Degree Requirements

In the first year, each student, in conjunction with their advisor, will form a supervisory committee, create a plan of study that meets disciplinary requirements below as well the goals of the student, and develop a research proposal paper for submission to the department.

The M.S. program requires the completion of at least 30 credits, during which an overall GPA of 3.0 or better must be maintained. The M.S. degree may be earned by either of two options. The Plan A: Thesis Option emphasizes completion of a research project. The Plan B: Comprehensive Study Option requires more course work and instead of conducting research and presenting a thesis, the candidate presents a paper or papers to the supervisory committee, demonstrating ability for scholarly study and written expression.

Candidates working toward either Plan A or Plan B must pass an oral defense, present a public Exit Seminar on the thesis research or comprehensive study, and have their thesis/paper accepted by the Graduate School to complete the degree.

M.S. Plan A - Thesis Option30
Required Courses
PLSC 724Field Design I3
PLSC 790Graduate Seminar1
PLSC 798Master's Thesis10
Additional Credits (13 credits must be didactic**)16
Students focusing on Plant Breeding and Genetics must take and earn a B or better in
Genetics & Plant Improvement
Intermediate Genetics

M.S. Plan B - Master's Paper Option30
PLSC 724Field Design I3
Additional 600-700 level courses (18 credits must be didactic**)23
PLSC 790Graduate Seminar1
PLSC 797Master's Paper3

** Didactic credits are graduate courses numbered 601-689, 691; 700-789, 791; and 800-889, 891.


David Wenhao Dai, Ph.D.
North Dakota State University, 2001
Research Interests: Woody Plant Physiology, Biotechnology

Harlene Hatterman-Valenti, Ph.D.
Iowa State University, 1993
Research Interests: High-Value Crop Production

Chiwon W. Lee, Ph.D.
Purdue University, 1977
Research Interests: Vegetables, Floriculture, Biotechnology

Deying M. Li, Ph.D.
Iowa State University, 2001
Research Interests: Sports Turf Management

Esther E. McGinnis
University of Minnesota, 2013
Research Interests: Extension Horticulture, Native Plants, Perennial Hardiness, Floriculture

Asunta L. Thompson, Ph.D.
University of Idaho, 1998
Research Interests: Potato Breeding

Todd West, Ph.D.
Southern Illinois University, 2004
Research Interests: Woody Plant Improvement

Qi Zhang, Ph.D.
Kansas State University, 2007
Research Interests: Turfgrass Stress Physiology

Alan J. Zuk, Ph.D.
Kansas State University, 2005
Research Interests: Sports and Urban Turfgrass Management