Michael Goerndt, Program Director
Karls Hall, Room 221; Phone 417-836-8824
This program is designed to prepare students to work in a wide range of jobs related
to the production and economic uses of plants. Employment opportunities include the
areas of crop, fruit and vegetable production, biotechnology, nursery and seed production,
landscape management, wine production, environmental preservation, agribusiness, teaching,
research, and extension education. Students may also continue their education in a
The Master of Science in Plant Science is offered as an interdepartmental major from
the departments of Environmental Plant Science, Biology or Chemistry. Together with
the plant science program coordinator, the student selects an advisor from one of
the four departments. The student and advisor design an individual program of study,
selecting courses which will help the student to achieve his/her career goals.
During the first semester, the student declares an area of specialization and begins
to pursue a research problem (project) with close supervision of a graduate faculty
advisory committee. Research areas include fruit production, soils and plant nutrition,
ornamental plants and landscaping, plant physiology, enology and viticulture, crop
management systems, plant genetics, and economic botany.
Most course work is usually completed by the end of the second or third semester,
and the research and thesis completed after four or five semesters. A comprehensive
exam is taken during the second year.
Evaluation of applications for assistantships begins on March 1 (fall assistantships)
and October 1 (spring assistantships), and will continue until positions are filled.
Applicants must first be accepted into the program, and files must be complete to
To remain in the program, students must maintain a GPA of 3.00 and make satisfactory
progress on the thesis research.
Students admitted to the plant science program in full standing must meet the following
- The student must meet all Graduate College Admission requirements. Students who do
not meet the grade point standards outlined, but are admitted on the basis of their
GRE scores, will be required to complete a minimum of 9 hours of specified graduate
courses with a GPA of at least 3.00 before being approved for an Advisory-approved
Program of Study in the program.
- The student must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores from the General
- International applicants are also required to submit a score for the Test of English
as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of not less than 79 on the internet-based test.
- The student must possess an undergraduate degree with a background in an appropriate
natural or applied science including one semester of genetics and one semester of
organic chemistry or equivalents thereof. Applicants lacking the background courses
may be admitted, but will be required to complete any of these deficiencies with appropriate
- The student must receive a positive evaluation from the Graduate Coordinator of the
Plant Science program before being recommended to the Graduate College for admittance
into the program.
Accelerated Master's Degree option
Missouri State University majors in Agriculture, Biology, and Chemistry have the option
to apply for preliminary acceptance into the MS in Plant Science program if they meet
the requirements of the accelerated master’s option. This option is tailored to those
undergraduates who have acquired considerable plant science-related research experience
in a laboratory through the departments of Environmental Plant Science, Biology or
Chemistry at Missouri State University. Students who are accepted to the accelerated
program will be able to count a maximum of 12 credit hours of 600-or higher level
course towards both their undergraduate and graduate degrees. The courses must be
in the area of economic botany, plant physiology, plant genetics, crop management
systems, plant nutrition, soils, chemistry, ecology, fruit production, viticulture,
enology, or ornamental plants and landscaping. Courses to be counted toward both degrees
must be identified jointly in agreement with the undergraduate advisor, the student’s
research mentor, and the Plant Science Program Director. This option will enable
Agriculture, Biology or Chemistry majors to potentially meet the requirements for
the MS in Plant Science degree within two semesters following the completion of the
undergraduate degree. Contact the Plant Science Program Director for details and additional
To be allowed to enroll in a course which is counted toward both the undergraduate
and graduate degree, the student must be accepted as an advisee by a graduate faculty
member and must be admitted into the accelerated program and have the permission of
his/her undergraduate advisor, the Plant Science Program Director and the Dean of
the Graduate College. These signature approvals are shown on the Mixed Credit Form
which is required prior to the end of the Change of Schedule Period for the selected
Admission Requirements for the Accelerated Master’s option
- Junior or senior standing and a GPA of 3.25 or higher.
- A minimum of 25 credit hours of undergraduate hours relevant to plant biology (as
determined by the undergraduate advisor, the student’s research mentor, and the Plant
Science Program Director) with a GPA of 3.50 or higher.
- Laboratory research experience relevant to plant science under the direction of a
faculty member in Agriculture, Biology or Chemistry at Missouri State University.
- Acceptance of the student as an advisee by a member of the MS in Plant Science Graduate
- Approval by the MS in Plant Science Graduate Advisory Committee.