Master's Degree Program | Plant Biology | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Science

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Master's Degree Program


Applicants for the Master's degree must have a Bachelor Degree (or equivalent) in a life science, and have had a course in genetics. A student who does not meet these requirements may petition for admission to the department, or register as a regular nondeclared graduate student. Either prior to admission or during their programs, students must complete a course in each of the following categories:

  • plant systematics or plant diversity
  • plant physiology, cell biology or molecular biology
  • plant ecology or environmental science

A course in plant morphology or plant anatomy is strongly recommended.

A student deficient in three or fewer of these five areas must be admitted with conditional standing. A student admitted with conditional standing must make up all deficiencies within the first academic year, and until such deficiencies are completed, no more than ten academic units can be accrued toward the degree. Students lacking four or more of these areas must register as nondeclared. All deficiencies must be made up by taking for credit the pertinent undergraduate or graduate courses and passing each course with a grade of B or better.

Course Requirements

A minimum of 30 hours of graduate credit is required beyond the bachelor's degree, including no less than 22 hours of plant biology courses, 9 of which may be individualized instruction courses, including up to 3 (minimum of 2) hours of seminar, and up to 6 (minimum of 3) hours of thesis. A graduate minor of at least 10 graduate hours may or may not be required; this is to be determined by the student and the advisory committee. At the time of completion of the thesis, the student must schedule a public seminar presentation of the thesis material (this is in addition to the comprehensive examination).

Seminar Requirements

All Master's degree students must enroll in the Introduction to Research seminar (PLB 590) during the first Fall Semester that they are in the program.  They must also earn a minimum of 3 credit hours in graduate seminars (PLB 580, 589, 554 or equivalent), at least 1 of which must be in departmental seminar (PLB 580). All Ph.D. students must earn a minimum of 2 credit hours in graduate seminars (PLB 580, 589, 554 or equivalent) each year of residence, at least 1 of which must be in departmental seminar. Additional seminar requirements can be mandated, if determined to be appropriate, by a student's Advisory Committee.

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