Sep 27, 2023  
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin 
2021-2022 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Integrated Plant and Soil Sciences, MS

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The interdepartmental graduate program in Integrated Plant and Soil Sciences offers graduate work leading to the Master of Science (MS) degree with specialization in Crop Science (including weed science and forages),  Environmental Science and Ecosystem Ecology (including ecotoxicology, biogeochemistry, environmental chemistry, and ecosystem modeling), Horticultural Science, Plant Biology (including biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, and seed biology), and Soil Science (biogeochemistry, chemistry, fertility, microbiology, pedology, physics, and rhizosphere science). 

With their degree, students will acquire an extensive knowledge of the sciences and technology that support research, education, and technological innovation in plant, soil, and environmental sciences. They will be conversant with the literature, current concepts, and experimental and analytical methods that support research, teaching, and technological innovation in plant, soil, and environmental sciences, and in their application to agriculture and the environment. They will develop skills in critical and analytical thinking and in multiple forms of communication that may be applied to research, education, industry, government, and public service. They will have acquired those elements of professionalism necessary for rewarding and developing careers in plant,  soil, and environmental sciences in research, education, production agriculture, agribusiness, government, and public service. 

Graduate faculty belong to the Departments of Forestry and Natural Resources (, Horticulture  (, and Plant and Soil Sciences ( in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment 

Financial aid and the research interests of participating faculty can be found on the websites of the participating departments. 


Admission Requirements  

  • All students with strong training in science, including but not limited to baccalaureate degrees in agronomy, biology, chemistry, and horticulture are encouraged to apply. 

  • Admission to the IPSS Program is competitive and based on the applicant’s undergraduate and graduate records, performance on standardized exams if submitted, and letters of recommendation.  

  • Applicants must have an identified research advisor prior to admission to the program. 

  • It is expected that applicants will meet the minimum standards established by the University of Kentucky Graduate School.  

  • Applicants will automatically be considered for departmental research assistantships, which are awarded on a competitive basis. 

Degree Requirements 

The MS in IPSS is available in two options 

  • Plan A: 30 credits, which can include up to 6 credits of thesis research, plus a Master’s thesis.  

  • Plan B: 30 credits, plus a Master’s project 

  • In both plans a minimum of 15 credit hours must be at the 600-level or above, and 20 hours must be in organized courses.  
    • All students will create a discipline-specific committee (consistent with Graduate School Requirements - 3 members for the MS program),  and an individualized program of study within one year 
    • Satisfy basic Graduate School requirements for residency, examination, and good standing.  
    • Have an overall GPA of 3.0 or better to complete the MS degree and pass a final examination.  
    • Plan A students must present an exit seminar and submit an approved thesis. 

Required courses include IPS 610 , IPS 625 , PLS 772  , and at least one graduate level statistics course. Additional coursework may be required by the student’s thesis or advisory committee.   

Graduate students in IPSS have flexibility in designing course work to suit individual goals, but are expected to demonstrate competence in basic areas of plant and soil science and excellence in their chosen area of specialization.   

General information on electives and potential courses can be found at 

Incoming students are informed of the graduate-school and program-specific academic policies at an orientation held before classes begin each fall. A handbook is also on the IPSS website. 

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