Future Students

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Future Students: 

Plant pathology is an exciting field that combines knowledge from a variety of scientific disciplines to keep our plants healthy and productive. Visit the American Phytopathological Society to learn more about our field and its opportunities. The Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at Iowa State University has a simple mission: We benefit society by protecting and enhancing plant health. Please visit our About page to learn more about our department and Iowa State University.

Research in our laboratories range from applied field-based programs to basic fundamental science endeavors.  

Organisms of interest: Bacteria, Fungi, Nematodes, & Viruses

Areas of study: Pest Management and Detection; Modeling and Epidemiology; Ecology and Organismal Biology; Genetics, Cell and Molecular Biology, & Plant-Microbe Interactions. Visit our research page for more!

Useful links

ISU Plant Pathology Graduate Program

Inter Departmental Graduate Program
Undergraduate Program

For other questions, check out our FAQ's


How to Apply:
We suggest prospective graduate students contact a few faculty members that they would consider as their major professor/advisor before applying. This will help the student further understand the research interests of that faculty member, whether or not the faculty member has openings in their lab for a new student, and if the faculty member has funding to support a new student.

There are two routes students can take to join a laboratory in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology. Students can directly apply to the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology for either a Masters of Science (M.S.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Plant Pathology OR students can apply for study with one of Iowa State’s interdepartmental graduate programs and choose to conduct their research in a plant pathology laboratory.

  • Certain research labs require a stronger background in genetics, cell biology, molecular biology, bioinformatics, for example, Therefore, these labs prefer students whose graduate degree program requires more of those courses.
  • Contact prospective faculty members before applying to determine which is the best course of study for you.

To apply for a degree in Plant Pathology, visit the Graduate College Plant Pathology Application page to get started. All applications for graduate study are handled by the Graduate College.

Admission Requirements
Formal admission requirements are set by the Graduate College, and PLPM follows those minimum requirements.

Application Materials
All applications are processed through the Graduate College. Applications that meet the minimum requirements will then be forwarded to PLPM. 

  • Graduate College application form
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Statement of purpose - A letter describing the applicant's academic background, previous research experience, research interests, and career goals. 1-2 pages
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores
  • TOEFL scores (international, non-native English speaking students only)

When to Apply
For full consideration of fellowship opportunities, we suggest students submit their application by the following dates:

  • Fall Admission - January 15th
  • Summer Admission - January 15th
  • Spring Admission - August 1st

For more questions, contact the Graduate Program Coordinator:

Dai Nguyen 
515-294-7159
plantpath@iastate.edu