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Graduate Studies

Where to find Information

Information on graduate programs, policies, and procedures is available in the Graduate Catalog, the Graduate School Survival Manual, and the Graduate School Office. Dr. Joseph Spatafora, Associate Chairperson, is responsible for and will monitor the specific requirements for the Botany and Plant Pathology program as outlined below. Students are encouraged to fully familiarize themselves with the following information. Questions that arise can be answered by fellow students, their major professor, their major department or the Graduate School.

Formal Requirements for Degree Programs

Master's candidates develop their programs in consultation with the major and minor adviser. Graduate School regulations stipulate that the program must include 45 credit hours, with about 28-32 of these in the major and a minimum of 13 in the minor (or integrated minor). In contrast, the doctoral program is approved at a formal meeting of the full program committee. If a minor is declared, 18 credit hours are required (15 credit hours for an integrated minor). A total of 108 credits are required. The signature of the department chairperson is required for both M.S. and Ph.D. programs. The department chair-person sometimes seeks the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee before signing a program. A dissertation is required for the Ph.D. degree; M.S. students may choose a thesis or non-thesis option. As of 1985, there is no longer a departmental foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. degree; the language requirement is left to the discretion of individual program committees. Knowledge of one foreign language is required for a M.A. degree.

Master's Degree. A regular graduate student must file a study program with the Graduate School before the completion of 18 hours of graduate coursework. This coursework includes graduate hours reserved as an undergraduate student and hours earned as a post-baccalaureate, graduate special student, and regular graduate student.

Doctoral Degree. A graduate student who holds a master's degree must file a study program with the Graduate School by the end of one calendar year of enrollment as a doctoral student.

A graduate student who intends to bypass a master's degree must file a study program with the Graduate School by the end of the fifth quarter of enrollment as a doctoral student.

Full-time Enrollment Policy

Unless on approved Leave of Absence, all graduate students in graduate degree and certificate programs must register continuously for a minimum of 3 graduate credits, including summer session, until their degree or certificate is granted, or until their status as a credential–seeking graduate student is terminated. For further details see the online catalog at: http://catalog.oregonstate.edu/ChapterDetail.aspx?key=38#Section1804

Role of the Major Adviser and Program Committee

The program committee for an M.S. degree consists of the major adviser, a minor adviser and one other member. For the final examination, the minimum committee consists of these two advisers, the second representative from the major field, and a Graduate Council representative. For the Ph.D. degree, the minimum committee consists of the major adviser, the minor adviser (if applicable), two additional members of the graduate faculty (including at least one from the major field), and a Graduate Council representative. For both master's and doctoral programs, the Graduate Council representative is chosen by the student from a list provided by the Graduate School. This representative is from outside the major and minor fields and serves to ensure that the requirements and standards of the Graduate School are upheld and that the candidate is treated fairly by the program committee. Students are free to have additional members on their committees, and to have a co-major adviser if they believe this would be appropriate and beneficial. Students should consult their major professor concerning the procedures for selecting committee members.

The major and minor advisers for an M.S. degree usually meet once to approve the graduate program. The entire committee meets for the final examination. For the Ph.D. degree, the full committee is required to meet for these two occasions plus the oral preliminary examination. In practice, many committees meet more frequently than the minimum requirement to provide the student with an opportunity for feedback and advice on the progress of coursework and research. Any changes in an approved program requires committee approval, the Department Chairperson’s signature, and Graduate School approval.

Graduate Programs

Graduate programs vary considerably, depending on the student's previous training, the individual committee, and the candidate's field of study. Our students generally take coursework both within and outside the department. For example, plant physiology students take many courses in the Biochemistry and Biophysics Department, while students studying plant ecology or plant disease epidemiology take many courses in the Statistics Department.

There are currently no required core curricula for Botany and Plant Pathology students, but recommended core curricula have been developed for some subdisciplines within the department. In terrestrial plant ecology, the recommended core incorporates a one-year sequence in plant ecology and appropriate courses in systematics, statistics, and other fields to meet special needs. In plant pathology, a recommended core curriculum has been identified that prepares the student for advanced graduate courses in plant pathology. The recommended core sequence in molecular biology closely parallels the required core in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program. Students interested in plant physiology may follow the core for the plant physiology program.