Graduate Study in Botany and Plant Pathology

Top researchers and graduate students in Botany and Plant Pathology expand frontiers of knowledge in plant biology, plant pathology, and weed science. Research on plants and their interactions with other organisms and the environment is critical to crop production and food security. Studies consist of coursework and independent research leading to a dissertation. Upon completing the program, you can pursue research and leadership positions in industry, academia, and government.

Here, you will experience:

  • A small, congenial department
  • Camaraderie and support among peers and faculty
  • Diverse research topics
  • World-class facilities and equipment
  • Opportunities for leadership and professional development

 Faculty research profiles Apply now!

Contact Us

Department of Botany and Plant Pathology
Lilly Hall of Life Sciences, Room 1-446
915 W. State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47906
(765) 494-4614

Infographic: 1897 first doctoral degree awarded to Botany student
Infographic: Two-time winner national weed science contest
Infographic: Nearly 100% placement rate after graduation

Degree programs

  • Plant Biology M.S., Ph.D.
  • Plant Pathology M.S., Ph.D.
  • Weed Science M.S., Ph.D.

Research areas

Plant Biology: Plant growth and development; genetics and evolution of plants; plant cell biology and physiology; plant genomics and bioinformatics; plant-pathogen interactions; systematics; herbarium sciences

Plant Pathology: Fungal genetics and biology; infection-related morphogenesis; mycotoxins; physiology, genetics, and molecular aspects of host-pathogen interactions; pathogen biology and diversity; epidemiology; plant disease management; biological control; mechanisms of disease resistance; bioinformatics; molecular virology

Weed Science: Weed ecology, herbicide mode of action; herbicide resistance; physiological and molecular biology; herbicide control; efficacy of herbicides and mixtures; sustainable agriculture; specialized application technology; weed management systems

Financial support

Research or teaching assistantships support most students. Assistantships and other funding from Graduate School fellowships and external sources often cover tuition costs. Find financial information under Funding at the Graduate School website,

Keys to your success

  • Scientific aptitude and background, including an undergraduate research experience or internship
  • Strong work ethic
  • Analytical thinking skills
  • Responsibility to follow up, meet deadlines, work independently, and take your research project seriously


Begin your application online today!

Visit and follow instructions on How to Apply under Admissions.

Entry dates are August, January, and May.

“My research focuses on a fungus found only in the rainforest of Guyana. My advisor has instilled in me an overwhelming appreciation for the microbial world." Rachel Koch, Ph.D. alumni

College of Agriculture at Purdue University

Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue is part of one of the world’s leading colleges of agricultural, food, life, and natural resource sciences.

Our college’s researchers ask and answer questions about six strategic themes that guide our efforts:

  • Building sustainable, secure food production systems
  • Utilizing molecular approaches to expand the frontiers of agriculture and life sciences
  • Developing a robust bioeconomy to feed and power the world
  • Enriching food and health
  • Strengthening ecological and environmental integrity in agricultural landscape
  • Facilitating informed decision-making to improve social well-being