Academic Programs Catalog

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Graduate Study

Through its graduate programs, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources seeks to provide opportunities for advanced study, original research and supervised experience in teaching, coupled with a broadening of a student’s educational background.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources offers graduate study leading to the Master of Science degree in the following majors: agricultural, food and resource economics; animal science; biosystems engineering; construction management; community sustainability; crop and soil sciences; dietetics; fisheries and wildlife; food science; forestry; horticulture; human nutrition; packaging; plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology–crop and soil sciences; plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology–forestry; plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology–horticulture; plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology-plant biology; plant pathology; and sustainable tourism and protected area management. A master’s degree program is offered jointly with the College of Business. Qualified students may earn joint master’s degrees in forestry and business administration.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources offers graduate study leading to the Master of Arts degree in Environmental Design.

The Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree program with a major in urban and regional planning is offered through the College of Social Science. For information about that program, refer to the statement on the School of Planning, Design and Construction in the College of Social Science section of this catalog.

Students may complete a professional dietetics internship certificate program through the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree may be earned with majors in agricultural, food and resource economics; agricultural engineering; animal science; biosystems engineering; community sustainability; crop and soil sciences; entomology; fisheries and wildlife; food science; forestry, horticulture; human nutrition; human nutrition—environmental toxicology; packaging; planning, design and construction; plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology – crop and soil sciences; plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology—forestry; plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology—horticulture; plant breeding, genetics and biotechnology-plant biology; plant pathology; and sustainable tourism and protected area management.

The following dual Juris Doctor (J.D.) programs with Michigan State University College of Law are available through the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources: Michigan State University M.S. degree program with a major in Fisheries and Wildlife and Michigan State University College of Law J.D.; Michigan State University M.S. degree program with a major in Forestry and Michigan State University College of Law J.D.

The regulations and requirements presented here are the minimum for the college as a whole and must be fulfilled by all students in all departments. Any requirements not set forth herein or in university regulations are matters of departmental policy. Individual departments may have additional requirements beyond the minimum established for the college. Admissions to graduate programs may be limited by unit resources.

 


Graduate Specializations and Certificates

Students who are enrolled in master’s degree programs in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources may elect the master’s Specialization in Agribusiness.  For additional information, refer to the Specialization in Agribusiness Management statement in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics section of this catalog.

Students who are enrolled in master's and doctoral degree programs may elect the Graduate Certificate in Conservation Law. For additional information, refer to the statement on Graduate Certificate in Conservation Law in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife section of this catalog.

Students who are enrolled in master's and doctoral degree programs may elect the Graduate Certificate in Forest Carbon Science, Policy and Management. For additional information, refer to the statement on Graduate Certificate in Forest Carbon Science, Policy and Management in the Department of Forestry section of this catalog.

Students who are enrolled in doctoral degree programs in departments and programs emphasizing environmental science and policy may elect the Graduate Specialization in Environmental Science and Policy. For additional information, refer to the Graduate Specialization in Environmental Science and Policy statement in the College of Social Science section of this catalog.

Students who are enrolled in master’s and doctoral degree programs in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the College of Natural Science, and the College of Veterinary Medicine may elect the Graduate Specialization in Fish and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Conservation Medicine. For additional information, refer to the statement on Graduate Specialization in Fish and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Conservation Medicine.

Students who are enrolled in Master of Science degree programs in the departments of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Animal Science, Entomology, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Horticulture, and Packaging may elect a Specialization in Food Safety.  For additional information, refer to the statement on the specialization in the College of Veterinary Medicine section of this catalog.

Students who are enrolled in Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition may elect a Interdepartmental Specialization in Infancy and Early Childhood. For additional information, refer to the statement on Interdepartmental Graduate Specializations in Infancy and Early Childhood in the College of Social Science section of this catalog.

Students who are enrolled in Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs in the departments of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics; Fisheries and Wildlife; or Forestry may elect a Specialization in Environmental and Resource Economics. For additional information, refer to the statement on Interdepartmental Graduate Specializations in Environmental and Resource Economics.
 

 


Master of Science

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

Acceptance of an applicant is determined by the department in which the applicant wishes to do his or her major work, with the approval of the dean of the college, after consideration of the applicant's academic record, experience, personal qualifications, and objectives. Applicants who are admitted are classified in one of two groups: regular, for students who are fully qualified to undertake master's degree programs, or provisional, for students who have some remediable inadequacy of qualifications, or deficiency in subject matter preparation.

Normally an undergraduate grade–point average of 3.00 (B) or higher is required for admission to any status. Credits earned in regular or provisional status are acceptable as part of a student's degree requirements upon approval of the major professor and the dean.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree

PROGRAM. The student, in consultation with the major professor, develops the prescribed program of study. The program should be established at the earliest possible date, consistent with departmental requirements, and filed with the department and the dean. Two plans of study are available:
 
Plan A—Completion of a research program and preparation of a satisfactory thesis are required. Research credits must equal at least 6, but not more than 10.
 
Plan B—Preparation of a thesis is not required. The program may include research or special problems not exceeding 6 credits.
 
EXAMINATION. The candidate must pass a final examination on the program of study before a committee selected by the major professor and approved by the department chairperson, in accordance with University and departmental policy for Plan A and Plan B programs.

In case of a failure, the student may appear for reexamination at a time specified by the examining committee.

Academic Standards

FOR RETENTION. The major professor and department in which the student is majoring review and make a decision concerning the retention of any student failing to fulfill departmental requirements, and may dismiss a student at the end of any semester. Notice of dismissal from a departmental program is given to the student by the department chairperson, and the dean is notified of such action.

Residence

The student should spend at least one full semester in residence on campus. At least 8 credits excluding research must be taken in course work on the campus in East Lansing.

 


Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is granted for distinctive attainment by the student in a special field, as evidenced by a dissertation which shows independent and creative thought and by passing detailed examinations over the student's chosen fields.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

Acceptance of an applicant is determined by the department in which the applicant wishes to do his or her major work, with the approval of the dean of the college, after consideration of the applicant's academic record, experience, personal qualifications, and objectives. Applicants who are admitted are classified in one of two groups: regular, for students whose records and qualifications show that they are ready to pursue a course of study toward the doctorate, or provisional, for students who, although their previous work appears to have been at an acceptably high academic level, nevertheless lack some important requirements for the course of study they intend to follow toward the doctorate. Such deficiencies will often necessitate the completion of collateral courses for which credit will not be counted toward the degree.

Normally a grade–point average of 3.00 (B) or higher in all previous academic work is required for admission to regular or provisional status.

Admission is open to students with a master’s or bachelor’s degree or their equivalents; however, applicants meeting these requirements are not guaranteed admission into a doctoral program. Some departments may require completion of a master’s degree prior to admission into the doctoral program.

Credits earned in regular or provisional status are acceptable as part of a student's degree requirements upon approval by the guidance committee and the dean.

Examinations

COMPREHENSIVE. A comprehensive knowledge of the student's major and related fields must be demonstrated by examination, written or written and oral, to the guidance committee. If the student fails to pass, there may not be a reexamination until after one semester of additional work toward the degree is completed.

FINAL. The final oral examination, primarily in defense of the dissertation, is conducted by the guidance committee, supplemented, at the discretion of the dean, by two appointed faculty members. Other faculty members may attend at the chairperson's discretion. The final oral examination cannot be conducted before the dissertation is in the final form unbound.

Academic Standards

FOR RETENTION. The guidance committee and the department in which the student is majoring review and make a decision concerning the retention of any student failing to fulfill departmental requirements, and may dismiss a student at the end of any semester. Notice of dismissal from a departmental program is given to the student by the department chairperson, and the dean is notified of such action.

Residence

One year of residence after completion of the master's degree or its equivalent is required. This permits the student to work with and under the direction of the faculty, and to engage in independent and cooperative research utilizing university facilities. Normally, the year of residence will be made up of two semesters involving completion of at least 9 credits of graduate work each semester.

 


Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology - Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy

The interdepartmental graduate program in Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology is jointly administered by the departments of Crop and Soil Sciences, Forestry, Horticulture, and Plant Biology. Faculty who have been identified by the chairpersons of these departments are members of the Plant Breeding,  Genetics and Biotechnology Program. One member of the faculty is designated as the Coordinator and oversees the program.

The interdepartmental graduate program in Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology is designed to:

  1. Provide contemporary graduate education and training in the field of plant breeding and genetics, so that students may be prepared to teach, conduct independent research, and use modern technologies.
  2. Enable students to gain knowledge in the various disciplines that support plant breeding activities through course work in such fields as biochemistry, plant physiology, entomology, plant pathology, and food science.
  3. Provide an intellectual and resource environment conducive to graduate research.
  4. Foster an awareness of plant breeding and genetics programs in both the public and private sectors.

Master of Science

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

A student seeking admission to the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology program at the master's level must have completed a Bachelor of Science degree in a plant science or related field with an emphasis on plant breeding and genetics. A minimum grade–point average of 3.00 in courses in agricultural, biological, and physical sciences and an academic background sufficient to indicate probable success in the program are required.

To be considered for admission to the program, the student must be accepted as an advisee by a faculty member in the student's major department who is also a member of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology faculty. Admission to the program is by approval of one of the four participating departments, the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology faculty, and the Coordinator of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Program. In special cases, applicants with deficiencies in background courses may be admitted on a provisional basis. Such students will not be considered for advanced degrees until they have fulfilled the requirements for admission to regular status.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree

The student's guidance committee, selected in consultation with the student and the major professor at the time that the student is admitted to the program, plans the student's course of study with the student's particular interests, capabilities, and professional goals in mind. The student's guidance committee is composed of three faculty members; the student's major professor and at least one other person must be members of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology faculty. At least one member must be from a department other than the one that administers the student's major.

Only Plan A (with thesis) is available. The student is required to complete courses, learn research methodologies, and conduct thesis research pertinent to the plant species under study. The student must complete two credits of Horticulture 892, and two core courses as specified by the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology faculty. Credits in Master's Thesis Research (course number 899) must total at least 6 but not more than 10. One semester of teaching experience is also required. The student's program will be reviewed by the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology faculty. The degree is conferred upon recommendation of the department, the Coordinator of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Program, and the Dean of the college.

Doctor of Philosophy

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

A student seeking admission to the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology program at the doctoral level must have completed a Bachelor or Master of Science degree in the plant sciences with an emphasis on plant breeding and genetics. A minimum grade–point average of 3.00 is required.

To be considered for admission to the program, the student must be accepted as an advisee by a faculty member in the student's major department who is also a member of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology faculty. Admission to the program is by approval of one of the four participating departments, the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology faculty, and the Coordinator of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Program.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The guidance committee, selected in consultation with the student and the major professor at the time that the student is admitted to the program, plans the student's course of study with the student's particular interests, capabilities, and professional goals in mind. The student's guidance committee is composed of four faculty members; the student's major professor and at least one other person must be members of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology faculty. At least one member must be from a department other than the one that administers the student's major.

The student is required to complete courses, learn research methodologies, and conduct dissertation research pertinent to the plant species under study. The student must complete at least 12 credits in 800–level plant breeding and genetics courses including four credits of Horticulture 892, and two core courses as specified by the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology faculty. One semester of teaching experience is also required.

The student's program is subject to review by the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology faculty. The degree is conferred upon recommendation of the department, the Coordinator of the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Program, and the Dean of the college.



Graduate Specialization in Environmental Toxicology

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the College of Natural Science, and the College  of Veterinary Medicine administer the Graduate Specialization in Environmental Toxicology.  The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is the primary administrative unit.

The specialization is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in master's degree programs in the departments of Animal Science, Community Sustainability, Crop and Soil Sciences, Entomology, Fisheries and Wildlife, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Geological Sciences, Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation, Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, and Zoology.  The specialization is designed for students who are interested in combining study in their disciplines with study in environmental toxicology, and in applying their knowledge to solve environmental problems.

A faculty member who is in the department that administers the student's degree program and who is associated with the Specialization in Environmental Toxicology will serve as the student's academic advisor for the specialization.  The academic advisor will assist the student in planning a program of study that is related to the student's interests, capabilities, and professional goals.  With the approval of the department and college that administer the student's degree program, the courses that are used to satisfy the requirements for the specialization may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the master's degree.

Requirements for the Graduate Specialization in Environmental Toxicology

The student's program of study must be approved by the student's academic advisor for the specialization.  The student must meet the requirements specified below:

               
1. Have a grade–point average of at least 3.00 in the courses that are used to satisfy the requirements for the specialization.  
2. Complete the following courses (6 credits):  
  CSUS 846 Law of Environmental Regulation 3
  PHM 450 Introduction to Chemical Toxicology 3
3. Complete two courses from any of the five categories listed below (6 to 8 credits):  
  Environmental Dynamics  
  CSS 455 Environmental Pollutants in Soil and Water 3
  ENE 481 Environmental Chemistry: Equilibrium Concepts 3
  ENE 801 Dynamics of Environmental Systems 3
  ENE
821
Groundwater Hydraulics 3
  GLG 421 Environmental Geochemistry 4
  GLG 821 Aqueous Geochemistry 3
  MMG 425 Microbial Ecology 3
  ZOL 897 Ecosystem Ecology and Global Change 4
  Economics, Policy, and Law  
  AFRE 810 Institutional and Behavioral Economics 3
  AFRE 829 Economics of Environmental Resources 3
  CSUS 425 Environmental Impact Assessment 4
  Waste Management        
  ENE 483 Water and Wastewater Treatment 3
  ENE 487 Microbiology for Environmental Science and Engineering 3
  ENE 804 Biological Processes in Environmental Engineering 3
  Analytical Chemistry  
  CEM 835 Advanced Analytical Chemistry II 3
  CEM 836 Separation Science 3
  CEM 845 Structure and Spectroscopy of Organic Compounds 3
  Mechanisms of Toxicity  
  ANS 407 Food and Animal Toxicology 3
  BMB 960 Selected Topics in Biochemistry I 3
  FSC 807 Advanced Food Toxicology 3
  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 960 may be counted toward the requirements for the specialization only when the topic deals with environmental toxicology.  
4. Attend a minimum of six seminars in environmental toxicology.  

 


Graduate Specialization in Fish and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Conservation Medicine

The Specialization in Fish and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Conservation Medicine is designed to provide students with improved understanding of the likely consequences of increased contact between fish and wildlife, domestic animals and human populations for emergence and spread of infectious diseases. Students will gain a sound understanding of the basis of fish and wildlife disease, and an appreciation of the diagnostic and surveillance tools needed to move toward effective disease control among wild populations and ecosystems. Students will also obtain the skills that will enable them to work effectively within interdisciplinary and interagency teams to develop disease surveillance, control, and prevention plans.

The specialization which is administered by the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is available as an elective to master’s and doctoral students in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the College of Natural Science, and the College of Veterinary Medicine. Students enrolled in Plan A (thesis) master’s programs are encouraged to develop thesis topics which integrate their chosen discipline with the interdisciplinary focus integral to this specialization. It is designed for students who are interested in combining study in their disciplines with the study of fish and wildlife disease ecology and in applying their knowledge to the management of emerging and recurring disease in fish and wildlife populations and in ecosystems.

With the approval of the department or school and college that administers the student’s degree program, courses that are used to satisfy the requirements for the specialization may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the graduate degree program. The student’s program of study must be approved by the student’s academic advisor for the specialization.

Requirements for the Specialization in Fish and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Conservation Medicine

The student must:

               
1. Complete all of the following courses (10 credits):  
  FW 423 Principles of Fish and Wildlife Disease 3
  FW 423L Principles of Fish and Wildlife Disease Laboratory 1
  FW 463 Wildlife Disease Ecology 3
  FW 821 Conservation Medicine 3
2. Students must provide evidence of background and/or education in epidemiology and or quantitative methods. Typically, this background or education will be in the form of successful completion of one semester-long course in each of these areas. Course work taken prior to entering the graduate specialization can be used to satisfy this requirement. Waiver of this requirement requires review by the advisor for the specialization.  
3. Master’s and doctoral students will complete a thesis or dissertation reflecting the integration of the student’s discipline.  

 


Graduate Specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change

The Graduate Specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change is administered by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Social Science. The primary administrative unit for this specialization is the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The Graduate Specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change is available as an elective for students who are enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs at Michigan State University. The goal of this program is to provide graduate students from different academic backgrounds with analytical and methodological tools to address environmental issues from the perspectives of gender relations and social justice. Students will be encouraged to develop an understanding of global perspectives on environmental issues in view of local-global linkages. The program will prepare students to foster the growth of research, service, and interdisciplinary collaboration in the fields of gender and environmental studies and to increase knowledge of the relationships between gender and domestic and international environmental issues.

Persons who are interested in the specialization must contact the advisor for the Graduate Specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. To be admitted to the specialization, a student must have been admitted to a graduate program at Michigan State University.

With the approval of the department and college that administer the student’s degree program, courses that are used to satisfy the requirements for the specialization may also be used to satisfy the requirements for a master’s or doctoral degree.

Requirements for the Specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change

The student must complete a total of 12 credits:

               
1. Both of the following courses:  
  ANP 859 Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change: Methods and Application 3
  FW 858 Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change: Issues and Concepts 3
2. Two courses relevant to gender, justice and environmental change. These courses will be selected, with advisor approval, after consideration of a recommended list of courses, furnished by the advisor, from such fields as agricultural economics, anthropology, forestry, fisheries and wildlife, political science, resource development, sociology, social work, and women’s studies.  
  a. Policy course     3
  b. Elective course     3

 


Interdepartmental Graduate Specializations in Environmental and Resource Economics

The interdepartmental graduate specialization in environmental and resource economics is an elective for students in all graduate majors. The specialization is designed to:

  1. provide an opportunity for graduate students to obtain advanced training in the field of environmental and natural resource economics.
  2. develop an intellectual environment, which will foster the growth of research and public service in the area of environmental and natural resource economics.
  3. foster an understanding among graduate students of the career opportunities and professional responsibilities in the fields of environmental and natural resource economics.
  4. increase public awareness of environmental and natural resource problems and alternative solutions.

Students who elect this graduate specialization seek a high degree of proficiency in the economic analysis of environmental and natural resource problems. The specialization is suitable for graduate students who intend to specialize in this area of economic analysis, as well as for those who may have a departmental major in a non-economic aspect of the environment and natural resources, but who want to deepen their understanding of how economics influences their major area of study.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Social Science jointly administer the specialization. The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is the primary administrative unit. The faculty who participate in this specialization are drawn from the departments of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics; Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies, Economics; Fisheries and Wildlife; and Forestry.

Core faculty are selected by the chairpersons of the six participating departments. Each department designates one core faculty member to serve on a Coordinating Committee for the Specialization in Environmental and Resource Economics. The Coordinating Committee oversees the policies and program requirements adopted by the core faculty. Faculty members who comprise the core faculty may change with the mutual consent of the chairpersons of the departments, upon recommendation of the Coordinating Committee.

Requirements for the Specializations in Environmental and Resource Economics

Master's Students: The specialization consists of the completion of approximately 18 credits of resource economics and methods courses specified by the coordinating committee and approved by the core faculty. Credits in courses taken for the specialization may be counted toward the requirements for the student’s major at the discretion of the major department. At least one core faculty member serves on the student’s guidance committee.

Doctoral Students: The specialization consists of the completion of  approximately 24 credits of resource economics and methods courses, and passing a written examination. Course work is specified by the coordinating committee and approved by the core faculty. The examination committee consists of three core faculty members selected by the Coordinating Committee. Credits in courses taken to meet the requirements of the specialization may be used for a student’s major at the discretion of the student’s major department. At least one core faculty member serves on the student’s guidance committee. 


Agriculture and Natural Resources No-Preference Undergraduate Program

An Agriculture and Natural Resources no–preference program is offered for students selecting the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources but desiring to delay their choice of a specific field until a later date. The program is basic to all majors offered by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and permits the student flexibility with respect to major choice. Students may remain in this no–preference program until they attain junior standing, or they may select major preferences at any time prior to becoming juniors.