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Crop Science

MSc Program
PhD Program


Clarence J. Swanton (314 Crop Science, Ext. 3386)
(E-mail: cswanton@plant.uoguelph.ca)

Graduate co-ordinator
J. Alan Sullivan (4222 Bovey Building, Ext. 2792)
(E-mail: asullivan@evbhort.uoguelph.ca)

Graduate secretary
Jean G. Wolting (1105 Bovey Building, Ext. 6077/8)

Graduate Faculty

Gary R. Ablett
BSc Waterloo, MSc, PhD Guelph -Associate Professor

Stephen R. Bowley
BS, MSc Guelph, PhD Kentucky -Associate Professor

E. Ann Clark
BS, MS California, PhD Iowa State -Associate Professor

William Deen
BSc, MSc, PhD Guelph - Assistant Professor

Julie Dionne
BSc, PhD Laval - Assistant Professor

Larry R. Erickson
BA Western Ontario, BSc, MSc, PhD Guelph -Associate Professor

Duane E. Falk
BSc, MSc Montana State, PhD Guelph -Associate Professor

Paul H. Goodwin
BS Villanova, MSc Minnesota, PhD California (Davis) - Adjunct Professor

David J. Hume
BSA, MSA Toronto, PhD Iowa State -Professor

L. Anthony Hunt
BSc (Agr) Reading, MSc Wellington, PhD Wales -Professor

Elizabeth E. Lee
BSc Minnesota MSc Iowa State PhD Missouri -Assistant Professor

Robert J. McLaughlin
BSc (Agr), PhD Guelph -Professor

Barry J. Micallef
BSc, MSc Guelph, PhD - Wisconsin - Assistant Professor

Thomas E. Michaels
AB Wittenberg, MS, PhD Wisconsin -Professor

John O'Sullivan
BSc, M(Agr.)Sc Dublin, PhD Wisconsin -Associate Professor

K. Peter Pauls
BSc, MSc, PhD Waterloo -Professor

Douglas Powell
BSc, PhD Guelph - Assistant Professor

Manish N. Raizada
BSc Western Ontario, PhD Stanford - Assistant Professor

Istvan Rajcan
BSc Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, PhD Guelph, -Assistant Professor

Arthur W. Schaafsma
BSc, MSc, PhD, Guelph -Assistant Professor

Clarence J. Swanton
BSc Toronto, MSc Guelph, PhD Western Ontario -Professor

Francois Tardif
BSc, MSc, PhD Laval -Assistant Professor

Matthijs Tollenaar
IR. Wageningen, PhD Guelph -Professor

Associated Graduate Faculty
David Charne
BSc, MSc, PhD Guelph -Pioneer Hi-Bred

Lianne M. Dwyer
BSc, MSc, PhD Carleton -Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada -Adjunct Professor

John G. Fitzsimons
BA Wales MA McMaster PhD Western Ontario -Adjunct Professor

Alan Hamil
BSc, MSc Guelph, PhD Michigan State -Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Lyndon W. Kannenberg
BS, MS Michigan State, PhD California -Retired

Kenneth J. Kasha
BSc, MSc, Alberta, PhD Minnesota -University Professor Emeritus

Stephen Miller
BSc MSc PhD -Assistant Professor, Dept. of Animal and Poultry Science

Michael J. Morrison
BSc MacDonald College (McGill), MSc Saskatchewan, PhD Manitoba -Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Stephen D. Murphy
BSc, PhD Queen's -University of Waterloo -Assistant Professor

John Paroschy
BSc Waterloo, MSc, PhD Guelph -Research Scientist, Chateau des Charmes Wines Ltd.

Vaino W. Poysa
BA St. Lawrence (New York), BSc, PhD Guelph -Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Lana M. Reid
BSc, MSc, Ottawa, PhD McGill -Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Neal C. Stoskopf
BSA, MSA Guelph, PhD McGill -Retired

Jack W. Tanner
BSA, MSA Toronto, PhD Iowa State -Professor Emeritus

Harvey Voldeng
BSA, MSc Saskatchewan, DPhil Oxford -Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Tony J. Vyn
BSc, MSc, PhD, Guelph -Professor, Purdue

Kangfu Yu
BSc Gansu Agricultural, MSc PhD Guelph -Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Special Graduate Faculty
Daniel C.W. Brown
BSc, MSc, Waterloo, PhD, Calgary -Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Thomas W. Bruulsema
BSc MSc Guelph PhD Cornell - Potash and Phosphate Institute of Ontario

Elroy R. Cober
BSc (Agr.) MSc, PhD Guelph -Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Eva Czarnecka-Verner
BSc MSc PhD -Staff Scientist, University of Florida

Igor Falak
BSc Novi Sad (Yugoslavia), MSc Guelph -Research Manager, Pioneer Hi-Bred

Ronald S. Fletcher
BSc Wilfrid Laurier, PhD Waterloo -Research Associate

Judith Fregeau Reid
BSc MSc PhD Carleton -Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Laima S. Kott
BA Wilfrid Laurier, MSc, PhD Guelph -Research Scientist

Edward Perfect
BSc New Castle on Tyne, MA Carleton, PhD Cornell -Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky

Peter Sikkema
BSc MSc Guelph -Research Scientist

Dale M. Smith
BSc, MSc Guelph -H.J. Heinz Co. Ltd.

Richard Upfold
BSc (Agr), MSc Guelph -Associate Professor

Susan E. Weaver
BA Boston, PhD Western Ontario -Head, Soil & Weed Science, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

John W. Zandstra
BSc, MSc Guelph -Researcher, Ridgetown Campus

     The MSc and PhD programs in Plant Agriculture (Crop Science Division) offer specialization in the fields of crop management and physiology, crop breeding and genetics and crop biotechnology. Crop management and physiology is adaptation of scientific principles to improve performance of horticultural crops in a number of different types of environment. Research areas include improvement of methodologies in plant breeding, applications of plant biotechnology and molecular genetics for crop improvement, development of sustainable crop production and weed control systems, and development of decision-support systems that address the interaction between agricultural practices and the environment. Crop breeding and genetics includes techniques to develop or improve germplasm using selection procedures and research to develop an understanding of genes at the whole plant level. Students may also focus on breeding methods and plant cell and tissue culture. Crop biotechnology emphasizes the use of molecular biology techniques such as transformation, RFLP and RAPD's to develop novel germplasm and study gene function.

MSc Program

     The Department of Plant Agriculture, (Crop Science Division) offers a MSc program in the fields of crop management and physiology, crop breeding and genetics and crop biotechnology. Students will conduct basic and/or applied research on topics within these fields.
Admission Requirements
     Applicants should have a baccalaureate degree in an honours plant science/biology program, or the equivalent, from a recognized university or college with an average academic standing of at least 'B' during the last two years of full-time study (or equivalent). To assist in identifying a suitable thesis adviser(s), applicants should submit a short statement of research interests. Supportive letters of reference are essential and should outline the applicant's strengths and weaknesses. Students may be admitted into the fall, winter or spring semesters. The University of Guelph requires that applicants from some foreign institutions have a MSc (or equivalent) degree before they are considered for admission to the University of Guelph's MSc program.
Degree Requirements
     A program of prescribed courses (at least 1.5 credits of 6000 level courses) and additional courses (if any) is established with the student's advisory committee. All MSc candidates must complete a thesis. Students are required to participate in the Seminar (CROP*6400) and in the Annual Poster Day sponsored by the Department. In addition, a thesis seminar will be presented in conjunction with the final oral examination and thesis defence. Students are also required to participate at least once per degree in a Departmental Colloquium course.

PhD Program

     The Department of Plant Agriculture offers a PhD program in the fields of crop genetics, and crop physiology and production.
Admission Requirements
     The usual requirement for admission into the PhD program is a MSc degree by thesis in a field appropriate to their proposed area of specialization with a minimum 'B' average and supportive letters of reference. On rare occasions direct admission to the PhD program will be permitted to applicants holding an honours baccalaureate degree who have demonstrated extraordinary academic and research capabilities. It is also possible for a student to transfer from the MSc program without completing the requirements for that degree provided the student has an excellent academic record and has demonstrated a strong aptitude for research which can be expanded to the doctoral level.
     Applicants should submit a statement of research interests, background experiences, and career goals to assist in the identification of a faculty adviser who has the resources necessary to support the thesis research. Students may be admitted into the fall, winter or spring semesters. In some instances (see MSc admission requirements) applicants who already hold an MSc may be required to initially register in the MSc program.).
Transfer from the MSc program to the PhD program
     Students enrolled in the MSc program who demonstrate exceptional research and academic capabilities may request to be transferred to the PhD program. The request for transfer must be initiated by the student and must be done no sooner than the end of the second semester and no later than the end of the fourth semester.
Degree Requirements
     The major emphasis in the PhD program is on research and the preparation of an acceptable thesis. There are no specific course requirements except for the seminar and colloquia, as outlined below. However, it is usual for most students, in consultation with their advisory committee, to select prescribed studies and additional courses in preparation for the qualifying examination and thesis research. The qualifying examination is in two parts (written and oral) and evaluates the student's knowledge of their field of specialization. The qualifying examination will be taken no later than the fifth semester or seventh semester if the student has transferred from the MSc program or has been admitted directly to the PhD program with only a BSc. In addition, the advisory committee is required to submit a written evaluation of the student's performance in research and the student's potential as a researcher. Upon completion of the qualifying examination, the student becomes a candidate for the PhD degree.
     Students are required to participate in the Seminar (CROP*6400). In addition, a thesis seminar will be presented in conjunction with the final oral examination and thesis defence. Students will participate at least once in the Annual Poster Day sponsored by the Department and register for two colloquia in the Department. The PhD program is completed by the submission and successful defence of an acceptable thesis.
Interdepartmental Programs
Toxicology MSc/PhD Collaborative Program
     The Department of Plant Agriculture participates in the MSc/PhD program in toxicology. Please consult the Toxicology listing for a detailed description of the MSc/PhD collaborative program.


Course/(Credit Value) Term Course Description
Crop Genetics
Issues in Food Safety Risk Analysis (0.5)
S This course is based on the principles of risk analysis - assessment, management and communication - their application to food safety, agricultural biotechnology and food policy development.
Cytogenetics in Plant Breeding (0.5)
F Principles of cytogenetics are discussed in relation to their application to plant breeding; chromosome structure and aberrations; aneuploidy; haploidy, polyploidy and interspecific hybridization. This course consists of weekly lectures and discussion sessions.
Cytogenetics in Plant Breeding Laboratory (0.25)
F This is an optional laboratory course to accompany CROP*6050.
Advanced Crop Breeding (0.25)
F The practical application of genetic theory and biological limitations to improving plant populations as germplasm and for cultivar development will be presented and discussed. Sources of variation, selection methods, genotype evaluation and cultivar multiplication will be addressed in lectures and discussions.
Protein and Oilseed Crop Breeding (0.25)
F This course will address both theoretical and practical aspects of protein and oilseed crop breeding. Current and emerging breeding methodologies to achieve major agronomic and compositional goals will be examined from the perspective of theoretical, technical and financial efficiencies.
Corn Breeding (0.25)
W Principles of corn breeding with emphasis on germplasm enhancement and methods of improving breeding populations as sources of inbred lines for hybrid programs and for direct use as improved varieties.
Plant Breeding -The Profession (0.25)
W The course will address professional aspects of plant breeding including: legal/regulatory issues, ethical issues related to germplasm, and rights and responsibilities related to intellectual property under UPOV and World Patent Organization conventions.
Quantitative Genetic Variation in Crop Populations (0.25)
F Fundamentals of quantitative genetics. Topics will include gene and genotype frequencies, forces affecting equilibrium, small population size, inbreeding, means, variances, covariances and resemblance among relatives. Lecture topics will be expanded through discussion of classic and current papers.
Metric Traits in Plant Breeding (0.25)
W The application of statistical methods in plant breeding. Topics will include prediction errors, selection indices, stability analyses, error control, and use of molecular markers to study quantitative traits. The course will involve discussion of relevant papers and hands-on manipulation of typical datasets from plant-breeding programs.
Application of Plant Breeding Principles (0.5)
S The application of genetic principles and plant-breeding methods to cultivar and germplasm development in field crops will be presented through lectures, discussions and site visits. The course will encompass the breeding process from parental selection and recombination through to commercialization of varieties.
Colloquium in Genetics, Cytogenetics, and Plant Breeding (0.25)
F and W  
Advanced Crop Genetics (0.5)
W A lecture and discussion course on some of the recent advances in genetics as they pertain to crop improvement. Topics will include: the molecular basis of selected agronomic traits, molecular marker assisted selection, isolation of plant genes and plant transformation systems.
Crop Physiology and Production
Physiology of Crop Yield (0.5)
W Physiological and environmental principles as they relate to the growth of crop plants and communities. Plant and environmental characteristics determining transpiration, photosynthesis, leaf growth and reproductive growth and development. Simulation of plant growth.
Colloquium in Crop Physiology and Management (0.25)
F and W An open discussion and/or workshop course designed to review and critically analyze contemporary issues in crop physiology and management. The fall course is generally devoted to computer simulation of crop growth and development.
Colloquium on Weed Management in Agrosystems (0.25)
W An open discussion course designed to review and critically analyze contemporary issues in plant ecology and their relevance to practical weed management systems.
Current Research Problems and Field Techniques (0.25)
S A discussion of research problems under investigation and of techniques being used in crops.
Seminar (0.25)
F and W PhD students will present a seminar based on their research proposal no later than their third semester. MSc seminars will focus on topics unrelated to their research.
Teaching Practicum in Crop Science (0.5)
  Students will receive formal instruction in teaching principles and methods, and will apply what they have learned in supervised diploma, undergraduate and graduate instruction in Crop Science. Completion of all course requirements will generally require several semesters, with course registration to take place in the semester in which all requirements are to be completed.


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