Courses in the Graduate Program

Plant Biology 765

Few courses are required; a student's curriculum is tailored to his or her interests within general program requirements. For the master's degree without thesis, 31 course credits and 1 credit for a paper are required. For the master's degree with thesis, 26 course credits, 6 research credits, and a research thesis are required. For the doctoral degree, a minimum of 32 course credits plus a minimum of 34 research credits, for a total of 72 credits, a research dissertation, and one academic year in residence are required. There is no language requirement.

In addition to the graduate courses described in A Guide to the Graduate Program in Plant Biology, courses listed under Biochemistry 115, Ecology and Evolution 215, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics 680, Statistics 960, or other appropriate programs may also be taken. Many advanced undergraduate courses (400 level) may be used for graduate credit.



School:Program:Course Number. (Semester; F = Fall, S = Spring, Su = Summer) Course Title (Credit Hours; 2 = Lec. 1 hr. 20 min., 3 = Lec. 2 hrs. 40 min., BA = by arrangement; unless otherwise noted).

16:215:507. (F - odd) ADVANCED PLANT SYSTEMATICS (4) *core course

Prerequisites: Introductory botany course, or permission from instructor.

A broad, evolutionary overivew of major groups of vascular plants, from club mosses and ferns to conifers and flowering plants. Principles of classification and field identification, morphology, and basic concepts in evolutionary studies in botany. Independent project. (Note course listed under Ecology & Evolution.) [View Synopsis]

16:765:501. (F) INTRODUCTION TO PLANT BIOLOGY (3) * core course

Survey of research topics in plant biology. Faculty members with active research programs provide &quotstate of the art" lectures, and how their own research fits into that general area.

16:765:502. (S - odd) ADVANCED PLANT PHYSIOLOGY (3) * core course

Prerequisites: Undergraduate plant physiology or equivalent; organic chemistry.

Survey of modern aspects of plant physiology with emphasis on recent literature. Topics covered include carbon metabolism, water relations, plant nutrition, development, and stress physiology. [View Synopsis]

16:765:503. (S - even) METHODS IN PLANT SYSTEMATICS (4)

Hands-on course in plant systematics methods and techniques used in plant systematics , phylogenetics, and biogeography. Lab, software demos, and lectures will be intermingled with independent projects and discussions.

16:765:510. (F - even) ADVANCED PLANT GENETICS (3)

Prerequisite: Undergraduate course in genetics.

The course will address important topics in plant genetics from both a classical and a molecular perspective. The following topics will be covered: breeding systems, nuclear and organelle genomes, chromosome variation, linkage analysis and chromosome maps, recombination, mutation, transposons, epigenetics, and genetic approaches to genomic analysis. [View Synopsis]

16:765:513. (S - even) PLANT MOLECULAR BIOLOGY (3) * core course

Prerequisites: Undergraduate genetics or equivalent.

Fundamental and applied aspects of plant molecular biology, including isolation, structure, and regulation of nuclear and organellar genes, molecular biology of plant-microbe interactions, molecular biology of plant development and plant biotechnology.


Prerequisites: Undergraduate courses in plant physiology, molecular biology or cell biology; 16:680:580 ; organic chemistry.

This course examines how genetic and cellular activities contribute to plant development. Topics include: regulation of cell division and differentiation, hormones and signaling mechanisms, stress physiology and cell architecture.


Prerequisites: Plant physiology or equivalent.

Physiological significance of principal metabolic systems, including photosynthesis, photorespiration, sulfate and nitrate reduction, hexose metabolism; synthesis of lipids and lipid pigments, photochemical and hormonal controls, chloroplast development and biochemistry of secondary plant products.


Statistical methods such as experimental design, regression, ANOVA, covariance, field plot techniques, sampling, factorial experiments, treatment comparisons, and estimates of effects. [View Synopsis]

16:765:528. (S - even) ADVANCED PLANT BREEDING (3)

Prerequisite: A course in general genetics.

Breeding, self-pollinated, cross-pollinated, and apomictic plants; role of mutation, polyploidy, and interspecific hybridization in plant improvement; inheritance of adaptive plant characters; developing and maintaining improved varieties. [View Synopsis]

16:765:531. (F - even) PRINCIPLES OF PLANT PATHOLOGY (3) * core course

Lec. 3 hrs., lab. 3 hrs. Prerequisite: Biology or microbiology

Fundamental concepts elucidating the nature, cause, diagnosis, dissemination, and control of plant diseases. Includes an overview of all plant disease agents.

16:765:533. (S - even) ADVANCED MYCOLOGY (3)

Lec. 2 hrs., lab. 3 hrs. Prerequisites: General mycology or equivalent.

A detailed study of the filamentous and fleshy fungi, with emphasis on identification, mycological literature, reproduction, and other special topics.

16:765:535. (F) PLANT VIROLOGY (3)

Lec. 2 hrs., lab. 3 hrs. Prerequisite: 16:765:531 or equivalent.

Current concepts concerning the history, transmission, detection, identification, biochemistry, classification, ecology, epidemiology, and control of plant viruses. Special topics or techniques covered.

16:765:536. (Su - even) PLANT DISEASE CLINIC (3)

Lec/lab. 6 hrs. Prerequisite: General plant pathology or equivalent. Offered only during the summer session.

A workshop in diagnosing both pathogenic and nonpathogenic plant disorders, isolation and identification of causal organisms, and current disease control measures. [View Synopsis] [View Sample Syllabus]

16:765:537. (F - odd) PLANT PATHOGENIC BACTERIA (3)

Lec. 2 hrs., lab. 3 hrs. Prerequisites: General plant pathology.

Basic concepts of phytobacteriology, including diagnosis and identification of plant bacterial diseases, ecology and control of bacteria, pathogenicity, disease physiology, and molecular biology of pathogenicity factors.

16:765:538. (S - odd) PLANT PATHOGENESIS (3)

Prerequisite: 16:765:531 or equivalent.

Mechanisms of pathogenesis, responses of plants to pathogens in terms of structure, function and metabolism, disease resistance, mechanisms, and genetics of pathogenesis.

16:765:585. (S) BIOINFORMATICS (3)

Basic UNIX, Perl and R scripting course designed to enable biologists to handle large DNA and protein datasets. [View Synopsis]


Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

A laboratory and conference course for special problems. (All new courses are put under problems until they are approved by the Grad School and receive their own course number)


The application of basic concepts of plant growth and development to the understanding of production problems and their in-depth study for selected significant topics. (Laboratory rotations)


Required of all graduate students. Advanced topics investigated and presented by students. [View Synopsis]

16:765:621. (S - odd) CORE SEMINARS IN PLANT BIOLOGY I (2) **required

Prerequisites: completion of, or concurrent registration in 16:765:531 and 16:765:502.

The course is designed to teach students to read and analyze current papers in the primary literature on Plant Physiology and Plant Pathology.

16:765:622. (S - even) Core Seminars in Plant Biology II (2) **required

Prerequisites: completion of, or concurrent registration in 16:765:507 and 16:765:513.

The course is designed to teach students to read and analyze current papers in the primary literature on Plant Systematics and Plant Molecular Biology.

16:765:699. NONTHESIS STUDY (1)

For students writing their essays for a master's degree without thesis.


For students working on an experimental research problem for their dissertation.