Graduate Studies

Master of Science/PhD in Agriculture with a concentration in Genetics

An opportunity is offered to the student who wishes to work toward a degree in Genetics. MSU offers a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Life Sciences with a concentration in Genetics and a Doctor of Philosophy in Life Sciences with a concentration in Genetics. The Genetics program is an interdisciplinary curriculum which utilizes the staff and facilities available in the various departments and colleges. A wide array of plant and animal material is available for genetic investigation. The student's complete program will be formulated in the department of his/her choice. Courses contributing to the major in genetics are listed below.


Minimum required TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score: of 500 PBT (173 CBT or 61iBT) or an IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems) score of 5.5. A written cooperative agreement with a major advisor prior to admission is essential.

Provisional Admission

A student who has not fully met the requirements stipulated by the University and the appropriate department for admission as a degree-seeking graduate student with provisional status. Such student must have as his or her initial objective advancement to regular status. A provisional student must receive a 3.00 GPA on the first 9 hours of graduate-level courses on the program of study taken at Mississippi State University (courses with an S grade, transfer credits, or credits earned with in Unclassified status cannot be used to satisfy this requirement) in order to achieve regular status. If a 3.00 is not attained, the provisional student will be dismissed from graduate study. While in the provisional status, the student is not eligible to hold a graduate assistantship.

Academic Performance

A candidate for a degree must average B or higher on all courses attempted for graduate credit after admission to the program. No grade under C will be accepted for graduate credit; thus, a student will be terminated if he or she obtains more than two grades below a C in courses taken for graduate credit or fails to obtain a C or better in any repeated course. With the approval of the graduate coordinator and the college dean, a student may retake one course per degree except for those approved for repeated credit (e.g. internships, special topics, individual studies, thesis, dissertation, etc.). Both courses will remain on the permanent transcript and both grades will be computed in final averages. This policy applies to all courses (even those not on the program of study) taken as a graduate student related to a specific program. Repeated courses must be taken at Mississippi State University. No additional program credit hours will be generated from a repeated course. Graduate students are not permitted to enroll for courses carrying pass/fail credit.


Individuals with a Bachelor of Science in the biological or physical sciences will be considered.

Master of Science

A comprehensive exam, 24 total hours of coursework, and a thesis (minimum of 6 hours) are required for completion of the thesis degree. A comprehensive exam and 30 total hours of coursework are required for the non-thesis degree. Specific courses and a graduate seminar class may be required as part of the 6 additional course credits in the non-thesis option as specified by the graduate committee. The students planning a major or minor in genetics should select the GNS prefix for each course when applicable.

Doctor of Philosophy

Written preliminary and oral comprehensive examinations, a dissertation, and coursework designated by the student's graduate committee, including 20 Research/Dissertation hours, are required for the doctor's degree.

  • M.A. Caprio, Assistant Professor, Entomology
  • D.J. Chevalier, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences
  • W.J. Diehl, Associate Dean and Professor, College of Arts and Sciences
  • D.M. Gordon, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences
  • L. Hanson, Associate Professor, Veterinary Medicine
  • J.N. Jenkins, Director, USDA-ARS
  • Din-Pow Ma, Professor, Biochemistry
  • J.C. McCarty Jr., Research Agronomist, USDA-ARS
  • Erdoğan Memili, Associate Professor, Animal and Dairy Sciences
  • F. David Peebles, Professor, Poultry Science
  • G.T. Pharr, Assistant Professor, Veterinary Medicine
  • N. Reichert, Professor and Head, Biological Sciences
  • D.E. Rowe, Professor, Experimental Statistics
  • Trent Smith, Assistant Professor, Animal and Dairy Sciences
  • T.P. Wallace, Associate Professor, Plant and Soil Sciences
  • W.P. Williams, Research Geneticist, USDA-ARS
  • D.A. Wise, Professor, Biological Sciences