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PLSC – Chair’s Welcome Statement

It’s my pleasure and honor to welcome you to the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences (PLSC) at the University of Delaware. Our department includes many dedicated and talented people with expertise ranging from horticulture and landscape design, to environmental soil science, to plant molecular biology and biotechnology. The impact of our work is felt regionally, nationally and internationally, through the success of our students, staff and faculty.

Undergraduate Programs: Our students are trained to excel in a wide array of career options related to plant productivity, the environment and soils, biotechnology and genomics. Skills in these areas are in high demand, with professional opportunities exceeding the number of graduates. We offer four bachelors of science (B.S.) degree programs, including: Environmental Soil Science; Landscape Horticulture and Design; and Plant Science.

We have a student-to-faculty ratio of less than three-to-one, providing excellent research and internship opportunities for hands-on learning experiences. We know all of our students very well through our classes, advising, and research projects. Our academic environment is highly conducive to learning, with well-equipped laboratories, an extensive botanic garden, state-of-the-art greenhouses, computer facilities, and areas for studying and socializing. We have affiliations with individuals at major nearby institutions and companies that also provide unique opportunities for learning. Recent graduates from our department are in a broad spectrum of careers including positions as landscape designers, laboratory technicians, soil scientists, graduate and post-graduate researcher scientists, park rangers, golf course superintendents, estate managers, faculty at other universities, greenhouse and nursery production specialists, and agronomists.

Graduate Programs: Our department offers the master of science and the doctor of philosophy degrees in the plant and soil sciences. Two graduate areas exist in the department, namely: (1) plant science which includes the areas of plant molecular biology, plant breeding, plant pathology, plant tissue culture, landscape design, horticulture, crop science, plant anatomy and plant physiology; and (2) soil science which includes soil chemistry, soil fertility and management, soil physics, soil microbiology and biochemistry, environmental microbiology, soil and water quality, and soil formation and biogeochemistry. Our graduate faculty are recognized experts in their fields of study and deeply dedicated to providing comprehensive mentorship to their students. In addition to offering thesis and dissertation based degrees at the M.S. and Ph.D levels, our department offers both a non-thesis M.S. degree and allows students to pursue the M.S. degree on a part-time basis, the latter being particularly suited to individuals already in the workforce.

Faculty and Expertise: Our faculty members are very well known and recognized for research and their scholarly work, and we promote innovative teaching methods and individualized student advising. We’re active in public and professional service, delivering novel and innovative findings and practices to our stakeholders and in our fields of expertise.  Our department has approximately 30 tenure-track faculty and a number of extension professionals.  We currently have 71 undergraduate majors, and 60 graduate students.

As you get to know our department and academic programs, and the people working in our department, you will find yourself in a welcoming and academically rigorous environment. The challenges and potential of positions in our fields of expertise are exciting, as technologies are having a deep impact on way we conduct our work, and there are tremendous demands on both plants and soils in today’s world. This is creating many job opportunities for our graduates.

I encourage you to explore our website for more information about all that our department has to offer. Our faculty and staff welcome the opportunity to interact with the public and our stakeholders, and if you have additional questions, please contact us directly and/or schedule a campus visit.

Dr. Bob Lyons,
Interim Chair