In the Department of Agronomy there are three graduate degree tracks most students take. A Masters non-thesis, Masters thesis and Doctoral degrees are all offered. Find out more about each degree below.
Master’s Degree - Non-thesis
33 credit hours, including 1 hour seminar
3 credit hours, but not more than 6 credits of special problems GRAD 612 required
Total of 36-39 credit hours.
Master’s Degree - Thesis
24 credit hours. Must include 1 credit hour of GRAD 612
6 research credit hours
Total of 30 credit hours
Doctoral Degree Requirements
Current students who do not have an approved plan of study by the graduate school will have the option to follow the current requirments or be included int he new plan. Students who have an approved plan of study by the graduate school do not qualify for this option. Students entering in January 2011 can only follow the new credit hour requirement.
27 course credits
9 departmental core credits
Total of 36 credit hours
*Six credit hours may be independent study, but not with the student’s major professor. Students must have prior approval from the Agronomy Graduate Committee for independent study credits - provide objectives, syllabus and deliverables.
Department Core Credit Hours
1. Statistics course
(3 credits) involving graduate
level probability and statistics emphasizing the scientific methods of data
collection, particularly randomized experiments, random
samples, analysis of variance, and theory of statistical inference. Example Purdue courses fulfilling this
requirement include: STAT 501, 503, 511
2. Statistics course
(3 credits) containing at least 50% of theoretical/applied statistical reasoning
and thinking. Course should emphasize topics such as designing
investigations, formulating research questions, sampling, describing and comparing
data sets, proposing and justifying conclusions and predictions based on data.
Examples include Non-Gaussian probability distributions, data cleaning,
Hypothesis testing, Simulation, Randomization, and spatial, time series and or Bootstrapping
techniques. Example Purdue courses that fulfill this requirement include: STAT
512, 514, 520, 524, AGEC 655, BIOL 582, ENTM 642, CE 641
3. Research Ethics
(GRAD 61200: responsible Conduct of Research, 1 credit
4. Two Interactive
Seminars (2 credits) Example
Purdue courses that fulfill this requirement include: AGRY 69600, 59600, 59700
Total of 9 credit hours
* The preliminary exam structure will remain the same, but will be reviewed by agronomy faculty in the future. There is no qualifying exam required.
* Students may take more than 36 credit hours as directed by their discipline or major professor.
Core Science Requirements for Doctoral Students
The Agronomy Department has a long-standing requirement for all students earning a Ph.D. in the department, to have a minimum level of coursework in each of the four basic areas of science: biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus. This requirement is based in part on the belief that for a person to earn a doctorate in a scientific field such as ours, they should have a basic understanding of all the basic sciences. The current requirements are also similar to what we require of our strong science majors (B.S. level) in our department. These requirements help ensure that our students are well-grounded and well-rounded in science.
The following core science and mathematics courses, or their equivalent, are required of all Ph.D. candidates. Students deficient in these courses will be required to take them during their degree program. These remedial courses may be taken for a letter grade (A, B, C, …) or Pass/No Pass.
Subject Area: CHEMISTRY with LABORATORY (3-9
credits). Topics including: Organic, Inorganic, Analytical, Physical.
Subject Area: PHYSICS with LABORATORY (3-6
credits). Topics should include:
Newtonian mechanics; energy quantization; entropy; the kinetic theory of gases,
conservation of mass, energy, momentum; fluid statics and dynamics; heat;
electricity and magnetism; Light and optics.
Subject Area: MATHEMATICS (3-6 credits). Topics should
anti-derivatives, definite integrals, indefinite integrals, limit theorem,
optimization/ maxima and minima of functions, differentiation, numerical
integration, symbolic integration, alternating series, complex numbers.
Subject Area: BIOLOGY with LABORATORY (3-6 credits). Topics
should include: diversity,
principles governing the development of multi-cellular animals and plants;
evolution in producing biological complexity and variability; chemistry of
basic macromolecules important in cells and their roles in cellular processes;
and the structure and function of either animals or plants.
Minimum of 1 semester (3 credits) in each of the 4 areas: biology, chemistry, physics and math.
· Minimum of 7 semesters total in the 4 areas.
In essence, this allows students to have only one semester of coursework in each of two areas that are less directly related to their work. For example, students coming from plant biology might take only one semester each of physics and calculus, while those coming from engineering might take one semester of biology and two semesters of chemistry.
Note—there has always been the option to petition for a substitution or exemption under exceptional circumstances, and the Graduate Committee reaffirms that option. A more advanced math class (linear algebra, for ex.) might be able to substitute for a second semester of calculus. A written petition to the Graduate Committee, explaining the request and the rationale, will be reviewed and a decision made on a case by case basis. In the case of a course that the petitioner claims is equivalent to the requirement (most often with some international students), an explanation of that equivalency, consisting of a course syllabus or detailed description of course content, should be included.