University of Vermont

College of
Agriculture and Life Sciences

Department of Plant and Soil Science

Master of Science

Advisory Committee

The advisory committee is made up of at least three members and must be chosen during the student’s first semester in residence (see appendix) A request to appoint the advisory committee must be submitted to the Graduate Program Coordinator of the Department using the appropriate form (SEE APPENDIX "1"). The major professor is always chairperson of the advisory committee. Students and their major professors share joint responsibility to set up and hold meetings of the student’s advisory committee at least once each semester and to report the current status of the candidate to the Graduate Program Coordinator on the “Advisory Committee Progress Report” form (SEE APPENDIX "2"). While studying at UVM, the student should consider his/her major professor as the first source for policy information, advisory guidance, and access to resources of the Department and University needed to complete all research, teaching, and outreach experiences required for graduation.

General requirements

Eighteen to 24 hours in Plant and Soil Science and closely related fields, 6 to 12 hours of thesis research, and satisfactory participation in seminars during residency. A minimum of 30 credit hours is required. Of these 30 hours, 21 must be completed in residence at UVM.

With the prior approval of the Department and Graduate College, a student may apply one 100-level, three-credit course towards their graduate program (SEE APPENDIX "3"). The student's advisor must petition the Graduate College for approval BEFORE the student enrolls in the course. If at all possible, the graduate student should inquire if the professor for the course which they are considering taking at the undergraduate-level would be willing to set up a 297/298 "Independent Study" for them to take the undergraduate-level course WITH ADDITIONAL COURSE WORK to make it a "graduate-level" course. This is easiest to do "in-house" (ie: in PSS) however, other departments may also permit this on a case-by-case basis. Reserving the request for a "100-level course to count for graduate credit" (SEE APPENDIX "3") will allow the graduate student greater options when seeking relevant course work in other disciplines allied with PSS but which may not be able to offer an undergraduate-level course as a 297/298 Independent Study for graduate credit. A 297/298 "course" is set-up by the instructor and channeled through the Chair of the Department for approval. The request to set up the "course" is forwarded by the Chair to the Registrar. The "course" is set up and the student enrolls in it. Typically the enrollment is restricted to only one student who is requesting the "course".

All graduate students must take part in the Department's undergraduate teaching program.

Graduate Degree Program Outline

The student’s program of study must be reported on the Graduate Degree Program Outline (SEE APPENDIX "4"). This plan must be developed with the advisory committee and be submitted to the Graduate College. This must be done before the end of the second semester in residence. The “Plan of Graduate Work”, once approved, becomes the student’s official requirements for graduation. Any alteration in this program must be documented in writing and receive approval from the student’s Advisory Committee and Graduate College.

Requirements for advancement to candidacy

Satisfactory completion of one academic year of graduate study in the Plant and Soil Science Department, and a written or oral comprehensive examination. Satisfactory coursework means a minimum overall GPA of 3.00. Comprehensive examinations are typically taken after one year in residence. The decision on the type of comprehensive exam (written or oral) will be made by the major professor after consultation with the student. The comprehensive examination is not the same as an oral thesis defense and must be satisfactorily passed before defending the thesis.


At the conclusion of the research, the student must present a thesis that embodies the results of their work and demonstrates their capability for independent research.

A formatted copy of the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate College for a Format/Record Check (SEE APPENDIX "6 & 7") at least three weeks prior to the scheduled defense and also post their defense with The Graduate College as well as in the Department (SEE APPENDIX "9"). Students must also provide defendable copies of the thesis to members of their Thesis Defense Examination Committee (SEE APPENDIX "8") at least two weeks before the scheduled examination. The Chairperson of your Defense Committee must be a member of the UVM Graduate Faculty but OUTSIDE your department and program. He/she is responsible or completing all forms necessary at the time of the defense. He/she should plan to pick-up these forms from the Graduate College immediately prior to the defense date.

Following a successful thesis defense, candidates must forward an original copy of the corrected thesis on 100% cotton, 20# weight, acid-free paper and two photocopies to the Graduate College within the time period specified by the Committee. A $20 Advanced Degree Fee is due to the Graduate College at that time.

Last modified February 19 2015 08:35 AM