Jul 19, 2024  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Admission to Graduate School - Ph.D. Program

Dr. Angela Spaulding, dean

Killgore Research Center, Room 102
WTAMU Box 60215
806-651-2730 • Fax 806-651-2733

Dr. Rex Pjesky, associate dean - rpjesky@wtamu.edu

The mission of the Graduate School of West Texas A&M University is to provide support for the recruitment, admission, matriculation, and graduation of graduate students as it relates to the University’s mission of creating a diverse and inclusive student-centered community of learners engaged in academically rigorous educational experiences.

Admission to Ph.D. in Agriculture

Steps for Admission

Step 1: Apply

Complete Texas Common Application (https://www.applytexas.org). All applicants must submit a non-refundable application fee. The amount of the application fee may be found at http://www.wtamu.edu/apply_graduate.aspx.

Step 2: Official Transcripts

Submit official transcripts to the Graduate School from all colleges and universities attended. Send transcripts to:

The Graduate School
WTAMU Box 60215
Canyon, TX 79016-0001
Phone:  (806) 651- 2730
Fax: (806) 651-2733
E:Mail: graduateschool@wtamu.edu

Step 3: Meet Admission Requirements

  • Applicants for the Ph.D. degree must have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree (thesis preferred) from accredited institutions with at least one degree in an agricultural or closely related discipline  
  • Applicants must have a dissertation committee chair that is willing to supervise coursework and dissertation research projects
  • Minimum GPA of 3.5 from master’s degree or 3.0 GPA on master’s coursework (not including thesis, research, problems or directed studies)
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Additional requirements for international students include:
    • Official transcripts, mark sheets, graduation certificates, etc. (with certified English translations from all colleges and universities attended)
    • Submit Foreign Credential Evaluation of foreign transcripts and documents
    • Minimum TOEFL (79 iBT) or IELTS (6.0) or PTE (53) score
  • Admission to the program is highly selective. Students interested in a doctoral assistantship are strongly encouraged to visit campus and meet with the faculty in their proposed academic study area.

Step 4: Additional Admission Requirements

  • The Department of Agricultural Sciences has a secondary application process (“Application for Graduate Studies”) that will be sent to the student once he/she has applied to the University, has sent official transcripts, and has been determined that the student meets the minimum GPA requirements.  The “Application for Graduate Studies” includes reference forms to be completed by three individuals knowledgeable about the applicant, and essay questions to be completed by the applicant.  In addition, the applicant must include an updated vita or resume.
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required.
  • After all documentation has been evaluated, your application file will be forwarded to the appropriate faculty for review.
  • Decisions about whether you are eligible for a graduate research assistantship are not made until all documentation has been evaluated by the Department of Agricultural Sciences and a faculty member is willing to accept the applicant into the Ph.D. program.
  • Meeting minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission into the Ph.D. degree program in Agricultural Sciences or a graduate assistantship.
  • Applicants previously admitted who do not enroll in courses for either a fall or spring semester must reapply to the University and must receive permission from the Ph.D. program for readmission.
  • Students should consult with the Coordinator of Graduate Studies for additional information about the Ph.D. degree program:

Coordinator of Graduate Admissions
Department of Agricultural Sciences

  • Other requirements:
    • Vaccinations: The bacterial meningitis vaccination or an approved waiver is required of all students attending WTAMU. Please submit required Bacterial Meningitis Form as proof of vaccination. See www.wtamu.edu/meningitis for additional information.

Students must be fully admitted before being eligible for federal financial aid. All required application materials must be received prior to full admission.

Special Note for Domestic Students

For domestic students, deadlines for completing all steps and submitting educational documents to the Graduate School  and the coordinator of graduate admissions for the Department of Agricultural Sciences are:

Fall semester enrollment - July 1
Spring semester enrollment - November 1
Summer session enrollment - April 1

Special Note for International Students

International students must meet all requirements set forth by the International Student Office (see the International Students - Applicants webpage: http://wtamu.edu/student-support/international-applicants.aspx). For international students, deadlines for completing all steps and submitting educational documents to the International Student Office are:

For fall semester enrollment - June 1
For spring semester enrollment - Nov. 1

Determining Admission

Applicants may be granted admission into their selected program under one of the following conditions.


Students may be granted admission when all program requirements are met.

Tentative Admission

Students meeting all requirements for admission but lacking official documentation may be tentatively admitted for one semester until documents are received. Federal Financial Aid is not available until all official documentation is received.

Conditional Admission

Students who do not meet all program requirements may be granted conditional admission by the program. Additional requirements may be necessary.

Students not meeting admission requirements will be denied admission but may consult with the Coordinator of Graduate Admissions in the Department of Agricultural Sciences for assistance on future admission possibilities.

Financial Aid, Scholarships, Assistantships

Graduate students have access to federal, state and private financial aid, including scholarships, grants, loans and student-employment opportunities. For more information about financial aid programs, contact the Office of Financial Aid, WTAMU Box 60939, Canyon, Texas 79016-0001, call 806-651-2055, or visit http://wtamu.edu/student-support/financial-aid.aspx.

Graduate teaching and/or research assistantships are available to students in a wide range of disciplines. Graduate Assistants must enroll in course work on an approved plan of study while receiving the assistantship. Students interested in graduate assistantships should contact the head of the department in which they plan to pursue the graduate degree.

A summary of costs and tuition exemptions (for veterans and vocational rehabilitation) is available in the “Tuition/Fee Exemptions and Waivers and Other ” section. Expenses exclusive to the graduate program include:

  • Graduate students registering only for Doctoral Dissertation (AGRI 8000 ) may pay a reduced rate. Students must contact the Registrar each semester before registration to receive the reduction in fees.
  • All dissertations must be submitted electronically and made publicly available through the West Texas A&M University Library and the WTAMU institutional repository through the Texas Digital Library.
  • Dissertation binding is available through the library though not required. Dissertations which are not of standard size and format may be charged a higher binding fee.
  • All fees are subject to change.

Degree Requirements for the Ph.D. in Agriculture

The degree requirements for the Ph.D. in Agriculture can be found on the web at http://wtamu.edu/academics/agriculture-graduate-program-phd-ms.aspx.

Creation of the Plan of Study

A plan of study must be prepared by the departmental graduate adviser and submitted to the dean of Graduate School for approval before completion of the first semester of graduate course work. An administrative “hold” will be placed on the registration of students not meeting the deadline. The “hold” will prevent the student from taking any additional classes until a plan of study is approved. For purposes of determining degree requirements, the student’s official University catalog shall be the catalog that is current during the semester of the student’s entry into the program.

Graduate Preparation

Graduate preparation of students for the Ph.D. degree will correspond to the requirements listed in the catalog at West Texas A&M University.  If a student’s graduate preparation is inadequate, the major adviser may require “leveling work.” Leveling work may include courses, experiences and/or programs required for the student to be adequately prepared for doctoral work.

Program of Study

In consultation with the graduate adviser in their area of study, students must list those courses required for completion of the degree on the Official Plan of Study. The graduate courses required to meet degree requirements must correspond to those requirements listed for the specified degree program. Students should review their program’s requirements as specified in this catalog. Specific rules to consider include:

  • The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree plus a Master of Science degree (thesis preferred) with at least one degree in an agricultural or closely related discipline before admission the Ph.D. program.
  • The degree requires a minimum of 90 semester credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree.  Courses numbered 6000 to 6999 and 7000 to 7999 are master’s and doctoral level courses.  Courses numbered 8000 to 8999 are for doctoral students only. Courses numbered 5000 to 5999 are considered leveling work and cannot be counted towards the doctoral degree.
  • Students entering the doctoral program will undergo assessment by their major adviser and graduate advisory committee to identify the student’s strengths and weaknesses and to develop a plan of study most suited to reaching the educational objectives of the program.
  • Upon admission to the doctoral program, students must be continuously enrolled taking a minimum of three (3) semester credit hours during each fall and spring semester. Full-time students must take a minimum of nine (9) semester credit hours during the fall and spring semesters and three (3) semester credit hours during the summer session(s).  
  • Work completed in the doctoral program of another recognized graduate school will be considered on the recommendation of the Department of Agricultural Sciences, but no assurance can be given that such work will reduce the course or residence requirements at West Texas A&M University. In no case can transferred credit reduce the minimum residence requirement of 45 semester credit hours or exceed one third of the requirements for the degree.
  • The graduate adviser, college dean, and dean of Graduate School must approve course substitutions to the plan of study that deviate from catalog requirements.
  • Students may be required to complete additional work in specified courses in addition to the minimum courses and residence requirements.
  • It is the student’s responsibility to make sure all degree requirements are met for graduation.

Graduate Committee

Student advisement and supervision will be conducted by a committee of faculty that are members of the graduate faculty at West Texas A&M University. The disciplines in the Department of Agricultural Sciences are:  Agricultural Business and Economics (AGBE); Agriculture (AGRI); Animal Science (ANSC); and Plant, Soil and Environmental Science (PSES).

Each committee must have:

  • At least five faculty who are members of the WTAMU Graduate Faculty,
  • The chairman must have full graduate faculty membership,
  • At least three members from the Department of Agricultural Sciences (one each from three of the following:  AGBE, AGRI, ANSC or PSES,
  • At least one member from outside of the Department of Agricultural Sciences. They could be from:
    • Another department or college within WTAMU, or
    • Outside the University and who is a member of the Graduate Faculty at WTAMU.

No more than two members should be from a given discipline within the Department of Agricultural Sciences (AGBE, AGRI, ANSC, and PSES) without prior approval.  However, if more than two members are needed from a discipline, the department head and college dean must approve it.


  • The doctoral student must register for AGRI 8000 - Doctoral Dissertation when beginning dissertation research. The student must then register for AGRI 8000 every consecutive 16-week semester and one summer session until the dissertation is completed and accepted by the University, including the semester in which the degree is conferred.
  • If the student fails to continuously enroll in doctoral dissertation hours, the student must acquire approval from his/her dissertation chair to be reinstated, and a reinstatement fee may be assessed.
  • If a degree is to be awarded at the end of summer sessions, the student must enroll in a dissertation course in one summer session.
  • Students receive a grade of “IP” (dissertation in progress) for each enrollment in AGRI 8000. When the dissertation has been accepted, the student receives twelve (12) hours (AGRI 8000 ) toward the doctoral degree and a final letter grade for four dissertation courses.
  • Students registered only in Doctoral Dissertation (AGRI 8000 ) may pay reduced tuition. To receive reduced tuition, students must complete the form every semester in advance of registration. See https://apps.wtamu.edu/forms/tdo_fee_waiver.php.
  • Students who do not finish their dissertation will not be eligible for credit for AGRI 8000 . Incomplete dissertation classes will maintain the grade of IP on the student’s transcript.
  • A “Dissertation Guide Prepared for Students of West Texas A&M University” is available at:
    Dissertations will be made available to the public.

Transfer, Extension and Correspondence Work

  • Only courses in which the student earned a grade of “A” or “B” from a regionally accredited institution of higher education may be transferred to WTAMU.
  • Up to one-third of formal course work toward the doctoral degree may be transfer work, exclusive of dissertation and independent study courses. Permission to use transfer and extension courses on a plan of study must be approved in advance by the department head, college dean and graduate dean. In no case can transferred credit reduce the minimum residence requirement of 45 semester credit hours.
  • Correspondence work will not be accepted toward the doctoral degree.

Academic Probation and Suspension

Students must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average for all course work completed toward degree requirements. Courses with grades of “D,” “F,” “I” (incomplete), “IP” (dissertation in progress) or “X” (drop or withdrawal) cannot be used to satisfy requirements of the doctoral degree but will be used in determining a student’s academic standing.

If a student’s grade point average falls below 3.0, the student will be placed on academic probation. Length of the probationary period will be determined by the dean of Graduate School. Probationary standing may impact eligibility for waivers and thus total program cost. Students who do not raise their grade point average to at least 3.0 by the end of the probationary period will be dismissed from Graduate School and suspended from further work toward the doctoral degree at WTAMU. Students suspended from the Graduate School may request removal from suspension by seeking a written request from the appropriate academic dean to the graduate dean.


Time Requirements

Requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within ten (10) years unless the dean of Graduate School, in consultation with the head of the student’s major department, grants an extension of the time limit. The time period will begin with the first course counted toward the doctoral degree.

Course Load

Nine (9) hours per semester is considered a minimum full-time load for doctoral students, five (5) hours minimum per semester to receive financial aid.  Maximum semester load for graduate students is 15 hours per semester, seven (7) hours during summer sessions. Course loads above the maximums may be approved by the student’s program advisor and the Graduate School.

Resident Requirements

Forty-five (45) doctoral semester credit hours must be completed in residence at West Texas A&M University.

Qualifying Examination/Dissertation Defense

  • The student’s advisory committee will administer a written qualifying examination for advancement to candidacy after completion of at least 34 semester credit hours of course work listed on the degree plan exclusive of all leveling courses, research and dissertation, and at least four months before the student’s graduation. The examination will be administered by the student’s advisory committee and will consist of questions that address the systems approach to agriculture as well as questions related to the student’s area of study.
  • The committee will also administer an oral examination no sooner than 10 working days after completion of the written portion of the qualifying examination. A majority vote of the members of the student’s advisory committee is required for advancement of the student to candidacy. Should a student fail the qualifying examination, one semester or the equivalent (16 weeks or two summer sessions) must elapse before the student may take the examination again. Additional course work, research or directed study may be recommended for the student in the interim.
  • Should the student fail to pass the examination the second time, the student will be automatically dismissed from the program.
  • After advancement to candidacy, students in residence must continuously enroll in dissertation hours adequate to maintain full-time student status, complete a substantial multidisciplinary research project and write a dissertation of appropriate length and rigor.
  • Students not in residence must make appropriate arrangements with their advisers, which recognizes adequately the investment of resources and time made by the University and the faculty and subject to full administrative approval by the department head, dean of the college and dean of the Graduate School.  
  • The final oral defense of the dissertation and final oral examination of the candidate will be conducted by the student’s advisory committee. Should the student fail the final examination, the advisory committee shall outline the deficiencies to be corrected for the student to re-defend the dissertation. One semester or the equivalent (16 weeks or two summer sessions) must elapse before the student may re-take the examination. Additional course work, research or directed study may be recommended for the student in the interim.  Should the student fail to pass the second time, the student will be automatically dismissed from the program.
  • At least five days before the final defense of the dissertation and final examination, the name of the student, the title of the dissertation and the day, date, time and place in which the event is scheduled shall be posted in a prominent place, and the dean of Graduate School shall be so notified in writing.
  • The final defense of the dissertation and final examination shall be open to the public and all members of the University academic community. Participation of non-committee members is at the discretion of the committee chairperson.
  • Results of the examination must be reported in writing to the Office of Graduate School.

Graduating with the Ph.D. Degree in Agriculture

To graduate with the Ph.D. degree in Agriculture, students must complete all required coursework, pass qualifying examinations (written and oral), complete and successfully defend the dissertation, and apply to Graduate School for graduation by the appropriate graduation deadline.

Application for a Graduate Degree

Students must apply for graduation early in the semester they expect to receive their degrees. Applications are available at www.wtamu.edu/academics/graduation-application.aspx. Completed applications must be received in the Office of the Graduate School no later than the following dates:

  • Deadline for May graduation is December 1.
  • Deadline for August graduation is May 1.
  • Deadline for December graduation is August 1.

Additional Information

Objective of Graduate Study

The Graduate School at West Texas A&M University provides students an opportunity for advanced study and specialization in a variety of disciplines. The purpose of graduate study is to encourage academic inquiry, to stimulate intellectual creativity, and to foster the spirit of independent scholarship and research. Together, graduate students and graduate faculty comprise a community of scholars devoted to the extension of knowledge and to professional achievement.

Research and Instructional Support

Cornette Library, Killgore Research Center and Hastings Electronic Learning Center are available to support graduate students’ educational programs. These are described in greater detail in the undergraduate portion of this catalog. Additionally, various academic departments maintain specialized research equipment laboratories or other facilities specific to their graduate programs. For more information, contact the appropriate academic department.

Master’s Students Enrolling in Doctoral Credit

A master’s student within six (6) hours of graduation with a master of science degree (as certified by the Graduate Dean’s secretary), and whose cumulative WTAMU graduate grade point average is at least 3.5 or 3.0 GPA on master’s coursework (not including thesis, research, or directed studies hours), may register for work to be counted as doctoral credit under the following conditions:

  • Total registration will not exceed 12 semester hours or 12 semester hours in the two summer sessions.
  • The final hours required for the master of science degree must be completed in the same semester. Should the student fail to complete master of science degree requirements that same semester, doctoral hours attempted during that same semester may not be used to satisfy doctoral degree requirements.
  • Doctoral hours may not be used to meet master of science degree requirements. However, graduate courses must be completed and have a letter grade at the end of the semester to graduate with the master of science degree.
  • All doctoral credit hours and the specific doctoral courses attempted must be approved by the graduate adviser in the student’s major department and the graduate dean at the time of enrollment.
  • The “Master’s Student Enrollment in Doctoral Coursework” is available on-line at here. This form and must be filed with all required signatures prior to registration in doctoral level courses.

Acceptability of these hours for transfer credit to another institution is determined by that institution.

Tuition and Fees Refund Procedure

Section 54.006 of the Education Code sets the policy for refund of tuition and mandatory fees to students who withdraw from the University. The policy for withdrawals is a follows:

If a student withdraws during a fall or spring semester or a summer term of 10 weeks or longer, the refund is as follows:

(A) prior to the first class day 100 percent (less $15.00 matriculation fee)
(B) during the first five class days 80 percent
(C) during the second five class days 70 percent
(D) during the third five class days 50 percent
(E) during the fourth five class days 25 percent
(F) after the fourth five class days None

If a student withdraws during a term or session of more than five weeks but less than 10 weeks, the refund is as follows:

(A) prior to the first class day 100 percent (less $15.00 matriculation fee)
(B) during the first, second, or third class day 80 percent
(C) during the fourth, fifth, or sixth class day 50 percent
(D) seventh day of class and thereafter None

If a student withdraws from a term or session of five weeks or less, the refund is as follows:

(A)    prior to the first class day 100 percent (less $15.00 matriculation fee)
(B)    during the first class day 80 percent
(C)    during the second class day 50 percent
(D)    during the third class day and thereafter None

The refund is calculated on the total cost of tuition and mandatory fees charged for the courses in which the student was enrolled prior to withdrawal.

If a student drops a class on or before the census date of the semester (12th class day for fall and spring semesters; 4th class day for summer terms) and remains enrolled in at least one course for that term, the tuition and mandatory fees for the dropped class will be refunded to the student.