The faculty offers a comprehensive program of study and research and provides specialties in most fields of plant biology. Greenhouse and research facilities and equipment are extensive. Students may do fieldwork in several experiment stations, farms, research stations, a nearby primeval forest ecosystem, an old field, and ancient habitats. A seminar series of invited scientists provides rich opportunities for students during graduate study.
The faculty offers the master's degree without thesis, the master's degree with thesis, and the doctoral degree. The master of philosophy degree is available to doctoral candidates. Required undergraduate preparation normally includes calculus, general and organic chemistry, physics, general biology or equivalent, genetics, and some botanical training. Some undergraduate training in biochemistry and/or molecular biology is recommended as background for the core curriculum. Students with strong academic records and other evidence of scholarly talents or promise are encouraged to apply. Submission of the Graduate Record Examination score is required, and the biology, biochemistry, or cell and molecular biology subject test score is recommended. A variety of fellowships and teaching and research assistantships is available.
The graduate faculty includes members from several units, including the departments of plant biology and pathology; biochemistry and microbiology; landscape architecture; ecology, evolution, and natural resources; and environmental sciences at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and the biological sciences department of the School of Arts and Sciences-New Brunswick. Faculty also may be affiliated with the Biotechnology Center for Agriculture and the Environment, the Center for Theoretical and Applied Genetics, the Waksman Institute of Microbiology, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Turfgrass Science.
Students in the plant biology program may choose from four research and curriculum tracks: (1) molecular and cellular biology, (2) organismal and population biology, (3) horticulture and technology, and (4) pathology. The core curriculum draws on courses from the four tracks. Additional curriculum requirements are tailored to students' individual interests. The tracks are interwoven, and members of the graduate faculty may be involved in more than one track. Students are encouraged to take courses in more than one track.
Students in the molecular and cellular biology track may specialize in photosynthesis, carbon metabolism and partitioning, developmental physiology and genetics, growth regulation, nitrogen metabolism, ion uptake and electrophysiology, molecular biology of subcellular organelles, regulation of gene expression, genetic transformation of plants, senescence, ripening of fruit, seed germination, water relations, tissue culture, comparative or developmental anatomy and morphology, or ultrastructure. Students in the organismal and population biology track may emphasize physiological ecology, population ecology, species interactions, community organization and dynamics, ecosystem dynamics, pollination and reproductive biology, and evolutionary biology. The horticulture and plant technology track focuses on coursework and research activity associated with plant biology as it relates to agriculture. A wide diversity of student interests is served by this track, from fundamental investigations of plant function at the molecular level to studies of how environment and biotic stress affect crop production. Students with interests in agricultural biotechnology, plant breeding and genetics, plant physiology, growth and development, and plant interaction with the environment are supported by this track. Among the issues that students in the plant pathology track may address are host/pathogen interactions, epidemiology and control of plant disease, plant virology, bacteriology, mycoplasmology, mycology, molecular biology of plant pathogenic or endophytic microorganisms, and biotechnology.
The master's degree without thesis requires 31 course credits and 1 credit for a paper. The master's degree with thesis requires 26 course credits, 6 research credits, and a research thesis. For the doctoral degree, 72 credits with a minimum of 32 course credits and a minimum of 34 research credits, a research thesis, and one academic year in residence are required. There is no language requirement. Prospective students are invited to visit the program's website or to write the program director for the Guide to Graduate Study in Plant Biology and the Faculty Research Interests. Both books provide additional information.
In addition to the graduate courses described below, consult those courses listed under biochemistry, ecology and evolution, environmental sciences, microbiology and molecular genetics, and statistics. Many advanced undergraduate courses (400 level) listed in the New Brunswick Undergraduate Catalog, the Camden Undergraduate Catalog, and the Newark Undergraduate Catalog may be used for graduate credit.