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    Sep 24, 2023  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Plant Sciences Major, BS in Plant Sciences – Five-Year BS/MS Program

For qualified students, the Department of Plant Science offers a Five-Year BS/MS accelerated degree program with a BS major in Plant Science and a MS major in Plant Sciences. Central to this program is that a qualified student may take up to nine hours of approved graduate course work within their directed electives category in the undergraduate catalog and have them count toward both the BS degree and the MS degree. Students may be considered for conditional admission to the program after completion of 90 credit hours towards their BS degree. This program is designed for students who intend to complete their MS degree at the University of Tennessee, as other universities may not accept these courses for graduate credit, because they were used to satisfy requirements for the BS degree.

Significant components required for conditional admission to the program are:

  • A student must be a declared Plant Sciences major, with a minimum GPA of 3.4, must have completed at least 15 hours of credit in Plant Sciences, and must have completed at least 90 hours of the 120 hours of coursework required for the BS degree with a major in Plant Science.
  • A student must complete a personal interview with their undergraduate faculty mentor, the Graduate Director in the Department of Plant Sciences, and a student must obtain a letter of mentorship support from a Plant Sciences faculty member (i.e., major professor).
  • As part of the official application process, the student must submit to the graduate director the following: (1) a letter of intent from graduate mentor, (2) an updated resume, (3) a current degree audit (DARS report), and (4) a letter of intent from student documenting their research interest.
  • Students must at least be conditionally admitted to the program prior to taking courses that receive credit for both the BS and MS degrees. Condition admission requires approval (Senior Requesting Graduate Credit Form) by the Plant Sciences Graduate Director and the Graduate School.

The form “Plant Sciences Conditional Admission Five-Year BS/MS” is available from the Graduate Director and must be completed and signed by the undergraduate advisor, undergraduate coordinator, and graduate advisory committee at least two months before the start of the student’s last two full semesters at UTK. After review by the Department, the form will be signed by the Graduate Director and submitted to the Graduate School for approval and processing. During the first term following conditional admission to the BS/MS program, the student will work with the faculty mentor to obtain agreement from two additional faculty members to serve on the student’s thesis advisory committee.

A student that is conditionally admitted to the BS/MS program may complete up to 9 credit hours of graduate level coursework during the student’s undergraduate study and apply those 9 credit hours to satisfy both the BS degree requirements and also the MS degree requirements, provided that these graduate credit hours are listed within the Herbert College of Agriculture as acceptable for graduate credit. To receive graduate credit for the 9 credit hours listed on the Plant Sciences Conditional Application form and approved by their graduate advisory committee, and others granting approval by signing that form, the student must complete and submit the Senior Requesting Graduate Credit Form to the Graduate School. If courses are to be taken during different semesters, the student will need to submit this form per each relevant semester.

Conditional admission into the BS/MS program does not guarantee acceptance into either the Graduate School or the MS program. Students in the BS/MS program must apply for admission to the Graduate School and to the MS program during their senior year of undergraduate study for the term immediately following the completion of their undergraduate study following the same procedures that all other student applicants follow. A GRE score must be submitted as part of the application for admission into any graduate program in the Department of Plant Sciences. Students will be fully admitted to the MS program after they have been accepted both by the Graduate School and by the Plant Sciences program. Students will not be eligible for graduate assistantships until they are enrolled as graduate-level students in the Graduate School. The five-year time frame is established to ensure sufficient time is available to complete graduate coursework as directed by the student’s graduate committee. Research needed to fulfill requirements for successful defense of a thesis may require additional time-to-degree.