Academic Requirements for PhD Degree

While the Graduate School requires no minimum number of credits for a doctoral program, all doctoral students need to take a minimum of 18 course credits to prepare for the comprehensive exams and to achieve mastery of the subject. The advisor and committee may recommend taking more course credits, based on your research project.

On average, it takes doctoral students a minimum of two years of coursework to build their knowledge before taking the comprehensive exams.

Doctoral comprehensive exams may include written, oral, or both (subject to approval of the advisory committee). Each member of the examination committee will give the student a pass/fail grade.

The advisor will forward a memo to the GPD recommending members of the Examination/Advisory Committee. This committee may or may not be the same as dissertation committee.

  • Required courses include Global challenges in Agriculture and the Environment (STOCKSCH 650) (3 credits) and Biometry (STOCKSCH 661) (4 credits). It may be possible for a student to get committee permission to fulfill this requirement by taking Public Health 640 or Statistics 501 or another similar course.
  • The remaining 11 course credits should be earned in graduate-level courses (500-800 level) in the major fields defined as Plant & Soil Science and Environmental Science, determined primarily by the advisor and thesis committee.
  • No Pass/Fail grading in major field courses is allowed.
  • Dissertation is worth 10 - 18 credits.
  • With the advisor's approval, up to 6 credits with ≥ B grade can be transferred from other universities.

The current list of available graduate-level courses can be found at the end of the Graduate Student Handbook

See other graduate degree options.