Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular Plant Sciences

Program Link:
Total Graduate Faculty in Program:
Graduate Students in Program:
Students Receiving Assistantships:
Priority Deadlines:

  • Fall January 10


  • Pullman

International Student English Proficiency Exams

International students may need to surpass the Graduate School’s minimum English language proficiency exam scores for this program. If the graduate program has unique score requirements, they will be detailed below. Otherwise, please refer to the Graduate School’s minimum score guidelines.

  • 550 TOEFL Minimum score
  • 80 TOEFLI Minimum score

Degree Description:

Graduate study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree is offered as an interdepartmental curriculum by graduate faculty from the Departments of Crop and Soil Science, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Molecular Biosciences, Plant Pathology, Biological Sciences, and the Institute of Biological Chemistry. The objectives of the program are to provide the graduate student with a broad knowledge in molecular plant sciences and with research experience in a chosen area within this discipline. Specialization includes cellular and subcellular physiology, the molecular biology and biochemistry of plant-related processes, photosynthesis and photorespiration, nitrogen fixation, phytochemistry, the physiology of vascular plants, metabolism, plant pathogen interactions, hormonal interactions and regulation of growth, crop production physiology, and physiological ecology as well as related areas in agriculture and biology.

Students entering the program must have completed their baccalaureate degree with training in one year each of elementary biology or botany, and physics, chemistry through one semester of organic chemistry and biochemistry, one semester each of molecular plant sciences and genetics, and mathematics (through calculus). Limited undergraduate deficiencies may be remedied by taking the appropriate courses upon enrollment in the graduate program on a provisional basis.

Degree requirements include courses in molecular biology, advanced molecular plant sciences, plant morphology and anatomy, and metabolism. To meet the minimum requirements of core course credit in the Graduate School, elective courses are chosen as approved by the student’s advisor and the supervising committee of graduate faculty. There is no foreign language requirement. Course requirements are drawn from existing courses offered by MPS and cooperating departments and programs. In addition, a seminar is held weekly during each semester.

Policies and procedures of the Graduate School apply to all admissions. Interested students may direct their inquiries to Molecular Plant Sciences or to any participating faculty member. Should the latter route be followed, preference for the Program in Molecular Plant Sciences must be indicated and, if possible, the research area of interest identified.

The program offers flexibility for students with varied backgrounds in chemistry, biochemistry, molecular plant sciences, molecular biology, botany, genetics, biology, and the agricultural sciences to pursue advanced training in molecular plant sciences, with independent study and original research in areas of the student’s own interests as the single most important component. The interdisciplinary nature of the program assures the student of interaction with molecular plant scientists representing a wide range of research interests and provides the student with a broad choice of specialized facilities which are available in the cooperating academic units.

Students are typically supported by the program during the first academic year. Financial support during subsequent years will be managed by the administering academic unit. Participating faculty may provide support through individual grants and contracts. Every effort will be made to inform applicants of these opportunities.

Student Opportunities:

NIH Biotechnology Training Program, Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS)

Career Opportunities:

Post-doctoral researcher, research institute scientist, industry scientist, assistant professor (academic track)

Contact Information: