Admission Requirements | Plant Biology | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Agriculture, Life and Physical Sciences

grad student

Admission Requirements

General Admission Requirements

Students must be admitted to the Graduate School before they can be considered by the department. All applications to the department must include the following:

  • the online application form
  • official transcripts from all institutions of higher education
  • GRE scores, including verbal, quantitative, and analytical
  • three letters of recommendation

Criteria for admission include grade point average, letters of recommendation, and availability of faculty, space, and facilities. International students whose native language is not English must have a minimum of 550 or the equivalent electronic score on the TOEFL test. The application fee is non-refundable and must be submitted with a credit card at the time of application.

Major Advisor and the Advisory Committee

Prior to being admitted into the program, the student must identify a PLB faculty who would be willing to serve as Major Advisor. Following admission to the program and before registration for course work, the student must consult a faculty member or the Director of Graduate Studies for assistance in registration. At every registration, deficiencies and specific departmental requirements must be considered first. Any changes in registration must be approved by the student's Major Advisor.

The Major Advisor, in consultation with the student, will select appropriate faculty members to comprise the Advisory Committee. For the Master's degree program, a minimum of three people shall make up this committee, at least two of which (or half the committee) must be voting faculty from Plant Biology. The Advisory Committee for the Ph.D. degree program will be composed of at least five people, three of which must be voting faculty from Plant Biology and one which must be from outside the department. The duties of the Advisory Committee are to:

  • plan and approve the program of study and advise the student on his/her research program during the first semester of the student's program;
  • read and evaluate the student's research prospectus by the end of second semester of the student's program;
  • monitor the student's progress and make any necessary changes in the program;
  • annually assess the student's progress and make recommendations as to retention or dismissal from the program;
  • participate in and grade the written and oral preliminary examinations for the Ph.D. degree;
  • read and evaluate the student's thesis or dissertation and make suggestions for improvement; and
  • administer the defense of the thesis or dissertation.

For both the Masters or Ph.D. program, following establishment of the Advisory Committee and before advance registration for the third term, the student will meet with the Advisory Committee to discuss the program of courses for the degree and plans for research. An approved research prospectus must be completed and filed with the Director of Graduate Studies by the end of the second semester. In this regard, the Advisory Committee is empowered to require course work in areas with which the student's interests are allied. The Advisory Committee will advise the student on the selection of readings on general and historical topics of importance which may not be encountered in formal courses. Copies of the approved program of courses and the plans for research must be placed in the departmental files.

Program Course Requirements

All Master's degree students must earn a minimum of 2 hours credit in Plant Biology seminars (PLB 580 or PLB 589), at least 1 of which must be in general seminar (PLB 580) during each year of residence. All Ph.D. students must earn 2 hours credit in Plant Biology seminar (PLB 580 or PLB 589) every year of residence until admitted to candidacy and at least 1 credit each year must be in general seminar (PLB 580). The general PLB 580 seminar will be offered once each year and all students are required to enroll in this course (the only exception will be doctoral students who are admitted to candidacy). All students must take PLB 590 their first fall term. It is strongly recommended that the student enroll in seminars dealing with subjects other than the general area of emphasis being pursued. Master's students who have not already taken a course in plant anatomy must include PLB 400-4 Plant Anatomy in their graduate degree program.

Academic Retention

The general regulations of the Graduate School with respect to academic retention shall be followed. In addition, no course in which a grade is below C is earned shall count toward the degree or fulfillment of any requirement, but the grade will be included in the grade point average. No more than five hours of C work in graduate courses will count toward the degree. All students are subject to regular review by the department's Graduate Policies Committee. Those not attaining the minimum acceptable academic standards or who in any way fail to meet any other scheduled requirements or standards will be dropped as majors.


Appeals for variations from the departmental graduate program must be presented in writing to the plant biology graduate faculty meeting as a committee of the whole. Appeals must receive approval from a majority of the total plant biology graduate faculty. Appeals for changes in the student's graduate advisory committee or changes in the original program must be approved in the following order:

  • approval from Major Advisor
  • approval from remaining members of the student's advisory committee

Student appeals for change of Major Advisor must be presented in writing to the plant biology graduate faculty meeting as a committee of the whole. Appeals must receive approval from a majority of the total plant biology graduate faculty.