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Plant Pathology - MAg, MS, PhD

Degree Programs:

The Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology offers plant pathology degrees including a Master of Science (MS), Master of Agriculture (MAg) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The Graduate program emphasizes basic and applied aspects of the science of plant pathology preparing students for careers in teaching, research and extension with a variety of academic, governmental, state, private and industrial opportunities. The educational goals and objectives of the MS degree program are to produce graduates who are fundamentally trained in the scientific principles and general knowledge of plant pathology and related sciences and who are able to apply these principles to successfully solve problems and employ this knowledge at an advanced level of study. The purpose of the PhD program in plant pathology is to produce graduates who are fundamentally trained in the scientific principles and general knowledge of plant pathology and related sciences and who are able to employ this knowledge at the advanced level of study and apply these principles to solve problems involving plant diseases and associated pathogens.

Admission is based primarily on a combination of Grade Point Average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and (if an international student) TOEFL tests are also required.

Students holding baccalaureate degrees in agriculture or the biological sciences may find this degree program helpful to their professional development and career goals. For a major in plant pathology at the MS level, the student should have a baccalaureate degree from a recognized institution with pre-requisite training in agriculture, biology, botany, microbiology and related fields such as chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Qualified students lacking mandatory courses may be admitted but will be required by the student’s advisory committee to make up any deficiencies.

The MS program in plant pathology is available to qualified individuals who wish to pursue a master’s level program that requires a thesis. Importance is placed on both classroom and research training. The MS requires a minimum of 30 semester hours, including:

PLPA 6200/6206Mycology4
PLPA 7950Seminar in Plant Pathology1
Select two of the following:4-7
Mycology
Plant Virology
Plant Nematology
Plant-Bacterial Interactions
Total Hours9-12

A graduate-level course in statistics is also required. A minimum of 21 semester hours must be taken in plant pathology and a specialty area may be selected from related subject matter fields. There is no language requirement for the MS degree. In addition to the required course work, the student must complete research, a written thesis and a thesis defense examination as defined by the student’s advisory committee.

The master of agriculture (MAg) program with a specialization in plant pathology is available to qualified applicants who wish to pursue a master’s level program that does not require a thesis. The MAg with a specialization in plant pathology carries the same entrance requirements as the MS but is a non-thesis degree. The MAg requires a minimum of 32 semester hours, 21 of which must be in plant pathology, including:

PLPA 6200/6206Mycology4
Select two of the following:6-7
Mycology
Plant Virology
Plant Nematology
Plant-Bacterial Interactions
A course in statistics (strongly recommended)
PLPA 7950Seminar in Plant Pathology (strongly recommended)1

The remainder of credit hours can be taken from a variety of subject areas determined in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. A comprehensive examination is required after all courses are completed. There is no language requirement for the MAg degree.

The PhD program requires 60 semester hours of course work, including:

PLPA 6200
PLPA 6206
Mycology
and Mycology
8
PLPA 6400Plant Virology3
PLPA 6500/6506Plant Nematology4
PLPA 7300Plant-Bacterial Interactions4
PLPA 8950Seminar1

Of the 60 semester hours, 30 must be graded graduate courses 6000-level and taken at Auburn University. There is no language requirement for the PhD. Upon completion of the course work, PhD students must take a general written examination. Students must pass all parts of the written examination before scheduling the preliminary oral examination (referred to as the PhD prelim exam). After satisfactory completion of the prelim exam the student advances to candidacy. The PhD student will conduct independent research and prepare a dissertation through the guidance and direction of an advisory committee. After completion of the dissertation, the student must pass a final oral examination defending the dissertation.