credits must be at the 500 level
    • AGRO 501 (1 cr.)
    • AGRO 590 (1 cr.)
    • 12 credits of dissertation research (AGRO 600 or 610)

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. However, only 1 credit of AGRO 590 can be counted towards the degree. In addition, Ph.D. students are required to complete 2 credits of Supervised Experience in College Teaching (AGRO 602); however, these 2 credits cannot be counted towards the degree requirements.

The communication requirement for the Ph.D. degree may be met by completing at least 6 credits of course work in an area of English communications approved by the student's doctoral committee.

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. The department encourages professional development of students through participation in meetings of relevant professional societies and organizations.

Dual-Title Graduate Degree in Agronomy (AGRO) and International Agriculture and Development (INTAD)

Graduate students with research and educational interests in international agriculture may apply to the dual-title degree program in Agronomy and International Agriculture and Development. The goal of the dual-title degree in AGRO and INTAD is to enable graduate students from AGRO to acquire the knowledge and skills of their primary area of specialization in AGRO, while at the same time gaining the perspective and methods needed for work in the international agriculture. Graduate study in this program seeks to prepare students to assume leadership roles in science, engineering, outreach, and project management anywhere in the world. Students acquire a broad perspective on how to apply their research findings in the context of the broader international community. Thus, the dual-title will allow students to master their field of specialization from an international perspective so that they can effectively engage in agricultural development activities within various countries and regions.

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in AGRO and the Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program.  After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the INTAD dual-title program.  Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the INTAD Bulletin page.  Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in INTAD prior to obtaining candidacy in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements for AGRO/INTAD Dual-Title M.S.

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the M.S. degree, listed above.  In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title M.S. in INTAD, listed on the INTAD Bulletin page. Up to 6 credits of INTAD approved courses can be applied to fulfilling AGRO  program requirements. Final course selection must be approved by the student’s advisory committee.

Degree Requirements for AGRO/INTAD Dual-Title Ph.D.

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the Ph.D. degree, listed above.  In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title Ph.D. in INTAD, listed on the INTAD Bulletin page.  Some courses may satisfy both AGRO program requirements and those of the INTAD program. Up to 6 credits of INTAD approved courses can be applied to fulfilling AGRO program requirements. Final course selection must be approved by the student’s committee.

The candidacy examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from AGRO and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the INTAD program.  Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may service in a combined role.  There will be a single candidacy examination, containing elements of both AGRO and INTAD.  Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the candidacy examination may be delayed on semester beyond the normal period allowable

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for doctoral committees, the doctoral committee of an AGRO and INTAD dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the INTAD Graduate Faculty.  Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may service in a combined role.  If the chair of the doctoral committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in INTAD, the member of the committee representing INTAD must be appointed as co-chair.  The INTAD representative on the student’s doctoral committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their doctoral committee and reflects their original research and education in AGRO and INTAD.  Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree.  The dissertation must be accepted by the doctoral committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School. 

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships and other forms of student aid are described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set forth in the Graduate Bulletin.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 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).

 

DATE LAST REVIEWED: 5/11/04

Last Revised by the Department: Summer Session 2017

Blue Sheet Item #: 46-01-000

Review Date: 8/22/17

Faculty linked: 5/12/14

Contact info updated: 7/22/16

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