Skip to main content
This is alt text for the image

Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Pathology

Plant pathology as a discipline encompasses the science required to understand the causes of plant diseases as well as provide for their prevention and control. This degree program focuses on the biology and management of plant diseases caused by plant pathogens (fungi, bacteria, viruses, and nematodes) and provides the fundamental basis to investigate and develop prevention and management strategies. This program uses applied/field and laboratory/molecular techniques to study a multitude of important plant diseases.
Students who complete this program will learn how to conduct in-depth research and effectively communicate findings through both verbal presentations and scientific writing.


The degree plan for a PhD in plant pathology requires 60 total credit hours of coursework after a thesis based MS degree. A program of study can be adapted to an individual's needs within departmental and Graduate College guidelines. Instruction may include coursework in the following areas and additional courses within and outside the department.


  • PLP 5343 Principles of Plant Pathology
  • PLP 5724 Physiology of Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • PLP 5524 Integrated Management of Insect Pests and Pathogens
  • PLP 5104 Mycology
  • PLP 5003 Plant Nematology
  • PLP 5014 Plant Virology
  • PLP 5304 Phytobacteriology
  • PLP 5613 Host Plant Resistance
  • PLP 6303 Soilborne Diseases of Plants
  • PLP 5870 Scientific Presentations
  • PLP 5992 Career Skills and Professionalism for Scientists

Research and Faculty

The OSU Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology Plant Path Studentis housed in the Noble Research Center and the Henry Bellmon Research Center. The facilities in both research centers represent the finest available and give the department excellent resources to accomplish its mission of teaching, research and Extension. Core facilities are available for molecular, biochemical, genomic, and proteomic studies. Confocal, scanning, and transmission electron microscopes, and scanning probe microscope are available for student use at the Microscopy Laboratory at the Oklahoma Technology and Research Park. A large laboratory and greenhouse research facility, housing the USDA plant sciences program, is also available for cooperative research. Graduate students have access to student offices, Wi-Fi, laboratories for teaching and research, and controlled environment chambers.


The department's faculty includes scientists who have received national and international recognition for their research in many diverse areas.


Meet our Departmental Faculty



Admission requirements for the OSU Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology include:

  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty or professionals familiar with your academic and professional background.
  • A personal letter of intent from the student outlining research interests and professional goals.
  • A résumé or CV for both MS and PhD applicants is required.
  • For the PhD program, a master's degree with a research thesis is required.
  • An official copy of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score to assist the department in making a determination as to acceptance to the program and funding of an assistantship. The GRE Institution Code for OSU is 6546 (the ENTO/PLP Department Code is 0209). The department reviews GRE scores and evaluates percentage performance among applicants.


Prerequisite Coursework

The following courses are strongly recommended prior to acceptance into the plant pathology doctoral degree program. A student may be admitted with deficiencies in these areas, but should take the courses and depending on the course may not receive credit toward their degree requirements. The courses required will be based on recommendation of their Advisory Committee.


  1. Introductory Plant Pathology (such as PLP 3343) or PLP 5343*
  2. Chemistry with lab (three semesters, including at least one semester of Organic Chemistry)
  3. Introductory Biological Science with lab (e.g., Principles of Biology, Plant Biology, Microbiology, Zoology)
  4. Physiology with lab
  5. Plant Anatomy OR Taxonomy course
  6. Genetics
  7. Biochemistry
  8. Ecology
  9. Statistics and/or Experimental Design

* The prerogative of the student's Advisory Committee to waive specific curriculum requirements for good cause does not apply to Introductory Plant Pathology. If this course has not been taken prior to admission, it must be taken during the student's graduate program at OSU.


Cost and Assistance

For students pursing their Ph.D in the OSU Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, there are opportunities to perform research duties as a Graduate Research Assistant under the direction of a major advisor for at least twenty (20) hours per week. These required positions are opportunities for students to hold a semi-professional position within the department. The purposes of assistantships are to support programs of instruction, research and Extension in the department and to provide employment opportunities that contribute to the professional development of graduate students.


Cost and Aid

Assistantships and Funding Opportunities

Back To Top