Our Graduate Progam

Plant Pathology: Taking you further than you ever imagined

DESCRIPTION

The Department of Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University offers a graduate program tailored to tackle today and tomorrow’s science and agricultural needs. All Plant Pathology graduate degree students complete a curriculum that provides a fundamental knowledge base for any plant pathology or related science career path. NCSU Plant Pathology has a strong job placement record in professional positions, such as academia, industry, public agencies, and many other professional organizations. The need for people with graduate-level plant pathology specialization has increased steadily over the last decade. These needed areas of sub-discipline specialization include host-microbe interactions, ecology and evolutionary biology. The NCSU Plant Pathology graduate degree primarily provides specialization opportunities through individual student thesis and dissertation research projects. We expect that the demand for demonstrated specialization will increase in the coming decades as emphases on research areas, such as genomic sciences, food and energy security, and the global effects of climate change continue to increase. The breadth of expertise in research and academic programs among our relatively large number of faculty uniquely position the NCSU Plant Pathology Department to address these challenges. Given these global challenges, we offer graduate degree concentrations in 1) translational plant pathology; 2) evolutionary ecology and population biology; and 3) host-microbe interactions.

OBJECTIVES

A solid and comprehensive education in the fundamentals of plant pathology is provided through an established core of introductory courses that are required of all NCSU Plant Pathology graduate students. To provide educational focus and demonstrated proficiency within a plant pathology sub-discipline, our graduate students have the option to choose from a menu of existing advanced plant pathology courses within degree concentration in order to achieve a recognized academic specialization. Our “Advances in…” courses within each concentration serve as a capstone to present the latest advances within the sub-discipline to students.

Declaration of a Plant Pathology graduate degree concentration is optional. Students currently have the opportunity to enroll in the Master of Plant Pathology (non-thesis), Master of Science, or Doctor of Philosophy degree programs. The options for official concentration within these degree programs, not only provide greater flexibility to develop each student’s plan of work, but also recognize concentrations of specialization on the student’s official academic transcript to enhance competitiveness in their chosen career path.

A) Translational Plant Pathology: Students that complete this degree concentration will have competency in the development and application of fundamental plant pathology research and contemporary technology to address plant disease management in ways that are effective, economical, and environmentally sound.

B) Evolutionary Ecology & Population Biology: Students that complete this degree concentration will have expertise in the interaction of microbes with their biotic and abiotic environments, how these interactions influence microbial and host genetics from the individual to community level, and the dynamics of these processes in disease spread and development of predictive models.

C) Host-Microbe Interactions: Students that complete this degree concentration will have expertise in the molecular and physiological basis of disease and host resistance, genetic adaptations for parasitism, signaling and response between microbes and hosts, and the application of genomic science to investigate and manage disease agents.

DEGREE CONCENTRATION REQUIREMENTS

As indicated above, declaration of any degree concentration is optional for Plant Pathology graduate students. Students are encouraged to declare a degree concentration of their choice early in their graduate program, with the potential to declare more than one concentration by utilizing the cross-listed courses under each concentration.

Concentration 1) Translational Plant Pathology:
PP Core Curriculum (12 credits) + any options below or DGP-approved substitute:

  • PP 575 – Introduction to Mycology
  • PP 540 – Tropical Plant Pathology
  • PP 727 – Ecology of Soil Ecosystems
  • PP 728 – Soilborne Plant Pathogens
  • PP 790 (section) – Plant Disease Resistance: Mechanisms and Applications
  • PP 790 (section) – Epidemiology: Theory and Application
  • PP 590/790 (section) – Field Plant Pathology in NC
  • PP 790 (section) – Phytonematology

Concentration 2) Evolutionary Ecology & Population Biology:
PP Core Curriculum (12 credits) + any options below or DGP-approved substitute:

  • PP 575 – Introduction to Mycology
  • PP 715 – Applied Evolutionary Analysis of Population Genetic Data
  • PP 727 – Ecology of Soil Ecosystems
  • PP 610/810 (003) – Climate Change and Agriculture
  • PP 730 – Fungal Genetics and Physiology
  • PP 790 (section) – Plant Disease Resistance: Mechanisms and Applications
  • PP 790 (section) – Epidemiology: Theory and Application
  • PP 790 (section) – Molecular Genetics of Plant Response to Stress
  • PP 790 (section) – Phytonematology

Concentration 3) Host-Microbe Interactions:
PP Core Curriculum (12 credits) + any options below or DGP-approved substitute:

  • PP 575 – Introduction to Mycology
  • PP 610/810 (section) – Functional Genomics
  • PP 715 – Applied Evolutionary Analysis of Population Genetic Data
  • PP 730 – Fungal Genetics and Physiology
  • PP 790 (section) – Plant Disease Resistance: Mechanisms and Applications
  • PP 795 (section) – Bacterial Quorum Sensing & Its Consequences
  • PP 790 (section) – Molecular Genetics of Plant Response to Stress
  • PP 790 (section) – Phytonematology