Coursework & Requirements

Required MPS Coursework

  1. PLB/BMB 856: Plant Molecular and Omics Biology (This is a required first-year, first-semester course.)
  • Topic areas: Genetics, genomics, chromosome structure, transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation, proteomics, plant transformation and genetic engineering, plant signaling. 
  • Broader skills development: reading and evaluating primary literature, preparing grant proposals, exposure to modern methods in data science and quantitative biology and statistics.
  1. BMB/PLB 866: Molecular Plant Physiology (This is a required first-year, second-semester course. This course starts in Spring 2019.)
  • Topic areas:  Photosynthesis, primary metabolism, lipids, cell walls, water relations, long distance transport, mineral nutrition. 
  • Broader skills development: Quantitative data analysis, hypothesis formulation and testing, exposure to modern methods in data science and quantitative biology and statistics.
  1. Computational/quantitative biology requirement - One of:
  • PLB 812: Principles and Applications of Plant Genomics.
  • CMSE 890: This includes multiple sections on different topicsCourse offerings are still under development and will change year to year. Students would normally take several of these special topics courses. Each module is 5 weeks.
  1. One elective course appropriate to the student’s course of study - Examples include:
  • PLB/HRT 865: Plant Growth and Development
  • PLP 881: Molecular and Biochemical Plant Pathology
  • BMB 805: Protein Structure Design and Mechanisms
  • BMB 829: Methods of Macromolecular Analysis and Synthesis
  • BMB/PLB 864: Plant Specialized Metabolism
  • HRT 863: Environmental Plant Physiology
  • MMG 833: Microbial Genetics
  • MMG 835: Eukaryotic Molecular Genetics
  • BMB/MMG/PSL 825: Cell Biology

Other courses relevant to the student’s research interests or required for the dual major may be chosen in consultation with the guidance committee and subject to approval by the MPS Executive Committee.

  1. Three graduate seminar courses in subjects relevant to MPS (each 1 credit, course designation PLB 815)
  • Topic-based seminar courses drawing on the primary literature in plant molecular biology.
  • Broader skills development: oral presentation, critical analysis of primary literature. Topics may be suggested by students or faculty, and will be approved by the MPS executive committee.
  1. Research rotations in three labs, attendance at weekly seminars, and engagement in other programmatic activities.
  2. Completion of the requirement for the dual major program (see below)
  3. Successful performance on the qualifying exam, typically at the end of the second year.
  4. Completion of a dissertation that embodies an original contribution to scientific knowledge.

Supplemental Primary Department Requirements

The following are the additional requirements for the participating departments:

BMB/MPS students must take:

  • BMB 829: Methods of Macromolecular Analysis and Synthesis
  • Two electives acceptable to BMB and their graduate committee

All students must take:

  • BMB/MMG/PSL 825: Cell Biology
  • Either MMG 833: Microbial Genetics; or MMG 835: Eucaryotic Molecular Genetics

All students must take:

  • Either MMG 833: Microbial Genetics (3 credits); or MMG/GEN 835: Eukaryotic Molecular Genetics (3 credits)
  • GEN 810: Theory and Practice of Teaching Genetics (1 credit)

No additional coursework required

All PLB graduate students, including those in the MPS program, must take:

  • PLB 801: Foundations of Plant Biology (3 credits)
  • PLB 804: Frontiers in Plant Biology (2 credits)

No additional coursework required

Students will be expected to have had a course in introductory plant pathology (PLP 405 or equivalent).

All students must take:

  • At least two semesters of PLP 894 (seminar)
  • PLP 881: Molecular and Biochemical Plant Pathology
  • PLP 885: Plant Diseases in the Field (taught in summer)
  • At least one additional graduate course decided upon in consultation with student’s guidance committee (PLP 812: Epidemiology; PLB 402: Intro Mycology or PLP 847: Advanced Mycology)
  • PLP 884: Prokaryotic Diseases