Graduate Degree Options

colourful tomatoes on a vine in the greenhouse

Graduate students in Horticulture and Crop Science have access to some of the highest quality faculty and research experiences in the world. The Graduate program provides training and leadership opportunities for the next generation of scientists who will address critical issues related to the production of food, feed, fuel, fiber, and pharmaceutical crops in ways that are economically viable, socially acceptable, and environmentally responsible.

Graduate students and faculty in the Department of Horticulture & Crop Science study fundamental and applied aspects of the biology, production, and environmental impact of a wide range of crop and ornamental plants grown in Ohio and around the world. Students have the opportunity to work with major grain crops, such as corn, wheat, forages, and soybean, as well as vegetable crops, fruits, berries, turfgrass, flowers, trees, and ornamental landscape plants. Our graduate students and faculty have access to state-of-the-art resources for laboratory and field experimentation in genetics, breeding, horticulture, seed biology, agronomy, viticulture, weed ecology, and turfgrass science.

The Department of Horticulture and Crop Science offers 2 Graduate Degree Programs:



Master of Science in Agriculture

The HCS Master’s degree program gives students the opportunity to gain additional knowledge and necessary skills in a field in order to engage in research and other scholarly activities, to teach, and to become practitioners. The master’s degree program consists of a coherent pattern of courses and other educational experiences, a master’s examination, and a thesis (Thesis, Plan A) or report (Non-Thesis, Plan B). The non-thesis MS degree is permitted only by petition to the Graduate Studies Committee. The student is responsible for knowing all the graduation requirements of both the Graduate School and the Department. All graduate students in HCS are required to complete a curriculum of four courses that encompass crop physiology, ecology, plant breeding and biotechnology, and experimental design.

Thesis vs Non-thesis options


Apply for MS

PhD in Agriculture

All PhD students in HCS complete a curriculum of courses that encompass crop physiology, ecology, plant breeding and biotechnology, and experimental design. The candidacy examination is a single examination consisting of two portions, written and oral, administered under the auspices of the Graduate Studies Committee in conjunction with the student’s SAC and the Graduate School. The candidacy examination is a test of the student’s comprehension of the field, allied areas of study, their capacity to undertake independent research, and their ability to think and express ideas clearly.

Get a more in-depth look at our PhD program

Apply for PhD


We understand that choosing your future graduate program is a big decision. If you find that your interests fit well with our programs but you're not quite sure if you should join us reach out to our graduate program coordinator, Regina Vann Hickok, with questions, visit inquiries, and to learn more about the career options our programs can open for you.