Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University Factsheets

Master of Science in Plant Pathology

Faculty working with Students: 24
Students: 12
Students receiving assistantships or scholarships: 100%
Priority deadline:
  • Fall January 10
  • Spring July 1
Campus:
  • Pullman: Yes
Tests required:
  • TOEFL Minimum score 8.5 Essentials | 80 iBT | 550 paper
  • or IELTS Minimum score 7
  • or Duolingo Minimum score 105

Degree Description:

Plant Pathology is the study of plant diseases caused by pathogens and environmental factors; it involves study in mycology, bacteriology, nematology, virology, disease physiology and biochemistry, molecular biology of host-parasite relationships, etiology, ecology and epidemiology of plant diseases, disease resistance, and integrated disease management using cultural, chemical, biological and and biotechnological approaches. Because of its broad mission, the Department of Plant Pathology has strong interrelationships with all other plant- and biology-oriented departments and commodity groups within the state and nationally and internationally. The mission of the department reflects the strategic goals of Washington State University by advancing knowledge of plant pathology through creative research and scholarship, by extending that knowledge worldwide through the training of graduate students, and by applying the knowledge to protect the quality and quantity of the local and global food supply.

Admission Requirements:

Submit all of the materials listed below to the WSU Graduate School:
Three letters of recommendation;
Statement of Purpose explaining why you wish to earn a M.S. degree in Plant Pathology;
Official transcripts for all colleges and universities attended.

Student Learning Outcomes:

All graduates will be able to:

 

  1. To enable students earning the M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology to understand and apply the scientific method to plant pathological problems, to develop critical thinking and  professional skills needed for successful careers in public and private sectors, the program provides training and coursework to help students develop the following skills:
    • Understanding, interpretation and synthesis of scientific literature pertaining to plant pathology and related disciplines.
    • Formulating hypotheses; developing experimental designs to test these hypotheses; establishing and maintaining experiments.
    • Collecting data in an objective way and conducting appropriate statistical analyses.
    • Interpretation and presentation of research results in oral and written formats.
    • Presentation of research at professional meetings and local commodity meetings.
    • Publication of research in peer-reviewed scientific journals and other discipline-appropriate outlets such as commodity newsletters.
  2. To maintain a leadership role in plant pathology and related disciplines at the state, national and international levels, the program aims to:
    • Attract, retain and train high quality graduate students.
    • Place students earning the M.S. into positions including extension agents, state and federal plant pathologists, instructors at the community college level, support  scientists in public or private sector research programs, and Ph.D. programs.
    • Place students earning the Ph.D. as leaders of scientific research programs in the public or private sector including industry, and faculty positions at the University  level.

Student Opportunities:

Students will gain analytical and practical skills in carrying out field-, laboratory- and greenhouse-based research that prepare them to be competitive for employment in academic, government and industry laboratories. Students will be provided other professional development opportunities such as resume writing, interview skills, written and oral communication skills, public speaking and attendance at professional conferences.

Faculty Members:

Amiri, Achour, Ph.D.

Location: Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center

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

Research Interests

Investigate diseases of major tree fruit grown in Washington State and Pacific North West with a focus on applied epidemiology of major pathogens in orchards and its linkage to post-harvest disease problems. Develop rational IPM approaches for tree fruit diseases management. Use of standard and molecular tools for accurate risk assessment related to fungicide resistance development and management.

Chastagner, Gary A, Ph.D.

Location: Puyallup Research and Extension Centeer

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

Research Interests

Sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum), management of diseases of ornamental bulb crops and Christmas trees, and factors that affect the postharvest quality of Christmas trees.

Chen, Weidong, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

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

Research Interests

Fungal diseases of grain legumes, ecology and epidemiology of grain legume diseases, genetics of host-pathogen interactions

Chen, Xianming, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

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

Research Interests

Rusts of cereal crops, epidemiology and control of rusts, disease resistance, and host-pathogen interactions

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

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.

Gleason, Cynthia, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

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

Research Interests

Plant parasitic nematodes, root-know nematodes, interactions with host plants.

Grove, Gary, Ph.D.

Location: Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center

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

Research Interests

Epidemiology and forecasting of fungal diseases of cherries, peaches/nectarines, and grapes: epidemiology of powdery mildews, and electronic information transfer

Hagerty, Christina, Ph.D.

Location: Adams, Oregon

Serves as: member only of graduate committee

Research Interests

My goal is to conduct relevant, practical, and applied research on the biology and control of plant-pathogenic fungi, viruses, and nematodes that limit yields of dryland wheat production in the Inland Pacific Northwest.

Harper, Scott, Ph.D.

Location: WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, Prosser

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

Research Interests

My research program focuses on viruses and other systemic pathogens of perennial crops in the Pacific Northwest, particularly those infecting fruit trees (Malus and Prunus spp.), grapevine (Vitis sp.), and Hops (Humulus lupus). Aspects of my research include:

-The interaction of viruses with one another, and how this affects basic biological processes such as virus movement, transmission, and the expression of disease; I have a particular interest to see whether we can use virus-virus interactions to control diseases in perennials.
-The viral infection process, tissue tropism and how this relates to disease – and to our ability to detect and eradicate viruses.
-The detection and identification of novel viruses, as well as the development of new assays and tools for virus diagnosis.

Klopfenstein, Ned, Ph.D.

Location: Moscow, Idaho

Serves as: co-chair or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

forest pathology, molecular diagnostics of forest microbes, population genetics of forest hosts and pathogens, phylogenetics of forest pathogens, environmental influences on genetic structure of forest hosts and pathogens, woody plant defense systems, host/parasite interactions, expression of plant defense genes, and plant symbioses.

Mattupalli, Chakradhar, Ph.D.

Location: Mount Vernon Northwestern Research and Extension Center

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

Research Interests

Berry and potato pathology and disease management.

Moyer, Michelle M, Ph.D.

Location: WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, Prosser

Serves as: co-chair or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Viticulture Production (wine and juice grapes), Extension and Outreach Education in Viticulture, Decision Support Systems for Viticulture

Murray, Timothy Daniel, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

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

Research Interests

Small grain diseases (foot and root rots of wheat), ecology and epidemiology of soilborne pathogens, genetics of disease resistance, and chemical control

Pappu, Hanu, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

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

Research Interests

Virus genomics and proteomics, plant-virus interactions, molecular epidemiology, crop biotechnology/virus resistant transgenic plants

Paulitz, Tim, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

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

Research Interests

Soilborne pathogens of cereals, mycology

Peever, Tobin, Ph.D.

Serves as: co-chair or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Molecular, population and evolutionary genetics of plant pathogenic fungi, fungal mating systems, molecular systematics of fungi, fungal ecology and epidemiology, legume diseases

Rayapati, Naidu A, Ph.D.

Location: WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, Prosser

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

Research Interests

Plant virology, molecular biology of plant viruses, genomics of virus-vector-host interactions, virus diagnostics and management strategies, virus diseases of horticultural crops with emphasis on grapes and vegetables, virus diseases in international agriculture.

See, Deven Robert, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

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

Research Interests

Wheat genetics, genomics, pre-breeding discovery of agronomically important traits including stripe rust (Puccinia striformis f. sp. tritici) resistance in wheat.

Tanaka, Kiwamu, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

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

Research Interests

Molecular plant-microbe interactions and plant innate immunity

Thomashow, Linda S, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

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

Research Interests

Molecular genetics of bacterial-plant and bacterial-fungal interactions.

Vandemark, George J, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

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

Research Interests

Legume germplasm and basic and applied investigations of problems associated with legume improvement.

Weller, David M, Ph.D.

Location: Pullman

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

Research Interests

Biological control, influence of bacteria on take-all of wheat, cereal diseases, bacteriology

Zhao, Youfu, Ph.D.

Location: Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center

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

Research Interests

Bacterial diseases of tree fruits.

Contact Information:

Academic Coordinator
CAHNRS Academic Programs, Graduate Center
Pullman, WA 99164