Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences
Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences
*R. E. Paull, PhD (Chair)—plant growth and development, postharvest
Cooperating Graduate Faculty
S. A. El-Swaify, PhD—soil and water conservation, salinity
Affiliate Graduate Faculty
H. Albert, PhD—plant biotechnology, gene regulation
Degrees Offered: BS, MS, and PhD in tropical plant and soil sciences, minor in plant production and management
Upon graduation, students will be able to:
The Academic Program
The Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences (TPSS) program at UH Manoa is unique. Students have an opportunity to take courses in tropical flower, fruit, and vegetable crop production, turf and landscape management, plant physiology, breeding and genetics, and soil science. They learn about the full spectrum of subjects and activities required to understand and responsibly manage land, water, crops, and their environments for the benefit of humankind. In addition, they learn about the adaptation and application of new technologies, such as molecular biotechnology, computer-based systems, and the internet, to enhance plant production systems, assure a safe food supply, and protect the environment.
Our students come from many backgrounds including those with little practical environmental or agricultural experience. They have in common a keen interest in applying science for the purpose of finding practical solutions to problems. Mature students are especially welcome. A host of career prospects await our students. The comprehensive undergraduate program affords students the opportunity to study molecules to whole plants to managed agro-ecosystems. Students majoring in TPSS prepare for careers including plant production and management, plant breeding and genetics, services, marketing, extension, research, and teaching. UH Manoa students trained in tropical plant and soil sciences have embarked on successful careers in international organizations and governmental agencies, in ecological and environmental protection, in agricultural extension as individual entrepreneurs including farming in golf course/sports field management, park administration, landscape contracting, and as middle and upper management in corporate agriculture. They work in increasing the food supply, improving food quality, and assuring food safety while protecting the environment and improving the quality of life. Undergraduates are encouraged to obtain practical experience, which involves research under the direction of a faculty member and work in a commercial industry via our internship program. Students have found satisfaction in applying their course work and research studies to challenging problems in business, environmental protection, land-use, and agricultural crop production.
Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences
Students are advised by the department’s undergraduate advisor: Dr. Ken Leonhardt. Undergraduate options are detailed in the following section. Each student may identify a faculty member to act as a mentor in the student’s area of interest and specialization. All students in TPSS must receive approval of their program of courses from their advisors prior to registration each semester.
Graduate students are advised initially by an advisor or by the department’s graduate program chairman.
The program offers a BS degree in tropical plant and soil sciences with specializations in (1) plant sciences and genetics, (2) plant production and management, and (3) environmental soil science. A student is required to complete 128 credits to graduate with a BS in TPSS.
Students must complete the General Education Requirements (Core) of UH Manoa. An updated list of the courses recommended that satisfy the UH Manoa General Education Requirement is available from the undergraduate advisor. The UH’s Hawaiian/Second Language graduation requirement can be met by any four-course combination of language, natural science, and social science with a maximum of two social science courses.
The College has a core consisting of the following three courses that will satisfy parts of the UH Manoa General Education Requirement:
Students must complete the following three courses in the Department:
Option in Plant Sciences and Genetics
The option crosses the traditional boundaries that have separated genetics, plant physiology, molecular biology, and traditional crop production areas. The option links laboratory approaches and plant production systems through the application of plant biotechnology to solve multi-disciplinary problems. Students can select courses that allow concentration on genetic engineering to address real-world problems or to whole plant physiology and plant breeding.
Students selecting this option must take BIOL 172/172L, 275/275L and
406/406L (or their equivalent), and CHEM 161/161L, 162/162L, 272/272L
and 273 (or their equivalent). Some of these courses will fulfill part
of the Natural Science requirement of the UH Manoa General Education
Requirement. These courses are considered prerequisite to courses in the
Major (Option) Courses
Take a minimum of 14 credits from the following:
Electives (variable number of elective credits)
While students may choose from the array of courses offered at UH Manoa, an advising list of courses will be available to assist students in selecting courses that prepare students for a career in plant sciences and genetics.
The advising list includes courses in botany, chemistry, biology, physics, geography, business, history, and philosophy. Undergraduate advisors will assist students considering enrollment in graduate school in the selection of appropriate courses.
Option in Plant Production and Management
This option prepares students to produce, manage, and market plants grown as crops or in landscapes. The aim is to enable graduates to perform competitively in their chosen profession and to have a sufficiently broad educational background to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by changing situations.
Students selecting this option need to take BOT 101 and 101L (or their equivalent) or BIOL 172 and 172L (or their equivalent) and CHEM 161 and 161L and 162 and 162L or BIOC 341 (or their equivalent) to fulfill part of the Natural Science requirement of the UH Manoa core. These courses are considered prerequisite to upper division courses in the major.
Major Courses (Option in Plant Production and Management)
Take all four of these courses
The student must take 18 credits from following supporting courses for this option:
Elective Courses (variable number of elective credits and other courses approved by the undergraduate advisor)
While students may choose from the array of courses offered at UH Manoa, an advising list of courses will be available to assist students in selecting courses that prepare students for a career in horticultural crop production and management.
The advising list includes courses in botany, chemistry, biology, physics, geography, business, and courses in other departments; PEPS, MBBE, NREM, and HWST. Undergraduate advisors will assist students considering enrollment in graduate school in the selection of appropriate courses.
Option in Environmental Soil Science
The environmental soil science option will prepare students to effectively manage soil for the production of agricultural commodities and preserve this important natural resource for the benefit of man and the protection of the environment.
Students selecting this option need to take BOT 101 and 101L (or their equivalent) or BIOL 172 and 172L (or their equivalent), CHEM 161, and 161L and 162 and 162L (or their equivalent), ECON 130, PHYS 151 and 151L, Business Writing (ENG 209) and Calculus I (MATH 215). Some of these courses will fulfill part of the Natural Science requirement of the UH Manoa General Education Requirement. These courses are considered prerequisite to courses in the major.
The following courses need to be taken for this major.
The student must take 12 credits from following electives for this option:
Option in Landscape Horticulture
The Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Science’s Landscape Industry Option prepares students for exciting and diverse careers in the landscape industry. UH Manoa is centered within the Pacific rim, and is the only U.S. landscape program for sub-tropical and tropical environments, making studying at UH Manoa a unique experience.
The landscape horticulture option will prepare students to effectively design, installation, and maintenance of the built landscape that includes: trees, shrubs, flowers, house plants, and turf grass that are used to enhance the environment. Graduates of the program learn theoretical foundations, which lead to a practical understanding and implementation of how to produce environmentally and economically sustainable landscapes.
The landscape industry in Hawai‘i is a multi-million dollar business incorporating landscape nurseries, landscape architects, landscape contractors, arborists, and landscape maintenance, and interior landscape companies. Hawai‘i has lush resorts, world-class golf courses, master planned residential communities, and a variety of commercial projects, which offer TPSS students excellent opportunities to choose from upon graduation.
Students selecting this option need to take BOT 101 and 101L (or their equivalent) or BIOL 172 and 172L (or their equivalent) and CHEM 161 and 161L and CHEM 162 and 162L or BIOL 341 (or their equivalent) to fulfill part of the natural science requirement of the UH Manoa core. These are considered prerequisite to upper division courses in the major.
The following courses need to be taken for this major:
The student must take 12 credits from the following electives for this option:
Certificate in Agribusiness Management
This certificate fulfills a business and management needs for undergraduate
students in the technical fields of agriculture and for business/economics
students who want to concentrate in agriculture. Faculty from four departments
within the college coordinate and manage the program. The certificate
is open to undergraduate majors in any CTAHR program, economics and business.
NREM 220 or ECON 130 are prerequisites for the program.
Core Courses (12 credits)
Academic Minor in Plant Production and ManagementA minimum of 15 credits of non-introductory, upper division level courses must be completed with a grade of C (not C-) or higher for each course. Transfer credits toward the minor will be accepted if an appropriate UH Manoa course is determined to be equivalent, and if the grade is C (not C-) or higher. Required courses are TPSS 200, TPSS 300 and TPSS 364. Several optional courses can be selected. See the TPSS academic advisor for details (Dr. Ken Leonhardt, e-mail: email@example.com).
Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences
In order to solve the complex problems facing agricultural plant production systems, many disciplines must be integrated successfully. Candidates may specialize in genetics and breeding of tropical fruits, vegetables, or ornamentals; physiology, culture, and management of tropical fruits, vegetables, or ornamentals; morphogenesis; crop and stress physiology; post-harvest physiology; growth regulation; plant biochemical genetics; plant cytogenetics; weed science; computer modeling; or turf and landscape management, cropping systems, plant-soil relationships, soil chemistry, soil physics, soil management, soil and water conservation, soil fertility, and soil microbiology. Courses offered in botany, biochemistry, plant pathology, food science, genetics, microbiology, and zoology, combined with courses offered in TPSS, will provide considerable flexibility in the development of a program suited to a student’s career objectives.
The department offers graduate study leading to MS (Plan A, Plan B and Plan C) and PhD degrees. The TPSS graduate program offers a degree in TPSS and an option in TPSS (horticulture). The degrees emphasize the development of problem-solving skills that integrate molecular, biochemical, physiological, chemical, genetic and ecological approaches to collaborative research in plant and soil sciences.
The TPSS degree aims to provide the student with a thorough hands-on understanding of the principles and techniques in the adaptation and application of biotechnology to tropical crop plant production, and the role of soils in supporting the whole system of crop production systems. The option requires understanding of fundamental biological processes, molecular and organism biology, genetics, plant physiology, chemistry, physics, and microbiology. Soil is studied both for intrinsic properties, as well as its role in supporting crop growth and as an environmental resource.
The horticulture option explores the many facets of tropical food and ornamental crop production and requires the understanding of agricultural systems, plant production, soil fertility, and protection of the environment, as well as supporting disciplines such as crop ecology, plant physiology, and molecular biology.
The MS and PhD in TPSS are recognized Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) regional graduate programs. Residents of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming are eligible, upon admission, to enroll at Hawai‘i-resident tuition rates.
For admission to the TPSS graduate programs, applicants must present a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 (4.0 equals A scale) or the equivalent in the last four semesters or approximately 60 semester credits of the applicant’s undergraduate record. The GRE is required for all applicants. A minimum CBT TOEFL score of 173 is required of all foreign students. All applicants must submit 2 letters of recommendation at the time of application.
Transfer of Credits
The transfer of credits to meet the requirements of the MS or PhD is not automatic. The student must petition the graduate program chairman, certifying that the transfers make programmatic sense and that the courses to be transferred are equivalent in rigor and scholastic content to graduate -level (600 level) courses offered at UH Manoa. The graduate program chairman may consult with the graduate faculty as to the certification. The maximum number of credits that can be transferred is 12.
Only those credits that have not been applied towards the fulfillment of a previous degree may be transferred. An exception may be made if the subject matter area could not be met by course offering at UH, provided the courses transferred meet the rigor and programmatic appropriateness criteria described above.
Upon entering the graduate program, students will meet with their advisor. If a faculty advisor has not been selected, the graduate chairman or his representative will perform this function. The selection of an advisor must be made before the end of the first semester in residence. The advisor, with the approval of the graduate chairman, shall guide the student on course selection matters, insure progression in the program, and advise the student until the permanent graduate program committee is established.
Students shall meet their permanent graduate program committee at least once each semester to access academic and research progress and to establish goals for the next semester. It is the student’s responsibility to schedule this meeting and to file the Academic Progress Report with the graduate chairman.
Graduates of the Plan A program can further their graduate studies leading to the PhD degree or enter careers as researchers and technicians, while graduates of the Plan B program typically enter careers in education, agribusiness, extension service, and other agriculturally related occupations. The Plan B is regarded as terminal degree in this graduate program. Plan C (examination) option is open to selected students on the recommendation of their graduate program committee. Criteria for selection of Plan C candidates include previous academic records, interviews, levels of performance in the diagnostic examination, and prior research experience.
Students will take a written diagnostic examination the week preceding the first day of instruction. The diagnostic examination consists of questions in eight areas including botany, chemistry, biochemistry, mathematics, physics, plant science, statistics, and soil science. The results of this examination will be used by the student’s graduate committee, with approval of the graduate program chairman, to select additional courses for the students program.
Plan A students must complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of course work and 6 credit hours of thesis preparation. A final oral examination is required. For Plan B students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours, including a minimum of 18 credit hours earned in courses numbered 600 to 798 of which a majority must be in TPSS. A maximum of 6 credit hours (Plan B) or 2 credit hours (Plan A) in TPSS 699 may be credited towards the 30 credit hours applied.
All students must take TPSS 654 as soon as possible after beginning their studies and register for seminar (TPSS 667) once every academic year in which they are registered as full-time or equivalent, except the final semester, in which the dissertation defense or Plan B project report is given, can be substituted for seminar.
Graduates of the PhD program have entered careers as researchers and/or educators in institutions of higher learning and in public and private institutions.
The PhD is awarded only for original scholarly achievement. The dissertation, which is a significant original contribution to basic knowledge in the candidate’s field, is required. Only students with above average academic records in pre-doctoral programs will be accepted in the program.
Students will take a written diagnostic examination the week preceding the first day of instruction of their first semester as a TPSS graduate candidate. The diagnostic examination consists of questions in eight areas including botany, chemistry, biochemistry, mathematics, physics, plant science, statistics, and soil science. The results of this examination will be used by the student’s graduate committee, with approval of the graduate program chairman, to select additional courses for the student’s program.
Course requirements are established by the student’s graduate committee. Following a preliminary conference with the program advisor and/or committee, and with the approval of the graduate program chairman, the student will be officially advanced to candidacy. After admission to candidacy and the completion of most courses in the candidate’s program, the candidate must take oral comprehensive examinations covering all subjects considered relevant to the concentration. A seminar on the proposed research topic may be also required by the student’s permanent committee. A final oral examination, which includes a public defense of the dissertation, is required of all candidates.
For all PhD students, a minimum of 12 credit hours in courses numbered 400 or above is required for the major, not including seminar, directed research, thesis/dissertation research. Candidates must register for seminar (TPSS 667) once every academic year in which they are registered as full-time or equivalent, except the final semester, in which the dissertation defense can be substituted for seminar. PhD candidates who have not had TPSS 654 Communications in the Sciences or its equivalent must take this course during their first year as a substitute for one semester of TPSS 667.
Courses Available for Each OptionTropical Plant and Soil Sciences
Please note: This Catalog was prepared to provide information and does not constitute a contract. The University reserves the right to change or delete, supplement or otherwise amend at any time and without prior notice the information, requirements and policies contained in this Catalog.
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