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Plant Pathology M.S. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology

Program Description

For a more complete description of the Field of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, please go to

Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology are the study of plant diseases and the biology of plant-microbe interactions at the molecular to ecosystem levels of organization. The Field of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell offers graduate degree programs in plant pathology and the biology, genetics and evolution of fungi and oomycetes. To reflect the diversity of academic interests and activities, the Field is organized into three program areas:


  • Plant Pathology (including the concentrations Ecological and Environmental Plant Pathology and Plant Disease Epidemiology)
  • Plant-Microbe Biology
  • Fungal and Oomycete Biology

Faculty and graduate students in plant pathology are located in two locations in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: the main campus in Ithaca, NY, and the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, approximately 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Ithaca.

In addition to Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, Cornell University offers graduate programs that cover the full spectrum of plant sciences. For more information on graduate studies in related fields of plant sciences, use this link.

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-3245

334 Plant Science Building
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • fungal and oomycete biology
  • plant pathology
  • plant-microbe biology



Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, Dec. 1; spring admission is discouraged, check with Field

Requirements Summary:

  • all Graduate School Requirements, including the TOEFL or IELTS Exam for Non-Native English Applicants
  • three recommendations (must be on business letterhead and signed)
  • GRE general test
  • GRE subject test in biology advised, but not required

Learning Outcomes

Assessment Plan
All graduate students in Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology (PPPMB) MS and PhD programs are required to take a core set of courses (requirements and expectations of students differ among program concentrations in PPPMB and are outlined on the PPPMB website) and they are required to write a thesis research proposal that is continually refined during their graduate program. They participate every year in a student seminar series as both a presenter and a reviewer of other presentations. Students present their research proposals and progress reports at the student seminars, and their presentations are evaluated by faculty and fellow students. Students also serve as a teaching assistant at least one semester for each degree and complete on-line research ethics and compliance training. Students are required to have at least one Special Committee meeting per year and submit an annual self-assessment form to the committee prior to the meeting. The self assessment form is reviewed and approved by all Special Committee members and a copy provided to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). At each committee meeting, as well as at A and B exams, Special Committee members and appointed members complete a 2 page evaluation form that provides a quantitative and qualitative assessment of a student’s abilities and progress. Copies of these forms are provided to the DGS and used to develop annual statistics of student and program performance. 

Learn more about the assessment plan for the graduate field of plant pathology and plant-microbe biology