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Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Science

The Doctoral of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Plant and Soil Science derives its principal impetus from the strong commitment to research of the Department's faculty and research staff. The Ph.D. program is designed to meet specific career objectives of the students.  This degree focuses on research, which must reflect the student's original thinking and should demonstrate the ability of independent investigation.

About This Program

In the Plant and Soil Science Ph.D. program, students may specialize in one of the following areas: Plant Breeding, Tissue Culture, Biotechnology, Plant Genetics and Cytogenetics, Molecular Genetics, Crop Production, Sustainable Agriculture, Seed Science and technology, Plant Physiology, Plant Pathology, Horticulture, Forestry, Entomology, Environmental Science, Remote Sensing, Soil Chemistry, Soil Fertility, Soil Microbiology or Soil (Genesis, Morphology and Conservation). In addition to selected courses in the department, students can take courses in related subjects such as such as Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Mathematics, Computer Science, Food Science and Agricultural Economics. In addition, a minor is offered in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems. Access to faculty, multiple lab spaces, and agricultural research fields and spaces provide the tools necessary for student a seeking this doctorate. These assets give every chance to excel and refine all the skills and knowledge our students have gained.

A student in the Ph.D. degree program will be knowledgeable about their chosen area of specialization in the Plant and Soil Science Graduate Program in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences. This knowledge will be acquired primarily through satisfactory completion of required coursework, attendance at Departmental seminars, and research. Additionally, our students will develop the ability to learn independently by determining, finding, and using necessary resources. Our students will also develop the ability to make decisions and judgments based on their knowledge. Furthermore, the student will be capable of addressing a research problem/project through a series of independent, sustained, logical experiments, the writing of scholarly research that reflects and is a direct result of research conducted by the graduate student during his or her matriculation, bring his or her work to a satisfactory conclusion in the form of a Ph.D. dissertation. Finally, it is expected that the dissertation will be of publishable quality and, as a minimum, will be communicated through at least two oral presentation or poster session at a scientific meeting.


Students seeking admission to the Plant and Soil Science M.S. program should submit the following to the Alabama A&M University School of Graduate Studies:

Alabama A&M University Requirements

  • Completed “official” Alabama A&M University Application for Admission to Graduate Studies and a non-refundable application fee.
  • Official transcripts from each collegiate institution attended sent directly to the School of Graduate Studies from the collegiate institution (Note: International students seeking admission must have their transcripts evaluated by World Education Services (WES) or a current member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation).
  • Two letters of recommendation that speak to the applicant’s potential for successful completion of the graduate program to which he/she is applying (usually, letters of recommendation are from the applicant’s former professors or employers/supervisors in a field closely related to the graduate program the applicant is seeking admission).
  • A current resume or vita
  • For international students seeking admission to the Plant and Soil Science M.S. Program, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Testing System (ELS) Certification Examination is required if an applicant is from a country where English is not the official language or if an applicant’s degree is from an institution where English is not the language of instruction
  • Minimum scores of 500, 61, and 5.5 are required for the TOEFL (paper-based test), TOEFL (internet-based test), and ELS Certification Examination, respectively.

Plant and Soil Science Ph.D. Program Requirements

  • Master of Science degree in biology, agronomy, horticulture, plant science, soil science, forestry, wildlife biology, ecology, natural resources, environmental sciences, forestry, or closely related areas.
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75 (3.00 in the student’s major area of concentration) in baccalaureate course work and 3.00 cumulative GPA in master’s courses (based on a 4.00-point system).
  • GRE Scores: Minimum 153 for verbal reasoning and 144 for quantitative reasoning
  • Three letters of recommendation indicating the student’s academic background and ability to pursue the Ph.D. program
  • Letter of application that includes a personal statement on career objectives and research interest.


Career Fields

  • Plant Genetics and Research
  • Research Scientist
  • Geneticist
  • Seed Scientist
  • Soil Scientist
  • Conservationist
  • Ecologist

Department Information

Visit the Biological & Environmental Sciences website

Contacts Information

Dr. Dedrick Davis,

Plant and Soil Science Graduate Program Coordinator

Phone: 256-372-418