2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    
    Sep 18, 2020  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog

Biological Sciences (Ph.D.) - Plant Science Specialization


Program Coordinator/Contact

David Wright, Department Head
Brent Turnipseed, Assistant Department Head
Senthil Subramanian, Professor/Graduate Coordinator
Department of Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Science
244 Berg Hall, Box 2207A
605-688-4600

Program Information

The Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Science Department is an integrated department that includes programs in crop production, entomology, horticulture, plant biotechnology, plant breeding, plant pathology, precision farming, soils, water management, and weed science. The primary goals of the department are to conduct research in these areas, to transmit the results to the public, and to help prepare students for an occupation in these disciplines and to become productive members of a community. Graduate training includes classroom instruction, teaching experience, seminars designed to refine oral and written skills, and meaningful experience in laboratory and field research techniques. Departmental diversity encourages collaborations among disciplines and research programs that support this graduate training.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Knowledge of program: Exhibit knowledge concerning biological and/or microbiological systems/sciences at a level appropriate to a Ph.D. holder.
  • Communication skills: Express their scientific views effectively in both oral and written form.
  • Understand scientific method: Understand the scientific methods and techniques for solving research problems and analyze scientific data using the appropriate statistics.
  • Use statistics to analyze data: Be able to use statistics to analyze scientific data.
  • Publish research: Be able to conduct and publish scholarly research. (Option A)
  • Professional development: Demonstrate professional development and competence so that they may enter the work force in academia or industry. (Transferable Skill: Career Preparedness)

Course Delivery Format

The program coursework is available on campus, in classroom and laboratory settings, as well as field-based settings.

Facilities and Services

The department is housed in seven buildings across campus. These buildings provide research and teaching laboratories, greenhouses, seed house facilities and access to the functional genomics core facility. The on and off-campus facilities also include the SDSU Seed Testing Laboratory, SDSU Plant Diagnostics Clinic, Seed Certification, and Foundation Seed Stocks Division, which operates as services for the public. In addition, the department conducts research at five research farms near campus and five research stations across the state. The Field Specialists are housed in seven regional extension offices across the state.

Student Support and Engagement Opportunities

Students are encouraged to join and participate in the Plant Science Graduate Student Association (PSGSA) which conducts professional and social events on a regular basis.  In addition, students are encouraged to participate and mentor undergraduate students in the Arboriculture Club, Agronomy and Conservation Club, or Horticulture and Urban Agriculture Club which offers opportunities for fellowship, leadership, and career planning for undergraduate students.

Available Options for Graduate Degrees


Doctor of Philosophy 60 Credit Plan
  90 Credit Plan

Core Requirements


For details see specific programs: Biological Sciences (Ph.D.) .

The student, major advisor and Advisory Committee select the discipline specific emphasis area of the biological sciences. The courses will be identified on the student’s Plan of Study no later than the end of the first year of study.  In addition, the study will successfully complete:

  • XXX 790 or 890 Seminar Credit: 1 - Selected with advisory committee approval
  • Credits: 1
  • Minimum of 3 credits of STAT courses numbered 500-level or higher
  • XXX 898D Dissertation Credits: 30-40 - Students are required to present a seminar on their dissertation
  • Electives as needed to reach 60 or 90 credits

Additional Admission Requirements


GRE: recommended, but not required
TOEFL: minimum requirement of 560 paper-based, 83 Internet-based
IELTS: minimum score of 6.0

Students must be accepted by an advisor before admission is granted.

General Requirements


Graduate students must consult with their advisor before registering for graduate coursework.

For additional information refer to the Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements .