Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Revised January, 2001
Faculty and students in the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences are concerned with food and fiber production and with the use, conservation, and protection of soil and water resources upon which all life depends. Students can enter the graduate program in the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Arkansas with undergraduate degrees in almost any other science. Some previous education in crops, soils, or the environmental sciences is beneficial to the graduate student, but an undergraduate major in such areas as chemistry, physics, biology, plant, soil or environmental sciences can form a good background for advanced studies.
The Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Arkansas offers numerous study areas. The student may concentrate in either crop science or soil science with specialization in plant breeding and genetics, crop physiology, crop production, weed science, pesticide residues, biotechnology, seed technology, forage production, soil chemistry, soil classification, soil fertility, soil microbiology, and soil physics. These areas of specialization may be combined with integrated pest management, ecology, environmental sciences, water resources, geographical information systems and natural resource database management or land use and management. In addition, the student may specialize in one of the major crops grown in Arkansas: rice, soybean, cotton, wheat and other small grains, or forages. The selection of the major professor and research problem will be determined by the area of interest.
When the graduate degree is complete, opportunities for employment will depend upon the area of specialization. Positions are available with federal and state governments, with colleges and universities, and with private industry. Attractive government positions may include work with such agencies as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, or other federal agencies which deal with agronomic and environmental issues. State and local governments also need our graduates in crops, soil, and water management and in new areas of urban agronomy. Colleges and universities hire our graduates in teaching, research, and extension positions. Often the extension position is associated with a USDA governmental position. Fertilizer, pesticide, and seed companies, as well as environmental industries, offer attractive positions to graduates. Judicious planning can allow the student to aim for a particular career without over-specialization.
Admission to the Graduate School is a prerequisite to becoming a graduate degree candidate in the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences. Admission procedures and requirements are outlined in detail in the Graduate School Catalog. Application forms for admission to the Graduate School can be obtained from the Department or from:
Graduate School Admissions Office
119 Ozark Hall
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701
This admission form should be returned to the Graduate School Admissions Office at the above address and not to the Department. The Graduate School will process all documents and forward acceptance to the Department. Consult the Graduate School Catalog or Web page at www.uark.edu/depts/gradinnfo/public_html/handbookmain.htm for additional details on admission requirements. With approval of admission to the Graduate School and assignment to an available advisor in the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, the student is admitted to the Graduate Program.
In addition to contacting the Graduate School, if the student is requesting an assistantship he/she is required to contact the Department directly. Most prospective students do this at the same time they send in their applications to the Graduate School; however, it can be done at any time. Three letters of recommendation should be sent to the Department if applying for an assistantship.
When all information has been received by the department (either directly from the student or from the Graduate School), the documents will be reviewed by the Departmental Graduate Committee. This Committee will complete the following:
1. Screen applicants for advanced degrees in Agronomy to insure that they meet minimum acceptable academic standards.
2. Review the applications and make recommendations to the Department Head for acceptance or rejection with appropriate reasons. The letter of recommendation to the Department Head should also contain information on (a) availability of advisor and (b) suitability for graduate studies. After careful consideration of the student's records, which in special cases may include oral and/or written examinations, the committee will make one of three recommendations to the Department Head. The committee recommends:
a. That the student be accepted into the Department as a prospective candidate for an advanced degree;
b. That the student be accepted into the Department with recommendation of courses regarding deficiencies; or
c. That the student not be accepted as a prospective candidate for an advanced degree. 3. Refer any Ph.D. applicants, who have received both the B.S. and M.S. degrees in Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Arkansas, to the departmental graduate faculty for their review and recommendations.
After the student has been accepted by the Graduate School, approved by the Departmental Graduate Committee and assigned an advisor, admittance to the program will be complete.
To maintain graduate student standing in the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, the student must comply with policies and procedures of both the Graduate School and the Department. The student is responsible for adhering to regulations outlined by the Graduate School Catalog and those stated in these departmental policies.
B. Minimum Requirements (All GPA's on a 4-point scale)
1. Graduate School
a. Regular Admission
To be eligible for regular admission to the Graduate School, a student must earn at least a 2.7 cumulative grade-point average on all coursework attempted prior to receipt of the bachelor's degree or have earned at least a 3.2 cumulative grade-point average on the 60 hours immediately preceding receipt of the bachelor's degree. Applicants not having these minimums may be admitted to "Regular Admission" by presenting to the Dean of the Graduate School a satisfactory score (i.e. 1500) on the Aptitude Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), a satisfactory score (i.e. 50) on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Management Admission Test.
b. Conditional Admission (less than 2.7 GPA)
If an applicant does not meet the above criteria for regular admission to the Graduate School, he/she may be admitted on a 12-hour conditional basis. To be eligible for admission to the Graduate School under the 12-hour condition, a student must have a recommendation for admission from the Department Head, approval of the Graduate Dean, and no less than a 2.3 GPA, or at least a 3.0 for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work. To remove this condition and achieve regular graduate school admission status, the student must earn a 2.85 average on the first 12 hours of graduate-level work taken for the degree program. A memorandum to the Graduate School from the Department Head or faculty advisor is necessary to initiate regular admission after successful completion of these 12 hours.
c. Readmission or Termination
No student will be readmitted to the Graduate School if he/she has below a 2.7 cumulative average on 12 or more credits of graduate level coursework (An incomplete will be considered an F).
2. Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences
a. Regular and Conditional Admission
For regular and conditional admission to the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, grade-point requirements are the same as those for the Graduate School. The Departmental Graduate Committee reviews all applications and suggests appropriate advisors and, where appropriate, additional deficiency coursework. The Department Head must approve admission into the Department.
b. Probation or Termination
If a graduate student's cumulative GPA on graduate course work falls below a 2.85, the student will be placed on academic probation. The student will subsequently be dismissed from the departmental graduate program if the cumulative GPA is not raised to 2.85 or above on the next 9 hours of graded graduate course work required by the student's program.
3. International Students
A minimum TOEFL score of 550 is required for admission into a graduate program of study. International students should visit the International Student Office in Room 104 of Holcombe Hall (phone 575-5003) before registration to clarify any points related to residence in the U.S. and status as a student.
C. Assistantships and Other Financial Aid
The Graduate School has adopted general policies for graduate assistantships which govern the Appointments and Obligations of the University, the Graduate School and the graduate assistants. The departmental regulations follow these Graduate School policies.
The Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences offers research and teaching assistantships to provide service to the department and to help graduate students finance their educations. To retain an assistantship the graduate student must maintain a grade-point average of 3.0.
The Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences accepts the university-wide, minimal requirements for admitting students to graduate study. However, the department continues to affirm and strives to achieve its long-stated goal of requiring applicants to attain a 3.0 undergraduate GPA in order to be appointed either to a graduate, research, or teaching assistantship. Nevertheless, applicants will be considered on an individual basis and the following exceptions may be allowed for appointment:
a. Applicants presenting a cumulative GPA between 2.75 and 3.0 may be considered for appointment if the last 60 hours of undergraduate credit are 3.0 or above. In exceptional cases, satisfactory scores on the GRE, MAT, or the Graduate Management Admission test may be used in lieu of this 60-hour requirement. Alternatively, the department head may elect to utilize a condition of the student earning a "B" (3.0) average on the first 9 hours of graduate level work taken for the degree program before appointment is made to an assistantship.
b. Applicants presenting a cumulative GPA below 2.75 may not be considered for appointment, either to a graduate, teaching, or research assistantship. Such applicants may, however, be admitted to study in the Department under the 12-hour condition and with permission from the Department Head. These students need to make their own financial arrangements in collaboration with their faculty advisor. Removal of the 12-hour condition is required before appointment to an assistantship can be made.
a. University Release
Acceptance of an assistantship constitutes a contract agreement with the University of Arkansas and commits the student not to accept another offer after April 15 without first obtaining a written release from the University Graduate School. The University of Arkansas is signatory to the following resolution of the Council of Graduate Schools of the United States regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants:
"Acceptance of an offer of financial aid (such as graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by an actual or prospective graduate student completes an agreement which both student and graduate school expect to honor. In those instances in which the student accepts the offer before April 15, and subsequently desires to withdraw, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer. It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer."
b. GPA and Termination
The Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences requirement for renewal of an assistantship is a cumulative GPA of 3.0. Students falling below this cumulative level during the course of study may not retain appointment on any assistantship. A student may be removed from a half-time appointment and placed on probation for one semester. If the student raises his cumulative GPA to 3.0, his appointment may be reinstated. If the student does not attain a 3.0 GPA in graduate credit for those course hours, his appointment is permanently terminated. Termination of graduate assistantships is automatic upon graduation. No provisions are made to employ an assistant beyond the graduation date of the semester in which the student completes his/her degree. Research assistants are considered full-time employees and their appointments extend to the end of their annual contracts.
Once the student has been admitted to the Graduate School and the Department, the next task is to register for classes. A schedule of classes for each semester can be acquired from any dean's office, or from the Office of the Registrar, HUNT 146, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701. Brief descriptions of courses and prerequisites are found in the Graduate Catalog and on line at www.uark.edu/depts/agronomy/grinstr.html. Consult with the major advisor and Graduate Committee for the appropriate courses for the semester.
When the student arrives to begin his/her graduate studies program, he/she should go to the departmental main office. Several procedures need to be done before registration. Out-of-state students need to apply for Arkansas residency. If working on an assistantship, the student must file a Verification of Intent to Register form. The Administrative Assistant will ensure that the student has all necessary information.
Each subsequent semester of the student’s program he/she will need to complete a Verification of Intent to Register and other applicable forms. He/She will also need to comply with deadlines for registration, fee waivers, and fee payments. To hold an assistantship the student must be registered continuously for all semesters and summer terms. If the student should arrive in mid-session, he/she should file the Verification of Intent to Register form immediately and register for the next possible semester or summer term. A student cannot be paid as an assistant without fulfilling these obligations. Watch for announcements on times and procedures governing preregistration and open registration.
4. Maximum Time for Graduate Assistantships
a. Half-Time Graduate Assistants (Research)
Students on graduate research assistantship appointments are required to register as follows:
6 hours fall/spring semesters (maximum is 10 hours)
3 hours (with a maximum of 4) for each 5-week summer session. If appointment is made during any of the summer sessions, registration for 3 hours is required for any remaining sessions.
Out-of-state tuition is waived for students on half-time graduate assistant appointments. In-state tuition fees are paid for these students from the same account from which their stipend is paid.
b. Half-Time Graduate Assistants (Teaching)
The department offers half-time graduate teaching assistantships for 9-month appointments to assist in teaching the introductory crops and soils courses. For students interested in teaching, these assistantships provide an excellent opportunity to obtain teaching experience and to document such experience on the resume for future reference. Usually, students can be transferred from teaching assistantships to research responsibilities during the summer, which allows for continuous income over a 12-month period. Enrollment requirements are the same as for graduate research assistants.
c. Three-Quarter Time Graduate Assistants
Students holding three-quarter-time Graduate Assistantships must enroll in 6 hours graduate-level work each semester and full summer term. (Maximum of 6 hours coursework, up to 10 hours total including research thesis hours.)
Students on these appointments must complete two consecutive semesters with a minimum of 6 hours each in order to satisfy the residence requirement if they are pursuing the Ph.D. degree.
Out-of-state tuition is waived for students on three-quarter-time graduate assistant appointments. In-state tuition fees are paid for these students from the same account from which their stipend is paid.
d. Full-Time, Degree-Track Research Specialists
Research Specialists on full-time, degree-track appointment have enrollment restrictions.
e. Dual Registrants
A student who is appointed as a graduate assistant while dually enrolled as an undergraduate and a graduate student, must register for a minimum of 6 semester hours of graduate credit during the semester on a graduate assistantship. Dual registrants who do not earn these minimum credits while on a graduate assistant appointment or who do not attain a 3.00 graduate cumulative GPA while on such appointment, are not eligible for reappointment to a graduate assistantship.
Permission to appoint a dual registrant to a graduate assistantship must be requested in writing from and be granted by the Dean of the Graduate School.
M.S. 4 semesters
Ph.D. 8 semesters (beyond the M.S.)
5. Tuition Refund Policy for Graduate Assistants
When a graduate assistant resigns or is terminated from his/her assistantship appointment, the tuition or fee account which paid the fees for that assistant will receive a refund proportional to the length of time remaining on the appointment during the current semester.
In addition, a graduate assistant who resigns or is terminated from his/her assistantship appointment, but who does not withdraw from the University, is required to pay the University tuition and fees for the remaining proportion of the current semester.
6. Employment Responsibilities
7. Other Financial Aid
a. Assistants are expected to be available for work each working day unless on leave. To be absent without approval can create problems with insurance and with emergency communications. See section on "Responsibilities of the Graduate Student."
b. Regulations for leave privileges differ for research specialists, graduate assistants, and teaching assistants. University of Arkansas employees are all provided official University holidays. Note that some student holidays such as Spring Break or Dead Day are not official holidays for 12 month employees. Check for other leave privileges with the departmental office.
c. Research Specialists who have not used all their official leave time when their appointment ends will receive compensation for the leave time accrued. Check the current status at the main departmental office.
The Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences has established a graduate student scholarship in honor of the late Dr. Arthur E. Spooner. The objective of the award is to provide the recipient an academic and professional experience through exposure to his or her field in the areas of extension, industry, and academe. Any graduate student in Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences shall be eligible to apply for the Spooner Scholar Award after at least two full semesters of graduate work. Grades, intellectual aggressiveness, and leadership potential shall be the criteria for selection, and the departmental Graduate Committee shall choose the recipient from those recommended by their major professors.
Other forms of financial aid can be realized if the graduate student takes advantage of his eligibility for Arkansas residency, membership in the UARK Federal Credit Union, and other services offered by the university to students and employees. Information on university services is available from the Graduate Catalog, and the student will receive other brochures or fliers during registration procedures.