Jun 20, 2024  
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2020-21 
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2020-21 [Archived Catalog]

Plant Biology - MS

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Master of Science in Plant Biology

Plant Biology – MS2111

Department of Environmental and Plant Biology
Porter Hall 315
Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701

Delivery Mode: Athens Campus

Terms of Entry: Fall, Spring, Summer

Program Overview

The Environmental and Plant Biology M.S. graduate program is a full-time program that provides educational and research experience in plant biology from the molecular to the organismal and ecosystem levels. Normative time to completion is two academic years. Most students are trained within three general areas of study: ecology, systematics and evolution, and fuctional genomics. The program strives to foster communication across and beyond these areas of study to provide unique opportunities to meet each student’s specific career goals. A full-time student on the standard Plant Biology track should expect to graduate in about 2 years.

The M.S. program is designed to:

  • Train and prepare students to be successful in a Ph.D. program or positions in industry, government, or non-governmental organizations
  • Each student will be directed in the conduct of independent research in the pursuit of knowledge.
  • Train students to conduct independent research in the pursuit of knowledge.
  • Mentor students in grantsmanship and have many opportunities to support their own research with internal and external funding.
  • Provide hands-on teaching experience to students because the program provides a teaching assistantship. As teaching assistants, students have the opportunity to assist in a variety of courses and interact with faculty.
  • Expose all students to the national and international plant biology community through colloquia, seminars, and scientific meetings that will aid them in achieving their post-M.S. career goals.

PBIO-MCB track offers additional courses: MCB 7200 (Molecular Biology), MCB 7410 (Seminar in Molecular and Cellular Biology), MCB 7600 (Advanced Cell Biology), CHEM 5901 (Biochemistry I), CHEM 5902 (Biochemistry II), and computer science courses (bioinformatics, etc.) A full-time student on the PBIO-MCB track should expect the degree to take about 2.5 years.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate the professional standards and responsible conduct expected of scientists.
  • Synthesize literature in their area(s) of study.
  • Design a research study/scientific experiment. 
  • Analyze and interpret data.
  • Communicate scientific ideas in both written and oral forms to diverse audiences.
  • Demonstrate the breadth of knowledge in plant biology essential for the pursuit of different career paths.
  • Demonstrate the skills essential to building and maintaining the scientific community.

Further Resources

Link to Program: https://www.ohio.edu/cas/plant-biology/graduate/plant-biology-ms

Link to Program Handbook: https://www.ohio.edu/cas/plant-biology/about/forms-policies 

Admission Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.00.

TOEFL score of 95 is recommended.

The following documents must be submitted with the application:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Personal statement (see below)
  • Three letters of recommendation.

A faculty member willing to advise the student is required for admission.

Personal Statement

The personal statement submitted as a part of the application must respond to each of the six questions below. The entire statement should be 2 pages or less, single-spaced, using 12-point font. 

  1. Please describe your career goals and how graduate school at Ohio University would help you achieve those goals. (i.e., why do you want to earn an M.S. or Ph.D.?).
  2. Please describe any coursework or other training received during your B.S. or M.S. degree that is relevant to your application.
  3. Please describe your quantitative skills and relevant experiences (e.g., experimental design, data collection and entry, bioinformatics, and/or statistical analyses) from your prior degree(s).
  4. Please describe any relevant research or work experiences. This can include independent research, experiences as part of a course, internships, volunteering, paid jobs, presenting in a class or in a conference, communicating science, etc.
  5. Please identify your potential advisor(s) and briefly describe the project(s), research question(s), and/or general area of research that you are interested in pursuing while at Ohio University.
  6. In our department, most graduate students earn a stipend by being a teaching assistant (TA). If you are seeking TA support, then broadly describe the type of course you could imagine teaching, and what approach (maybe observed from your favorite teacher) you would take to engage undergraduate students. If you have teaching experience, please also broadly describe the courses you served as TA or lecturer.

International Students

This program permits full-time enrollment in residence at Ohio University, and an I-20 may be issued based on admission to this program.

Graduation Requirements

Complete a minimum of 32 credit hours as follows:

Plant Biology Track

Plant Molecular and Cell Biology Track

Graded Coursework Requirements

Complete a minimum of 20 hours of graded courses at the 5000-level or higher, excluding seminar, supervised study, colloquium, and research hours.

Courses will be selected by the student in consultation with the advisor and approved by the Master’s Advisory Committee.

At least 10 hours of graded coursework must be in PBIO.

Complete coursework in specific categories below.

Complete PBIO 5170:


Complete at least one of the two following courses:

MCB Seminar Requirement

Students in the MCB Track must successfully complete the MCB Seminar for two semesters during each year of study.

Research Hours

Complete a minimum of 10 hours of research (PBIO 6940).

Seminar Requirement

All students must complete two semesters of PBIO Seminar and must be enrolled in Seminar in the semester of the thesis defense. The first seminar requirement may be satisfied by a presentation at Ecolunch in BIOS or at the MCB Seminar.

Culminating Experience

Students must complete a research thesis with the intent of publication in a peer-reviewed journal and successfully defend the thesis orally at a formal, public presentation.

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