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Graduate degrees in Plant and Soil Science provide professional development for students who wish to continue their education after graduating from science oriented programs, typically in earth, biological or agricultural sciences.

Both our M.S. programs and Ph.D. programs require the student to complete a research program and schedule of classes, designed by the student and their advisor, to support the research study. Each student will be further supported by a study committee comprised of faculty with expertise in relevant areas. Research topics are generally supported by peer-reviewed grants and thus address important topics in Plant and Soil Science and allied fields.

We offer multiple Ph.D degree options in all fields in plant science and soil science.Our department provides excellence in education, research, and extension to foster environmentally, economically, and socially sound practices.

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. See the checklist below regarding contacting us prior to completing a formal application through the Graduate College. For specific questions, please contact our department Graduate Program Coordinator by email Josef.Gorres@uvm.edu


  • For Admission - A Master of Science degree in an appropriate agricultural, environmental, biological, or physical science. Satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination, general (aptitude) section. Additionally,  some programs may have their own specific requirements. Students must consult and familiarize themselves with their program 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

Before You Apply

  • Prepare your CV/Resume
  • Contact the departmental faculty member with whom you are interested in working. Include your CV/Resume with your email. Refer to the list of faculty and area of study below.
  • Note: it reduces your chances of connecting with new research opportunities when you send your email to all of our faculty; please focus on selecting a faculty member based on your research interests.
  • The departmental deadline for applications is January 15, however, applications from highly qualified students are considered on a case by case basis. 

Graduate Faculty

Faculty Member Area of Research Contact
Eric Bishop von Wettberg Genetics, Domestication, Crop Breeding, Legumes, Germplasm Eric.Bishop-Von-Wettberg@uvm.edu
Sid Bosworth Agronomy, Forages,Pasture Management Sid.Bosworth@uvm.edu
Terence Bradshaw Tree Fruit, Viticulture, Integrated Pest Management Terence.Bradshaw@uvm.edu
Yolanda Chen Insect Ecology, Agroecology, Evolutionary Biology, Population Genetics Yolanda.Chen@uvm.edu
Heather Darby Agronomic Crops, Soil Health, Biofuels Heather.Darby@uvm.edu
Josef Gorres Soil Physical Properties and Fauna, Soil Ecological Management Josef.Gorres@uvm.edu
Ann Hazelrigg Plant Pathology, Integrated Pest Management Ann.Hazelrigg@uvm.edu
Stephanie E. Hurley Landscape Design, Stormwater Treatment, Ecological Design Stephanie.E.Hurley@uvm.edu
V. Ernesto Mendez International Environmental Studies, Agroecology, Rural Development Ernesto.Mendez@uvm.edu
Scott C. Merrill Landscape/Systems Ecology, Climate Change, Precision Agriculture Scott.C.Merrill@uvm.edu
Deborah Neher Soil Ecology, Nematodes/Microarthropods, Plant-Soil Interactions Deborah.Neher@uvm.edu
Bruce L. Parker Entomology, Forest Pest Management, International Agriculture Bruce.Parker@uvm.edu
Donald S. Ross Soil Chemistry, Phosphorus, Carbon, Soil Monitoring Donald.Ross@uvm.edu
Margaret Skinner Entomology, Integrated Pest Management, Biological Control Margaret.Skinner@uvm.edu