Graduate Courses, Department of Plant Sciences

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Graduate Courses   


      A complete list of courses available for graduate credit in the Department of Plant Sciences can be found at the following web site in digital format.  Scroll down to Plant Sciences, or use the search function to find Plant Sciences courses.
      *400-level courses cannot be counted toward course requirements
      available to PhD candidates. Contact the listed faculty or instructor
      to discuss alternatives that might enable consideration of course

400-Level Courses*:
410 Nursery Management and Production (3) Management methods as applied to retail and wholesale nurseries and landscape contracting firms. Methods of producing liners, container and field-grown woody ornamental plants.  Contact Hour Distribution: 3 hours lecture. Sp, alternate years (odd numbered)

421 Native Plants in the Landscape (3).  Native plants and plant communities as a basis for landscaping and environmental restoration.  Weekly lecture coupled with either an outing or service practicum of invasive exotic plant removals or planting of natives. Study and work sites will primarily be demonstration projects of the University of Tennessee Environmental Landscape Design Lab. They include local schoolyard habitats, greenways, wetlands, streambanks, and shorelines. Recommended Background: 220 or Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 330. Fa, Sp

429 Field Study of Public Horticulture Institutions (2) Extended 10-12 day field study of various public horticulture institutions such as botanical gardens, arboreta, historical grounds, zoos, conservatories, cemeteries, and nature preserves. Application and travel fee required. Su

430 Greenhouse Management (3).  Principles of greenhouse operation and management for commercial crop production. Greenhouse construction and operation, crop scheduling and cost accounting. Environmental inputs and cultural practices as they affect plant physiological processes and influence plant growth and development. 2 hours lecture and one 2-hour lab. Sp, alternate years (even numbered)

434 Fruit and Vegetable Crops (3) Botanical description, geographical distribution, general cultural practices of warm and cool season vegetables, small fruits, and deciduous tree fruits. A Saturday field trip is required. Contact Hour Distribution: 2 hours lecture and one 2-hour lab. Fa

435 Field and Forage Crops (2) Agronomic principles of crop production and management. Crop improvement, cropping systems, tillage, fertilization, pest management, harvest and utilization of major field and forage crops.  Contact Hour Distribution: 2 hours.  Fa, alternate years (odd numbered)

436 Plant and Garden Photography (3) Principles and techniques of photography as they relate to plants and gardens. Study of equipment options and field shooting under various weather conditions and in different seasons.  Registration Permission: Consent of instructor.  Sp, alternate years (even numbered)

437 Public Garden Operations and Management (2) Analysis of year-round operations and management of public gardens. Case studies involving time and labor management, budget development and management, implementation of volunteer programs, information dissemination methods for public outreach, management of grounds and facilities using the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture Gardens as a model. Sp

442 Turf Root-zone Construction (2) Construction and management of root-zones for home lawns, golf courses and athletic fields.  Sp

450 Specialty Landscape Construction (3) Methods of design, materials, and construction techniques for specialized components of the landscape industry. Irrigation systems, outdoor lighting, garden ponds and water features. Fa

457 Weed Management (3) Principles of weed interference, integrated management, herbicide selectivity and behavior, specific recommendations for various crop and non-crop situations. Fa

462 Professional Development in the Turfgrass Industry (1-2) Exposure to career development opportunities in turfgrass science and management. Repeatability: May be repeated. Maximum 5 hours. (RE) Prerequisite(s): 240.

465 Biofuel Crop Ecology (2) Studies of the fundamental ecological, biochemical, functional, and agronomic aspects of bioenergy feedstocks, in the context of three distinct systems: ethanol from simple sugars, ethanol from structural carbohydrates, and diesel from oil crops. Special attention will be given to current technological paradigms in biology and materials science, as well as considerations of tradeoffs in terms of domestic security and impacts on the domestic food supply and ecology. (RE) Prerequisite(s): Biology 112 or consent of instructor.

466 Turfgrass Strategies (2) Case studies of turfgrass management issues and discussion of their resolution. Development of problem solving skills in areas related to turfgrass management.

470 Professional Practices for the Green Industry (3) Professionalism, sales, sales proposals, budgeting, managerial skills, estimating, specifications, and contract management in the turf, public horticulture and plantscaping professions.  Registration Restriction(s): Minimum student level – senior.  Sp

475 Professional Issues in Bioenergy (3) Study and discussion of professional issues and practices in the bioenergy field, including economics, policy, engineering, processing, agronomy, biotechnology. TBA

480 Advanced Landscape Design (4) Comprehensive application of landscape design skills to a variety of project experiences with an emphasis on landscape planning and analysis, planting design, and materials estimating.  Contact Hour Distribution: Two 3-hour labs.  Fa, Sp

485 Computer Aided Landscape Design (3) Overview of Computer Aided Design (CAD) as it relates to landscape design and construction.  Emphasis on development of landscape design drawings through utilization of LANDCADD software.  Contact Hour Distribution: Two 3-hour labs.  Fa, Sp

494 Professional Horticultural Communications (3) Communication for public horticulturists through written, oral and visual media. Emphasis on communication skills using proper writing techniques and grammar for print media, brochure design using desktop publishing, slide show development, oral presentations, and video use for educational and informational presentations in ornamental horticulture.  Sp
500-Level Courses: 
500 Thesis (1-15) Grading Restriction: P/NP only.  Repeatability: May be repeated.

501 Special Topics in Plant Sciences (1-3) Topics to be assigned.  Repeatability: May be repeated. Maximum 6 hours.  Registration Permission: Consent of instructor. 

502 Registration for Use of Facilities (1-15) Required for the student not otherwise registered during any semester when student uses university facilities and/or faculty time before degree is completed.  Grading Restriction: Satisfactory/No Credit grading only.  Repeatability: May be repeated.  Credit Restriction: May not be used toward degree requirements.

503 Non-Thesis Project (1-2) Library, field, or laboratory project under supervision of faculty member.  Repeatability: May be repeated. Maximum 4 hours.  Comment(s): For students in non-thesis option only.

504 Seminar (1) Presentations and discussion of topics.  Repeatability: May be repeated. Maximum 2 hours.

505 Professional Development and Presentation Skills (1) Introduction to style, content and format guidelines for preparing formal presentations to scientific and professional peers.  Preparation of abstracts and discussion of strategies and opportunities leading to development of young academic professional acumen.  Fall.  Taken the first semester offered after beginning MS (or PhD) studies in Plant Sciences. Fa

511 Seed Biology and Physiology (1) Discussion and readings related to the seed as a biological system: its formation, development, dormancy, germination and viability. Sp, alternate years (even numbered).

513 Fungal Epidemiology and Disease Control (2) (See Entomology and Plant Pathology 513.)

515 Agroecology (3)  Application of ecological concepts to management of horticultural and agronomic cropping systems.  Examination of structure and function of agroecosystems, system-level interactions among agroecosystem components, and assessment of sustainability of cropping systems from environmental, economic, and social perspectives. Focus on organic and other alternative cropping systems. 2 hour lecture; 1 2-hour lab. Credit Restriction: Students may not receive credit for both 415 and 515.  

525 Research Ethics in the Life Sciences (1) How good research conduct and knowing the rules of science can enable success in life science research.  Bioethics is not a focus.  (Same as Animal Sciences 525) Fa

530 Integrated Pest Management (3) (See Entomology & Plant Pathology 530.) Fa

532 Environmental Plant Ecophysiology (3). Physiological and ecological principles of plants and the relation of those principles to plant responses to the environment.  Water relations, gas exchange, stress physiology, seed biology, plant competition, plant defense.    Recommended background: Plant physiology course.  Fa, alternate years (even numbered)

536 Ecology of Grazing Land Systems (3) Multi-university, field-oriented course. Components and functions of grazing lands and how these vary in different ecoregions; research needs, objectives and techniques in soil-plant-animal research; forage-livestock ecology and systems in grazing lands (cropland, pastureland, rangeland and forestland); role of forages in conservation practices, wildlife habitats, and sustainable agriculture; and industries involved with forages and livestock. Requires two-week field trip, inclusive report, and examination.  Registration Permission: Consent of instructor.  (Same as Animal Science 536.) Su, alternate years (odd numbered)

537 Plant Nutrition (3) Effect of plant nutrition on biochemical and physiological processes in plants.  TBA

538 Turfgrass Pathogens and Management (3) Identification, classification, and management of turfgrass pathogens. Recommendations and development of management plans for golf course, athletic field, and home lawn turfgrasses. Credit Restriction: Students may not receive credit for both 438 and 538. Recommended Background: Introductory course in plant pathology or consent of instructor.

541 Advanced Turfgrass Management (3) Principles and scientific basis of turfgrass culture; adaptation, ecology, physiology, climatic influences on grass culture; clipping and water management; design.  Contact Hour Distribution: 3-hour lecture and one 1-hour lab. Sp

552 Plant Biotechnology, Genetics and Breeding (3). General principles and techniques used in plant modification.  Principles of molecular and transmission genetics as applied to plant biotechnology and plant improvement.  Credit Restriction: Students may not receive credit for both 453 and 553Sp

554 Plant Biotechniques (3) Lectures will discuss recombinant DNA technology, molecular assisted breeding of economically important crops, gene cloning and transformation technologies. Examples will be given of food and ornamental crops, pharmaceuticals, and renewable energy sources produced using biotechnology as well as potential risks of this technology. Labs will include electrophoresis, tissue culture, plasmid preps, genomic DNA preps, PCR, plant transformation, genomic techniques.  Contact Hour Distribution: 1-hour lecture and one 3-hour lab.  Credit Restriction: Students may not receive credit for both 454 and 554.  Fa

561 Statistics for Biological Research (3) Application of statistics to interpretation of biological research. Notation, descriptive statistics, probability, distributions, confidence intervals, t- and chi-square tests, analysis of variance, mean separation procedures, linear regression and correlation.  Credit Restriction: Students may not receive credit for both 561 and 461.  Fa

569 Teaching Practicum (1-3). Supervised experience in teaching.  May involve preparation of lectures and teaching aids, preparation and supervision of laboratory exercises, evaluation of student performance, and for second year graduate students, responsibility for course delivery.  Repeatability: May be repeated.  Maximum 3 hours.   Registration permission: Consent of instructor.

571 Design and Analysis of Biological Research (3) (See Animal Science 571.) Sp

591 History and Culture of International Gardens and Landscapes (3) International travel experience will provide opportunities to learn how historic European estates, gardens, and arboreta reflect the climate, topography, history, philosophical social structure, art and politics at the time of their creation. Course will focus on observation of local plant material, study of different garden and landscape design styles, and will foster an appreciation of international cultures.  3 credit hours. Spring Miniterm. Course format and location: off campus-international travel, non-standard format.  Impact on other academic units: None.  Financial impact: will be taught by existing faculty. May be repeated. Maximum 6 hours.  

592 Internship (1-2) Application of horticulture and design principles and practices in supervised, professional setting, approved by department.  Grading Restriction: Satisfactory/No Credit or letter grade.

593 Problems in Plant Sciences (1-3) Independent study. Current topic related to technology, science or design.  Repeatability: May be repeated. Maximum 6 hours.
600-Level Courses:
600 Doctoral Research and Dissertation (3-15) Grading Restriction: P/NP only.  Repeatability: May be repeated. 

602 Research Preparation (1-9) Grading Restriction: P/NP only.  Repeatability: May be repeated.  Maximum 9 hours.

603 Special Topics in Crop Physiology and Ecology (1-3) Microclimatology of agroecosystems, crop dormancy and responses to stress, physiology of crop growth and reproduction. Interactions of physiology and germplasm in crop production, theory and application of quantitative methods in crop physiology and ecology research.  Repeatability: May be repeated. Maximum 6 hours.

605 Special Topics in Plant Breeding and Genetics (1-3) Genotype by environment interactions, estimation of quantitative parameters, mutations, chromosome dynamics, polyploidy, genetic engineering, interspecific hybridization, linkage, screening methods, genome organization.  Repeatability: May be repeated. Maximum 6 hours. Sp, as needed

610 Advanced Plant Genomics (2) Journal club format emphasizing active class participation as a mechanism to explore the field of Plant Genomics.  Each student will be required to lead the exploration of specific topics and will present a combination of three lectures and/or journal club discussions on the assigned topic.  Contact Hour Distribution: 2 hours. Sp

634 Advanced Weed Science Principles (3) Principles of Weed Science with emphasis on herbicide chemistry, herbicide effects on plant physiology, the analysis of herbicide residues in soils and plants, weed biology, and methods to conduct research under field, greenhouse and laboratory conditions. Offered in fall, alternate (even) years. Recommended background: BCMB 522 or 523 and an organic chemistry or biochemistry course or consent of instructor. Contact Hour Distribution: 3 hours lecture. Fa

653 Advanced Plant Breeding (3) Principles and methodologies targeting genetic gain for crop improvement. Concepts of qualitative and quantitative trait improvement. parental germplasm, hybridization, population formation, inbreeding, genetic variance, heritability, selection methods, molecular genetic markers, genetically engineered crops.  Recommended background: 571 & a general genetics course or consent of instructor.  Sp, alternate years (odd numbered)

Several courses offered outside the Department of Plant Sciences include instructional elements that are particularly relevant in several diverse fields related to Plant Sciences.  With approval of your graduate advisory committee, courses that may be taken for credit in the PS MS and PhD programs currently include:


481 Museum Studies I: Museums, Purpose and Function (3).  Development of museums of art, history, natural and applied science.  (Same as Anthropology 481.)

Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology:
404 Plant Molecular Biology (4).  Introduction to current research approaches and methodologies in plant developmental biology and molecular genetics. Laboratory and lecture.  Recommended Background: Biology 140 and 240 or equivalent.
522-523 Advanced Plant Physiology I, II (3, 3).  522—Plant biochemistry and metabolism: respiration, photosynthesis, carbon partitioning, and biosynthesis of specialized plant products: terpenoids, alkaloids, phenolics and plant growth regulators. 523—Growth and differentiation of plants at molecular, cellular and organismal levels, regulation of development; macromolecular interpretation of differentiation, dormancy, germination, flowering, and senescence.  Recommended Background: 401 and 1 semester of introductory plant physiology or cell biology.
Cultural Studies in Education:
560 Introduction to Qualitative Research in Education (3). Fundamentals of qualitative research methods and development of skills needed for qualitative research proposals.  Overview of qualitative research methods; ethnography, case study, historiography, biography, oral and life history.  Critical reading and evaluation of qualitative research studies.
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: 
414 Plant Anatomy (3).  Cells, tissues and organs, their development in vegetative and reproductive structures of vascular plants—emphasis on seed plants.  Recommended Background: Biology 111-112 or Biology 130-140 or equivalent.
433 Plant Ecology (3).  Interactions between individuals, species, communities and their environments. Circulation of energy and matter in ecosystems.  Weekly field trips or laboratory periods, and at least two weekend field trips.  Recommended Background: 330 or equivalent. 
560 Biometry (3).  Statistical applications in biological research.  Recommended Background: Statistics course or consent of instructor.
Environmental and Soil Sciences:
434 Environmental Soil Chemistry (3).  Composition and chemical properties of soils and processes that govern fate and behavior of chemicals in soil environment: clay mineralogy; soil organic matter; mineral weathering and stability; aqueous speciation; surface chemistry; ion exchange, adsorption and molecular retention; oxidation/reduction; and soil acidity, alkalinity, and salinity.  Recommended Background: 210; Chemistry 110 or 350. 
511 Soil-Plant Nutrient Cycling in Managed Ecosystems (3) Principles of nutrient cycling and soil exchange processes affecting nutrient availability to plants; management of soil nutrients to optimize crop growl, environmental implications of nutrient management; effects of both traditional and non-traditional nutrient amendments; and constraints of measuring plant-available nutrients in the soil. Contact Hour Distribution: 3 hours and 1 rec. 
516 Soil Biology and Biochemistry (3).  Soil organisms and their activities in soils: soil ecology, biogeochemical cycling of important elements, organic matter dynamics, and applications of agricultural and environmental biology and biochemistry. 2 hours and one 3-hour lab.  Recommended Background: 210 or consent of instructor
544 Environmental Soil Physics (3).  Basic understanding of soil physical properties and processes; influence of soil physical properties on water and chemical movement in soil; practical experience in the measurement and analysis of soil physical properties, water flow, and chemical movement in soil.  
439 Plant Geography of North America (3).  Characteristics and distribution of major plant communities of Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and Central America.  Relationships to climate, soil, fire, and human disturbance. Long-term history and future prospects.  Recommended Background: 131 or 132 or coursework in botany or consent of instructor.
Information Sciences:
560 Development and Management of Collections (3).  Selecting and preserving a variety of items (tangible and intangible) to meet needs of particular users; community analysis; policies and procedures; evaluation; purchasing.
633 Survey Design & Analysis (3). Systematic exploration of survey problems through student participation in design & analysis of survey. Recommended Background: Sociology 531 or consent of instructor.