The Michigan State University Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences is actively engaged in research, extension, teaching and outreach to resolve the critical agricultural issues that impact the people of Michigan, the United States and the World.
For more information see our mission statement.
Programs we offer:
Masters of Science
In the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences include:
An Agronomy Minor is available for students in other majors.
Crop and Soil Science majors also may minor or specialize in other interest areas. These include:
Two Year Certificates
After completion, that can qualify you for a great paying job or upward mobility within your current place of employment:
All our undergraduates and graduate students enhance their knowledge and skills through internships or working in research labs. After they complete their programs, they are highly sought out by employers and our alumni hold vast and varied positions in private corporations, universities, government agencies and non profit research institutes, the positions past graduates hold include:
- Golf Course Groundskeeper / Golf Course Superintendent
- Agronomic Technicians / Agribusiness Managers / Crop Advisor
- Research Technicians / Researcher / Extension Specialist / Professor / Plant Diagnostician
Westland, MichiganMajor Professor:
Dr. Joseph M. Vargas Jr.
In what lab do you work in and what are you researching? Turfgrass Pathology. My research is focused on characterizing a new bacterial disease on golf courses. The disease is caused by a pathogen (Acidovorax avenae) our lab identified a few years ago for the first time on turfgrass. The project involves not only field studies, but growth chamber, greenhouse, and lab experiments aimed at the basic epidemiology and molecular identification of this enigmatic problem on creeping bentgrass.
Future career plans: I aspire to continue to solve the most pressing problems facing the turfgrass industry through research and outreach. Luckily, there are many opportunities to pursue my passion for turfgrass science and pathology in both academic and private industry positions.
What program are you in? I am in the Plant Pathology program within the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences.
Why did you choose that program? Working on golf courses at an early age, I realized just how devastating plant pathogens can be to a beautiful stand of turfgrass, as well as a constrained maintenance budget. As my responsibilities grew, I found that a vast majority of my time was spent scouting and managing fungal diseases. The opportunity to conduct meaningful research related to disease management on turf made my choice of plant pathology an easy one.
What or who inspired your interest in Turfgrass Pathology?
The golf course superintendents that I have worked under in the past initially piqued my interest in agronomy and plant pathology in general. Dr. Vargas has played an integral role in molding my passion for plant pathology and has allowed me the freedom as a graduate research assistant to address some unique and interesting problems.
What has been your best experience in your program listed above? It would be difficult to choose one experience. My best experiences have been the culmination of all of the opportunities I have been given. Not only has my research rewarded me with a valuable skill set, the results have had wide reaching impacts in the turf industry. I have had chances to speak at conferences around the world, and to even teach turf management in China. All of these experiences would likely not have been offered to me if I did not join the graduate program in plant pathology at Michigan State University.
Why did you choose Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences?
Plant pathology is so multi-disciplinary, I felt the latitude the department offered to an aspiring researcher would broaden my experiences as well as my eventual career prospects. The discipline allows students to pursue research projects in a wide array of agricultural settings employing principles of agronomy, soil science, plant biology, microbiology, ecology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and beyond. This diversity of topics and convergence of research interests is what inspired me to choose Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences.
: Trent M. Limban
Dr. John Rogers IIIWhat is your Major, or Certificate Program?
Golf Turf ManagementWhy did you choose that major or program? MSU
turf has a very rich history of being an elite program in the area of turf management.
Future plans: After graduation I would like to become an assistant superintendent at a high level golf facility.
What or who inspired your interest in your program? My love for the outdoors and my blue collar hard work ethic.
What has been your best experience in discipline listed above?
My best experience has been the education and training I have received at MSU
. Also, the bonds and relationships I’ve developed with other students has been very rewarding and a vital part of my success here at Michigan State. Why did you choose Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences?
Tradition and excellence of the program and my love for the outdoors.