Academic Program

Introduction to Requirements for the Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Program

You were selected as a graduate student because of your accomplishments and expressed desire for further educational and research experiences. Many facets of graduate study are not identified in the MSU Academic Programs book. It indicates only the requirements necessary for a minimum level of accomplishment. Graduate training involves learning through research, teaching, and extension/outreach experiences as well as courses in a total program of education developed specifically for you.

Students entering graduate school must assume responsibility for maximum personal development through their own learning efforts. Formal learning situations such as classes and thesis development are important, but in themselves do not provide the intellectual maturity needed for degree completion and post-degree responsibilities. Students are expected to develop more fully on their own initiative through individual study and thought, interaction with other students and faculty, and by taking advantage of other learning opportunities that are a part of their academic environment.

Though certain minimum requirements must be satisfied, a student, under the direction of their major advisor and guidance committee, is given wide range and latitude in developing programs, it is important that he/she accept the responsibility for making early and thoughtful decisions with regard to total program content. Though program changes may be required at a later date, it is important that the overall direction of a graduate student's program including research be developed at an early date.

Semester breaks should find you actively engaged in research, literature reviews, and related endeavors. If you are on an assistantship, you must clear any time off with your major professor. Graduate education is a full time commitment.

Policies regarding graduate education are established at university, college, department, and program levels. As a result, there is no single complete policy statement. Thus, this handbook brings these policies into focus and clarifies many important points.

Policy precedence proceeds from university to college to department to program to committee. Program policies are established to insure the best graduate education possible. This policy system reflects the true nature of the University and places more responsibility on the department, program, student, major advisor, and guidance committee.*

Please study carefully the contents of this handbook as the information will be important to you as you pursue your goal of an advanced degree from MSU. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your major advisor.

*The general University and College requirements for graduate programs and information concerning graduate school are found at the Michigan State University Graduate School web page: The web page should be consulted even though many of the relevant university and college requirements are included herein. This document is intended to establish policy guidelines to clarify college and university requirements and to relate certain additional requirements with respect to graduate education in the Plant Breeding and Genetics Program.

For Further Information:

Program Guide for the Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Program