Harvesting Pears

The Ph.D. in Horticulture is granted for proven ability in research and scholarship. The student conducts research under the guidance of the major professor with input from the student’s doctoral committee. The doctoral committee consists of a minimum of five members of the graduate faculty, including at least two from the Department of Horticulture and a representative from the Graduate Council.


  • There is no rigid credit requirement; however the equivalent of at least three years of full-time graduate work beyond the bachelor’s degree (at least 108 graduate credits) is required.
  • The equivalent of one full-time academic year in regular non-blanket course work (at least 36 graduate credits).
  • A graduate student who holds an M.S. degree must file a study program with the graduate school by the end of one calendar year of enrollment as a Ph.D. student. This program is formulated and approved at a formal meeting of the student's doctoral committee prior to this date.
  • No more than 15 hours of blanket-numbered courses (e.g., 501, 507, etc.), other than thesis (Hort 503), may be included in the program.
  • The Department of Horticulture requires the following be included in a student’s Ph.D. study program:
    • HORT 507 (1 credit), Horticulture Seminar. The student presents a seminar at the regularly scheduled time of the department seminar (Tuesdays at 4:00 pm).
    • HORT 511 (2 credits), Research and Educational Perspectives in Horticulture, to be taken the first Fall term of enrollment (not required if the student earned these credits as an MS student).
    • A minimum of 6 credits of ENT/HORT 518, PBG/HORT 519, or HORT 520 (two credits per course).  At least one course should be related to the student's area of emphasis, but students are encouraged to enroll in other topic areas.
  • Successful completion of an oral preliminary examination. In Horticulture it is the prerogative of a major professor to require a written comprehensive examination as well.
  • Successful completion of a final oral examination, which includes a defense of the thesis.

Courses in the major, Horticulture, may be selected from those in Horticulture (i.e. with a Hort designation) as well as from those offered by many other departments and programs.

Learning Outcomes: 

Through successful participation and completion of a doctoral degree in Horticulture you will gain an advanced understanding of horticulture and the interaction with related disciplines, and conduct original research that advances the field of horticulture. You will be trained through disciplinary coursework and research experience to provide solid science expertise and will have the breadth of knowledge to be able to communicate with professionals from the broad range of specialties involved in horticultural systems management and research.

Outcome 1: Scholarship
You will have the ability to conduct original research that extends knowledge in the field of horticulture. This will be demonstrated through mastery and application of critical thinking in the design and conduct of original research, and application of standard and innovative theory and methods in both coursework and an individual thesis research project.

Outcome 2: Knowledge
You will be able to demonstrate:

  • In-depth disciplinary knowledge and capacity to apply that knowledge to horticultural systems issues at multiple scales and levels of biological organization.
  • Skill in integrating horticultural systems concepts across multiple disciplines.
  • Original and innovative contributions to the understanding of horticultural systems.
  • The ability to employ technical knowledge and leadership skills to a horticulture research problem.
  • Ability to perform basic analyses in horticulture.
  • Ability to perform other basic tasks required of a professional horticultural researcher.
  • Understand key linkages and interactions between horticulture and other biological and earth science processes.
  • Ability to make original contributions to the understanding of horticultural systems.

These outcomes will be accomplished through successful completion of the coursework required for the degree and a dissertation research project.

Outcome 3: Communication
You will have the ability to communicate professionally and with the public about horticulture research and horticultural resources, by gaining skills and experience in communicating in both formal and informal venues with learners, practitioners and community members. This will be demonstrated through presentation of a thesis, a special non-thesis seminar and a teaching assignment.

Outcome 4: Ethics and Diversity
You will have a commitment to diversity and high ethical standards in scholarship, teaching and service, developing from participation and training in research methods courses, professional development courses, and seminars, workshops, or other activities focused on diversity and ethics.

Learn more: 
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department of Horticulture
Class Location: 
Corvallis Campus
Contact Us: 

For more information or to review our admissions process, please contact:

Elaine Clark
Oregon State University
4017 ALS Building
Corvallis, OR 97331-3002
Phone: (541) 737-5477
Fax: (541) 737-3479