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Washington State University Factsheets

Doctor of Philosophy in Soil Science

Faculty working with Students: 41
Students: 10
Students receiving assistantships or scholarships: 100%
Priority deadline:
  • Fall January 10
  • Spring July 1
Campus:
  • Pullman: Yes
Tests required:
  • 550 TOEFL Minimum score
  • 80 TOEFLI Minimum score
  • GRE

Admission Requirements:

Priority application deadlines are January 10 for Fall term applications and July 1 for Spring term applications. Applications meeting these deadlines are most competitive, however applications may be submitted at anytime. In addition to the Graduate School admission requirements, a personal statement of the applicant’s educational goals and professional expectations, three letters of reference, and GRE scores are also required.

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 Learning Outcomes:

All graduates will be able to:

  1.  Knowledge of field: Understands the breadth and depth of knowledge associated with their discipline.
  2.  Scientific reasoning: Designs, conducts, analyzes, and interprets research effectively on important problems in their discipline.
  3.  Communication: Communicates effectively to a diverse group of people using appropriate traditional and emerging technological media.
  4.  Original contribution: Makes an original contribution to their discipline.

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.

Faculty Members:

Brueggeman, Robert, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Molecular genetics, genomics and functional analysis tools to explore the mechanisms underlying biotic and abiotic stress resistances in barley.

Burke, Ian, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Basic aspects of weed biology and ecology with the goal of integrating such information into practical and economical methods of managing weeds in the environment.

Campbell, Kimberly, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

My research focuses on wheat breeding and genetics, development of germplasm and cultivars that mitigate grower risk due to abiotic and biotic stress factors. My main of emphasis include introgression of resistance to stripe rust of wheat, introgression of resistance to soil borne diseases especially strawbreaker foot rot, fusarium crown rot, and plant parasitic nematodes.

Cannon, Ashley, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: co-chair or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Seed development and physiology. My research is focused on identifying the biochemical, molecular and physiological mechanisms that lead to low falling numbers in wheat.

Carpenter-Boggs, Lynne, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Biologically improving crop and soil health, and sustainable use of agricultural by-products.

Carter, Arron Hyrum, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

My program is focused on developing high-yielding, high-quality wheat cultivars with resistance/tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress, thereby mitigating grower risk and increasing sustainability of wheat production in Washington. My research focuses on genetic mapping of disease resistance, wheat end-use quality, and utilization of phenomics and high-throughput phenotyping to select for stress tolerance.

Collins, Douglas, Ph.D.

Location: Puyallup Research and Extension Centeer

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

My extension programs and research focus on soil quality and vegetable and fruit production for small farms.

Coyne, Clarice, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: co-chair or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Mapping and characterization of plant disease resistance genes in pea and chickpea; genomic approaches to plant germplasm characterization.

Devetter, Lisa Wasko, Ph.D.

Location: Mount Vernon Northwestern Research and Extension Center

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Physiology and sustainable production of berry crops in the Pacific Northwest. Program emphasis is on maximizing productivity and fruit quality, as well as ensuring the health of adjacent natural resources critical for berry crop production.

Dutoit, Lindsey J, Ph.D.

Location: Mount Vernon Northwestern Research and Extension Center

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Epidemiology and management of diseases affecting vegetable seed crops (primarily small-seeded vegetables) in the Pacific Northwest

Flury, Markus, Ph.D.

Location: Puyallup Research and Extension Centeer

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Water and solute transport in the vadose zone, colloid and colloid-faciltated transport in the vadose zone, sorption mechanisms of organic solutes and its effects on transport, lateral dispersion mechanisms, dye tracers for vadose zone hydrology, interpretation development of soil physical measurement techniques.

Fransen, Steven C, Ph.D.

Location: Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Forage crops and feedstocks for biofuels such as switchgrass.

Friesen, Maren, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Biological nitrogen-fixation, evolutionary ecology, population genomics, mathematical modeling.

Gill, Kulvinder, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Understanding the molecular basis of chromosome pairing control in polyploids, genome organization of grass species including localizing and demarcating gene-containing regions, molecular characterization of agronomically important genes including disease resistance genes, and extent and distribution of recombination in crop plants.

Goldberger, Jessica, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Sociology of agriculture and aricultural science, rural sociology and development, adoption and diffusion of agricultural innovations
Local and Global Agro-Food Systems
The Land-Grant System

Griffin, Deirdre, Ph.D.

Location: Mount Vernon Northwestern Research and Extension Center

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

My research focuses on the impacts of agricultural practices (e.g. cover cropping, tillage, amendments, rotations) on soil health and the soil organisms that facilitate many of the functions we look for in a healthy soil, including strong aggregate structure, efficient cycling of nutrients and carbon, and disease suppression.

Hauvermale, Amber, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: co-chair or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

My research focusses include molecular biology, protein biochemistry, seed physiology, and hormone signaling. The primary project in my lab has been to develop immunological detection tools for late maturity alpha-amylase (LMA) and preharvest sprouting (PHS), and to build molecular pipelines to characterize the physiological mechanisms that contribute to low falling numbers in wheat. Other research interests include using translational approaches from model plant systems, to better understand hormone signaling pathways and seed physiology in invasive weeds, and in orphan crops.

Huggins, David Rhys, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Asssessment of interactive effects of terrain attributes, soil properties, C and N cycling, crop diversity and tillage on agroecosystem performance.

Hulbert, Scot Howard, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Management of diseases and pests through genetics and modifications of cropping systems. Genetic and molecular basis of race specific and nonspecific resistance in cereal crops. Methods for the development of cultivars with resistance that remains effective. Molecular mechanisms used by fungal pathogens to attack cereal crops. Development of cropping systems that are profitable but conservation oriented.

Jacoby, Pete W, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Research careeer involved control and management of invasive plant species on rangelands using herbicides and/or fire. Research centered on herbicidal control of woody weeds on rangelands. International experience in Africa, Australia and Latin America.

Jones, Stephen Scott, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Director of the Bread Lab which works on breeding non- commodity wheat, barley and buckwheat for the coastal pacific northwest. Targets of the breeding program are flavor, nutritional density, yield and low input requirements of the crop.

Kiszonas, Alecia, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: co-chair or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Wheat quality.

Koenig, Richard T, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair or co-chair of graduate committee

Research Interests

Applied soil fertility. Major nutrients of focus include nitrogen, phosphorus and chloride in dryland cereal and grass seed cropping systems in eastern Washington.

LaHue, Gabriel, Ph.D.

Location: Mount Vernon Northwestern Research and Extension Center

Serves as: co-chair or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

My research program focuses on soil-water relations, soil fertility, and water-nutrient interactions.

Li, Xianran, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: co-chair or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Computational biology, phenotypic plasticity.

Lyon, Drew, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Weed management in dryland small grain production in eastern Washington.

McGee, Rebecca, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

My research focuses on breeding and genetics of pulse crops – primarily spring-sown peas and lentils and autumn-sown peas, lentils and chickpeas. The main emphasis of my breeding programs is developing high yielding, adapted varieties with resistance to biotic stresses (soil borne pathogens, aphid-vectored viral diseases, foliar fungal pathogens) as well as the abiotic stresses of heat, cold and drought stress. End use quality characteristics, including Biofortification for mineral nutrients, is also addressed.

Miklas, Phillip Nye, Ph.D.

Location: Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

My research area is in dry bean breeding and genetics with a regional, national, and international focus.

Murphy, Kevin, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

My program, the Sustainable Seed Systems Lab, is focused on the breeding and agronomy of barley, quinoa, millet, spelt, and perennial wheat. We work closely with farmers on regional to international scales to develop high yielding, nutritionally dense seed crop varieties for a diversity of cropping systems.

Neely, Clark, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Cereal variety testing and dryland cropping systems.

Neely, Haly, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Spatial soil and water management.

Neff, Michael, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Molecular, genetic and biochemical approaches to uncover and describe the interactions between various signaling pathways that modulate plant development.

Pumphrey, Michael, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

My program is focused on developing high-yielding, high-quality wheat cultivars with resistance/tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress, thereby mitigating grower risk and increasing sustainability of wheat production in Washington. My research focuses on genetic mapping of disease resistance, wheat end-use quality, and utilization of phenomics and high-throughput phenotyping to select for stress tolerance.

Reganold, John P, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture: Measuring the effects of alternative and conventional farming systems on agricultural sustainability indicators, such as soil health, crop yield and quality, financial performance, environmental quality, and social responsibility.

Sanguinet, Karen, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Research focus on factors that modulate growth and development. Study of root architecture of the Pooideae subfamily of temperate grasses using developmental, genetic and genomics approaches.

Steber, Camille M, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

My research examines the hormonal control of seed dormancy, germination, and plant responses to environmental stress. The goal of my wheat research program is to provide the breeding tools needed to reduce the risk of low Hagberg-Perten falling numbers, an indicator of starch degradation in wheat flour.

Sullivan, Tarah S, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

My research emphasizes linking the function and phylogeny of the soil microbiome, specifically with regard to interactions with plant roots and impacts on metal bioavailability and plant uptake. The soil microbiome is key in the biotransformations of many micronutrients and metals in the rhizosphere; these consortia and the mechanisms involved, drives my work.

Swanson, Mark, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Compositional, structural, and function attributes of early succession on forest sites in the Pacific Northwest; ecology of native large mammals; forest disturbance processes, including fire and volcanic eruption; ad hoc participation in agricultural and horticultural research with partners within WSU.

Vanvleet, Stephen M, Ph.D.

Location: Whitman County

Serves as: member only of graduate committee

Research Interests

Agronomy and extension.

Yu, Long-Xi, Ph.D.

Serves as: co-chair or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Applying genomic tools for enhancing resistance to biotic and abiotic stress in forage crops.

Zhang, Zhiwu, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

My major focus is to develop innovative, cutting-edge statistical methods and computing tools to advance genomic research toward the sustainable development of food production.

Contact Information:

Academic Coordinator
Johnson Hall Graduate Center
Pullman, WA 99164