PSAS Master's Requirements | Agricultural Sciences | SIU

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Program Requirements

The Master of Science degree major in Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems requires at least 30 (thesis option) or 40 (non-thesis option) semester hours of graduate-level classes.

Each master's degree candidate must pass a comprehensive oral examination covering graduate work, including the thesis or research paper.

A master's degree is awarded upon completion of required coursework with a grade of B or better.

  • The thesis option requires satisfactory completion of at least 30 hours of graduate credit. This includes at least 20 hours from structured courses.

At the 500 level, 15 hours of course credit are required, of which no more than 10 hours may be from unstructured courses.

Graduate seminar is required; but it is not a structured course. Overall, at least 15 semester hours must be from departmental courses.

  • The non-thesis option (research paper submission) requires satisfactory completion of at least 40 semester hours of graduate credit. At least 30 hours of that credit must be from structured courses.

At the 500 level, 18 hours of course credit are required, of which no more than 10 hours may be from unstructured courses.

Graduate seminar is required; but it is not a structured course. Overall, at least 25 semester hours must be from departmental courses.

Students who wish to teach in agriculture education must complete a minimum of:

  • 15 hours in agriculture (including agricultural education)
  • Six hours of research methods or statistics
  • Six hours in education or community development

M.S. students usually take four to six hours of research or thesis and complete the additional hours by taking courses in education or agriculture.

Every graduate student is assigned a mutually agreed-upon major professor to direct their program. The major professor will serve as chair of the student's advisory committee, which will consist of at least two members from within the department and may include one member from another department or program.

The graduate program requires supporting courses in education, communication, engineering, plant biology, microbiology, chemistry, statistics and other areas essential to research in the student's chosen field.

Supporting courses are selected on an individual basis by the student and the advisory committee. Once the general field has been selected, the research and thesis may be completed in any one of the many divisions of that field.