Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science

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

  • Fall January 10
  • Spring July 1


  • 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.

Additional Degree Program Admission Requirements

  • GRE Optional

Degree Description:

We offer MS and PhD degrees in Crop Science and Soil Science, with the ability to focus research in a variety of specialized areas within each discipline. Current research foci in Crop Science include plant breeding, genomics, molecular genetics, grass management, and weed science.  We work with wheat, forages, barley, alternative grains (quinoa, spelt, oats), grain legumes, brassicas and turf. The Soil Science program features research in biogeochemistry, microbiology, nutrient management, the rhizosphere and vadose zone hydrology. Crop and Soil Science faculty also lead collaborative research on organic, sustainable and precision agriculture and cropping systems. Program options in human dimensional areas include agricultural education and rural sociology.

Currently home to 33 faculty members, and over 50 graduate students, the department can ensure great one on one faculty-student contact. Our graduate student population is ~60% Crop Science and 30% Soil Science students, 40% of whom are international students.

We have many research projects in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS), in addition to research being conducted in association with other universities. Research infrastructure includes state-of-the-art laboratories and greenhouse facilities, and research farms located in Pullman, as well as throughout the state at four Research and Extension Centers. Graduate students gain valuable skills and knowledge working side by side with faculty members and research staff and play an integral role in the advancing research on local to globally-relevant problems and opportunities. Students also have the opportunity to gain leadership, communication, and instructional experience by serving as teaching assistants and participating in leadership and professional development opportunities offered by the department, college and university.

Admission Requirements:

Undergraduates who anticipate graduate study in Soil Science at Washington State University are advised to obtain a background in natural sciences including botany, geology, genetics, chemistry, mathematics, physics, statistics, and plant and soil sciences.

Acceptance of qualified applicants is generally dependent upon availability of research support and a suitable advisor. Students who are applying for a PhD in soils must either have an MS thesis degree or have a BS in soil science or closely related field and have adequate undergraduate research experience. The final decision to admit a student with only a BS degree into the PhD program rests with the soil science faculty.

Student Opportunities:

Students have the opportunity to gain leadership, communication, and instructional experience through the option of serving as teaching assistants for one or more courses within their discipline. Extension program delivery, and Graduate School teacher training and grant proposal writing workshop opportunities are also available.

Career Opportunities:

Soil scientists with advanced degrees may find employment in government agencies, national labs, academia, private business, environmental and agricultural consulting, and organic, international, and sustainable agriculture.

Career Placements:

University faculty positions, National Lab scientists, USDA scientists, Agribusiness owners, Extension agents, Natural Resource Conservation Service scientists, Soil fertility analysts/consultants, University administrators.

Contact Information: