The Plant Science PhD program provides broad training in the plant sciences through core and elective coursework and in-depth research training opportunities in molecular, cellular, genetic, genomic, and physiological aspects of plants, including model organisms, crops, and wild relatives. New PhD students have the opportunity to rotate through three labs, to gain experience with the scientific questions and techniques employed in each. Following the selection of a permanent lab and a Major Advisor, students deepen their expertise in that lab's research area through participation in all aspects of the research endeavor, including generating novel hypotheses, writing proposals, mentoring undergraduate assistants, developing and executing tests and assays, and participating in lab discussions. With guidance from the Major Advisor, students then develop and execute their own novel research projects and disseminate their results through scientific publications.
Core coursework is minimal and includes cross-training in plant microbiology, to ensure a solid foundation in major plant biotic interactions. Elective coursework, chosen in consultation with the student’s advisors, deepens expertise in areas related to the intended direction within plant science research.
The Plant Science PhD prepares graduates for research and leadership careers in, for example, industry pursuits of crop improvement through genetics, genomics, and high-throughput technology, federal and state agencies involved in traditional and digital agriculture, and academic institutions with foci on basic and applied plant sciences.
The School of Plant Sciences has an international reputation for basic and applied research on plant sciences, plant microbiology, and plant pathology. Our research responds to the urgent question of how to provide plant and microbial-based solutions to sustainably feed and clothe an anticipated ten billion humans by the year 2050. Outcomes of our vision include a broadly trained, job-ready workforce prepared to meet future challenges to agricultural and urban plant systems; robust research and extension programs that support plant improvements through genetics, breeding, and symbioses; novel strategies for mitigating plant disease and improving food safety; and innovative land management strategies to optimize plant growth.
We offer two distinct graduate programs: Plant Science (PhD, MS, and Minor) and Plant Pathology (PhD, MS, and Minor). The Plant Science graduate program prepares students for careers focused on all aspects of plants, including interactions with abiotic and biotic factors, whereas the Plant Pathology prepares students for careers focused on microbes, particularly fungi and plant-associated bacteria and viruses, both beneficial and pathogenic.
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
University of Arizona - Main - Tucson
The following items are required for admissions to our program, in addition to the items required by the Graduate College:
We do not require the GRE.
Excellent student applicants are offered support during the first one and a half semesters, during rotations, through a combination of Scholarships and Research Assistantships. Thereafter, pending successful identification of a Major Advisor and achieving satisfactory academic performance, year-round support is generally offered through a blend of Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships. Support includes tuition, student-only health insurance, and a nationally competitive stipend.
Fall admission: for full consideration of your application, it must be received by December 1 of each year for admission the following Fall.
Spring admission: we will not be accepting applications for Spring admission at this time, with rare exceptions for targeted recruiting.
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
NRC Taxon(a) for this program:
Plant Sciences, Genetics and Genomics, Cell and Developmental Biology, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology, Bioinformatics (emerging field)
The following courses are required for the Plant Science PhD (total 38 units):
Elective credits (minimum 16 units) may be selected from the following courses. Substitutions may be considered at the discretion of the Director of Graduate Studies. The minimum expected grade is B but exceptions may be made as long as the cumulative GPA is maintained at 3.2 (see “Satisfactory Progress” in our handbook). Research units (PLS 900) do not contribute to the GPA.
All PhD students must select a minor and complete at least 9 minor units. Our program allows students to select PLS as the minor, or students may select a minor from another, relevant, program. Typical outside minors for our Plant Science students include Molecular and Cellular Biology, Biochemistry, and Plant Pathology. Coursework is selected in consultation with the Major Advisor and the Minor Advisor in accordance with the requirements of the minor program.
Please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook for students who are pursuing this program of study.
|Application Acceptance Rate||45.45%|
|Med. Time-to-degree (years)||6.00|
|Enrollment Percent Male||40%|
|Enrollment Percent Female||60%|
|Enrollment Percent International||35%|
|Enrollment Percent URM||25%|