M.S. & Ph.D. in
Crop, Soil &
Environmental
Sciences

Building the foundation for the world’s largest industry

The Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences Department offers three graduate degrees — the Master of Agriculture, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy — as well as a graduate certificate in crop and soil science. The M.Ag. and M.S. degrees are also offered online through our college’s distance online program. 

Graduate training in this department enables outstanding students to achieve a high level of scholarly attainment in the soil, crop and environmental sciences. Within these broad areas, research training and experience may be gained in the specialized fields of soil fertility and plant nutrition; soil chemistry; soil genesis, morphology and classification; soil mineralogy; soil physics; soil microbiology; plant breeding and genetics; weed science; forage, fiber, bioenergy and grain crop production; crop ecology; environmental quality; and turfgrass management. 

Master’s, Doctoral & certificate Programs

The information below is a brief description of Master and Doctoral Programs in Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences offered by our department.

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (PH.D.)

The Doctor of Philosophy in crop, soil and environmental sciences is conferred in recognition of the mastery of the field of learning as shown by the satisfactory completion of a prescribed course of study and investigation, the successful passing of general examinations covering the major and minor fields, the preparation of an acceptable dissertation reflecting high achievement in scholarship and independent investigation, and the passing of a final examination on the dissertation and related subjects. 

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Students graduating from the Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Ph.D. program will be able to: 

  • Explain and discuss in-depth fundamental principles in one of the following: plant breeding and genetics, weed science, crop production and management, forage production and utilization, turfgrass management, soil physics, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, soil classification and genesis, soil erosion and conservation, soil fertility and nutrient management, or water science.  
  • Review and synthesize scientific literature to objectively and critically understand the state of knowledge about their particular field. 
  • Formulate research questions and testable hypotheses.  
  • Design and implement experiments to answer a research question.  
  • Analyze and interpret data objectively and draw appropriate evidence-based conclusions. 
  • Articulate the subject matter of their specialization effectively through oral communication.  
  • Articulate the subject matter of their specialization effectively through written communication. 

CURRICULUM & REQUIREMENTS

This is a research degree. It is not conferred merely upon fulfillment of technical requirements but awarded in recognition of the ability to think and work independently, originally, and creatively in a chosen field.  

Within the total 60 hours required beyond the B.S. degree, at least 18 hours must be completed at Auburn University, 30 hours must be at or above the 6000 level, and 6 hours must be at or above the 7000 level in the major area of study. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE COURSE CURRICULUM 

Master of Science Degree (M.S.)

The Master of Science in crop, soil and environmental sciences places emphasis on both knowledge gained through classroom training and through research. It prepares candidates for careers in the public and private sector in a wide variety of related fields. 

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Students graduating from the Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Master of Science program will be able to: 

  • Explain and discuss fundamental principles in one of the following areas: plant breeding and genetics, weed science, crop production and management, forage production and utilization, turfgrass management, soil physics, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, soil classification and genesis, soil erosion and conservation, soil fertility and nutrient management, or water science. 
  • Review and synthesize scientific literature to objectively and critically understand the state of knowledge about their particular field. 
  • Select and perform appropriate methods necessary to answer a research question. 
  • Analyze and interpret data objectively and draw appropriate evidence-based conclusions. 
  • Articulate the subject matter of their specialization effectively through oral communication. 
  • Articulate the subject matter of their specialization effectively through written communication. 

CURRICULUM & REQUIREMENTS

The M.S. in crop, soil and environmental sciences can be earned only under the thesis option where importance is placed on both classroom and research training. The M.S. requires a minimum of 30 semester hours at or above the 6000 level of which 6 hours of thesis research and 2 hours of seminar are included.

The student’s advisory committee along with the student determines the course of study. In addition, the student must complete research, a written thesis and an oral defense examination of the thesis research. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE COURSE CURRICULUM 

Master of Agriculture Degree (M.ag.)

    The Master of Agriculture in crop, soil and environmental sciences places greater emphasis on knowledge obtained in the classroom versus that gathered in research. It is offered as a non-thesis degree and prepares students for careers in secondary education, cooperative extension, agribusiness and other professions. 

    LEARNING OUTCOMES

    Students graduating from the Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Master of Agriculture program will be able to: 

    • Explain and discuss fundamental principles in one of the following areas: plant breeding and genetics, weed science, crop production and management, forage production and utilization, turfgrass management, soil physics, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, soil classification and genesis, soil erosion and conservation, soil fertility and nutrient management, or water science. 
    • Review and synthesize scientific literature to objectively and critically understand the state of knowledge about their particular field. 
    • Articulate the subject matter of their specialization effectively through oral communication. 
    • Articulate the subject matter of their specialization effectively through written communication. 

    CURRICULUM & REQUIREMENTS

    The M.Ag. in crop, soil and environmental sciences, earned under the non-thesis option, places more emphasis on classroom training over a broader range of subject matters. The M.Ag. requires at least two additional graded courses that replace thesis research hours. An oral defense of course subject matter is required and students must register for GRAD 7000 during the semester the exam is taken. M.Ag. students must write a professional paper as part of a special problems course and present an exit seminar on this paper. 

    CLICK HERE FOR THE COURSE CURRICULUM 

    graduate certificate

      The Graduate Certificate in Crop and Soil Science offered by the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences is for students who hold a bachelor’s degree but do not necessarily want to complete a full master’s degree. It’s perfect for students who need coursework for continuing education or test prerequisites.

      A Certificate in Crop and Soil Science improves preparedness for careers in both the public and private sectors.

      CURRICULUM & REQUIREMENTS

      The certificate can be obtained by taking 15-hours of on-campus or online coursework in the areas of crop, soil, and environmental sciences. This program is highly flexible and allows students to tailor their studies to meet their own academic, career and research goals.

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      Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences
      201 Funchess Hall
      Auburn University, AL 36849
      +1 (334) 844-4100