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Plant Pathology (M.S.)

Course Description

Plant pathologists study plant pathogens and pests and how their interactions with plants and environments lead to disease susceptibility or resistance. Pathogens causing diseases in plants include bacteria, fungi, nematodes, viruses, and other microbes that that adversely affect plant physiology. The knowledge produced by plant pathologist about the etiology of plant diseases leads to a better understanding of how to manage plant disease problems. As such, plant pathology is an integral part of sustainable, environmentally friendly agricultural production systems.

Plant pathology is an important and flourishing field of research. Areas of graduate study in plant pathology range from investigations of the molecular aspects of host-microbe interactions to evaluating agronomic practices for their effectiveness in disease management.

[[Opportunities for Study]]
The Department of Crop Sciences Graduate offers programs that lead to M.S. degrees in plant pathology. Most graduate students in plant pathology are supported by assistantships or fellowships that are available from a variety of sources. In addition to applying for fellowships, prospective students are encouraged to contact faculty members within their areas of interest regarding graduate studies and the availability of funding. M.S. programs are highly flexible and can be structured to meet the objectives of individual students.

Some areas currently emphasized in plant pathology include:

-biology and management of diseases of bioenergy crops, corn, fruit crops, soybean, vegetable crops, and wheat
-breeding for disease resistance in corn, oats, soybean, and wheat
-molecular biology of bacterial, fungal, nematode, and viral plant pathogens
-molecular biology and physiology of host-pathogen interactions;
-biology, ecology, epidemiology, and management of pathogens
-plant disease diagnosis
-extension and outreach to growers and the agricultural industry

[[Career Opportunities]]
Employment of M.S. graduates has been excellent. Recent graduates have accepted positions in industry, universities, government agencies, and international organizations at competitive starting salaries.

[[Department of Crop Sciences]]
Creative experiences are boundless when you opt for advanced education in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. We offer advanced degree programs tailored to your specific interests that will prepare you for enriching and stimulating careers with a spectrum of public and private organizations in a global agricultural industry.

Our graduate degree recipients hold positions of leadership throughout the world. Our degree programs provide state-of-the-science education to match nearly every interest and career aspiration in crop sciences.

Department faculty is positioned at the leading edge of a growing knowledge base in crop sciences. We are committed to providing you with a nurturing environment for personal and professional growth.

International applicants whose native language is not English must score a minimum of 570 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants who are not U.S. citizens also must submit evidence that they have sufficient financial support for their entire program of study.

Prospective students are urged to apply by February 15 for the following summer or fall, or by November 1 for the following spring. However, applications are accepted at any time; they are considered and acted upon by the departmental graduate applications committee monthly.

[[Financial Aid]]
To apply for fellowships, assistantships, and tuition and fee waivers, prospective students should indicate their desire to be considered for financial aid on the admission application form. Credentials submitted with the form are used in determining financial aid.

Students already enrolled in the graduate program without financial aid from the University of Illinois may apply for financial assistance. Demonstration of exceptional ability in their studies and/or research activities is an important criterion in selecting students for available fellowships and assistantships.

Fellowships are awarded to graduate students in the Department of Crop Sciences in recognition of superior achievement and potential. Funding comes from a number of sources, each with specific criteria and opportunities.

The Department of Crop Sciences offers part-time positions to study with departmental faculty on research, teaching, or extension activities. Research assistantships are offered based on availability of funds and space in an appropriate faculty member's laboratory. Teaching assistantships require meeting University standards of English language skills, excellent teaching potential, and competence in the area being taught.

These assistantships include an annual stipend and can be awarded at different levels of time commitment. In addition to the stipend, assistantships of at least one-quarter time carry a waiver of all tuition and most fees. These waivers are worth several thousand dollars over and above the stipend. The department will be pleased to provide current values for assistantships and waivers.

Entry Requirements

Applicants are considered for admission if they have a baccalaureate or equivalent degree comparable to that granted by the University of Illinois, with a "B" average or higher over the last 60 hours of undergraduate work and any graduate work completed. Graduate record examination (GRE) scores also are required. Taking the biology section of the GRE is recommended, but not required. Strong letters of reference, evidence of motivation to undertake graduate study, high GRE scores, and good preparation in basic science courses enhance an applicant's credentials.

Course Fees

Please visit http://www.registrar.illinois.edu/tuition-fees for more details.

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Recipient: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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