Plant Biology BS/Plant Pathology MS

Career opportunities for plant pathologists are diverse and plentiful. Employers include national and international companies, public agencies, non-profit organizations, and universities. A plant pathologist needs an understanding of the organisms and agents that cause disease as well as an understanding of how plants grow and are affected by disease. Through college courses in plant biology, microbiology, crop science, soil science, ecology, genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and physiology, students receive the necessary background for exciting careers in plant pathology.

The expanding interest in the quality of our global environment and increasing global demand for high-quality food, fiber, tree and ornamental plants provides many opportunities for plant pathologists. These professionals often are sought by government and nonprofit organizations and corporations to participate in teams of specialists addressing international agricultural development.

Plant pathologists are employed by:
- Colleges and universities (research, teaching, and extension)
- Agricultural consulting companies
- Agrichemical companies
- Seed and plant production companies
- Tissue culture laboratories
- Diagnostic laboratories
- International agricultural research centers
- Botanical gardens and arboreta
- Biotechnology firms
- Biological control companies
- Private practice
- Nurseries and garden centers
- Public policy organizations
- Lawn and landscape maintenance firms
- USDA-Agricultural Research Service
- USDA-Forest Service
- USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service
- EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
- State departments of agriculture
- Environmental, agricultural, and patent law firms

Admission to Program

Applications to the Double Dawgs program are due to the pathway advisor by June 1st at the end of the student’s sophomore year. Applications will consist of a curriculum vitae, unofficial university transcripts, and a Statement of Research Experience and Interests. At that time the student should have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 and have completed at least 3 credit hours of undergraduate research course(s) from either PBIO or PATH. Students are also strongly encouraged to pursue the PBIO Area of Emphasis, Plants and Microbes.

Review of applications will occur during the summer, and admission to the program is contingent on the student finding a mentor during the fall semester of their junior year who is willing to serve as their major professor and guide the student's M.S. degree research. If the major professor decides against mentoring the student after admission and the student does not acquire a new major professor within one semester, the student will be dismissed from the Double Dawgs pathway.


Graduate-level courses that may be used to satisfy undergraduate and graduate program requirements.

- HORT(CRSS) 6430 Plant Physiology (3)
- PATH 6200-6200L Mycology (4)
- PBIO 6500 Gene Technology (3)

Additional requirements that are unique to this Double Dawgs program:

Undergraduate students are strongly encouraged to pursue the Plant Biology Area of Emphasis, Plants and Microbes.

Admission to Graduate Program

Students will apply to the M.S. program by the end of fall semester of their senior year. At that time they should have completed eight credit hours of undergraduate research courses in a plant microbe lab and have participated in at least one undergraduate research presentation event such as the CURO Symposium or the CAES Undergraduate Research Symposium. Application procedures and admission requirements will be the same as the requirements for the standard M.S. degree program in Plant Pathology, as outlined on the Graduate School and Department of Plant Pathology web sites, with the exception that GRE scores are not required.

Program Advisor

  • Name: Harald Scherm
  • Email:
  • Phone: 2-2571
  • Address: 2105 Miller Plant Sciences

Undergraduate Major Information

  • Major: Plant Biology B.S.
  • Department/College: Plant Biology

Advising Contact

  • Name: Dorset Trapnell
  • Email:
  • Phone: 706-542-3732
  • Address: 3508 Miller Plant Sciences

Graduate Major Information

  • Major: Plant Pathology M.S.
  • Department/College: Plant Pathology

Advising Contact

  • Name: Shavannor Smith
  • Email:
  • Phone: 706-542-2571
  • Address: 4309 Miller Plant Sciences