About the Plant Pathology Graduate Program

Become a part of a rich and illustrious history, and join current leaders in the field at one of the most diverse and celebrated graduate programs in plant pathology.

Focus on modern and holistic approaches to plant health through an interdisciplinary graduate program that advances global agriculture for the benefit of society and the environment. 

World-renowned faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and a friendly atmosphere on the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus provide an enriching graduate experience.

Discover your plant path

The graduate program in plant pathology offers a flexible course of study leading to M.S. and Ph.D that optimizes your graduate coursework to suit your interests and career goals. As a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, you will be engaged in interdisciplinary coursework focusing on modern and holistic approaches to solving plant health problems. You will learn the scientific discipline of plant pathology and develop independent and team research expertise.

Beyond the classroom and the lab, you will hone communication skills needed by professional scientists, gain practical experience through industry and international research internships, and prepare to join the next generation of educators through various teaching, extension, and outreach opportunities with stakeholders and constituents. You will also be part of a diverse student community that actively participates with and contributes to the university, the discipline, and the broader public through student groups and professional organizations.


Current Research Priorities

Plant Disease Biology and Disease Management

Our researchers are studying plant disease etiology, epidemiology, biology, and control. Significant research areas include fungal diseases of wheat and other small grains, soybean, corn, and forests. We also have significant emphases on plant virology, nematology, diseases of horticultural crops, and biocontrol of diseases in the agricultural setting.

Genetics, Genomics and Application of Plant Disease Resistance

Our researchers are working at landscape, field, whole plant, and molecular scales to understand plant responses to pathogens, to study the evolution of disease resistance in plants, and to identify and deploy genetic resistance for crop and forest protection. We are leading efforts to develop genomics, informatics, and phenomics methods to fully capitalize upon crop wild relatives for plant improvement in the face of a changing global climate. Our researchers are also studying the evolution of plant disease resistance genes as a function of pathogen diversity.

Microbial Biology, Pathogenomics and Microbiome research

Knowledge gained from the study of plant pathogens at the population and molecular levels is being translated into pathogen monitoring applications, improved crop genetics, and effective disease management strategies. Our current research recognizes that microbes other than pathogens can impact plant health, often in positive ways, and we are studying microbial population dynamics to understand both plant impacts on microbial communities and microbial community impacts on plant health.