Graduate Studies

We are pleased you are considering the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Washington State University for your graduate studies! Whether you are interested in pursuing a Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy degree, you will find dedicated and caring faculty, staff, and students ready to welcome you to our program.

Who we are and what we study:

We offer MS and PhD degrees in Crop Science and Soil Science, with the ability to focus research in a variety of specialized areas within each discipline. Current research foci in Crop Science include plant breeding, genomics, molecular genetics, grass management, and weed science.  We work with wheat, forages, barley, alternative grains (quinoa, spelt, oats), grain legumes, brassicas and turf. The Soil Science program features research in biogeochemistry, microbiology, nutrient management, the rhizosphere and vadose zone hydrology. Crop and Soil Science faculty also lead collaborative research on organic, sustainable and precision agriculture and cropping systems. Program options in human dimensional areas include agricultural education and rural sociology.

Currently home to 33 faculty members, and over 50 graduate students, the department can ensure great one on one faculty-student contact. Our graduate student population is ~60% Crop Science and 30% Soil Science students, 40% of whom are international students.

We have many research projects in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS), in addition to research being conducted in association with other universities. Research infrastructure includes state-of-the-art laboratories and greenhouse facilities, and research farms located in Pullman, as well as throughout the state at four Research and Extension Centers. Graduate students gain valuable skills and knowledge working side by side with faculty members and research staff and play an integral role in the advancing research on local to globally-relevant problems and opportunities. Students also have the opportunity to gain leadership, communication, and instructional experience by serving as teaching assistants and participating in leadership and professional development opportunities offered by the department, college and university.

Financial support:

Qualified students typically receive competitive teaching or research assistantships. These assistantships provide non-resident and resident tuition waivers, paid health insurance, and stipends to help cover living expenses.  U.S. citizens who apply with outstanding academic credentials are also eligible for the prestigious ARCS fellowship, in addition to a regular assistantship. The department regularly awards over $30,000 in competitive scholarships to all graduate students.

How to apply:

A detailed, step-by-step guide to applying for our programs is here. The priority application deadline is January 10 for fall term and July 1 for spring term.

Acceptance of graduate students depends not only on qualifications expressed in your application but also on the availability of funding and an advisor in the area of interest. Positions are limited and students are individually selected by faculty members with matching interests who have an opening for a graduate student.  A completed application is an effective and essential tool for faculty consideration of prospective students.

More Study Options

  • MS in Agriculture
    The emphasis of the Master of Science in Agriculture program is on the agricultural professional, practitioner, and educator. It addresses the increased need for prepared individuals capable of applying new and emerging technologies and scientific findings to ongoing issues in production agriculture.
  • Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture
    The Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture provides post-baccalaureate students with an interdisciplinary understanding of practices and current issues in sustainable agriculture, along with the science that makes it work.