Prospective Students

Graduate Study in Plant Pathology and Microbiology at Iowa State University

Welcome to the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology! We're proud that our department is among the top-ranked ones in the United States and we're glad that you are interested in graduate study with us.  We would like to help answer any questions you have about coursework, degree requirements, and life in Ames, Iowa.

The Department of Plant Pathology & Microbiology (PLPM) offers Masters of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees.  Our faculty, staff and students are engaged in exciting research and educational programs that span the breadth of this multi-faceted discipline. Common areas of study include: 

  • Bacteriology
  • Mycology 
  • Nematology
  • Virology
  • Disease Management
  • Epidemiology

Some students’ degree programs blend two or more of the above-listed areas with related disciplines, providing broad-based training. Our graduate students conduct research in a wide variety of plant systems including grain and cereal crops fruits, vegetables, forestry, ornamental plants, greenhouse crops and more

REQUIRED courses for a degree in the Dept. of Plant Pathology & Microbiology

Course Offerings

Select courses are offered in alternative years (even or odd numbered):

Year Semester Class Course Number Syllabus / Description Instructor
Odd Spring Laboratory Methods PLP 590X PLP 590 Syllabus - Research Methods.pdf XB Yang
Odd Spring Virology     Allen Miller
Odd Spring Plant Pathogen Interactions PLP 506   Steven Whitham
Odd Spring Integrated Management of Tropical Crops PLP 511   Mark Gleason
Odd Summer Nematology (and Lab) PLP 574 (L)   Felicitas Avendano
Odd Fall Epidemiology PLP 543   Forrest Nutter
Odd Fall Seed Pathology (with Lab) PLP 594 (L)   Gary Munkvold
Even Spring Plant Pathogenic Fungi PLP 512X   Mark Gleason
Even Spring Bacterial-Plant Interactions PLP 577   Gwyn Beattie
Even Spring Seed Health Management PLP 592   Gary Munkvold
Even Summer Field Pathology PLP 691 PLP 691 Syllabus - Field Plant Pathology.pdf XB Yang
Even Summer Extension Experience PLP 590X PLP 590 Syllabus - Extension Experience.pdf Alison Robertson and Daren Mueller
Even Fall Molecular Biology of Plant-Pathogen interactions PLP 692   Steven Whitham
Even Fall Principles of Integrated Disease Management PLP 540X PLP 540x Syllabus - Principles of Integrated Disease Management.pdf Forrest Nutter
Even Fall Ecologically Based Pest Management Strategies PLP 530   Mark Gleason
All Every Principles of Plant Pathology (cross-listed) PLP 508 (408)   Nick Peters
Varies Varies Colloquium in Plant Pathology PLP 694   Varies

A complete list of courses can be found in the ISU Course Catalog.

For more information please see the Plant Pathology Graduate Student Handbook and the Iowa State University Graduate Student Handbook.


Application Dates 

Applications are due January 15th each year for full consideration.

Application information from the Graduate College.

For information please contact us:

Graduate Program Coordinator: Dai Nguyen
Phone: 515/294-7159


Interdepartmental Graduate Programs

In addition to our graduate program in Plant Pathology, students can earn degrees in interdepartmental programs such as; Bioinformatics and Computational BiologyEcology and Evolutionary BiologyGeneticsMolecular, Cellular and Developmental BiologyPlant PhysiologyMicrobiology; Sustainable Agriculture and Toxicology while conducting research with one of our faculty. 


Undergraduate Study in Microbiology

The Plant Pathology and Microbiology Department also co-administers the Interdepartmental Undergraduate Program in Microbiology.   


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