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University Catalog

Department of Plant Sciences

50 Agriculture Building, (307) 766-3103
FAX: (307) 766-5549
Department Head: Andrew Kniss


JIM J. HEITHOLT, B.S. Western Illinois University 1978; M.S. University of Missouri 1980; Ph.D. University of Kentucky 1984; Professor of Crop Physiology 2014.
M. ANOWARUL ISLAM, B.S. Bangladesh Agricultural University 1990; M.S. Institute of Postgraduate Studies in Agriculture, Bangladesh 1996; Ph.D. University of Sydney, Australia 2003; Professor of Forage Agronomy 2019, 2008.
B.S. University of Wyoming 2001; M.S. University of Nebraska-Lincoln 2003; Ph.D. University of Wyoming 2006; Professor of Weed Ecology and Management in Cropping Systems 2019, 2007.

Associate Professors

RANDA JABBOUR, B.S. Rochester Institute of Technology 2003; Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University 2009; Associate Professor of Agroecology 2019, 2013.
BRIAN A. MEALOR, B.S. North Georgia College and State University 1999; M.S. University of Wyoming 2003; Ph.D. 2006; Director, Sheridan Research and Extension Center; Associate Professor of Rangeland Restoration and Weed Science 2015, 2009.
URSZULA NORTON, B.S. Warsaw Agricultural University 1998; M.S. 1990; M.S. Iowa State University 1995; Ph.D. University of Montana 2000; Associate Professor of Agroecology and Soil Science 2015, 2009.

Assistant Professors

CARRIE EBERLE, B.S. University of Wisconsin-Madision 2005; Ph.D. University of Minnesota 2012; Assistant Professor of Agronomy and Cropping Systems 2016.
DEBALIN SARANGI, B.S. Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya India 2010; M.S. Punjab Agricultural University India 2012; Ph.D. University of Nebraska-Lincoln 2016; Assistant Professor of Agronomy and Weed Science 2019.
VIVEK SHARMA, B.Tech. Punjab Agricultural University India 2008; M.S. University of Nebraska-Lincoln 2011; Ph.D. 2014; Assistant Professor of Agronomy/Irrigation Specialist 2016.
WILLIAM STUMP, B.S. Purdue University 1981; M.S. Colorado State University 1984; B.F.A. 1991; Ph.D. 1997; Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology 2014.
DAN TEKIELA, B.S. University of Illinois 2011; Ph.D. Virginia Tech University 2016; Assistant Professor of Invasive Plant Ecology and Management 2016.

Academic Professionals

BETH FOWERS, A.S. College of Southern Idaho 2001; B.S. Utah State University 2007; M.S. 2011; Ph.D. University of Wyoming 2015; Assistant Research Scientist 2015.
B.S. Oregon State University 2001; M.S. 2003; Extension Horticulture Specialist, Master Gardener Coordinator 2011.
KAREN PANTER, B.S. Colorado State University 1979; M.S. University of Nebraska 1981; Ph.D. Colorado State University 1985; Extension Horticulture Specialist 1998.


Emeritus/Retired Faculty

Rollin H. Abernethy, Jack Cecil, James Cook, Ron Delaney, Mark Ferrell, Alan Gray, Robin W. Groose, David Koch, Bernie Kolp, James M. Krall, Stephen D. Miller, Thomas D. Whitson, David Wilson

Plant Sciences

The Department of Plant Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Agroecology, jointly with the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, and three minors. Minors offered by Plant Sciences include Agroecology, Horticulture, and Plant Protection. The minor in horticulture includes courses in landscape design, plant materials and their propagation, organic food production, turfgrass science, and greenhouse design and management. The minor in Plant Protection includes courses in agronomy, plant genetics, plant pathology, and weed science. These minors allow students within many bachelors programs to obtain an added emphasis in areas that enjoy strong employment opportunities.

Agroecology Program
Rooms 50/2013 Agriculture Building
Phone: (307) 766-3103

Departments of Plant Sciences and Ecosystem Science and Management

The Bachelor of Science degree program in agroecology is an interdepartmental major involving faculty in the Departments of Plant Sciences and Ecosystem Science and Management. An agroecology minor is also available.

The goal of Agroecology is to promote the adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices in the United States and abroad. The program is intended to provide students with the following knowledge and skills.

Writing, oral communication, and math skills sufficient for success as an agricultural professional or for admission to graduate study to a related graduate degree program.

Sufficient knowledge of physics, chemistry, geology, cell biology, physiology, genetics, evolution, and ecology for participation in modern agriculture.

Practical knowledge and skills that include using computer technology for writing and analyzing data, using geographical information systems, conducting chemical and biological analyses of soil and water, diagnosing plant health problems, identifying plants and insects, and the general practice of horticulture and agronomy.


Jim J. Heitholt, Plant Sciences
Anowarul Islam, Plant Sciences
Andrew R. Kniss, Plant Sciences
Scott Miller, ESM
Scott R. Shaw, ESM
Peter D. Stahl, ESM
Dave Williams, ESM
Stephen E. Williams, ESM

Associate Professors

Timothy Collier, ESM
Randa Jabbour, Plant Sciences
Brian A. Mealor, Plant Sciences
Urszula Norton, Plant Sciences

Assistant Professors

Carrie Eberle, Plant Sciences
Debalin Sarangi, Plant Sciences
Vivek Sharma, Plant Sciences
William Stump, Plant Sciences
Dan Tekiela, Plant Sciences

Academic Professionals

Beth Fowers, Plant Sciences
Christ Hilgert, Plant Sciences
Karen Panter, Plant Sciences

Agroecology Major

A B.S. degree in agroecology prepares students for careers in agriculture, natural resources, environmental and life sciences and for advanced graduate studies in specific subdisciplines within these areas. It is a broad, interdisciplinary, undergraduate curriculum that combines and integrates courses in the crop, horticulture, disease, weed, soil, and insect sciences and is supported by a science-based curriculum and general education. Flexibility is built into the agroecology curriculum to readily accommodate students seeking to pursue an emphasis or obtain a minor in a specific discipline, and to that end the breadth of the curriculum is balanced with greater depth in biology, chemistry, crop science, entomology, environmental studies, natural resource management, soil science, plant pathology, weed science, horticulture, turf management, pre-veterinary medicine, rangeland ecology and watershed management, animal science, microbiology, and molecular biology. A liberal number of electives permits design of a program that best meets individual career and educational objectives. The agroecology program is well suited for students who possess a strong interest in, and an aptitude for, science, agriculture, the environment, life sciences, or natural resources.

The agroecology core curriculum is comprised of freshman through senior level courses that illustrate dynamic and complex interactions of plants, soils, and plant pests (diseases, insects, weeds) with the environment. Academic training is enhanced with experiential learning through research apprenticeships, internships, field studies, and special agroecology capstone courses. Special emphasis is given to development of critical thinking and communication skills, problem solving and application of science. It is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students for "real world" situations.

Agroecology B.S. degree recipients are prepared for careers with private and public institutions and agencies in such areas as: agricultural consulting, production or sales, research, product development, education, extension education, international programs, and scientific and technological support. These careers include but are not limited to: soil scientist, conservationist, entomologist, consultant, plant scientist, integrated pest management specialist, ecologist, research associate or technician, agronomist, biotechnician, and agroecologist. Degree recipients are also prepared for graduate education in biological and environmental sciences.

Course Requirements for Agroecology Majors


AECL 1000, 3030, 4990, SOIL 2010, 4140,  and 4 hrs from a combination of AECL 4920, 4930 or 4960


Supporting Science Biology/Genetics
ENTO 1000 or 1001 or REWM 3020 or ANSC 1010, and AGEC 1010 or 1020 and LIFE 1010, 2023, 3400, and CHEM 1000, 2300


MATH 1400, STAT 2050


Communications COJO 1010


Agriculture Science Electives
Select 9 hours upper division from one of the following: animal science, botany, crop science/horticulture/ plant pathology, entomology, microbiology/ molecular biology, pest science, rangeland ecology and watershed management, or soil science.


Supporting Electives
Select 9 hours upper division from any of the following: agroecology, agricultural economics, animal science, biology, botany, chemistry, communications, crop science/horticulture, environment and natural resources, entomology, food science, geography and recreation, microbiology, molecular biology, rangeland ecology and watershed management, pathobiology, plant pathology, soil science or zoology.


Additional University Studies


Electives (minimum)


Total Hours


Agroecology/Environment and Natural Resources Program (ENR, Plant Sciences, and Ecosystem Science and Management)

Students with an especially strong interest in the environment and natural resources may choose to pursue the B.S. in agroecology/ENR. This degree is offered in conjunction with the School of Environment and Natural Resources. See the ENR Information and Advising Guide for details.

Agroecology Minor
(Plant Sciences & Ecosystem Science and Management)

Minimum Requirements (20-21 hours)
AECL 1000; two of the following: SOIL 2010, LIFE 2023, AECL 3030, and 9 additional upper division hours from the following: ENTO, PLNT, and/or SOIL

Plant Protection Minor (Plant Sciences)

Minimum requirements (17 hours)
AECL 1000, AECL 3030 and 10 additional hours from the following: PLNT 3220, 4000, 4070, and 4120.

Horticulture Minor

Minimum requirements (16 hours)
PLNT 2025 and 2026, and 12 additional hours from the following: PLNT 3000, 3036, 3300, 3400, 4120, 4140, 4160, 4180, 4190, 4200, 4975.

Graduate Study

The Department of Plant Sciences offers curricula leading to the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in Agronomy. Courses within the department are offered in crop science, horticulture, plant pathology, weed science, and agronomy. Interdisciplinary coursework and research projects are common for agronomy graduate students.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

In addition to university minimum requirements, a majority of the department faculty and department head must approve the admission. To be considered for admission, candidates must establish a faculty member willing to serve as advisor.

Program Specific Graduate Assistantship Information

M.S. assistantships include an $12,078.00 stipend, plus tuition and fee waiver, and health insurance. Ph.D. assistantships include a $16,785.00 stipend, plus tuition and fee waiver, and health benefits. These assistantships are for the 9 month academic year, but summer support is typically available.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

Master of Science in Agronomy

Plan A (thesis)

Requirements for the master of science degree include 26 hours of coursework numbered 4000 or above, 4 hours of thesis research, a research proposal, original research, and oral defense of the thesis.

The M.S. degree is typically completed in two years. The student's coursework is selected to fit the student's individual needs by mutual consultation among the student, his/her major professor and graduate committee.

Doctoral Program

The requirements for the doctor of philosophy degree include 60 hours of coursework numbered 4000 or above, 12 hours of dissertation research, a research proposal, original research, written and oral preliminary exams to be taken when most or all coursework is completed, and an oral defense of the dissertation.

Dissertations may be in a modified journal article format but must meet university formatting requirements.

The Ph.D. degree is typically completed in four years. The student's coursework is selected to fit the student's individual needs by mutual consultation among the student, his/her major professor and graduate committee.

The department does not require language certification.

The student is expected to participate in the usual activities of scientific research such as attending and presenting at research seminars and professional meetings and publishing his/her research.

Agroecology (AECL) Courses

Plant Sciences (PLNT) Courses

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