Where to find Information

Information on graduate programs, policies, and procedures is available in the OSU Course Catalog, the Graduate School Student Success pages, and the Graduate School Office (phone: 541-737-4881). Dr. John Fowler, Associate Chairperson, is responsible for and will monitor the specific requirements for the Botany and Plant Pathology program as outlined below. Students are encouraged to fully familiarize themselves with the following information. Questions that arise can be answered by fellow students, their major professor, their major department or the Graduate School.

Example Timelines

Graduate student timelines vary a lot depending on student background, type of research, and funding constraints. Please visit the following links for example timelines, bearing in mind that the timeline for any particular student is likely to differ to some extent from these.

Full-time Enrollment Policy

Unless on approved Leave of Absence, all graduate students in graduate degree and certificate programs must register continuously for a minimum of 3 graduate credits, including summer session, until their degree or certificate is granted, or until their status as a credential–seeking graduate student is terminated. This is the “continuous enrollment policy” as described in detail on the Graduate School’s website. The Graduate School has a form and process for granting leaves of absence.

Role of the Major Adviser and Program Committee

The program committee for an M.S. degree consists of the major adviser, a minor adviser and one other member. For the final examination, the minimum committee consists of these two advisers, the second representative from the major field, and a Graduate Council representative. For the Ph.D. degree, the minimum committee consists of the major adviser, the minor adviser (if applicable), two additional members of the graduate faculty (including at least one from the major field), and a Graduate Council representative. For both master’s and doctoral programs, the Graduate Council representative is chosen by the student from a list provided by the Graduate School. This representative is from outside the major and minor fields and serves to ensure that the requirements and standards of the Graduate School are upheld and that the candidate is treated fairly by the program committee. Students are free to have additional members on their committees, and to have a co-major adviser if they believe this would be appropriate and beneficial. Students should consult their major professor concerning the procedures for selecting committee members.

The major and minor advisers for an M.S. degree usually meet once to approve the graduate program. The entire committee meets for the final examination. For the Ph.D. degree, the full committee is required to meet for these two occasions plus the oral preliminary examination. In practice, many committees meet more frequently than the minimum requirement to provide the student with an opportunity for feedback and advice on the progress of coursework and research. Any changes in an approved program requires committee approval, the Department Chairperson’s signature, and Graduate School approval.

Graduate Programs

Graduate programs vary considerably, depending on the student’s previous training, the individual committee, and the candidate’s field of study. Our students generally take coursework both within and outside the department.

There are currently no required core curricula for Botany and Plant Pathology students, but in plant pathology, a recommended core curriculum has been identified that prepares the student for advanced graduate courses in plant pathology. If you are a plant pathology student, consult with your major professor on this.

Please see the Guidelines for Graduate Programs.


Examinations for both M.S. and Ph.D. cover content included in the graduate program as well as the thesis.

M.S. Programs. A final oral examination is required for the M.S. degree. The examination usually consists of two parts. The first involves a seminar by the candidate, which is followed by a short question-and-answer period. This part of the examination is open to all interested persons. The second part of the examination provides an opportunity for the program committee to question the candidate concerning thesis and/or coursework. This part of the examination is restricted to the examining committee, and is followed by a discussion and vote by the program committee, in the absence of the candidate, concerning the performance of the student. One dissenting vote is allowed for a recommendation of “pass.” Generally, two re-examinations are the maximum allowed.

Ph.D. Programs. Doctoral candidates take both a preliminary and a final examination. The preliminary examination consists of both a written and an oral section. The department has adopted specific guidelines for the conduct and evaluation of the written preliminary examination.

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