Course, credit, residence, time, and minimum grade-point average requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Science.

The AEPS graduate program offers plans of study leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees to students meeting the admission requirements established by the Graduate School and by the AEPS program. These plans are designed to provide the knowledge, training, and attitudes expected of holders of these degrees. Insofar as possible, the pattern of coursework and the area of thesis or dissertation research will be designed to meet the specific interests and needs of the student. These plans of study will be developed within the general procedures and regulations of the Graduate School.

Detailed Requirements

A detailed outline of all requirements for successful completion of the Ph.D. in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Science can be found online in the Graduate Program in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Science (AEPS) Student Handbook. Below are a subset of requirements.

Course Requirements

The course requirements listed below are in addition to Graduate Policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

AEPS 502 - Current Issues in Agricultural Innovation - 2 credits

AEPS 515 - Professional Development for the Plant Sciences - 3 credits

AEPS 555 - Effective Scientific Communications - 3 credits

AEPS 602 - Supervised Experience in College Teaching* - 2 credits

AEPS 590 - Colloquium (Final Semester) - 1 credit

*Even though two credits of AEPS 602 are required, they cannot be counted towards fulfilling course credit requirements for the Ph.D. degree.

Students who have completed AEPS 502, 515, and 555 as part of the AEPS M.S. degree program are not required to take these classes again in the Ph.D. program. However, students who have completed 1 credit of AEPS 602 in the AEPS M.S. program and have transitioned to the AEPS Ph.D. program are required to take 2 credits of AEPS 602.

Electives: Choose 6 credits of appropriate coursework in statistical methods at the 400-800 level. Choose from 400-800 level courses in AGRO, AEPS, BIOL, ENT, FOR, HORT, INTAD, TURF, PLBIO, PPATH, PPEM, SOILS, STAT or related areas with approval of the Ph.D. advisory committee. Coursework should be completed prior to the comprehensive exam.

Minimum Number of Credits: 30 beyond the baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.

Minimum Grade-Point Average: A minimum grade-point average of 3.0 (4.0 basis) for graduate work completed at the University is required for graduation.

Research credits: AEPS 600 (on campus) and AEPS 610 (off campus) are available for credit in dissertation research. The bursar assesses charges for these courses at the current rate of tuition, according to the student’s status at the time of registration.

Students with English deficiencies must schedule remedial undergraduate courses as soon as possible after the candidacy examination. Advanced (400- and 500-level) courses may be taken when convenient but must be completed before the comprehensive examination is scheduled. The choice of appropriate remedial and advanced courses will be made by the student’s advisor and Ph.D. advisory committee.

Time Limitation

All requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy degree, whether satisfied on the University Park Campus or elsewhere, must be met within five years or a period of spanning six consecutive summers.

A student devoting half-time to study for the degree normally will require 10 semesters beyond the Master's degree, or 15 semesters if entering the program without an M.S. degree. However, much will depend upon the nature of the thesis research problem.


Over a twelve-month period, the Ph.D. student must spend at least two consecutive semesters, exclusive of summer sessions, as a registered full-time student engaged in academic work at the University Park Campus. AEPS 601 and AEPS 611 cannot be used to meet this requirement.

A full-time University employee enrolled in the AEPS Ph.D. program must be registered for 6 credits or more each semester in which residency is declared and must be certified as a full-time employee by the Head of the Dept. of Plant Science. In exceptional cases, the Head of the AEPS program may certify to Graduate Enrollment Services that the student is devoting half time or more to graduate studies in lieu of registered credits. This requirement must be satisfied at the University Park Campus and must be satisfied prior to the semester in which the final oral examination is administered.

Minimum Grade-Point Average

A minimum grade-point average of 3.0 (4.0 basis) for graduate work done at the University is required for graduation.

Teaching Requirement

A teaching experience is required of all Ph.D. students in the Department of Plant Science. This experience shall consist of two semesters of classroom teaching assistance documented by at least two credits of AEPS 602. Equivalent teaching experience completed outside of the Department may be substituted for this requirement. An example of equivalent experience could involve development of a Cooperative Extension program that involves clientele-oriented oral presentations and assistance writing publications. Students may waive the formal classroom teaching requirement only by written concurrence of the faculty advisor, Graduate Program Director, and Department Head.