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What will I learn?

The PhD degree is evidence of exceptional scholarly attainment and demonstrated capacity in original investigation. Requirements for the degree include courses, examinations, and a period of resident study, as well as arrangements that guarantee sustained, systematic study and superior competency in the chosen concentration. The program of study as listed by the student on the Admission to Candidacy form must be approved by the doctoral committee and the Director of Graduate Studies.

Concentrations (Required)

Bioinformatics, Genetics, and Molecular Interactions
Organismal Biology, Ecology, and Systematics
Sustainable Disease and Integrated Pest Management

Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Molecular Interactions Concentration

Bioinformatics is the retrieval and analysis of biochemical and biological data using mathematics and computer science. Students concentrating in bioinformatics, genomics, and molecular interactions can study biological sequencing and analysis of DNA and RNA, epigenetics, metagenomics and metatranscriptomics, phylogenomics, genotyping by sequencing, differential gene expression, population genomics, gene interactions and/or proteomics. A student with prior coursework and/or experience may petition the EPP faculty for a course exemption(s). An exemption may be granted by majority vote on the basis of documentary evidence, or written and/or oral exams.

Organismal Biology, Ecology, and Systematics Concentration

Organismal biology, ecology, and systematics includes the study of the life history of an organism including its interactions within communities and with the environment, as well as classification, taxonomy, and nomenclature. Topics may include biology and ecology of plant associated insects, nematodes and microbes; plant, human and animal disease vectors; arthropods associated with humans and their structures; disease epidemiology; host-pathogen, host-parasite, and host-parasitoid interactions; biology of biological control agents; entomopathogenic bacteria, fungi and nematodes; plant, insect, and nematode microbial symbioses; nematodes and insects as environmental bioindicators; pollinator biology and ecology, and forensic entomology.

Sustainable Disease and Integrated Pest Management Systems Concentration

Sustainable disease and integrated pest management (SDIPM) systems provide economic means to reduce pest and disease losses while minimizing negative impacts on the environment. As the global population is expected to reach nine billion people by 2050, production systems will have to become more efficient to produce the quality and quantity of food needed to supply the world. SDIPM systems can provide the solutions to positively impact food production and meet the increased global demand. SDIPM systems can also improve plant and animal health in forests, parks, landscapes and other natural systems and enhance quality of life by balancing and reducing risks from pests and pesticides in residences and other human structures. These systems incorporate many disciplines, including entomology, nematology, plant pathology, weed science, animal science, veterinary medicine, public health, and food science.

Which department am I in?

Herbert College of Agriculture

Study options

Full Time (48 credit hours beyond the Master’s degree, or 72 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree)

Tuition fees
US$31,798.00 per year

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Start date

Expected January 2022


Herbert College of Agriculture

2621 Morgan Circle,

126 Morgan Hall,



37996, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Preference is given to students with a 3.5 GPA on any graduate work completed prior to application. who score equal to or higher than the 70th percentile on the verbal area and the 50th percentile on the quantitative area of the GRE, based on the norms that were in effect when the test was taken, and a 4.5 on the analytic writing subtest. In addition, general graduate admission standards for international students require a transcript from the home country indicating an equivalent of the University of Tennessee grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Official results of TOEFL must be submitted. A minimum score of 550 on the paper test or 80 on the Internet-based Test typically with a score of 20 on each of the sections of the test (reading, listening, writing, and speaking), and scores on the GRE that meet the admission requirements are preferred.

For international students

Applicants admitted to the EPPN PhD program who have a BS degree, but no thesis-based MS degree, will be required to complete an MS degree during the course of their PhD program.

An applicant requesting admission to the Graduate School may be required to submit results of the TOEFL or IELTS. Minimum score requirements for admission to the Graduate School are:

  • a total score of 80 on the internet-based TOEFL (iBT),
  • a 6.5 overall band score on the IELTS.

Application Deadline: Spring: June 15

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


About University of Tennessee

Internationals get to participate in exciting hands-on experiences that are invaluable for future careers.

  • Tennessee’s flagship university
  • 80% of graduates in employment or further study in 6 months
  • Experiential learning opportunities
  • Up to USD 18,000 per year in financial aid

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