Horticulture & Agronomy PhD Program
Hort & Agronomy Graduate Group
The Ph.D. program is structured to meet the needs of a diverse student body whose
unifying characteristic is an interest in the application of biological principles
to the solution of problems in crop production and resource management. Two
primary objectives of the curriculum are to foster a sense of community among the
students and to provide them with a breadth of knowledge about agronomic and
horticultural principles and how they are used in a variety of practices.
Areas of Emphasis
Students will be aligned into one of five areas of emphasis - Agroecology,
Crop Improvement, Crop Production Systems, Plant Physiology, and Post-harvest
Biology/Physiology - and pursue projects in these cropping systems: Agronomy,
Environmental Horticulture, Pomology, Vegetable Crops, Viticulture, and Weed Science.
A wide range of study areas can be pursued including: Biotechnology, Breeding
and Genetics, Crop Physiology, Floriculture, Horticulture, Integrated Pest
Management, Landscape Horticulture, Modeling and Quantitative Systems Analysis,
Nursery Production, Plant Growth and Development, Plant Nutrition, Post-harvest
Biology and Technology, Precision Agriculture, Revegetation/Restoration, and
Water Relations. In addition, students can become involved in Designated
Emphasis programs such as Biotechnology.
Required and Recommended Courses
The Ph.D. curriculum requires that all students take a series of lecture,
seminar, and laboratory courses that develop a breadth of understanding of basic
principles within their area of emphasis. Each student will consult with a
Guidance Committee (graduate academic adviser, major professor supervising the
student's research program, and one other faculty member) during the first, third,
and fifth quarters in order to arrange a program of courses in the student's
area of emphasis. Service as a Teaching Assistant is recommended, although
not a requirement of the program.
In addition to completing any pre-requisite courses deficiencies, students will
be required to take 16 units of graduate level Core Courses and a minimum of 3
courses (totaling at least 9 units) exclusive of seminar and research units
(e.g., 290, 299) in his/her area of emphasis, of which 2 (minimum of 6 units)
must be at the graduate level.
Guidance Committee Report -
for first, third, and fifth quarter meetings with Guidance Committee. After each
meeting, return signed form to Lisa Brown, 1224 PES.
Ph.D. Core Requirements
||Integrative Horticulture and Agronomy - Principles
||Research Perspectives in Horticulture and Agronomy
||Integrative Horticulture and Agronomy - Practices
| PLS 205
||Experimental Design and Analysis
| PLS 206
||Applied Multivariate Modeling in Agricultural
and Environmental Sciences
In addition, PhD students must take another seminar class and give an exit
Area of Emphasis Courses
Your Guidance Committee will work with you to select the courses for your
particular Area of Emphasis; see
Suggested Courses List by Course and Suggested
Courses by QE Topic for examples of courses that might be used. Other classes from the
UC Davis Catalog may also be selected.
Upon completion of all coursework requirements for the Ph.D. degree in
Horticulture and Agronomy, the student must pass an oral qualifying examination
administered by a five-member faculty committee. The student may suggest committee
members with the advice of her/his Graduate Adviser, but the committee is nominated
by the Advising Committee and appointed according to Graduate Council procedures.
The exam is designed to test the student's mastery of the breadth of Agronomy or
Horticulture and expertise within their Area of Emphasis. The exam will consist
of a presentation of the student's research proposal, followed by questions from
the Core and Required Courses in the student's area of emphasis.
More on Qualifying Exam
The focus of a Plan B Ph.D. degree is an original research project, culminating
in a dissertation and a required exit seminar presentation before final action
can be taken (dissertation signed). The research project is supervised, and the
dissertation is evaluated and approved by a committee of three faculty members,
chaired by the student's major professor.
Time to Degree
Students generally take 4 to 6 years to complete a PhD degree in the sciences at UC Davis, including students in Horticulture & Agronomy. The coursework usually only takes two to two-and-a-half years, but the length of research projects varies, depending on the type of research the student is doing.
Sample timeline for PhD students