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Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy graduate program in Plant Pathology provides education and research experience in the study of plant disease to prepare qualified graduates for college teaching and research positions as well as careers in industry and government.
Ph.D. candidate Laura del Sol Bautista Jalón at Ag Progress Days | Credit: Nancy Wenner, Penn State

Ph.D. candidate Laura del Sol Bautista Jalón at Ag Progress Days | Credit: Nancy Wenner, Penn State

The doctoral degree usually requires three years of study and research beyond the master's degree. Advancement to doctoral candidacy is decided on the basis of previous academic record, performance in graduate courses, and a candidacy examination.

Graduate School Requirements

Program Requirements

Required Courses

The full selection of courses offered at Penn State can be found in LionPATH.

Generalized Ph.D. Program Timeline

SemesterActivity
First Coursework
Literature review
Initiate research/dissertation proposal writing
Second Coursework
First seminar
Written candidacy exam (May)
Continue research/dissertation proposal writing
Apply for dual-degree program (if applicable, see below)
Third Coursework
Oral candidacy exam formed and exam completed
Continue research/dissertation proposal writing
Doctoral advisory committee formed
Fourth Coursework
Dissertation proposal meeting and proposal approved
Fifth Continue research
Second research seminar
Regular doctoral advisory committee meetings
Sixth Continue research
Comprehensive exam
Dissertation writing/manuscript preparation
Seventh Continue research
Regular doctoral advisory committee meetings
Continue dissertation writing/manuscript preparation
Eighth Complete research
Complete dissertation writing
Continue manuscript preparation
Final seminar and dissertation defense

Teaching Expectation

During each student’s Ph.D. graduate program, the student is to gain teaching experience by assisting in the instruction of a departmental course for a minimum of one semester (PPATH 602). It is recommended that the teaching assignment be fulfilled after most of the formal course requirements have been satisfied. The specific semester and course assignment are based on recommendations of a committee consisting of the Head of the Graduate Program, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the Chair of the Curriculum Committee in consultation with the student, their major adviser, and the course instructor.

Service to the research, teaching and outreach missions of the department is required by all graduate students in PPEM. Service as a TA is one of the ways that a graduate student may fulfill the obligations of departmental support. Most semesters students will not be asked to TA because currently we have more students than needed to cover our course offerings. See the Course Information and Forms Section for the policy change that took place effective Spring 2017.

Annual Evaluation

The annual evaluation of graduate students ensures that students receive the mentorship they deserve and are making progress toward completion of their degrees. The annual evaluation of graduate students consists of a collaborative effort between faculty adviser and student to:

  • Complete the evaluation form;
  • Complete and submit the check sheet with evidence that steps have been completed;
  • Demonstrate that the student’s web page is up-to-date;
  • Present a professional quality CV suitable for awards, job applications, and internships;
  • Produce a narrative of service or other activities not captured on a CV.