MS in Plant, Insect and Microbial Sciences

Degree Requirements

To satisfy the course requirements for a master’s degree, a student must complete:

  • A minimum of 30 credit hours from courses numbered 7000 - 9000
  • 15 credit hours (towards the 30 credit hour requirement) must be from courses numbered at the 8000 or 9000 level
  • 12 credit hours (towards the 30 credit hour requirement) can be satisfied by research, readings and problems courses
  • For the Horticulture Program Area, at least 6 credits must be from formal courses, excluding Problems and other independent study courses and only 6 credit hours of research (PLNT_S 8090) can count towards the 30 credit hour requirement, even though additional hours of research can be taken.

The division-wide course requirements for the master’s degree are:

PLNT_S 8010Professionalism and Ethics2
Participation in the student seminar series
PLNT_S 9087Seminar in Plant Science1
PLNT_S 7087Seminar (Must enroll twice)2
PLNT_S 8090Thesis Research (1 - 10 credits per semester)1-10

Teaching Requirement

With the exception of the Entomology Program Area, all students must participate in an approved teaching opportunity or an approved extension program.

Satisfactory Rate of Progress

A student shall maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0. All divisional course requirements (and any additional requirements set by the student’s examination committee) shall be completed in a timely manner. All advisors will meet annually with each of their graduate advisees. They will discuss the student’s performance, any problems that exist and any suggestions for improvement. The advisor will provide the student and the director of graduate studies with a written summary of the meeting as part of the annual program assessment process.

Sample Plan of Study

There are several areas of study within the MS in Plant, Insect and Microbial Sciences degree.   A student can select training from a wide range of courses and research programs to prepare for a career in research, teaching, industry and extension work.  Note: Areas of Study will not appear on transcripts or diplomas.  Each program area emphasizes a customized approach towards the course of study.  Each student will work with their advisor and graduate committee to develop a course of study best suited to the student's educational and career goals.

Crop, Soil and Pest Management

Core Requirements:
PLNT_S 8010Professionalism and Ethics2
PLNT_S 9087Seminar in Plant Science1
PLNT_S 7087Seminar (must enroll twice)2
PLNT_S 8090Thesis Research1-10 per semester

Entomology

Core Requirements:
PLNT_S 7710Systematic Entomology5
PLNT_S 7820Principles of Insect Physiology4
PLNT_S 8010Professionalism and Ethics2
PLNT_S 9087Seminar in Plant Science1
PLNT_S 7087Seminar (must enroll twice)2
PLNT_S 8090Thesis Research1-10 per semester
PLNT_S 9810Insect Ecology3
One Elective formal Entomology course

Horticulture

Core Requirements:
PLNT_S 8010Professionalism and Ethics2
PLNT_S 9087Seminar in Plant Science1
PLNT_S 7087Seminar (must take twice)2
PLNT_S 8090Thesis Research1-9 per semester

Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics

Core Requirements:
PLNT_S 8010Professionalism and Ethics2
PLNT_S 9087Seminar in Plant Science1
PLNT_S 7087Seminar (must take twice)2
PLNT_S 8090Thesis Research1-10 per semester
Elective Courses
Bridging Courses to Expand Your Background in Plant Biology
PLNT_S 7315Crop Physiology3
PLNT_S 7320Molecular Plant Physiology3
PLNT_S 7500Biology and Pathogenesis of Plant-Associated Microbes4
Elective Courses to Fulfill the Requirement for 15 Credit Hours at the 8000 or 9000 Level
AN_SCI 8430Introduction to Bioinformatics Programming4
BIO_SC 8310Fungal Genetics and Biology3
PLNT_S 8330Molecular Breeding3
PLNT_S 8362Introduction to Plant Metabolism2
PLNT_S 8365Introduction to Molecular Cell Biology2
PLNT_S 8650Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics2
PLNT_S 9415Advanced Plant Physiology3
PLNT_S 9440Applied Quantitative and Statistical Genetics3
PLNT_S 9540Genetics of Plant-Microorganism Interaction3
PLNT_S 9810Insect Ecology3

Plant Stress Biology

Core Requirements:
Choose one course:
Crop Physiology
Molecular Plant Physiology
Choose one course:
Biology and Pathogenesis of Plant-Associated Microbes
Introduction to Plant Stress Biology
Additional Requirements
PLNT_S 8010Professionalism and Ethics2
PLNT_S 8530Research with Plant Stress Agents3
PLNT_S 9087Seminar in Plant Science1
PLNT_S 7087Seminar (must enroll twice)2
PLNT_S 8090Thesis Research1-10 per semester
Participation In One of Two Readings Courses Each Year
PLNT_S 7965Readings in Plant Stress Biology1-9
PLNT_S 7970Readings in Molecular Ecology of Herbivory1
Elective Courses to Fulfill the 30 Credit Hour Minimum
AN_SCI 8430Introduction to Bioinformatics Programming4
BIO_SC 8300Advanced Plant Genetics3
BIOCHM 8434Signaling in Molecular Cell Biology3
INFOINST 8005Applications of Bioinformatics Tools in Biological Research3
BIO_SC 8310Fungal Genetics and Biology3
PLNT_S 8330Molecular Breeding3
PLNT_S 8362Introduction to Plant Metabolism2
PLNT_S 8365Introduction to Molecular Cell Biology2
PLNT_S 9415Advanced Plant Physiology1-3
PLNT_S 9440Applied Quantitative and Statistical Genetics3
PLNT_S 9540Genetics of Plant-Microorganism Interaction3
PLNT_S 9810Insect Ecology3
Additional Entry Level Courses
PLNT_S 7550Plant Biotechnology4
PLNT_S 7400Plant Anatomy4
STAT 7070Statistical Methods for Research3

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Thesis Requirements

A thesis is required for the M.S. degree in Plant, Insect and Microbial Sciences. The thesis must demonstrate the student's capacity for research and independent thought. Organization of the thesis is subject to approval of the Master‘s Committee.

The Thesis Defense will consist of a research seminar and final examination, the latter to demonstrate the student‘s mastery of the academic focus of the chosen Graduate Program Area. It is the student's responsibility to check the Graduate Studies Office's graduation deadlines when scheduling the exam.  The candidate must be enrolled to defend the thesis. The examination cannot be administered when MU is not officially in session.

The seminar will be presented by the student for division faculty, staff, students, committee members, and other interested persons. It must summarize the thesis research conducted by the student during the Master‘s program. The seminar will be followed by the final, oral examination administered by the Master‘s Committee. Although the general protocol followed during the oral examination shall be at the discretion of the Major Advisor, a typical oral examination lasts about 2 hours and is divided between defense of the thesis and non-thesis subject matter. The research seminar should be scheduled the same day (preferably) or during the week preceding the remainder of the final examination.

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Admissions

Admission Contact Information
Ms. Christa Smith
52 Agriculture Lab; Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-3001

Applicants are required to meet two sets of minimum qualifications for admission: the requirements of the MS in Plant, Insect, and Microbial Sciences and the minimum requirements of the Office of Graduate Studies.  Because requirements vary, you must refer to a degree program's graduate admission page to learn about specific admission criteria, application deadlines, eligibility and application process.  Your application materials will be reviewed by both the Office of Graduate Studies and the degree program to which you've applied before official admission to the University of Missouri.

Financial Aid from the Program

Financial assistance is available to qualified students at both the MS and PhD levels, as either fellowships or research assistantships. Some programs require an extra form or statement from those who wish to be considered for internal assistantships, fellowships or other funding packages. Check the program website or ask the program contact for details.

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