Plant & Soil Sciences Graduate Program

The Plant and Soil Sciences Program in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture provides MS and PhD students with training, experience, and mentoring in the full spectrum of agricultural and environmental study.  The Plant & Soil Sciences Graduate Program ensures excellence by devoting considerable resources and faculty efforts toward preparing our students to be successful leaders in research, education, and industry.  Potential applicants to the program should first review the different degree options available on our page Graduate Degrees in Plant & Soil Sciences.

Credit Requirements By Degree Type

Students pursuing a Thesis-Based Master of Science are required to take 30 credits, 9 of which may be thesis research credits.

The Non-Thesis-Based Master of Science is considered to be a terminal degree, and the program requires additional coursework.

Students pursuing a PhD will work with their Guidance Committee to design a personalized curriculum, and must pass both written and oral Comprehensive Exams.

For more information about program and degree requirements, see our Stockbridge Graduate Student Handbook

Admission Requirements & How To Apply

Applicants to the Graduate School should be prepared at the undergraduate level by having taken basic science courses, including biology, botany, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and relevant courses in soils, horticulture, agronomy, plant molecular biology, environmental science, or other areas within plant or soil or environmental sciences, plant biotechnology, agronomy etc. Students wishing to transfer to studies in plant or soil sciences from other fields are encouraged to apply, but may be required to take some additional undergraduate courses in the plant and soil area to establish a background for advanced studies. Remedial English courses are offered for foreign students having difficulty with the language. Students must apply online at the Graduate School website, and also meet all of the UMass Graduate School's admission requirements listed there.

Graduate applications that specify interest in Plant & Soil Sciences Graduate Program will be reviewed by a Plant and Soil Sciences Graduate Admissions/Policy committee to judge whether the qualifications of the student are acceptable to the program. The Program will then recommend acceptance or non-acceptance, but only the Graduate School can accept a student. The Graduate School application fee must be paid before an application can be reviewed.

Assistantships and Financial Aid:

Ph.D. students generally receive up to five years of financial support in a combination of research and teaching assistantships and fellowships. Our teaching and research assistantships each carry a waiver of tuition for the student.  To maximize eligibility for funding, PhD applications should be received by the deadline. M.S. students sometimes receive teaching or research assistantships, but most do not. Students are encouraged to seek support from other sources as well. Prospective students who receive full funding or scholarships from outside agencies, governments, etc. are highly encouraged to apply as their funding makes them a more desirable applicant.

Please note that school funding is not available for students who begin in a Spring semester.  If you are interested in beginning your graduate work in Spring semester, please contact your potential faculty advisor and seek adequate funding from other sources.

Statute Of Limitations

Upon admittance to the UMass Graduate School, students should complete all degree requirements within the specified time frame described in the Plant & Soil Sciences Graduate Program Handbook and/or as specified by the Graduate School. This is called the Statute of Limitations. The Statute can be extended by petitioning the Stockbridge Graduate Program Director. The petition should explain the reason for the delay, anticipated progress, the projected completion date, and must be supported by a statement from your advisor. Contact the Graduate Program Director for additional details.