Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences

The intercollegiate faculty of Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences (MEPS) has members in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences. Degree programs are available leading to MS and PhD degrees in molecular and environmental plant sciences. Program requirements are determined and supervised by MEPS faculty. Degree programs are prepared on an individual basis by the graduate students in consultation with their advisory committee. Students hold appointments, for administrative purposes, in the department of their major professors.

Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences seeks to understand the molecular basis for functions and behavior of plants in managed and natural environments. It blends botany, ecology, molecular biology, chemistry, genetics and physics. Traditionally, plant scientists have been interested in the improvement of agriculture, and many of the most basic findings on photoperiodism, mineral nutrition, plant growth regulators, morphogenesis, post-harvest physiology and plant competition have had major effects on modern agriculture. Today the unifying goal of plant science is to understand and improve plants. This goal involves significant interdisciplinary interactions with molecular genetics, plant breeding, environmental physics, agronomy and other plant-agriculture disciplines.

Graduate degree programs are individually designed to prepare graduates for careers in specialized areas of the discipline including molecular biology, metabolism, development, physiological ecology and environmental or crop physiology. Faculty members hold appointments in the Departments of Atmospheric Sciences, Biochemistry and Biophysics, Biology, Ecology and Conservation Biology, Entomology, Horticultural Sciences, Plant Pathology and Microbiology, and Soil and Crop Sciences. Courses in these departments support the curriculum along with those in Chemistry, Genetics, Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics.

All graduate students participate in the student seminar program, and courses including plant physiology, ecological plant physiology, plant biochemistry and plant molecular biology. Students also participate in regional and national scientific meetings. These activities lend continuity and unity to the graduate student group, just as research topics and the selection of supporting courses lend diversity to individual programs.

Steps to Fulfill a Doctoral Program