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Plant Biology Doctoral Degree Requirements

Program | Faculty | Master's | Doctoral | Courses

Ph.D. candidates are required to complete 15 credits in formal coursework, including the one-year Plant Biology core curriculum courses in their first year. A minimum of two elective courses are required, to be selected from the list of program-related offerings. Formal course requirements should be completed by the end of the fourth semester. However, for each semester throughout the entire training period, the student will be required to participate in a journal club.

Ph.D. students who have not been targeted by a faculty member prior to admission participate in one laboratory rotation during each of the first two semesters of study. Laboratory rotations, based on students’ research interests, permit them to become acquainted with members of specific laboratories, the subjects of study in those laboratories, and possible projects for doctoral research. At the conclusion of the second rotation, students select a laboratory in which to complete their dissertation research and obtain approval from the faculty member to work in their laboratory.

The Ph.D. comprehensive exam consists of two parts: 1) passing the first year Plant Biology core curriculum courses with a grade of B- or better and 2) defending an original research proposal relating to the student’s planned dissertation project. The proposal must be completed by the end of the fifth semester. There is also a final oral defense of the written dissertation. It is expected that students will complete the Ph.D. degree in four to five years. Funding, consisting of a teaching assistantship or a research assistantship, is guaranteed for up to five years, contingent upon satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree.