Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences
Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences
*R. E. Paull, PhD (Chair)—plant growth & development, postharvest handling
Cooperating Graduate Faculty
D. Borthakur, PhD—plant-microbe interactions, plant biotechnology
Affiliate Graduate Faculty
R. A. Criley, PhD— floriculture, flowering physiology, plant propagation
Degrees Offered: BS in tropical agriculture and the environment, MS and PhD in tropical plant and soil sciences, minor in plant production and management, agribusiness certificate
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 and teachers at all levels, in 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
Undergraduate students are mentored by the program mentors: Dr. Ken Leonhardt (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Helen Spafford (email@example.com) for the program and specializations. The specialization areas in the TAE program are detailed in the following section each student may also identify a faculty member in TPSS or PEPS to act as a mentor in the student's area of interest and specialization.
Undergraduates are required to consult with a CTAHR advisor prior to registration each semester. Go to www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/ugadvising for more information. Academic advisors are available by appointment only, Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (except holidays). Appointment website: ctahradv.youcanbook.me. Gilmore Hall, first floor, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate students are advised initially by a research program advisor or by the department’s graduate program chairperson.
The Departments of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences and Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences jointly offer a BS degree in Tropical Agriculture and the Environment (TAE). Students in this program complete a common core of courses taught by faculty in both departments and then specializations in one or more of the following areas:
Students who undertake this program of study will:
A student is required to complete 120 credits to graduate with a BS in TAE.
Note: The Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences formerly offered a BS degree. However, there is no admittance to the BS in Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences degree effective Fall 2016. Students interested in study of invasive species management should enroll in the BS in Tropical Agriculture and the Environment (TAE) and specialize in Invasive Species Management.
Students must complete the UH Manoa General Education Requirements. An updated list of the courses recommended to satisfy the requirements is available from the undergraduate advisor. The college has a core consisting of the following courses:
The department has a core consisting of the following courses:
Specialization in Environmental Soil Science
Students are prepared to effectively manage soils for the production of agricultural commodities and preservation of this important natural resource for human uses and environmental conservation. Students understand the chemical and biological processes that govern soil formation and nutrient cycling.
Students selecting this option need to take BIOL 171/171L, BIOL 172/172L, CHEM 161/161L and 162/162L (or their equivalent), PHYS 151, and Calculus I (MATH 215) and TPSS 492/492L. Some of these courses will fulfill part of the Natural Science requirement of the UH Manoa General Education Requirement. Some of these courses are considered prerequisite to some courses in the major.
Major Courses (Specialization in Environmental Soil Science)
The following courses are required for this specialization.
The student must take 18 credits from 14 electives courses for this specialization. The options available are listed on the Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, www.manoa.hawaii.edu/ovcaa/programsheets/.
Specialization in Invasive Species Management
Students who specialize in invasive species management are prepared to design and implement pest management programs and conduct basic and applied research using multidisciplinary approaches. Students receive interdisciplinary education in entomology, plant pathology, weed science and invasive species management.
Students selecting this option need to take MATH 140 or NREM 203, BIOL 171/171L and BIOL 172/172L (or their equivalent), and CHEM 161/161L and CHEM 162/162L (or their equivalent) and PEPS 495. Some of these courses will fulfill part of the Natural Science requirement of the UH Manoa General Education Requirement. Some of these courses are considered prerequisite to some courses in the major.
Major Requirements (Specialization in Invasive Species Management)
The following courses are required for this specialization:
Major Courses (Option in Plant Production and Management)
Take all 10 of these courses
The student must take 12 credits from a list of 8 courses. The options available are listed on the Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, www.manoa.hawaii.edu/ovcaa/programsheets/.
Specialization in Landscape Horticulture
The landscape horticulture specialization prepares students to effectively design, install, and maintain landscapes that include trees, shrubs, flowers, house plants, and turf grass that are used to enhance the environment. Students of the program learn theoretical foundations, which lead to a practical understanding and implementation of how to produce environmentally and economically sustainable landscapes.
Students selecting this option need to take MATH 140 or NREM 203, BIOL 171/171L and BIOL 172/172L (or their equivalent), and CHEM 161/161L and CHEM 162/162L (or their equivalent) and TPSS 492/492L. Some of these courses will fulfill part of the Natural Science requirement of the UH Manoa General Education Requirement. Some of these courses are considered prerequisite to some courses in the major.
Major Requirements (Specialization in Landscape Horticulture)
The following courses need to be taken for this specialization:
The student must take 15 credits from a list of over 20 courses. The options available are listed on the Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, www.manoa.hawaii.edu/ovcaa/programsheets/.
Specialization in Plant Physiology and Genetics
Specializing in plant physiology and genetics allows students to cross the traditional boundaries that have separated genetics, plant physiology, molecular biology, and their application to crop production. By linking laboratory approaches and plant production systems through the application of plant biotechnology students learn to solve multi-disciplinary problems. Students can select courses that allow concentration on genetic engineering or whole plant physiology and plant breeding to address real-world problems.
Students selecting this option must take MATH 140 or NREM 203, BIOL 171/171L, BIOL 172/172L, and CHEM 161/161L, 162/162L and TPSS 492/492L. Some of these courses will fulfill part of the Natural Science requirement of the UH Manoa General Education Requirement. Some of these courses are considered prerequisite to some courses in the major.
Major Courses (Specialization in Plant Physiology and Genetics)
Students are required to take 10 courses (30 credits) from a list of over 30 choices. The available options are listed on the Bachelor Degree Program Sheet. For information on a Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, www.manoa.hawaii.edu/ovcaa/programsheets/.
Students may choose from the array of courses, offered on an advising list of courses to fulfill the university credit requirement for graduation. Advisors will be available to assist students in selecting courses that prepare students for a career in plant sciences and genetics.
Specialization in Plant Production and Management
Students are prepared to produce, manage, and market plants grown as crops or in landscapes with an emphasis on productivity with appropriate pest and disease management. Students learn to solve horticultural problems using evidence-based methods.
Students selecting this option need to take MATH 140 or NREM 203, BIOL 171/171L, BIOL 172/172L, and CHEM 161/161L and 162/162L and TPSS 492/492L. 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 some courses in the major.
Major Courses (Specialization in Plant Production and Management)
The following courses are required for this specialization:
In addition, the student must take 6 courses from a list of over 30 choices. The options available are listed on the Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, www.manoa.hawaii.edu/ovcaa/programsheets/.
Students may choose from the array of courses offered on an advising list of courses to fulfill the university credit requirement for graduation. Advisors will be available to assist students in selecting courses that prepare students for a career in horticultural crop production and management.
Certificate in Agribusiness Management
This certificate fulfills 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.
The certificate program consists of courses concentrating on the applications of business, management, and economic principles to agribusinesses with particular emphasis on the factors that differentiate agriculture and related products and services from other businesses. The certificate program includes four core agribusiness courses:
Core Courses (12 credits)
Academic Minor in Plant Production and Management
A minimum of 15 credits of 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, 300, and 364. Several optional courses can be selected. See the TPSS academic advisor for details (Dr. Ken Leonhardt, email: 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. Minimum CBT TOEFL scores are 600/100 (paper/internet), with subset scores of 25 for listening and 25 for speaking are 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 Manoa, 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.
MS Degree, Plan A (thesis) and B (without thesis)
The intended study of the MS Plan A program is to further a student’s graduate studies leading to the PhD degree or successful entry to careers as researchers and technicians. Graduates of the MS Plan B program typically enter careers in education, agribusiness, extension service, and other agricultural related occupations..
MS Plan A: Students must complete a minimum of 24 credits hours of course work and 6 credit hours of thesis preparation. A final oral examination is also required.
MS Plan B: Students must complete a minimum of 30 credits as follows: at least 6 credits in TPSS 600+; 6 credits in TPSS/CTAHR/Botany 600+ (see graduate chair for list of allowed courses), 6 credits in other 600+; 6 credits of 699; 6 credits in other 400/600 level classes
Proposal defense: MS Plan A students are required to give a thesis proposal seminar, preferably in the second semester.
Seminar: All students must take TPSS 654 (Communications in the Sciences) during their graduate study and register for TPSS 667 (Graduate Seminar) once every academic year in which they are registered as full-time student or equivalent. An exception can be made during the final semester, in which the dissertation defense or Plan B project report is given in place of TPSS 667.
Lecture Requirement: All MS students are required to give one lecture in a TPSS course during their program. The student will be evaluated by the faculty teaching the course, and this evaluation will be added to the student’s file.
MS-Thesis Plan A: See graduate chair on thesis preparation. Upon development of a thesis proposal in conjunction with your advisor and the selection of graduate committee, the student will advanced to candidacy. The thesis topic must be submitted and approved by your graduate committee prior to mid-term of the semester after you have been advanced to candidacy. You may register for TPSS 700 only after your thesis topic has been approved by your committee.
Final Examination-MS Plan A: A final oral examination on course of study and project is required. The first part of the examination consists of a seminar presentation and defense of the research, which is open to the public and is one hour in length. Following the presentation, student will be examined in detailed on the conduct and results of the thesis by the committee.
Final Examination-MS Plan B: A final oral examination is required. The examination consists of a seminar presentation which is open to the public and is one hour in length. The seminar will be presented on a topic agreed upon by the student and their advisor/committee chair. Topics presented included the research conducted under the advisor's direction in TPSS 699.
MSDegree Plan C
Graduate Education and TPSS in CTAHR allow for a Plan C Masters degree. See the graduate chair for more information.
Doctor of Philosophy Degree
PhD graduates are expected to enter careers as researchers and/or educators in institutions of higher learning, both 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.
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. Course requirements are established by the student’s graduate committee.
Proposal defense: PhD students are required to give a dissertation proposal seminar within the first year of their program.
Seminar: Candidates must register for TPSS 667 (Graduate Seminar) once every academic year in which they are registered as full-time or equivalent. An exception is made in the final semester in which the dissertation defense can be substituted for seminar. All students must take TPSS 654 (Communications in the Sciences) or its equivalent during their first year as a substitute for one semester of TPSS 667.
Lecture Requirement: All PhD students are required to give three lectures in TPSS courses during the course of their program. The student will be evaluated by the faculty member teaching the course, and this evaluation will be added to the student’s file.
Comprehensive Examination: An oral or oral and written comprehensive examination is conducted by your graduate committee for all PhD candidates. This examination may cover any subject thought pertinent by your committee members. The comprehensive examination may be repeated once at the option of your committee. If the student fails to pass the exam the second time, the student will be dropped from the program.
Dissertation: 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. For further information, see the graduate chair. The dissertation proposal must be submitted and approved by your graduate committee during the semester following completion of the qualifying examination. You may register for TPSS 800 (Dissertation Research) only after approval of your dissertation proposal.
Final examination: A final oral examination on student’s dissertation is required. The first part of the examination consists of a seminar presentation and defense of your research, which is open to the public and is one hour in length. Following the open seminar presentation, there will be more thorough examination of the research and results of the dissertation by the members of your committee and any other members of the graduate faculty who wish to attend.