Master's Degree in Plant Science

Sep 11, 2019

A master's degree program in plant science allows you to study the cultivation, care, and genetics of plants and crops. Learn more the specific coursework you may take in a Master of Science in Plant Science degree program as well as some of the common entrance requirements.

Plant science is a field of study that is primarily concerned with the development, cultivation, and growth of different kinds of plants, including crops, ornamental plants, and fruits and vegetables. A master degree program in plant science will cover a range of different topics about how to best breed plants, how to manage crops, how to detect and fight plant diseases, and how to use technology to enhance plants. In this article, we will take a close look at the core coursework that makes up a Master of Science in Plant Science degree program and the common entrance requirements.

Common Coursework Master's in Plant Science

MS in Plant Science programs will usually require around 30-32 credits and will sometimes require a thesis project based on your specialized interest in the field and may require a comprehensive exam as well. While the exact required coursework will vary by university and program, there are some core classes that you will most likely take in order to earn your MS in Plant Science.

Plant Breeding and Genetics

One type of course that you may take during your master's in plant science degree program is one that covers different aspects, methods, and theories about how to breed different plants and crops. Usually, you will study the genetics of plants, including heredity and qualitative traits, and how to use that knowledge to improve plants and crops. Other topics you may study include cross-pollination, self-pollination, and asexual-propagation in regards to crops.

Plant Biotechnology

Plant biotechnology is a branch of plant science that focuses on how to develop, cultivate, and produce better food and crops for people and animals. In a course of this type, you may study different technologies that can be used to modify and improve crops and plants. Some specific technological methods you may learn to use include sequencing and analyzing of DNA fragments, how to extract DNA and RNA, how to detect viruses, and how to genetically modify plants.

Plant Pathology

Another type of course that you could take is one that centers on the study of different diseases that affect plants, crops, fruits, and vegetables. The different factors of plant diseases that you may study include environmental influences and causal organisms. You may also learn about different ways to prevent, manage, control these diseases. Also, you could learn how these plant diseases affect humans as well as the environment.

Pest Management

During your degree program, you will also most likely need to take a course on pests or insects in terms of how they affect plants, crops, and gardens. Many courses of these type will include the study of specific pests, including how to identify them. You may also closely study how to manage and control these pests.

Grain Crops Productivity

Last, a course that focuses on the major kinds of grain crops that both animals and humans consume could be a part of your plant science curriculum. This kind, of course, might cover all aspects of grain crops, including their development, growth, and any environmental factors that affect them. Also, you may study the best methods for maximizing crop yields and improving the quality of crops.

Entrance Requirements

To apply to an MS in Plant Science program, you will need to submit the following application materials: an application, an application fee, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose that address your interest in the program. Most programs will also require that you submit GRE general test scores. For international students, you will usually have to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language test. Also, some MS in Plant Science programs will require that you have a bachelor's degree in plant science or a related applied science field, and others might require prerequisite coursework in the life sciences, plant science, statistics, and plant health.

MS in Plant Science programs will usually require coursework that touches on everything from plant genetics to pest management. To apply to a program of this type, you may be required to already have a background in plant science or in another relevant field.

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