The Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Our mission is to advance scientific knowledge and to provide science-based information to improve the sustainability of food
and fiber production, protection of natural resources and the lives of all the people in Tennessee and across the world.

The Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology is a leader in building and sharing knowledge about insects, related arthropods, and plant and animal diseases that affect Tennesseans. It is the only academic unit in Tennessee with the mission and responsibility to provide basic and applied information on questions of plant diseases and insect related problems affecting plants, animals and humans. Successful fulfillment of the mission requires a diverse complement of disciplinary expertise working in a highly integrated environment of teaching, research, extension and outreach. Departmental programs focus primarily on solving problems within Tennessee, yet draw on information generated worldwide and, in turn, provide information that is useful throughout the world.

Programs of Study

eppMASTERSmortarboardICON
Ph.D.
Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Nematology

Concentrations:

  • Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Molecular Interactions
  • Organismal Biology, Ecology, and Systematics
  • Sustainable Disease and Integrated Pest Management Systems
eppMASTERSmortarboardICON
M.S.
Entomology and Plant Pathology

Concentrations:

  • Bioinformatics and Genomics
  • Entomology
  • Plant Pathology
eppMASTERSmortarboardICON
Graduate Minors
Entomology and Plant Pathology

Options:

  • Entomology
  • Plant Pathology
eppMASTERSmortarboardICON
Undergraduate Minor
Entomology and Plant Pathology

Undergraduate Minor

Although EPP does not offer an undergraduate major degree, students can receive a minor in Entomology and Plant Pathology. The EPP minor is designed for students who want to learn more about the impacts of insects, fungi, plant pathogens, and nematodes on the environment; modern agriculture; and natural resources management. Most of these students are in Forestry or Plant Sciences degree programs. The minor provides classroom and research opportunities for students in all life science majors. This academic background can prepare students for graduate, veterinary, or medical school. Students seeking a minor in Entomology and Plant Pathology must take 15 semester credit hours of approved courses, from the following list: EPP 201, EPP 313, EPP 321, EPP 410, EPP 411, EPP 425, EPP 493, EPP 499, and EPP 499R (course descriptions)

For additional information, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies:
Dr. Paris Lambdin
2505 E.J. Chapman Drive
130 Plant Biotechnology Building
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-7952
Email: plambdin@utk.edu

Master of Science Degree

We offer both thesis and non-thesis M.S. degrees with concentrations in Entomology; Plant Pathology; and Bioinformatics and Genomics. Our M.S. degree program provides students with the principles and research background for a career in the life sciences. Our graduates have obtained positions at academic institutions, in public service or the private sector, or have gained admission to Ph.D. programs.

Students concentrating in bioinformatics and genomics can study biological sequencing and analysis of DNA and RNA, epigenetics, metagenomics and metatranscriptomics, phylogenomics, genotyping by sequencing, differential gene expression, population genomics, gene interactions and/or proteomics.

Students choosing entomology can study crop entomology, forest entomology, insect biology, insect ecology, insect pest management, taxonomy, molecular systematics, medical and veterinary entomology, biological control, integrated pest management, insect physiology, insect pathology, or innovative uses of traditional and biorational pesticides.

Students selecting the plant pathology concentration can study foliar and stem fungal diseases, plant nematology, plant virology, epidemiology, plant disease physiology, biological and cultural control of plant diseases, or ecology of soilborne plant pathogens.

Many of the specialties within the department involve cross‑disciplinary activity, which involves collaborations with soil scientists, plant geneticists, horticulturists, veterinarians, and ecologists. For instance, the department has special interest and expertise in alternative methods of insect and disease management, such as biological control, resistant cultivars, integrated pest management, and cultural techniques, to help meet the need for healthful food production without or with reduced use of pesticides.

Requirements for completion of the M.S. degree (thesis option) include the following:

  • A written thesis representing the culmination of an original research project; the thesis must be accepted by the student’s graduate committee and The University of Tennessee Graduate School; all M.S. students are strongly encouraged to publish scientific research articles from their thesis;
  • A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on all graduate courses taken at UTK;
  • A minimum of 30 semester credit hours of graduate courses approved by the student’s graduate committee, which includes 6 semester credit hours of EPP 500 (Thesis) for thesis preparation and 2 semester credit hours of seminar (EPP 640);
  • At least two-thirds of the minimum required semester credit hours must be taken in courses numbered at or above the 500 level, only 6 hours of EPP 500 may be counted toward this requirement;
  • For graduate courses taken at other institutions, the grade must be B or better and the course must be part of a graduate program in which the student had a GPA of at least 3.0; the course could not have been used for a previous degree, and must be approved by the student’s graduate committee and the Dean of the Graduate School.
  • An oral final exam must be passed to the satisfaction of the graduate committee after the thesis has been completed; the oral exam is both comprehensive and a defense of thesis; and
  • Mandatory training in research ethics.

A minor is not required but may be selected at the option of the student. A minor will include at least 6 and not more than 10 semester hours of graduate‑level credit in the minor department. The student’s graduate committee must include a faculty member from the minor department to assist in designating courses required for the minor.

Ph.D. Degree

The Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology offers a Ph.D. degree with concentrations in Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Molecular Interactions; Organismal Biology, Ecology, and Systematics; and Sustainable Disease and Integrated Pest Management. The doctoral degree is evidence of exceptional scholarly attainment and demonstrated capacity in original investigation.

Requirements for the Ph.D. degree include the following:

  • A written dissertation based on the culmination of an original research project; the dissertation must be approved by the student’s graduate committee and The University of Tennessee Graduate School; all Ph.D. students are required to furnish proof of submission of an article from their dissertation prior to graduation;
  • A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on all graduate courses taken at UT;
  • A minimum of 24 semester credit hours of graduate course work beyond the master’s degree, which includes 2 semester credit hours of seminar (EPP 640); doctoral candidates without an M.S. degree are required to have 48 semester credit hours of graduate courses beyond the baccalaureate degree;
  • A minimum of 12 of the 24 credit hours, or 30 of the 48 credit hours, must be graded A-F;
  • A minimum of 6 credit hours of the student’s course work must be taken in UT courses at the 600 level, exclusive of dissertation;
  • In addition, 24 hours of EPP 600 (Doctoral Research and Dissertation) are required (see Registration and Continuous Registration);
  • Ph.D. students are required to present two seminars. The first seminar (for 1 hour of EPP 640 credit) is the research proposal seminar. The second seminar (for 1 hour of EPP 640 credit) is required for the student to present an exit seminar.
  • For graduate courses taken at other institutions, the grade must be B or better and the course must be part of a graduate program in which the student had a GPA of at least 3.0; the course could not have been used for a previous degree, and must be approved by the student’s graduate committee and the Dean of the Graduate School.
  • Oral and written comprehensive exams on academic coursework and general knowledge;
  • A final oral exam must be passed to the satisfaction of the graduate committee after the dissertation has been completed; the oral exam is both comprehensive and a defense of the dissertation; and
  • Mandatory training in research ethics.

For both the M.S. and Ph.D. programs, a minor is not required but may be selected at the option of the student. In general, a minor will include 6 to 10 semester hours of graduate‑level credit in the minor department. The student’s graduate committee must include a faculty member from the minor department to assist in designating courses required for the minor.

For additional information on our graduate programs, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies at:
Dr. Bonnie Ownley
Director of Graduate Studies
2505 E.J. Chapman Drive
370 Plant Biotechnology Building
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-0219
Email: Graduate School Application Information
E-mail generally will get a faster response.