Graduate Program

Welcome to The School of Plant Sciences Graduate Program, offering degrees in Plant Science and Plant Pathology.

For hundreds of years, scientists have chosen plants and their associated microbes to answer basic questions about the world around us. Botanists and microbiologists shaped our fundamental understanding of genetics, cell structure, and evolution, and modern plant science continues to contribute to basic biological research. The study of plants and their pathogens has also emerged as central for solving current world problems such as food security, energy needs, and climate change.

The School of Plant Sciences has a long-standing tradition of excellence in plant science research. The large faculty has diverse research interests ranging from horticulture to genomics and microbiology to evolution. As part of the BIO5 Institute, our faculty are closely associated with colleaguesin the Colleges of Engineering, Pharmacy, and Medicine. This diversity is translated into our graduate curriculum, where students gain a broad understanding of all aspects of plant science while retaining the ability to specialize. Students also benefit from regular opportunities to meet scientists from across the country and around the world. An emphasis on critical thinking and written and oral communication prepares students for a wide variety of 21st century careers in academia and beyond, including positions as university faculty, research scientists, plant breeders, consultants, science writers, teachers, or science lawyer/patent officers, among many others.


Students within our School enjoy excellent research facilities, including modern greenhouses and controlled environment rooms, extensive field sites, advanced microscopes, and high-throughput sequencing facilities. The faculty of the School of Plant Sciences benefit from strong extramural grant support notably including the iPlant Collaborative, the largest NSF grant ever awarded for biological research. Finally, students and faculty both enjoy the friendly community of Tucson and the stunning surroundings of the Sonoran Desert.


The School of Plant Sciences offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in two disciplines: Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology. A M.S. degree is not required for application to the Doctoral Program. For further information about our program and application process, please see our Admissions Page.