University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
College of Biological Sciences

About the graduate program

The Plant Biological Sciences Graduate Program is an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental program offering Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees in a broad range of plant biology research areas with primary emphasis on Ph.D training.

The graduate program was established to provide students with:

  • An excellent educational and research experience.
  • The opportunity to work with faculty on a broad range of cutting-edge research topics in Plant Biology.
  • Skills and opportunity to conduct independent research.
  • Exposure to the international plant science research community through seminars and colloquia.

For students entering the program with a B.S. degree, the program is designed to achieve the Ph.D. degree within five years. During the first year, students take courses and rotate in up to three laboratories. The rotations assist students in identifying a research advisor with whom they will conduct their thesis research. Early in the degree program, Ph.D. students must pass preliminary written and oral exams. The thesis is defended at the end of the program in the final exam.

First-year students are supported by the program in the form of a Research Assistantship or Teaching Assistantship. For the remaining years, student support is provided by a Research Assistantship from the student's faculty research advisor or by training grant or fellowship stipends. Ph.D. students are required to serve as a Teaching Assistant for at least one semester. Provided the graduate student is making satisfactory progress towards the Ph.D. degree and funds are available, students can normally expect five years of financial support.

Program Organization

The graduate faculty of the Plant Biological Sciences Graduate Program are housed in the following departments and units:

  • Agronomy and Plant Genetics
  • Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics
  • Biology-U of MN-Duluth
  • Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
  • Forest Resources
  • Genetics and Cell Biology and Development
  • Horticultural Science
  • Plant Biology
  • Plant Pathology
  • Soil, Water and Climate
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Experiment Station
  • USDA North Central Research Station
  • Lake Itasca Forestry and Biological Station
  • Landscape Arboretum

The University

The University of Minnesota comprises a network of four campuses throughout the state, in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Morris, and Crookston, and numerous research stations where experiments are conducted in agriculture, biology, forestry, horticulture and natural history. The Twin Cities campus includes campuses in Minneapolis and in St. Paul which are connected by frequent bus service on a dedicated rapid transit line.

The Graduate School

The Graduate School is one of several colleges within the Twin Cities Campus of the University of Minnesota. With a staff dedicated to the unique needs of graduate students, the graduate school serves as the home college to approximately 7,000 graduate students in over 100 programs on the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses.