Welcome to the Horticulture graduate program in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Purdue University. The Horticulture graduate program offers the thesis-based degrees of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Master of Science (M.S.), as well as a non-thesis degree, Master of Agriculture (M.Agr.). Reflecting the research interests of our faculty, graduate students in the Horticulture graduate program have projects that explore fundamental concepts of plant biology, applied aspects of horticulture, or that integrate basic plant science with field and contained environment studies. The goal of the Horticulture Graduate Program is to prepare students for professional careers in basic and applied plant science with an emphasis on improvement of food, fiber, fuel, and ornamental crops.
The Horticulture research program in Purdue HLA is internationally recognized for the importance of its discoveries, extraordinary publication and extramural funding records, and the strong involvement of the faculty in graduate student programs. The program was very highly ranked in the latest National Research Council evaluation of plant biology programs. The Horticulture graduate faculty includes a member of the National Academy of Sciences, five distinguished professors, and four fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Most members of the faculty have served as program managers or panel members for extramural funding agencies. Many have served as officers of international and national scientific societies. A substantial component of the research in the program involves international programs. A majority of the research in the department is extramurally funded. Areas of concentration in the program include plant molecular genetics and epigenetics, plant physiology and stress biology, plant genetics and breeding, plant cellular and developmental biology, sustainable production horticulture, bioenergy, contained environment growing, floriculture, and horticultural marketing.
If you would like more information about the program and would like to know how you could join us as a graduate student, please contact our graduate program coordinator or any of the faculty members listed below.
Faculty in the program conduct extramurally-funded research on such topics as:
- Floral scent and plant volatile biosynthesis
- Mineral nutrient utilization from cellular to global scales
- Hormone signalling and transport
- Regulation of plant architecture and reproduction
- Plant cell cycle regulation
- Water utilization and stress responses
- Sustainable biofuel production
- Enhancement of salt tolerance in crop plants
- Natural genetic variation
- Plant epigenetics
- Mechanisms of heterosis; hybridizatiion and species breeding barriers
- Improvement of postharvest fruit quality
- Fruit breeding and specialty crop production
- Plant interactions with soil microbial communities
Students enter the graduate program with different professional objectives and varying academic backgrounds. Therefore, there are few required courses and no fixed credit requirements in our M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs. However, M.S. and Ph.D. students generally take 20 or more credit hours of coursework. Students are advised to work with the advisory committee that they select to schedule coursework that will complement their research plan. Candidates for the M. Agr. degree must complete at least 33 credit hours of course work. Training in biochemistry, plant physiology, genetics and statistics (from previous education or while in the program) is required of all Ph.D. students, and course work in computer science, physical chemistry, and molecular genetics is highly recommended. Graduate programs generally include required and elective course work and seminars, written and oral examinations, and original research guided by a major professor. Graduate student research projects are generally funded by extramural grants, which usually increase the resources available to the student researcher. Participation by graduate researchers at professional society meetings is actively encouraged and financially supported by the department. The duration of graduate programs varies, but the average M.S. program takes two and a half years and the average Ph.D. program takes four to five years. Students may also participate in research in the department via the Purdue Life Science Interdisciplinary (PULSe) graduate program. Many students and faculty within our department participate in these programs.
The Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture has an outstanding faculty representing a broad range of disciplines within horticulture and plant biology. These individuals can provide training opportunities in their areas of specialization. We recommend that potential students identify particular faculty members who share their academic interests and contact these individuals directly.
Please visit the web pages of faculty members for notices of postdoctoral and undergraduate internship positions.