*R. E. Paull, PhD (Chair)—plant growth & development, postharvest handling
*K. W. Leonhardt, PhD (Graduate Chair)—ornamentals, crop improvement
D. A. Ahmad, PhD—sustainable & organic agriculture
*T. D. Amore, PhD—floriculture breeding
*B. C. Baldos, PhD—landscape and ornamental horticulture
*A. Cho, PhD—sustainable farming systems, tropical fruits and nuts
*J. Deenik, PhD—soil fertility, soil management
*J. DeFrank, PhD—weed science
*M. Kantar, PhD—plant breeding, domestication, ecological, and landscape genomics/genetics, agroecology
*A. Kaufman, MLA, PhD—landscape systems, design and management, environmental psychology
*K. D. Kobayashi, PhD—floriculture and fruit physiology, computer modeling
*N. K. Lincoln, PhD—indigenous crops and cropping systems
*R. M. Manshardt, PhD—tropical fruit breeding and genetics
*S. C. Miyasaka, PhD—alternative crops, plant nutrition
*M. G. Muszynski, PhD—genetics, plant development, genomics
*H. V. Nguyen, PhD—soil chemistry
*N. Nguyen, PhD—soil microbiology, metagenomics
*R. Ogoshi, PhD—agronomy and soil science
*T. Radovich PhD—vegetables, sustainable farming
*M. R. Sandlin, PhD—public opinion research
*A. A Saulo, PhD—food technology extension, food safety and quality
*A. M. Wieczorek, PhD—molecular ecology, population genetics, biotechnology
Cooperating Graduate Faculty
D. Borthakur, PhD—plant-microbe interactions, plant biotechnology
A. El-Kadi, PhD—hydrology
C. I. Evensen, PhD—water quality extension, environmental education
J. Leary, PhD—invasive weed management
W. S. Sakai, PhD—ultrastructure, physiological plant anatomy
M. Shintaku, PhD—plant-virus interactions, plant pathology
R. Sutherland, PhD—geomorphology, soil erosion, water quality
M. J. Tanabe, PhD—in vitro propagation, turf management, plant propagation
M. Wright, PhD—integrated pest management, tropical fruits and nuts, insect ecology, biological control
Affiliate Graduate Faculty
M. M. M. Fitch, PhD—tissue culture, genetic engineering
X. He, PhD—tissue culture, genetic engineering of tropical
T. Matsumoto, PhD—horticulture
C. N. Nagai, PhD—sugar cane genetics and tissue culture
D. Ragone, PhD—ethnobotany, conservation
A. Vorsino, PhD—GIS expertise in landscape genetic analysis
M. Wall, PhD—postharvest, product quality
D. P. Bartholemew, PhD—agronomist, crop physiology
H. Bittenbender, PhD—fruit, nut, and beverage crop production and quality
J. L. Brewbaker, PhD—plant breeding, corn and forestry trees
R. A. Criley, PhD— floriculture, flowering physiology, plant propagation
M. Habte, PhD—soil microbiology and plant-fungal symbiotic relationships
H. Kamemoto, PhD—floriculture breeding, ornamental crops, orchids and anthuriums
B. A. Kratky, PhD—plant nutrition and vegetable crop production
M. A. Nagao, PhD—tropical fruit and nut production and physiology
*S. C. Nelson, PhD—plant pathology
*R. S. Yost, PhD—soil fertility and nutrient cycling in tropical crops
Degrees Offered: BS in tropical agriculture and the environment, MS and PhD in tropical plant and soil sciences, minor in plant production and management, agribusiness certificate
Upon graduation, students will be able to:
- Integrate discipline- and thematic-specific knowledge of basic and applied plant and soil sciences for its analysis, evaluation and application in the improvement, management, and production of sustainable managed and natural ecosystems.
- Demonstrate an awareness of practices that minimize damage to the environment and ensure a safe sustainable food supply.
- Perform competitively in the diverse professions available to them and to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by changing situations.
The Academic Program
The Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences (TPSS) program at UH Manoa is unique. Students have an opportunity to take courses in sustainable tropical flower, fruit, and vegetable crop production, turf and landscape management, plant physiology, breeding and genetics, and soil science. They learn about the full spectrum of subjects and activities required to understand and responsibly manage land, water, crops, and their environments for the benefit of humankind. In addition, they learn about the adaptation and application of new technologies, such as molecular biotechnology, computer-based systems, and the internet, to enhance plant production systems, assure a safe food supply, and protect the environment.
Our students come from many backgrounds including those with little practical environmental or agricultural experience. They have in common a keen interest in applying science for the purpose of finding practical sustainable solutions to problems. Mature students are especially welcome. A host of career prospects await our students. The comprehensive undergraduate program affords students the opportunity to study molecules to whole plants to managed agro-ecosystems. Students majoring in TPSS prepare for careers including plant production and management, plant breeding and genetics, services, marketing, extension, research, and teaching. UH Manoa students trained in tropical plant and soil sciences have embarked on successful careers in international organizations and governmental agencies, in ecological and environmental protection, in agricultural extension as individual entrepreneurs and teachers at all levels, in farming, in golf course/sports field management, park administration, landscape contracting, and as middle and upper management in corporate agriculture. They work in increasing the food supply, improving food quality, and assuring food safety while protecting the environment and improving the quality of life. Undergraduates are encouraged to obtain practical experience, which involves research under the direction of a faculty member, work in a commercial industry via our internship program, and completing the Agribusiness Certificate. Students have found satisfaction in applying their course work and research studies to challenging problems in business, environmental protection, land-use, and agricultural crop production.
Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences
St. John Hall Room 102
3190 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822-2279
Tel: (808) 956-8909
Fax: (808) 956-3894
Undergraduates are required to consult with a CTAHR advisor prior to registration each semester. Go to ctahr.hawaii.edu/ugadvising for more information. Academic advisors are available by appointment only, Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (except holidays). Appointment website: ctahradv.youcanbook.me. Gilmore Hall, first floor, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate students are advised initially by a research program advisor or by the department’s graduate program chairperson., Dr. Kenneth Leonhardt, email@example.com.
The Departments of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences and Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences jointly offer a BS degree in Tropical Agriculture and the Environment (TAE). Students in this program complete a common core of courses taught by faculty in both departments and then specializations in one or more of the following areas:
- plant production and management,
- environmental urban horticulture,
- pests, pathogens, and invasive species,
- plant sciences,
- environmental soil sciences.
Students who undertake this program of study will:
- Demonstrate understanding of the science of agriculture and its interaction with the environment from molecules to ecosystems.
- Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate scientific evidence, knowledge and issues associated with agriculture in a dynamic world.
- Demonstrate the ability to identify problems associated with agroecosystems and apply the scientific method to develop sustainable solutions.
- Demonstrate proficiency in oral and written communication for both professional and lay audiences.
A student is required to complete 120 credits to graduate with a BS in TAE.
Students must complete the UH Manoa General Education Requirements, alternatives are available to the Hawaiian/Second Language requirement. An updated list of the courses recommended to satisfy the requirements is available from the undergraduate advisor. Courses at 200-level or above usually require prerequisites. The college has a core consisting of the following courses:
- NREM 310 or HDFS 380/380L
- Capstone or Internship (TPSS 492/492L or PEPS 495)
The department has a core consisting of the following courses:
- TPSS 200
- TPSS/NREM 304/304L
- TPSS 470/470L
- TPSS 499
- PEPS/NREM/SUST 210
- BIOL 265
- PEPS 421
Specialization in Plant Production and Management
Students are prepared to produce, manage, and market plants grown as crops or in landscapes with an emphasis on sustainable productivity with appropriate pest and disease management. Students learn to solve horticultural problems using evidence-based methods.
Students selecting this option need to take MATH 140 or NREM 203, BIOL 171/171L, BIOL 172/172L, and CHEM 161/161L and 162/162L and TPSS 492/492L. Some of these courses will fulfill part of the Natural Science requirement of the UH Manoa General Education Requirement. These courses are considered prerequisite to some courses in the major.
Major Courses (Specialization in Plant Production and Management)
The following courses are required for this specialization:
- TPSS 364
- TPSS 420
- TPSS/PEPS 481
- PEPS 363
- PEPS 363L
- PEPS 405
In addition, the student must take 6 courses from a list of over 30 choices. The options available are listed on the Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, programsheets/.
Specialization in Environmental Urban Horticulture
The environmental urban horticulture specialization prepares students to effectively design, install, and maintain sustainable landscapes that include trees, shrubs, flowers, house plants, and turf grass that are used to enhance our living environment. Students of the program learn theoretical foundations, that lead to a practical understanding and implementation of how to produce environmentally and economically sustainable landscapes.
Students selecting this option need to take MATH 140 or NREM 203, BIOL 171/171L and BIOL 172/172L (or their equivalent), and CHEM 161/161L and CHEM 162/162L (or their equivalent) and TPSS 492/492L. Some of these courses will fulfill part of the Natural Science requirement of the UH Manoa General Education Requirement. Some of these courses are considered prerequisite to some courses in the major.
Major Requirements (Specialization in Environmental Urban Horticulture)
The following courses need to be taken for this specialization:
- TPSS 354
- TPSS 463
- TPSS 481
- PEPS 363/363L
- PEPS 405
The student must take 15 credits from a list of over 20 courses. The options available are listed on the Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, programsheets/.
Specialization in Pests, Pathogens, and Invasive Species
Students who specialize in pests, pathogens, and invasive species are prepared to design and implement pest management programs and conduct basic and applied research using multidisciplinary approaches. Students receive interdisciplinary education in entomology, plant pathology, weed science and invasive species management.
Students selecting this option need to take MATH 140 or NREM 203, BIOL 171/171L and BIOL 172/172L (or their equivalent), and CHEM 161/161L and CHEM 162/162L (or their equivalent) and PEPS 495. Some of these courses will fulfill part of the Natural Science requirement of the UH Manoa General Education Requirement. Some of these courses are considered prerequisite to some courses in the major.
Major Requirements (Specialization in Pests, Pathogens, and Invasive Species)
The following courses are required for this specialization:
- PEPS 350
- PEPS 363/363L
- PEPS 405
- PEPS 422
- PEPS 430
- TPSS/PEPS 481
The student must take 12 credits from a list of 8 courses. The options available are listed on the Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, programsheets/.
Specialization in Plant Sciences
Specializing in plant sciences allows students to cross the traditional boundaries that have separated genetics, plant physiology, molecular biology, and their application to crop production. By linking laboratory approaches and plant production systems through the application of plant biotechnology students learn to solve multi-disciplinary problems. Students can select courses that allow concentration on genetic engineering or whole plant physiology and plant breeding to address real-world problems.
Students selecting this option must take MATH 140 or NREM 203, BIOL 171/171L, BIOL 172/172L, and CHEM 161/161L, 162/162L and TPSS 492/492L. Some of these courses will fulfill part of the Natural Science requirement of the UH Manoa General Education Requirement. Some of these courses are considered prerequisite to some courses in the major.
Students are required to take 10 courses (30 credits) from a list of over 30 choices. The available options are listed on the Bachelor Degree Program Sheet. For information on a Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, programsheets/.
Specialization in Environmental Soil Sciences
Students are prepared to sustainable manage soils for the production of agricultural commodities and preservation of this important natural resource for human uses and environmental conservation. Students understand the chemical and biological processes that govern soil formation and nutrient cycling.
Students selecting this option need to take BIOL 171/171L, BIOL 172/172L, CHEM 161/161L and 162/162L (or their equivalent), PHYS 151, and Calculus I (MATH 215) and TPSS 492/492L. Some of these courses will fulfill part of the Natural Science requirement of the UH Manoa General Education Requirement. Some of these courses are considered prerequisite to some courses in the major.
Major Courses (Specialization in Environmental Soil Sciences)
The following courses are required for this specialization.
- TPSS 435
- TPSS 450
- TPSS 460
- TPSS 475
The student must take 18 credits from 14 electives courses for this specialization. The options available are listed on the Bachelor Degree Program Sheet, programsheets/.
Certificate in Agribusiness Management
This certificate fulfills business and management needs for undergraduate students in the technical fields of agriculture and for business/economics students who want to concentrate in agriculture. Faculty from four departments within the college coordinate and manage the program. The certificate is open to undergraduate majors in any CTAHR program, economics and business. ECON 130 or NREM 220 and BLAW 200 are prerequisites for the program.
The certificate program consists of courses concentrating on the applications of business management, law, accounting and marketing to agribusinesses with particular emphasis on the factors that differentiate agriculture and related products and services from other businesses. The certificate program includes three core agribusiness courses:
Core Courses (9 credits)
- TPSS 322 or BUS 312
- TPSS/NREM 341
- TPSS/NREM 351
Academic Minor in Plant Production and Management
A minimum of 15 credits of upper division level courses must be completed with a grade of C (not C-) or higher for each course. Transfer credits toward the minor will be accepted if an appropriate UH Manoa course is determined to be equivalent, and if the grade is C (not C-) or higher. Required courses are TPSS 200, 300, and 364. Several optional courses can be selected. See the TPSS academic advisor for details (Dr. Ken Leonhardt, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences
In order to solve the complex problems facing agricultural plant production systems, many disciplines must be integrated successfully. Candidates may specialize in genetics and breeding of tropical fruits, vegetables, or ornamentals; physiology, culture, and management of tropical fruits, vegetables, or ornamentals; morphogenesis; crop and stress physiology; post-harvest physiology; growth regulation; plant biochemical genetics; plant cytogenetics; weed science; computer modeling; or turf and landscape management, cropping systems, plant-soil relationships, soil chemistry, soil physics, soil management, soil and water conservation, soil fertility, and soil microbiology. Courses offered in botany, biochemistry, plant pathology, food science, genetics, microbiology, and zoology, combined with courses offered in TPSS, will provide considerable flexibility in the development of a program suited to a student’s career objectives.
The department offers graduate study leading to MS (Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C) and PhD degrees. The TPSS graduate program offers a degree in TPSS and an option in TPSS (horticulture). The degrees emphasize the development of problem-solving skills that integrate molecular, biochemical, physiological, chemical, genetic, and ecological approaches to collaborative research in plant and soil sciences.
The TPSS degree aims to provide the student with a thorough hands-on understanding of the principles and techniques in the adaptation and application of biotechnology to tropical crop plant production, and the role of soils in supporting the whole system of crop production systems. The option requires understanding of fundamental biological processes, molecular and organism biology, genetics, plant physiology, chemistry, physics, and microbiology. Soil is studied both for intrinsic properties, as well as its role in supporting crop growth and as an environmental resource.
The horticulture option explores the many facets of tropical food and ornamental crop production and requires the understanding of agricultural systems, plant production, soil fertility, and protection of the environment, as well as supporting disciplines such as crop ecology, plant physiology, and molecular biology.
The MS and PhD in TPSS are recognized Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) regional graduate programs. Residents of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming are eligible, upon admission, to enroll at Hawai‘i-resident tuition rates.
For admission to the TPSS graduate programs, applicants must present a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 (4.0 equals A scale) or the equivalent in the last four semesters or approximately 60 semester credits of the applicant’s undergraduate record. The GRE is required for all applicants. Minimum CBT TOEFL scores are 600/100 (paper/internet), with subset scores of 25 for listening and 25 for speaking are required of all foreign students. All applicants must submit 2 letters of recommendation at the time of application.
Transfer of Credits
The transfer of credits to meet the requirements of the MS or PhD is not automatic. The student must petition the graduate program chairman, certifying that the transfers make programmatic sense and that the courses to be transferred are equivalent in rigor and scholastic content to graduate-level (600 level) courses offered at UH Manoa. The graduate program chairman may consult with the graduate faculty as to the certification. The maximum number of credits that can be transferred is 12.
Only those credits that have not been applied towards the fulfillment of a previous degree may be transferred. An exception may be made if the subject matter area could not be met by course offering at UH Manoa, provided the courses transferred meet the rigor and programmatic appropriateness criteria described above.
Upon entering the graduate program, students will meet with their advisor. If a faculty advisor has not been selected, the graduate chairman or his representative will perform this function. The selection of an advisor must be made before the end of the first semester in residence. The advisor, with the approval of the graduate chairman, shall guide the student on course selection matters, insure progression in the program, and advise the student until the permanent graduate program committee is established.
Students shall meet their permanent graduate program committee at least once each semester to access academic and research progress and to establish goals for the next semester. It is the student’s responsibility to schedule this meeting and to file the Academic Progress Report with the graduate chairman.
MS Degree, Plan A (thesis) and B (without thesis)
The intended study of the MS Plan A program is to further a student’s graduate studies leading to the PhD degree or successful entry to careers as researchers and technicians. Graduates of the MS Plan B program typically enter careers in education, agribusiness, extension service, and other agricultural related occupations.
MS Plan A: Students must complete a minimum of 24 credits hours of course work and 6 credit hours of thesis preparation. A final oral examination is also required.
MS Plan B: Students must complete a minimum of 30 credits as follows: TPSS 610 (or 475), 614, 650, 652, 654, 667, 674, and 699. Prerequisites for these courses are TPSS 304, 450, 453, 470, and MBBE 402.
Proposal defense: MS Plan A students are required to give a thesis proposal seminar, preferably in the second semester.
Seminar: All students must take TPSS 654 (Communications in the Sciences) during their graduate study and register for TPSS 667 (Graduate Seminar) once every academic year in which they are registered as full-time student or equivalent. An exception can be made during the final semester, in which the dissertation defense or Plan B project report is given in place of TPSS 667.
Lecture Requirement: All MS students are required to give one lecture in a TPSS course during their program. The student will be evaluated by the faculty teaching the course, and this evaluation will be added to the student’s file.
MS-Thesis Plan A: See graduate chair on thesis preparation. Upon development of a thesis proposal in conjunction with your advisor and the selection of graduate committee, the student will advanced to candidacy. The thesis topic must be submitted and approved by your graduate committee prior to mid-term of the semester after you have been advanced to candidacy. You may register for TPSS 700 only after your thesis topic has been approved by your committee.
Final Examination-MS Plan A: A final oral examination on course of study and project is required. The first part of the examination consists of a seminar presentation and defense of the research, which is open to the public and is one hour in length. Following the presentation, student will be examined in detailed on the conduct and results of the thesis by the committee.
Final Examination-MS Plan B: A final oral examination is required. The examination consists of a seminar presentation which is open to the public and is one hour in length. The seminar will be presented on a topic agreed upon by the student and their advisor/committee chair. Topics presented included the research conducted under the advisor’s direction in TPSS 699.
MS Degree Plan C
Graduate Division and TPSS in CTAHR allow for a Plan C Masters degree. See the graduate chair for more information.
Doctor of Philosophy Degree
PhD graduates are expected to enter careers as researchers and/or educators in institutions of higher learning, both in public and private institutions. The PhD is awarded only for original scholarly achievement. The dissertation, which is a significant original contribution to basic knowledge in the candidate’s field is required. Only students with above average academic records in pre-doctoral programs will be accepted in the program.
For all PhD students, a minimum of 12 credit hours in courses numbered 400 or above is required for the major, not including seminar, directed research, thesis/dissertation research. Course requirements are established by the student’s graduate committee.
Proposal defense: PhD students are required to give a dissertation proposal seminar within the first year of their program.
Seminar: Candidates must register for TPSS 667 (Graduate Seminar) once every academic year in which they are registered as full-time or equivalent. An exception is made in the final semester in which the dissertation defense can be substituted for seminar. All students must take TPSS 654 (Communications in the Sciences) or its equivalent during their first year as a substitute for one semester of TPSS 667.
Lecture Requirement: All PhD students are required to give three lectures in TPSS courses during the course of their program. The student will be evaluated by the faculty member teaching the course, and this evaluation will be added to the student’s file.
Comprehensive Examination: An oral or oral and written comprehensive examination is conducted by your graduate committee for all PhD candidates. This examination may cover any subject thought pertinent by your committee members. The comprehensive examination may be repeated once at the option of your committee. If the student fails to pass the exam the second time, the student will be dropped from the program.
Dissertation: The PhD is awarded only for original scholarly achievement. The dissertation, which is a significant original contribution to basic knowledge in the candidate’s field is required. For further information, see the graduate chair. The dissertation proposal must be submitted and approved by your graduate committee during the semester following completion of the qualifying examination. You may register for TPSS 800 (Dissertation Research) only after approval of your dissertation proposal.
Final examination: A final oral examination on student’s dissertation is required. The first part of the examination consists of a seminar presentation and defense of your research, which is open to the public and is one hour in length. Following the open seminar presentation, there will be more thorough examination of the research and results of the dissertation by the members of your committee and any other members of the graduate faculty who wish to attend.