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Department of Plant Science
and Plant Pathology
Montana State University
324 Leon Johnson Hall
Bozeman, MT 59717
Tel: (406) 994-4832

Department Head
John Sherwood


    T.K. Blake; barley breeding and genetics.
    • P.L. Bruckner; winter wheat breeding and genetics.
    • W.E. Dyer; weed physiology, plant molecular biology.
    • M.J. Giroux; molecular genetics and cereal chemistry.
    • B. J. Jacobsen; biocontrol, sugar beet and potato diseases.
    • M.T. Lavin; plant systematics and evolution.
    • J.M. Martin; plant breeding and biometrics.
    • D.E. Mre (emeritus); soil-borne diseases, biocontrol.
    • J.H. Riesselman (extension); plant pathology.
    • D.C. Sands; bacterial diseases, biocontrol, biotechnology.
    • R.A. Sharrock; plant molecular biology, physiology of light adaptation.
    • J.E. Sherwood; molecular genetics of plant disease.
    • G.A. Strobel (emeritus); Biochemistry of plant diseases, biocontrol.
    • L.E. Talbert; spring wheat breeding and genetics.
    • Norm Weeden; genetics.
    • M.A. Young; virology, thermal biology.

Associate Professors

    • A. Fischer; plant biochemistry, tissue senescence.
    • T.A.O. Dougher, horticulture.
    • F. V. Dunkel; entomology.
    • Mike Ivie; entomology.
    • M.Johnston (research adjunct); foliar diseases of cereals.
    • A.D. Richman; molecular evolution.

Assistant Professors

    • Thamir Al-Niemi (research adjunct); physiological & molecular mechanisms of plant tolerance.
    • Mary Burrows (extension); plant pathology.
    • C. Cripps; mycology, mycorrhizae.
    • Alan Dyer; soil-borne pathogens.
    • W.E. Grey (research adjunct); soil-borne disease, seed production.
    • William Hoch; horticulture.
    • L.Huang; genetics.
    • Robyn Klein (adjunct); medicinal plants.
    • Chaofu Lu (research adjunct); genetics.
    • Cheryl Moore-Gough (extension adjunct); horticulture.
    • Alice Pilgeram (research adjunct); bacterial diseases.
    • W.S. Pond; landscape design.
    • J. Sherman (research adjunct); cytogenetics.
    • K. Wanner (extension); entomology.
    • Yousef Zadegan; landscape design.
    • N. Zidack (research adjunct); bacteriology, biocontrol of weeds.

Degree Offered

M.S. in Plant Sciences
M.S. in Plant Pathology
Ph.D. in Plant Sciences

The department offers advanced study leading to a Master of Science degree in plant sciences and plant pathology under either Plan A (thesis) or B (project or professional paper). In addition, a Ph.D. degree is offered in plant sciences with an option in either plant pathology or plant genetics. Supporting minors are also available in each of the degree fields. The department has major research strengths in the following areas: plant breeding and genetics, plant pathology, plant-microbe interactions, mycology, biocontrol, biotechnology, plant physiology, plant systematics, molecular evolution, and biochemistry.


Graduate Record Examination General Test scores are required prior to consideration for admission. Students seeking admission to graduate status must hold a BS degree and have a record of high scholarship in areas closely related to the plant sciences. All applications are reviewed by a departmental committee for final recommendation to the Graduate College. Successful applicants are accepted by both the department and the College of Graduate Studies. Students must first submit a pre-application on our website at

Plant Sciences

Graduate students majoring in this field may obtain a Master of Science degree in plant science or a Ph.D. degree in plant science with a plant genetics option. Areas of concentration include plant breeding and genetics, plant molecular genetics and biotechnology, physiological genetics, plant systematics, and population genetics.

Plant Pathology

Graduate students majoring in this field may obtain a Master of Science degree in plant science or a Ph.D. degree in plant science with a plant pathology option. Areas of concentration include: biocontrol, mycology, plant-pathogen interactions, biochemistry and molecular genetics of plant disease and virology.

Required Courses

There are no set course requirements for Plant Sciences degree programs. Course requirements are set by the student's graduate committee, however, all students are required to register for PSPP 500-01 (1 credit seminar) once a year.

Departmental Facilities

The department is housed in both Leon Johnson Hall and the Plant BioScience Facility located on the Bozeman campus. The research laboratories range in size from 600-720 sq. ft and are assigned to individual researchers. Individual laboratories are well equipped with the instruments and tools necessary to complete each research project. Researchers cooperate to purchase, share and maintain expensive pieces of specialized equipment or facilities such as the Electron Microscope Lab. Laboratories and offices are wired with high-speed computer lines for direct access to the Internet and the World Wide Web. The faculty has access to the Plant Growth Center Facility (a teaching and research facility available to the College of Agriculture staff). The current 60,000 square-foot facility houses 29 glasshouse rooms with 8,300 square feet of bench space – both temperature and lights are micro-computer controlled; 13 walk in growth rooms where all environmental variables are computer controlled; insect quarantine facilities with separate glasshouses and growth chambers; plant pathogen isolation facilities with 4 glasshouse rooms of 320 sq. ft; the Montana Potato Lab which is responsible for providing disease free seed stock to Montana potato producers. Other important accesses to the department are the Horticulture Farm, Post Research Farm, which is a 300 acre site dedicated to plant and soil research activities, and the MSU Herbarium located in Lewis Hall.

Financial Assistance

Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. See the Graduate Assistantship s sections for detailed information on appointment criteria. Assistantships are requested through the student's home department.



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