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College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Plant Pathology

Requirements for the Major

290 Russell Labs, 1630 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-1410; www.plantpath.wisc.edu

Professors McManus (chair), Ahlquist, Allen, Ané, Bent, Charkowski, Clayton, Havey, Jiang, Kaeppler, Keller, MacGuidwin, Rouse, Yu; Associate Professors Barak, Gevens, Groves, Jansky, Willis; Assistant Professors Kabbage, Koch, Lankau, Rakotondrafara, Silva, Smith

This major can be earned through the Bachelor of Science degree program.  

Plant pathology is the study of plants and their pathogens, the process of disease, and how plant health and disease are influenced by factors such as the weather, nonpathogenic microorganisms, and plant nutrition. It encompasses fundamental biology as well as applied agricultural sciences. 

Plant pathology involves the study of plants and pathogens at the genetic, biochemical, physiological, cellular, population, and community levels, and how the knowledge derived is integrated and put into agricultural practice. Prerequisite to effective research, teaching, and extension in plant pathology is a breadth of interdisciplinary interest and knowledge, in a department and in its individual members, reaching from ecology to microbiology, from meteorology to applied mathematics, and from molecular biology to communication skills.

Plant pathology is a field that thrives in, and makes its greatest contribution to, comprehensive institutions like the University of Wisconsin–Madison where the proximity and complementarity of basic sciences and the other applied agricultural sciences are exceptionally strong.

Undergraduates in plant pathology can choose between two tracks. The plant-microbe biology track has courses in basic math and sciences; including biology, chemistry and physics, along with upper-level courses in plant pathology, biochemistry and microbiology. This track is geared toward students who have an interest in receiving a broad education in the basic science or plan to pursue a graduate or professional degree. The plant health and industry track includes some courses in basic math and sciences, as well as additional courses in agriculture and economics/management and upper-level courses in plant pathology, entomology and other agricultural sciences. This track is designed for students who intend to work in industry after receiving their undergraduate degree. More information about careers in plant pathology is available from the department.

For those interested in graduate studies, the Department of Plant Pathology offers a broad program leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, which is described in the Graduate School Catalog. Contact the department for more information.

Requirements for the Major

Courses may not double count within the major (unless specifically noted otherwise), but courses counted toward the major requirements may also be used to satisfy a university requirement and/or a college requirement.  A minimum of 15 credits must be completed in the major that are not used elsewhere.

Core Mathematics

Math [112 and 113], or 114, or 171 or may be satisfied by placement exam

Students in the Plant Health and Industry Track may request permission to complete this requirement with Math 112 plus one of the following:

any Math course above 200 or Stat 224 or 301 or 371 or 541 or 571 or Comp Sci 302

Core Chemistry

Chem [103 and 104] or 109

Introductory Biology

Biology/Botany/Zoology 151 and 152 (preferred)
Zoology 101 and 102 and Botany 130
Biocore 381 and 382 and 383 and 384

Core Physics

Physics 103 or 201 or 207

Plant Pathology Core

Pl Path 300
Pl Path/Botany 332
Another Pl Path course above 300 (not including Pl Path 375 or independent study credits—Pl Path 299, 399, 681, 682, 691, 692, and 699)

Capstone (3 credits)

Pl Path 590


Complete one track:

Plant-Microbe Biology Track

Additional Mathematics and Statistics (8–10 cr)

Math 211 or 217* or 221
Math 222** or Stat 301 or Stat 371
*Math 171 and 217 must be taken together.
**Math 221 is a prerequisite for Math 222

Additional Chemistry (8 cr)

Satisfy one option below:

Chem 343 and 344 and 345
Chem 341 and 342

Biology (8 cr)

Satisfy one option below:

Option 1:
Microbio 303 and 304
Genetics 466

Option 2:
Two of the following:
Biocore 485 or 486 or 587

Additional Physics (4–5 cr)

Physics 104 or 202 or 208

Plant Physiology (3-4 cr)

Botany 500

Plant-Microbe Electives (5 cr)

5 credits from: Biochem 501, Botany 300, [400 or 401], 460, Entom 302, or any Pl Path course above 300

Plant Health and Industry Track

Biology (3 cr)

Genetics 160 or 466

Core (3 cr)

Pl Path 558 or 559
Plant Health and Industry Electives (24 cr)

24 credits taken from at least two different departments of the courses listed below:

Agronomy 100, 300, 302, 328
Botany 260, 300, 460, 500
Biochem 501
BSE 216
C&E Soc 140, 222, 230, 578, 650
Entom 201, 302, 342, 541
F&W Ecol 100, 335, 360, 455, 460, 550
Hort 120, 232, 233, 263, 320, 345
Microbio 101, 102, 303, 304
Nutr Sci 132, 311, 332, 350, 510, 540
Pl Path any course above 300 not already taken for another category
Soil Sci 132, 230, 301, 322, 324, 325, 326, 336

Business (6 cr)

6 credits from the following list: Acct IS 100, 211, 300, 301, 302, 329, AAE 215, 320, 322, 323, 419, 421, 474, Econ 101, 102, L Sc Com 270, MHR 300, 305