University of Vermont

College of
Agriculture and Life Sciences

Department of Plant and Soil Science

Introduction to Graduate Programs in Plant and Soil Science

The mission of the Department of Plant and Soil Science is to expand, integrate, and extend the knowledge of crops and environmental quality in plant/soil ecosystems affecting the people of Vermont, the region, and the world. The Department will provide excellence in education, research, and extension that will enable people toproduce healthy crops through environmentally, economically, and socially sound practices.

The graduate program and graduate students are an important part of this department. This handbook has been prepared to assist you in becoming oriented to the Plant and Soil Science Department, its faculty, facilities, and operational procedures. It is designed to complement the UVM Graduate Catalogue.

The department offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science (M.S.) degree in all fields in Plant Science and Soil Science, and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in either Soil Science or Entomology. A thesis, based on original research, is required for these degrees. Completion of the requirements normally takes two and one-half years for the M.S. degree and typically three years for the Ph.D.

The Department is comprised of faculty representing the disciplines of agronomy, entomology, horticulture, plant pathology, and soil science. Research faculty are involved in studying plant, soil or insect interactions within environments managed for food, fiber, waste utilization, or for landscape purposes. The objectives of these studies are: (I) to develop fundamental knowledge of environmental impacts and interactions and (II) to apply knowledge to better manage systems and promote environmental health. Specifically, departmental projects have included:

  • Biological control of insect pests – entomopathogenic fungi
  • Integrated pest management (IPM) in greenhouse and field situations
  • Constructed wetland systems for water pollution control
  • Design and analysis of experiments and surveys
  • Field and forage crop management and utilization, forage quality, pasture and grazing management, and pest/weed management
  • Analytical procedures for testing soils and environmental samples
  • Effects of nitrogen (from acid rain) on forest soils and bog ecosystems
  • Interaction between soil manganese oxides and heavy metals
  • Nutrient dynamics and management in agricultural systems
  • Nematodes and microarthropods as environmental indicators for terrestrial and wetland soils
  • Development of sustainable apple production systems
  • Evaluation and identification of woody and herbaceous landscape plants adapted to environmental conditions in Vermont/New England
  • Diversified horticulture which involves the planning, production, handling, and marketing of horticultural crops with emphasis on multiple, diverse crops produced with environmentally and economically sound techniques.

The knowledge and information generated through research is incorporated into the curriculum of the Department and is the foundation for the state/regional/national extension programs developed by the faculty.

Opportunities for employment after graduate study include teaching and research faculty positions in state and private colleges and universities; research and regulatory consultant positions, both foreign and domestic; extension specialist and county agent careers; and research, production, and promotional work with agribusiness concerned with production of horticultural crops or services to horticultural industries.

On behalf of the Department of Plant and Soil Science, we welcome you to the department and hope that your association with us will be pleasant and professionally rewarding. The faculty, staff and current graduate students will try to assist you in any way they can.

Last modified April 19 2012 01:58 PM