University of Vermont

College of
Agriculture and Life Sciences

Department of Plant and Soil Science

Ph.D. Programs

The department of Plant and Soil Science at UVM offers several Ph.D degree options, including:

  • Agroecology
  • Ecological Landscape Design
  • Entomology
  • Soil Science

Current research projects are concerned with the solution of horticultural and agronomic problems with special emphasis on environmental physiology, soil chemistry, pasture management, plant nutrition, and pest management. Areas of research include winter hardiness of fruits, and woody and herbaceous ornamentals; cultural and environmental interrelationships as they affect plant growth, crop adaptation, and variety; pasture production and marginal land utilization; crop establishment and soil productivity; mycorrhizal fungi; soil chemistry of the rhizosphere; redox reactions in soils; the behavior of heavy metals; compost and organic matter research; behavior of nitrogen in the soil; nutrient availability to plants; agricultural waste management; biological control of insects, disease, and weeds; integrated pest management for control of insects, diseases, and weeds. A student's thesis research will be an integral part of the on-going research efforts of the department.

Program overview

Prospective students should be in dialogue with prospective advisors before and during the application process.  We encourage site visits prior to application and/or acceptance into the program.

If you are interested, please send in a completed application directly to the Graduate College. For specific questions, please contact our Graduate Program Coordinator Josef Gorres at or (802) 656-9793.

In addition to the requirements below, some programs may have their own specific requirements. Students must consult and familiarize themselves with their program requirements.

General Requirements for Doctor of Philosophy Degree

Requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

A Master of Science degree in an appropriate agricultural, environmental, biological, or physical science. Satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination, general (aptitude) section.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Satisfactory completion of two academic years of graduate study in the Department of Plant and Soil Science at the University of Vermont. With the approval of the dean of the Graduate College and the Department of Plant and Soil Science, a master's degree may be accepted in partial fulfillment of this requirement.

Satisfactory completion of a written and oral qualifying doctoral examination as prescribed by the department.

Minimum Degree Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

The course requirements are as follows: a total of at least forty credits of which a minimum of thirty must be taken in Plant and Soil Science and closely related disciplines (e.g. botany, chemistry, forestry, microbiology, biochemistry or geology). Satisfactory participation in seminars during residency is required. All master and doctoral students must take part in the department's undergraduate teaching program.

Last modified October 10 2017 08:25 AM