MS in Plant Pathology

MS students are required to take at least 30 credit hours beyond the BS degree. The MS curriculum includes courses in these core areas:

  • Biology of plant pathogens
  • Communication (through the seminar course)
  • Molecular biology and biotechnology
  • Quantitative aspects of plant pathology such as epidemiology, population genetics, and population aspects of resistance
  • Research

The official details are in the Loading... , including links to the specific courses in the catalog. Other important details are explained in Chapter 2 of the Graduate Handbook. A summary is presented here:

Plant Pathogens

At least two of the following (or their equivalents):

  • PLPTH 730 Plant Nematology (3 credit hours)
  • PLPTH 835 Plant Virology (3 credit hours)
  • PLPTH 840 Plant Pathogenic Bacteria (2 credit hours)
  • PLPTH 845 Plant Pathogenic Fungi (3 credit hours)

Molecular Biology / Biotechnology

At least one of the following:

  • PLPTH 610 Biotechnology (3 credit hours)
  • PLPTH 880 Plant Molecular Biology (3 credit hours)
  • PLPTH 910 Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions (3 credit hours)

Quantitative & Population Aspects of Plant Pathology

At least one of the following:

  • PLPTH 732 Introduction to Plant Resistance to Pests (2 credit hours) + PLPTH 755 Plant Resistance to Diseases (2 credit hours)
  • PLPTH 820 Population Genetics (3 credit hours)
  • PLPTH 905 Ecology and Epidemiology of Plant Pathogens (3 credit hours)


One credit hour of PLPTH 870 Thesis/Dissertation Proposal Seminar must be used for a proposal seminar within the first three semesters of enrollment. A noncredit, public seminar and oral defense is also required prior to completion of the graduate program.

Electives / Research / Report

At least two additional credit hours of electives must be taken in Plant Pathology courses.

One of the following, depending upon the option (report or research) selected:

  • PLPTH 898 Master's Report (2 credit hours)
  • PLPTH 899 Research in Plant Pathology for the MS degree (6 credit hours minimum, 8 credit hours maximum; students can take more than 8 credit hours of PLPTH 899, but only 8 credit hours will count toward the degree and only 8 credit hours can be listed on the Program of Study).

Most students in our Department choose the thesis option and sign up for PLPTH 899. Students who do not desire the intensive research experience may choose to do a report instead, and will sign up for PLPTH 898 instead of 899. Because research experience is considered a prelude for a PhD, the report option is sometimes considered a "terminal degree;" i.e., students who complete the report option are much less likely to be accepted into a PhD program. It is recommended only for those students who do not intend to later pursue a PhD.

Students who start in the research option and have taken PLPTH 899 for credit, and then switch to a report option, sign up for 2 credits of PLPTH 898 and leave the PLPTH 899 credit on their transcripts; however, the PLPTH 899 credit does not count toward the 30 credit-hour minimum requirement for the MS degree.

In addition to the research or report, the student will take additional courses approved by the supervisory committee and following guidelines in the M.S. Degree Section of the Graduate Handbook.

Free electives:

  • Report option: 14-15 credit hours
  • Thesis option: 10-11 credit hours