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Graduate Degree Requirements

Graduate students may choose either Plant Breeding or Plant Genetics as a concentration within the Field of Plant Breeding. In general, students are required to complete appropriate course work, conduct high quality research, and submit an M.S. thesis or Ph.D. dissertation presenting their research. Opportunities for research in other countries are also available while enrolled at Cornell.

Each student has a Special Committee, which consists of the major advisor and representatives of the minor subjects. One minor subject is required for M.S. students, and two minor subjects are required for Ph.D. candidates. The committee provides advice about recommended courses and research activities and administers the required exams. Ph.D. candidates must pass the oral “A-exam,” usually taken after coursework is completed. Both M.S. and Ph.D. candidates must defend their theses at the “B-exam” and give a public seminar describing their work.

Residence units are awarded for each successfully completed semester of instruction or research. M.S. students must earn a minimum of two residence units, while Ph.D students must complete six residence units.

Ph.D. candidates in the Field of Plant Breeding are required to participate in a teaching activity for one semester. This requirement may be fulfilled in a variety of ways, including assisting in teaching or setting up laboratory sessions for courses, developing a new course, grading papers, or developing computer software for a course.

Summary of Requirements:

  M.S. Ph.D.
Minor Subjects 1 2
Exams B exam A and B exams
Research Thesis Dissertation
Residence Units 2 6
Required Teaching none 1 semester