A Survey of Horticulture and Plant Science Graduate Programs and Faculty Salaries at North American Universities

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Texas A&M University, Dept. of Horticultural Sciences, Mail Stop 2133, College Station, TX 77843-2133

A group of 53 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada offering degrees in horticulture, or closely related plant science degrees, was surveyed to determine various characteristics associated with the degree programs offered, demographics of students and faculty, and selected procedures and practices associated with administration of these graduate programs. Total response rate was 94%, yielding 85% usable completed surveys. Very few programs (0-3 per degree type) were offered via distance education and on average only 4.1% to 4.5% of resident instruction program students participated in distance education courses. Domestic students averaged 64% to 75% of enrollment. Students were 69% to 73% white. Asian students were the predominant minority group at 12% to 16% of enrollment, followed by African Americans (3% to 8%) and Hispanics (1% to 4%). Most institutions provided out-of-state tuition waivers (75%), and often in-state-tuition waivers (61%), to those students on assistantships or fellowships. Typical commitments to students were 3 years for a PhD and 2 years for a master's degree program. Research assistantships were the dominant form of assistance at all institutions (38% to 53% of students), while teaching assistantships contributed significant secondary funding (7% to 13%). With the exception of mean maximum fellowships, mean maximum assistantships ($11,499-$13,999) at non-1862 Morrill Act universities (NMAU) averaged near the mean minimums ($13,042-$14,566) for the corresponding assistantship types at 1862 Morrill Act universities (MAU). Requirements for teaching experience ranged from 41% of PhD programs to 18% of non-thesis master's degree programs. Typical departments contained 29 faculty members, of which 44% were full professors, 27% associate professors, 19% assistant professors, 6% junior or senior lecturers, and 3% were in other classifications. Traditional 12-month appointments (65.9% of faculty) were predominant at MAU. With the exception of junior lecturer positions, mean salaries at MAU averaged $9125, $6869, $8325, and $28,505 more for professor, associate professor, assistant professor, and senior lecturer, respectively, than at NMAU. This study provides useful information for departments undergoing external review or revision of graduate programs.

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