Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Breeding

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Plant Breeding is offered through the Department of Horticultural Sciences for students who are interested in obtaining an advanced science-based education for the creation, improvement, and/or production of horticultural commodities. The program encompasses both conventional and molecular breeding techniques to modify specific target traits in horticultural plants to improve their characteristics. The program is designed to prepare students to become successful independent researchers in plant breeding through innovative teaching and directed plant breeding research experiences.

Our plant breeding faculty work with numerous horticultural commodities including vegetables, fruits, flowers, and native plant species. Applied breeding programs focus on the development of plants for improved yield, disease resistance, quality, etc., through studies of breeding methodology and principles. Molecular- and biochemical-leaning programs involve the identification and isolation of important genes to improve plants, assess genetic diversity among germplasm, and develop the molecular tools necessary for plant improvement. Many faculty members include both applied and molecular breeding methods in their programs.

Mission Statement

The Department of Horticultural Sciences is focused on improving the quality of life related to aesthetic disciplines, the production of healthful fruits and vegetables, and improving the utility and sustainability of the built environment. The PhD in Plant Breeding prepares students to accomplish this mission by providing them with the knowledge, resources, and skills to become productive researchers in the field of Plant Breeding. The program includes formal classroom training and basic and applied plant breeding research opportunities. Interdisciplinary training is encouraged to provide comprehensive preparation for careers in plant breeding research and education. The PhD degree is obtained through appropriate course work, completion of research and other requirements, successful completion of university-directed administrative procedures, and successful defense of the dissertation. The research project and specific coursework will be outlined by the student with guidance from the student's graduate advisory committee members. Students completing a Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Breeding are prepared for teaching/research positions within academia or lead plant breeding research positions in government or the private sector.

Steps to Fulfill a Doctoral Program