Welcome to the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University. With expertise ranging from ecosystems services and disease management, to plant breeding, genomics, and food safety, we provide leadership and deliver programs that are internationally recognized and respected and have impact at local, national, and international levels. To provide this leadership, we work in an interdisciplinary and collaborative manner to effectively address complex problems and emerging threats that challenge food production and security. Above all, we value our missions of teaching, extension/outreach, research, international, service, and stewardship.   We are home to 70 faculty, 100  graduate students, 86 post-docs and staff members, and 200 undergraduate and certificate students.

For more information see our mission statement.

Dissertation Completion Fellowships



Career Opportunity  - Sugarbeet Systems Research and Extension Specialist

The Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences is now looking for applicants for a Sugarbeet Systems Research and Extension Specialist (Fixed Term (12-month 100% basis) appointment.)   The position entails 50% Extension and 50% Research.   Details on the position and how to apply can be found here:  Sugarbeet Research and Extension Position.

Temporary and Student Jobs:

The MSU Potato Outreach Program is seeking a qualified applicant to assist with collection of data in on-farm variety trials and research projects located at the Montcalm Research Center. Daily activities will revolve around harvesting research plots and collecting data on crop yields and quality. The position will also provide opportunity for the right candidate to learn about commercial potato production and on-farm research in Michigan.  Download Job description to learn more. 

Additionally, the MSU Potato Outreach Program is seeking 2-3 undergraduate research aides to assist with fall harvesting operations, grading, and data collection. Daily activities will revolve around collecting data on potato yields and quality. The position will also provide undergraduates hands-on research experience learning about commercial potato production and on-farm research in Michigan.

Meet an Alumnus: Dr. Joseph Byrum

''A degree from the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences gave notable alum Joseph Byrum the essential analytical and intellectual tools to succeed in a growing biotechnology industry.  

Byrum credits PSM’s emphasis on strategic thinking to his success in his role as Syngenta’s global head of product development.

“The balanced curriculum grounded in quantitative training provide the background to succeed,” Byrum said.

[Read more about Joseph Byrum]

Teaching, Research, Extension/Outreach

Featured Students



Name: Brianna Wiemer

Hometown: Tecumseh, MI

Adviser: Erin Bosch

What is your Major or Certificate Program? Ag Industries

Why did you choose that major or program? I chose Ag Industries because it would give me a chance to come to my dream school, but also give me the time to figure out what I want to do for my future. 

[Read more about Brianna]



Name: Madeline Henrickson

Hometown: Hopkins, MI

Crop and Soil Sciences Concentration: Agronomic Sciences

Adviser: Susan Gruber

Why did you choose this major and concentration? Growing up on a 1,000-acre cash crop farm has allowed me to explore the possibilities and opportunities that agronomy offers.

 [Read more about Madeline Henrickson]

Graduate Program

Kyle Mcarthy in a suit and pink colored tie.

Name: Kyle McCarthy

Hometown: Zionsville, Indiana

Major Professor: Dr. Eric Olson

In what lab do you work in and what are you researching? I work in the wheat breeding and genetics laboratory. Our work seeks to produce improved wheat varieties for Michigan farmers by identifying sources of disease resistance, improved quality, and higher yields.

 [Read more about Kyle McCarthy]