Graduate Education

General Information

The School of Plant, Environmental & Soil Sciences (SPESS) offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science (M.S.) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Plant, Environmental Management and Soil Sciences (PEMSS). There are three optional areas of concentration within the degree programs: Agronomy, Horticulture, and Soil Science.  Graduate minors in Agronomy and in Horticulture are also offered by the School for students in other programs.

For more information on the M.S. and Ph.D. programs see Plant, Environmental Management, and Soil Sciences Graduate Programs  in the LSU catalog (current students should follow the requirements in place when they entered the program unless they have petitioned to change to the new program).

Application guidance can be found at  LSU Graduate School Application Information. Applications can be started on the the appropriate page listed on the information page.


Don LaBonte, Director

Maud Walsh, Graduate Advisor

Sheila Rohwer, Graduate Administrative Assistant

TELEPHONE (225) 578-2110 or (225) 578-2158
FAX (225) 578-1403 or (225) 578-0396


Course descriptions are available through Course Search in the LSU Catalog.  The School of Plant, Environmental and Soil Sciences offers classes in Agronomy (AGRO), Environmental Management Systems (EMS) and Horticulture (HORT). Graduate classes are 4000 and above.

Financial Aid

Both teaching and research assistantships are offered by the department. Students holding teaching assistantships may assist in the teaching of a course, or teach one to two laboratory sections. Research assistants are required to work up to 20 hours per week. Students are assigned to supervisors who may or may not be their major professors. Professors with grant funds may elect to provide assistantship awards higher than the minimal levels.


This department includes 59 research laboratories, plus numerous student and faculty offices, eight classrooms, and teaching laboratories. All laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art multimedia facilities. Graduate students have access to a modern computer laboratory with Internet access. Students are encouraged to attend professional meetings. Their travel expenses to these meetings are usually paid by grant funds. Field work may be conducted within the Baton Rouge area at the Central Research Station. In addition, field research may be conducted on one or more of 17 branch stations or on commercial farmer fields when appropriate.