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Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree

The basic requirements:

1. A student must exhibit evidence of mastery of a broad major field.  Such evidence is ordinarily provided by passing a general examination.

2. A student must prove an ability to complete a program of original research by preparing a dissertation embodying creative scholarship and by passing a rigorous final examination.

Graduate advisory committee:

The Ph.D. program is to be directed by a special Graduate Advisory Committee during the entire period of the student’s work toward the doctorate.  The Graduate Advisory Committee (minimally four members) should include at least one representative from the minor field, if a minor is selected.  Two members of the committee must be Full Members of the Graduate Faculty from the major department.  The Dean of the Graduate School or his representative may serve as an ex officio member.  All members of the special Graduate Advisory Committee are nominated by the Department Head and appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School who may make any changes deemed desirable.

Doctoral candidates may choose to earn a specified minor in a related discipline or take 15 credits in depth which will constitute an internal minor.  The approval of the candidate’s Graduate Advisory Committee is required for any minor.

Qualifying exam and program of study:

Once the student is admitted, the advisory committee will determine whether the student is qualified to continue in the Ph.D. program.  Criteria used to assess qualification may include an investigation of the student’s academic qualifications, strengths and weaknesses, professional goals, and likelihood of success in the graduate program.  Each student will be required to pass a comprehensive qualifying exam administered by the advisory committee no later than the end of the second semester of graduate study.  To help assure that the standardized mechanism is used to evaluate qualification, the Department Head or a faculty member designated by the Department Head shall serve as one of the examiners.  Qualification is determined by committee vote; two negative votes are sufficient to fail.  In the event of failure, the student must obtain qualification within the next semester in order to continue in the graduate program.

After meeting with the student, the advisory committee will be required to submit to the Graduate School for approval a planned “Program of Study” during the first or second semester after the student has been formally admitted.  If the student already has a Master’s degree, the “Program of Study” should be formulated during the first semester.  If the student is bypassing the master’s degree, formulation may be delayed until the second semester.

Dissertation research proposal:

The organization of a research project to be undertaken for a dissertation requires adequate planning and preparation.  To this end and before significant research efforts are expended, all Ph.D. candidates in the Plant Health program are required to submit a detailed research proposal to their Graduate Advisory Committee at least 10 days prior to a scheduled meeting.  The suggested format is that of the Agricultural Experiment Station Project Proposals.  The proposal should include an Introduction, Statement of Objectives, Relevant Literature, Materials and Methods, Justification, Likely Impact of Discoveries, Literature Cited, Budget, and a Signature Page for the candidate’s Graduate Advisory Committee members.

Dissertation:

The Ph.D. dissertation must be a contribution to scientific knowledge in the major field of study.  The dissertation must demonstrate a mastery of research techniques, ability to do original and independent research, and must show skill in formulating conclusions that in some way enlarge upon, or modify, accepted ideas.  The form and format of the dissertation must be in accordance with instructions available from the Graduate Records Office.

General examination:

A student becomes eligible to take the General Examination after demonstrating to his or her Graduate Advisory Committee adequate academic and professional aptitudes.  A request for a General Examination is submitted by the Department Head to the Graduate School at least 3 weeks prior to the proposed examination date.  This request must state the time and place proposed and the names of faculty member nominated to serve on the examining committee.  Under ordinary circumstances the nominated membership for the General Examination Committee will be the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee.  Any additions to or changes in the make-up of this committee must be approved by the Head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology and by the Dean of the Graduate School.

The General Examination is ordinarily the most comprehensive and most difficult test of the entire doctoral program.  In order for the student to pass this examination, there may not be more than one dissenting vote.  The General Examination may be oral, written, or both, and the minor department has the right to independently decide the form of its part of the examination.  The General Examination must be comprehensive enough to demonstrate the candidate’s competence over broad segments of the major field and to demonstrate a high degree of familiarity in one or more related fields.  The examination should be regarded as the culmination of a student’s program of course work.  In most cases, remaining time spent in obtaining a Ph.D. degree is to be devoted to concentrated work on the dissertation and preparation for the final thesis defense.

Final examination:

A Final Examination for the Ph.D. degree is administered to provide the student an opportunity to “defend” his or her dissertation.  Although questions may be asked concerning any topic generally related to the dissertation, Final Examinations usually focus on aspects of the dissertation research.

A request for a Final Examination must be submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School by the head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Crop Physiology at least 3 weeks prior to the proposed examination date and by the current semester deadline.  The application for a Final Examination must specify the major and minor fields, dissertation title, time and place proposed for the examination, and nominations for the examining committee.  The examining committee must have copies of the dissertation at least 2 weeks prior to the Final Examination.

Permission to hold the Final Examination will be granted by the Dean of the Graduate School only after all of the foregoing conditions have been satisfied and one academic year has elapsed since the student passed the General Examination.  “One academic year” in this case is the interval between a General Examination held early in one semester and a Final Examination held toward the close of the following semester.

The Dean of the Graduate School will approve the Final Examination Committee.  In most cases it will consist of the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee or a similarly constituted group to whom one or more additions may be made as representatives of the Graduate Faculty.

Certification requirements:

Upon passing the Final Examination, with not more than one member of the committee dissenting, and after submitting a dissertation in acceptable form to the Graduate School, the student will be certified to the LSU Board of Supervisors by the Dean of the Graduate School as having fulfilled all requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.  This certification will take place at the next commencement, at which time the degree is conferred.

Ph.D. Program in Plant Health Research Area in Plant Pathology

Required courses (Substitutions will be made for courses taken in the M.S. program, subject to approval by the student’s advisory committee):

  No. of Credit Hours
7052, Seminar – 2 credit hours1 2
PLUS:  One course from the following group2
 - PLHL 8900, Special Research Problem (Teaching Experience)
 - VED 7202, Systems of Teaching and Learning Styles
3
 -
VED 7205, Teaching in Higher Education
3

Subtotal

5
PLUS:  The following are required:  
 - PLHL 4054, Introductory Mycology
 - PLHL 7000, Phytonematology
 - PLHL 7011, Phytobacteriology
 - PHLH 7040, Plant Virology
4
4
4
4

Subtotal

16
PLUS:  A minimum of two (2) courses from the following group:  
 - PLHL 4001, Plant Disease Management and Control
 - PLHL 4014, Diseases of Economic Crops
 - PLHL 4018, Forest Insects and Diseases
 - PLHL 7003, Plant Disease Diagnosis & Control Practices
4
3
3
3

Subtotal

6 or 7
   

1All candidates are required to attend seminar (PLHL 7052) each semester that it is offered unless they have a class conflict.

2This is intended to broaden the graduate student's experience. Graduate students who previously have had teaching experience may with the approval of their advisory committee opt to take PLHL 8900, Special Research Problem in place of a teaching experience. It is intended that the Special Research Problem would be under the supervision of a faculty member other than the student's thesis advisor.

3This may be either a first-hand teaching experience or a student may serve as a teaching 'apprentice' who would be involved in class preparation and would observe but not actually teach a class. When the Program of Study is prepared, the student and committee, after consultation with the appropriate professor in charge, should specify what course will be taught and in what semester it will be taught. The 'apprentice' option and last two options allow a teaching experience for international students who are interested in teaching, but who have not met the English proficiency requirements for classroom instruction.

   
PLUS: A minimum of two (2) courses from the following group:  
 - PLHL 7032/7056, Advanced Mycology
 - PLHL 7051, Soilborne Plant Pathogens
 - PLHL 7080, Host-Parasite Interaction and Disease Resistance
 - PLHL 7083, Epidemiology and Crop Loss Assessment
4
3
3
3

Subtotal

6 or 7
   
PLUS: A minor or 15 credits of electives (at least two courses at the 7000 level1) ~15
PLUS: PLHL 9000, Dissertation Research - minimum of 9 credit hours 9

Total Credit Hours Required

53-59
   

Ph.D. Program in Plant Health Research Area in Crop Physiology

Additional prerequisites:     In addition to the general prerequisites for the curriculum, students doing research in Crop Physiology are required to have the courses specified for the M.S. program in Crop Physiology.

Required Courses:  
  No. of Credit Hours
7 courses at the 4000 level or above1 21
PLHL 7052, Seminar2 2
PLHL 7067, Selected Topics in Plant Physiology 2
PLHL 9000, Dissertation Research (minimum) 9

Subtotal

34
   
PLUS:  One course from the following group3  
PLHL 8900, Special Research Problem (Teaching Experience)4
HRE 7202, Systems of Teaching and Learning Styles4
HRE 7205, Teaching in Higher Education4
3
3
3

Subtotal

3
   
PLUS: A minor either in another PLHL program or in another Department ~15

Total Credit Hours Required

~52
   

1See the list of potential course electives listed under M.S. program, Crop Physiology research area. Those courses completed at the M.S. level may be applied to the fulfillment of the seven required courses. The program of study must meet the approval of the student advisory committee.

2All candidates are required to attend seminar (PLHL 7052) each semester that it is offered unless they have a class conflicts.

3This is intended to broaden the graduate student's experience. Graduate students who previously have had teaching experience may, with the approval of their advisor and advisory committee, opt to take PLHL 8900, Special Research Problem., in place of a teaching experience. It is intended that the Special Research Problem would be under the supervision of a faculty member other than the student's thesis advisor.

4This may be either a first-hand teaching experience or a student may serve as a teaching 'apprentice' who would be involved in class preparation and would observe but not actually teach a class. When the Program of Study is prepared, the student and committee, after consultation with the appropriate professor in charge, should specify what course will be taught and in what semester it will be taught. The 'apprentice' option and last two options allow a teaching experience for international students who are interested in teaching, but who have not met the English proficiency requirements for classroom instruction.

Minor in Plant Health area of concentration in Plant Pathology

  1. PLHL 4000 General Plant Pathology or equivalent

  2. Three additional Plant Pathology courses (one of which must be 7000 level) for at least 9 credit total

  3. PLHL 7052 (one credit of Plant Pathology Seminar)

Area of Concentration in Crop Physiology

PLHL 7061. Plant Growth and Development
PLHL 7063, Plant Metabolism
PLHL 7065, Transport Processes in Plants
PLHL 7067, (two credits of selected topics in Plant Physiology)

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Department of Plant Pathology & Crop Physiology
302 Life Science Building
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803 
(225) 578-1464
 

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