PMCB is a competitive, nationally-recognized graduate program that prepares students for modern professional careers in plant biology research. The Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Program at the University of Florida is one of the most comprehensive graduate programs in plant sciences in the U.S. Our success is a result of our interdisciplinary emphasis.
PMCB currently has 52 faculty members housed in three Colleges across eight different UF departments: Agronomy, Biology, Environmental Horticulture, Forest Resources and Conservation, Horticultural Sciences, Microbiology and Cell Science, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and Plant Pathology.
Their research interests span from basic to applied science, including genomics, proteomics, genetics, biochemistry, bioinformatics, computational biology, breeding, biotechnology, plant physiology, plant immunity, plant pathology, and molecular and cellular biology.
Our faculty members are deeply committed to helping students develop into successful scientists, capable of conducting independent fundamental and applied research.
We have a close-knit and diverse group of graduate students from different personal and academic backgrounds. Our students enjoy a vibrant sense of community not only among students but also post-doctoral researchers, faculty and staff. Our annual workshop (aka ‘retreat’), rotation seminars, Journal Colloquium, social gatherings, and invited speakers seminars all play a vital role in nurturing interaction among the various PMCB laboratories.
We are proud to offer an atmosphere that is supportive and inclusive of students from all backgrounds. About 12% of our current PMCB students identify themselves as members of underrepresented minority groups. Our average of international students is 48% and average female students is 42%.
Students enjoy a diverse and interdisciplinary training that leads to productive careers in plant science. Our job placement for our 2011-2016 graduates has been 100%. PMCB graduates have secured excellent job positions and our alumni are now leaders in the academic, industry, government, and non-profit sectors.
The PMCB Program focuses on Ph.D. degrees. Our financial support is primarily directed to doctoral students. Master’s degrees are only offered to students who have identified a major professor willing to supervise and financially support them before gaining admission to PMCB. Completion of a Ph.D. degree is approximately four to five years.
We offer admissions in fall semesters only. Rotation assistantship are awarded to students entering in the FALL SEMESTER ONLY. Students may be admitted in the spring semesters ONLY if they are in contact with a professor who agrees to take them directly into their lab and fund their graduate studies. First year graduate studies begin at the start of the fall semester, although it is possible to begin in July prior to the first year by undertaking a summer laboratory rotation. Ph.D. students can be admitted as rotation students or directly into a lab of their interest. First year rotation students complete short research projects in three different PMCB faculty laboratories and select a Ph.D. advisor by the end of their second semester (spring).
All students complete four core courses in Advanced Genetics, Plant Molecular Biology and Genomics, Plant Cellular and Developmental Biology, and Plant Biochemistry. Students are also required to take Journal Colloquia classes every fall and spring semesters until the completion of their studies. Students can select elective classes in biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, breeding, genetics, evolution, microbiology, and plant pathology. Elective classes are chosen by the student and his or her graduate committee to reflect individual professional goals and research interests.
Written qualifying exams, taken at the beginning of the first summer semester, rigorously assess whether students will succeed in our doctoral program. Oral candidacy exams (aka proposal defense) are taken before the end of the spring semester of their second year. Our students write a detailed NSF- or USDA-style format proposal, which is presented publicly and then defended before the committee. After passing their oral exams, our students are admitted to candidacy and considered Ph.D. candidates.
The key skills that are emphasized throughout our Ph.D. program are reading and interpreting primary literature, experimental design and execution, scientific writing, oral presentation of scientific results and professional development.
We have a diverse group of graduate students and welcome all applications from highly motivated and qualified students. Preference is given to students who, besides having met our minimum requirements have a strong research background, including lab experience. Highly qualified domestic undergraduate students are encouraged to apply directly to our Ph.D. program. International applicants typically have or are working toward a M.S. degree. Having paper publications in peer-reviewed journals is highly desirable.