Mission of Program

The Molecular Plant Sciences mission is to educate and develop leaders in the field of molecular plant sciences by providing competencies and skills needed by professional scientists in diverse careers.

Who We Are

  • The Graduate Students in the Molecular Plant Sciences Program at WSU study with some of the best minds in America to understand the characteristics and mechanisms of plants. They use this knowledge to develop lifesaving medicines, keep our food safe, and evolve agricultural systems to feed expanding global populations.
  • The Molecular Plant Sciences Program incorporates plant physiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology, and is considered one of the top programs of its kind in the world.
  • Graduate study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree is offered as an interdepartmental curriculum by 43 graduate faculty members from the Departments of Crop and Soil Science, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Horticulture, Molecular Biosciences, Plant Pathology, Biological Sciences, and the Institute of of Biological Chemistry.


  • Washington State University is the land-grant university for Washington State and enrolls approximately 28,686 students, including 3,932 graduate students (fall 2014, headcount).
  • The University is situated in the midst of the rolling hills of the Palouse country of southeastern Washington, an important agricultural area in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Washington State University is one of just 108 among more than 4,500 U.S. public and private universities selected for the “very high research activity” categorization by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
  • Washington State University ranks 11th nationally in research and development expenditures in agricultural sciences.  (National Science Foundation, FY 2013).
  • WSU Extension has 39 offices, one for each county, providing research-based educational programs and services for individuals, businesses, and community.  Research and Extension Centers are located in Lind, Long Beach, Mount Vernon, Othello, Prosser, Pullman, Puyallup, and Wenatchee.  You will find research on organic and sustainable production, pest management, crop plant genetics, and plant physiology at most sites.


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“The MPS program provided me with excellent opportunities and training not only in basic science across genetics, molecular biology, physiology, biochemistry, and anatomy, but also in applied horticulture and postharvest physiology, all of which have been hugely beneficial to my post-graduate career” Jacob Blauer PhD 2013


Burkley Walker (PhD 2013), currently employed with USDA – Photosynthesis Research unit, is working on ways to increase realized photosynthetic conversion efficiency through aggressive re-engineering of core photosynthesis components, using a model-led approach ranging from the impact of lighter-green leaves to improved schemes for reducing the energy demand pf photorespiration.