Plant Sciences


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UPRM Collaborative Program

Plant Breeding and Genetics

A collaborative PhD program between the Department of Plant Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources at North Dakota State University and the Departments of Agronomy and Soils, and Horticulture at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez.


  • To encourage agriculture students from UPRM to pursue graduate studies and careers in agricultural research.
  • To provide a means for faculty at UPRM to mentor PhD graduate students.



  • NDSU offers an outstanding opportunity for students to pursue graduate studies in plant breeding and genetics.
  • NDSU is among the top ten U.S. institutions training plant breeders.
  • NDSU’s program emphasizes classical plant breeding along with the use of biotechnology as a breeding tool.
  • Graduates of the NDSU Plant Breeding program are in high demand.
  • Students will have access to both NDSU and UPRM faculty and facilities to enhance their learning experience.
  • Students will have an opportunity to broaden their research experience by working in both temperate and tropical environments.


How it works

  • NDSU will grant the degree.
  • Students are required to spend a minimum of one continuous full year on the NDSU campus.
  • Students will be encouraged to conduct a portion of their dissertation research at UPRM.
  • Students will be provided with office and laboratory spaces as required at either campus.
  • An NDSU faculty member from the Department of Plant Sciences serves as the student’s primary mentor.
  • Students will have a UPRM faculty co-chair.
  • At a minimum, students must travel to the NDSU campus for the full year of residence requirement and attend their oral and qualifying exams.


Admission requirements

A Master’s degree in plant breeding or related area is required to apply to be a student for this degree.

  1. Students must submit a completed NDSU Graduate School application ( Requirements include:
    • Master’s degree from an accredited university with a minimum GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale
    • Minimum requirements in GRE and TOEFL tests
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Application and processing fees
  2. Students should indicate they are applying to the NDSU-UPRM Plant Sciences Collaborative PhD program on their NDSU application form.
  3. Students having TOEFL scores below minimum may be considered for admission on a probationary status.
  4. Students must be accepted into the NDSU Department of Plant Sciences PhD program.
  5. Before carrying out research or undertaking courses at the UPRM, a student must be accepted in either the Department of Agronomy and Soils or the Department of Horticulture at UPRM as a “visiting graduate student” registering in any regular course.

Additional information: or


PhD requirements

To complete the PhD degree, students must fulfill the same graduate school and departmental requirements as all other NDSU Department of Plant Sciences PhD candidates.  For details, see the Plant Sciences Graduate Student Handbook PhD section.

Students will be encouraged to come to NDSU early in their PhD program to satisfy the NDSU one year continuous residence requirement and to take courses in preparation for the written and oral PhD comprehensive exams.

Approved courses can be taken at UPRM, while a student is conducting their research in Puerto Rico.


Student costs

  • Students will not be encouraged to apply to this program without an agreement of participation from a UPRM faculty member and an assurance of funding from a UPRM or NDSU faculty member.
  • Student's research, assistantship and travel costs will be the responsibility of the student’s co-chairs.
  • Students with assistantships or fellowships will receive an NDSU tuition waiver.

UPRM Mandatory Fees

  • Students are required to pay a small registration fee to UPRM while in residence at the NDSU campus.
  • Students are required to pay for health insurance while in residence at UPRM.
  • While at UPRM, students may register in a “Doctoral Research for Collaborative Agreement,” which carries a flexible 0-9 credit hour load and tuition fees.


Faculty participation

  • One faculty member each from NDSU and UPRM will serve as co-chair of the student’s dissertation committee.
  • The NDSU faculty co-chair will work closely with the PhD student serving as their primary mentor and supervising their research.
  • UPRM faculty serving as co-chair of a student’s dissertation committee must be associate members of the NDSU Graduate Faculty.
  • Other UPRM faculty can serve on the student’s dissertation committee, however, they do not need to need to apply for graduate faculty status at NDSU.
  • Collaborative research between NDSU and UPRM faculty will be encouraged.
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