Are you intrigued by the career potential in such biofuels as crop-based biodiesel or cellulosic ethanol? Can you imagine a more worthy goal than producing optimum yields of life-sustaining crops with minimal impacts on the environment? Would you like to unravel complex interactions involving plants and multiple pests – or develop trees, ornamentals or turfgrasses that are adapted or native to the Intermountain West?
Our master's and doctorate in plant science – the only such degrees in Idaho – are multifocused and multidisciplinary. They’ll prepare you for both urban- and rural-based careers in private industry, public service and academia.
As a student in our program, you can expect to get a thorough education in economically, environmentally and socially sustainable plant production systems and management practices. Our core curriculum provides foundations in plant biology, plant ecology, plant breeding and genetics, plant production and plant protection. In addition, you'll engage in stimulating and rigorous course work, field work and independent research in:
- Plant pathology (including bacteriology, biological control, epidemiology, molecular biology, nematology and virology)
- Plant breeding and genetics
- Plant physiology
- Weed science
- Crop management
- Horticulture (including fruit and vegetable crops, urban landscape management and ornamentals)
Many of our 500-level courses are cross-listed and taught jointly with Washington State University, whose faculty also serve on our graduate research committees.
Through your thesis or dissertation project, you’ll build the scientific skills that will ensure your competitiveness in the marketplace. For example, you can learn to:
- Hand-pollinate crops and conduct intricate breeding experiments in our state-of-the-art, on-campus greenhouses or growth chambers.
- Assess agronomic and resistance traits at our geographically dispersed and environmentally diverse off-campus research and extension centers.
- Use polymerase chain reactions to recognize virus strains – or molecular markers to accelerate plant breeding – in our biotech wing.
- Compare the physiology of weeds at different life stages in our Lambert-Erickson Weed Herbarium, one of the nation’s outstanding collections.
With a 2:1 student-to-faculty ratio, you’ll enjoy ready access to experts in your chosen field.