Master's Program

M.S. in Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics

A Master’s in Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics (PBGG) is research-based and prepares students for industry jobs, technical positions in an academic setting, or pursuit of a Ph.D. degree.

Application and admission is through the Graduate School upon review of applications by the PBGG Graduate Committee and acceptance into the research program of one of our Graduate Faculty.

Transcripts, letters of reference, statement of purpose and standardized test scores are all taken into account during evaluation. While a GRE score of 286 is considered the minimum, 312 is the average GRE for MS students admitted in the last several years. Foreign applicants may be required to submit TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) scores with a minimum score of 80.


Program of Study

All Graduate School requirements for a Master's degree must fall within a six-year time limit beginning with the first registration for graduate courses listed on the program of study and ending with the final semester of the sixth year. The PBGG MS is thesis-based with research conducted under the supervision of a major advisor and approval of a research proposal by an advisory committee.

Degree Program Requirements

MS students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours to graduate comprised of:

  • 21 hours of coursework, 12 of which are graduate level courses only (not from split undergraduate/graduate courses, e.g., 4100/6100).
  • 6 hours of research (PBGG 7000)
  • 3 hours of thesis writing (PBGG 7300)

The following courses are required for graduation:

  • Research Seminar (PBGG 8861)
  • Plant Breeding (PBGG 6140)
  • Plant Breeding Practicum (PBGG 6000)
  • Statistics (STAT 6220 or STAT 6315 or FANR 6750 or higher)

MS Thesis

A thesis proposal approved by the Advisory Committee must be submitted to the Administrative Manager by the end of the second semester. These items become a permanent part of the student's Institute file and record. The thesis proposal is to ensure that a student starts early on a research project suitable for a thesis. A draft plan of the proposed research will be formulated together with the student's major professor by the end of the first semester.  The full proposal must be finalized and approved by the student’s advisory committee by the end of the second semester at a scheduled committee meeting, with committee members present, either physically or digitally.  Committee members must receive a copy of the proposal at least 7 days prior to the scheduled meeting.

As a minimum, these research proposals should contain the research objectives and rationale, a proposed research approach, a research timeline, and a literature review of all the pertinent literature.  The level of detail in the materials and methods section is at the discretion of the student and the committee members.  Students are encouraged to prepare a slide presentation of their proposed research to present at their committee meeting.

Faculty are strongly encouraged to assign the research hours a grade of "U"  for students who do not have their proposal approved by the deadline.  At the committee's discretion, a student may receive an additional semester to finalize the proposal before the student is penalized with a “U”.