Interdepartmental Plant Sciences Program


Researchers tending plantsResearch and graduate programs in plant sciences include four academic units at the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture, namely the School of Biology and Ecology, the School of Food and Agriculture, the School of Forest Resources, the School of Marine Sciences, and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

Plant Science faculty members are involved in a wide range of basic and applied research topics, encompassing multiple levels of investigation from molecular and cellular to organismal, ecosystems and agro-ecosystems levels.

Bed of flowersBasic research topics include mechanisms of plant-microbe and plant-insect interactions, plant responses to environmental stresses, plant nutrition, and woody plant development, as well as other contemporary topics in ecology, systematics, evolution, and conservation.

Applied research topics include potato breeding, sustainable horticultural and field crop production, environmental horticulture, weed management, plant pathology and the utilization of plant products for food safety and human nutrition research.


Graduate Programs

Plant Science graduate students are trained through a number of departmental and interdepartmental degree programs.

Researcher clipping plantThe School of Biology and Ecology offers Ph.D. programs in Plant Sciences and Biological Sciences and M.S programs in Botany and Plant Pathology.  The Ph.D. program in Plant Sciences is an interdepartmental program, where students have the option to specialize in either basic or applied aspects of plant biology, usually focused on a mentor’s research program.  Students can also participate in the interdepartmental M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Ecology and Environmental Sciences, which trains individuals with interests in ecological level plant sciences.

The School of Food and Agriculture offers an M.S. in Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences and Horticulture, and also participates in interdepartmental Ph.D. programs in Plant Sciences, Biological Sciences, and M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Also offered is an M.S in Botany and Plant Pathology.

The School of Forest Resources offers Ph.D. and M.S. programs in Forest Resources and other interdepartmental programs including a Ph.D. in Plant Sciences and the M.S. and Ph.D. in Ecology and Environmental Sciences.

Degree Requirements for the Ph.D in Plant Sciences and M.S in Botany and Plant Pathology

Undergraduate and Graduate Courses

Plant Science Faculty Members


Undergraduate Programs

Student holding plantUndergraduate students wishing to specialize in plant science disciplines have a variety of options offered by the School of Biology and Ecology (B.S. Botany, B.A. Botany), School of Food and Agriculture (B.S. Environmental Horticulture, B.S. Sustainable Agriculture), and School of Forest Resources (B.S. Forestry, Forest Ecosystem Science).