Plant and Soil Sciences Graduate Program

MS student, Emily Kennebeck
MS student, Emily Kennebeck, is working on a NASA project to grow hydroponic lettuce and mustard greens under different CO2 levels and light qualities.

One graduate program. Two concentrations. Three degree options.


Plant Science
involves course work in plant molecular biology, plant breeding, plant pathology, plant tissue culture, horticulture, crop science, plant anatomy and/or plant physiology with thesis research in one of those areas.

Soil Science involves course work and thesis research in soil chemistry, soil fertility and management, soil physics, soil microbiology and biochemistry, environmental microbiology, soil and water quality and soil formation and biogeochemistry.

Degree options:

  • Ph.D. dissertation degree
  • M.S. thesis degree
  • M.S. non-thesis degree (full- or part-time)
Latest News
  • Students analyze different parts of the soil horizons in order to uncover the history of the land. Students could go even further and use this data to determine the best way to utilize the land based on its biogeochemical history.

    Student soil analysts

    June 17, 2024 | Written by Nya Wynn | Photos courtesy of Brielle Carter
    UD’s Soils Judging Team traveled to the National Soils Judging competition this past semester after taking first place at the regional competition in Pennsylvania. The team utilized this past year to practice identifying different soil types and other aspects of the soil that help them identify the geological history of the soil. The students used “practice pits” around campus and at neighboring farms with the help of their advisors and professionals in the soil science sphere, Phil King and Jenwei Tsai, to prepare for the competition.
  • Scientific mentorship

    June 14, 2024 | Written by Katie Peikes | Photos by Evan Krape and Kathy F. Atkinson and courtesy of University Archives
    UD plant and soil sciences alumni say mentorship was a hallmark of Don Sparks’ illustrious UD career.
  • Leveraging landscape architecture for conservation

    May 30, 2024 | Written by Molly Schafer
    University of Delaware alumna Juliahna Mistretta is leveraging her landscape architecture degree for conservation. This summer, Mistretta will complete a master’s degree in global biodiversity conservation at the University of Sussex in Brighton, United Kingdom. As part of an effort to record the park's biodiversity, Mistretta collected and identified bats and beetles in Africa’s Kasanka National Park. Mistretta will combine her master's degree with her BLA from UD to create sustainable spaces that foster biodiversity and give back to the community.

Application process update:  Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), the program of PLSC is waiving the GRE requirement for our graduate program.  If you wish to apply without a GRE score, please enter a future GRE exam date into the application.  It need not be a legitimate exam date.  Entering a future exam date causes the system to finish your application and send it on to our review committee where it will receive full consideration.