Students in lab coats and latex gloves use pipette in lab

M.Sc. & PhD in Plant Agriculture (Thesis/Research)

Research the cornerstone of life on earth.

The M.Sc. and PhD in Plant Agriculture are offered through the Department of Plant Agriculture, a research-intensive department focused on horticultural crops, turfgrass, landscape species and field crops. Research in the department is divided into four areas: Plant Biochemistry and Physiology, Plant Breeding and Genetics, Crop Production Systems, and Bioproducts.

 Best in Canada

Study in Canada’s largest and most diverse applied plant biology department.

 Elevate your impact

Broaden your high-paying career options by achieving a graduate degree. M.Sc. and Ph.D. graduates in plant science are highly sought after by Canadian and international employers.

 Research-based studies

Alongside faculty members and other students, you will develop, conduct and publish impactful research focused on your area of plant interest.


 Excellent facilities 

Conduct your research in excellent research facilities and equipment, including plant growth facilities, plots, fields and greenhouses.

 Research plots across Ontario

Access 17 field research stations (multiple soil types and heat unit zones) across Ontario.


This program is offered in-person at either our Guelph campus or Ridgetown Campus, depending on your supervising faculty member.

  • Plant Disease Epidemiology and Management 
  • Advanced Plant Breeding
  • Fruit and Vegetable Technology 
  • Advanced Plant Genetics
  • Agroecosystem Design and Function
  • Applied Bioinformatics

View all Plant Agriculture graduate courses here.


  • Crop consultant
  • Plant breeder
  • Plant geneticist
  • Plant physiologist
  • Research associate 
  • Research and development director
  • Senior scientist 

M.Sc. and PhD graduates from the Department of Plant Agriculture have careers in diverse fields. We recently conducted a career destination survey of 325 M.Sc. graduates and 124 Ph.D. graduates of the department. View the results here:

The Department of Plant Agriculture is currently offering $150,000 (over four years) for highly-qualified domestic PhD applicants. More information on eligibility and application requirements is available here: Plant Agriculture PhD Investment Initiative.

More details on funding your graduate studies are available on the Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies website.

Students at table with laptops look to prof speaking at front of room

More information on courses and admission requirements can be found here.

Mary Ruth smiles and laughs
I work mostly on diseases and some of them can lead up to one-hundred percent crop loss, so it's really important to have effective environmentally friendly, sustainable methods to manage those risks to crops.

Dr. Mary Ruth McDonald, Faculty
Professor, Department of Plant Agriculture
Hear more from Dr. McDonald

Darren Robinson in black dress shirt
The biggest advantage of being stationed at the Ridgetown Campus is that the research facilities, the research land, all the equipment that we use, is within minutes of our offices and the buildings that we work out of. It allows us to be very flexible with establishment of our research studies.

Dr. Darren Robinson, Faculty
Professor, Department of Plant Agriculture
Hear more from Dr. Robinson

How to Apply

As part of the application requirements, you are required to secure a faculty advisor to supervise your program. Our faculty profiles describe research programs in more detail and can be found in the Department of Plant Agriculture website. Contact the faculty member you are interested in working with to discuss potential research opportunities. We recommend connecting via email. 

  • The MSc program requires a Baccalaureate degree in an honours plant science/ biology program, or equivalent, from a recognized university or college with at least a B average over the last two years of full-time study (or equivalent).
  • The PhD program requires a MSc degree by thesis in a field appropriate to the proposed area of specialization with a minimum B average.
  • View the full admission requirements here.

There are no deadlines as applications are accepted at any time for Fall, Winter and Summer semester entry.

More details on the U of G graduate program application process here.

  • We encourage international applicants to apply well in advance of the posted deadlines to allow sufficient time to arrange for any necessary documentation ie. transcripts.
  • If your first language is not English, you will be required to submit the results of a standardized language test. Please refer to the Office of Graduate Studies website for the required English Language Proficiency acceptable tests and required scores.
  • More resources for international applicants are available on the U of G Graduate & Postdoctoral website.

Additional Options

You may also be interested in Environmental Science (Thesis/Research); Food Science (Thesis/Research)


For questions on applying and admissions, contact: 

Tara Israel
Department of Plant Agriculture
519-824-4120, Ext. 56077

For questions on graduate program options, contact:

Leigh West
Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) 
519-824-4120 Ext. 52101

Moving from the University of Saskatchewan to University of Guelph was a difficult decision for me, especially because I was moving to a place where I didn’t know anyone. Fortunately, one of the first things I recognized upon moving here is the sense of community that is fostered across campus.

William Kramer
Meet William, M.Sc. in Plant Agriculture