FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

image of question mark on a key of a keyboard, Jr.
•  Program
•  Application Process
•  International Applicants
•  Program Cost/Financial Assistance
•  UNL Registration


How do I contact the Doctor of Plant Health office?

See Contact Us for mail, telephone and email contact information.

What is the DPH Degree?

The Doctor of Plant Health (DPH) degree is a unique professional, doctoral degree similar in concept to the Doctor of Human Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degrees. See DPH Parallels Chart. This degree is offered exclusively by the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska– Lincoln, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Sciences.

Is the DPH degree a PhD?

The course work required for the DPH degree is more extensive than that required for a PhD; and the major experiential training that DPH students receive is practicum based rather than research based. Therefore, the graduates receive a professional doctorate (DPH) degree and not a PhD.

What research experience does the DPH degree require?

The DPH degree is a practicum-based program but research experience is required. DPH students are required to undertake a research project (4 credits) that will be less involved than MS thesis or PhD dissertation research. Also, students will commonly be involved in research activities either through part-time employment or through research-based internships.

What does it take to get into the Doctor of Plant Health Program?

Applicants who have obtained their BS/BA degree or MS degrees will be considered for admission. The DPH degree is a rigorous graduate level degree program so entering the program with an adequate academic background is important. See Prerequisites for a listing of prerequisites for the DPH program. Several undergraduate courses provide useful preparation for the DPH degree (see Recommended Undergraduate Courses).

Are students with Master's Degrees accorded advanced standing?

Yes. Students with an MS degree in a plant-related discipline will likely be able to transfer several graduate credits to meet some of their DPH program requirements.  Also, these students completing a thesis-based MS degree will have met the DPH research requirements.

What credits will transfer into the DPH program?

Only graduate course credits from an accredited graduate program and that are applicable to the DPH program requirements will be transferred. Acceptance of transfer credits for graduate courses completed at another institution is determined by the student's Supervisory Committee. Students who have completed an MS research thesis will be able to transfer 4 research credits to meet the ‘Research Practicum' requirement in the DPH program curriculum (see DPH Curriculum). At least half of the credits toward the DPH degree must be taken at the University of Nebraska– Lincoln.

What courses are offered online that can be used to fulfill DPH degree requirements?

Online courses offerings may offer students an opportunity to take courses while in the DPH program but not in residence at UNL, thus reducing the costs of relocating to Lincoln for the entire term of the program. Because of the advanced nature of numerous required courses and the importance of experiential (hands-on) learning opportunities in the DPH program, several of the required core courses (see DPH Curriculum) are unavailable online. However, several courses can be taken online for credit in the program. Currently we estimate that about 30-50% of the required course work could be taken online. Contact the Director, Dr. Jeff Bradshaw, by email at jbradshaw2@unl.edu or by phone at 402-472-3345 with additional questions about the potential for online courses.

The DPH degree is a rigorous degree that requires 100 graduate-level credits, including internships (see DPH Curriculum). It will take a student entering with a BA or BS degree about 4 years to complete the program. Students entering with an MS degree may be able to finish in 3 years, depending on the number of transfer credits allowed. The time to complete the program will depend on the student's course load taken while in the program and on the scheduling of internship experiences.

In what topics are DPH students trained?

The DPH students are broadly trained across all major plant related disciplines: entomology, plant pathology, plant science, soil science and weed science. There is extensive involvement in the program across three UNL departments: Agronomy/Horticulture, Entomology and Plant Pathology. Other affiliated departments are also involved in teaching courses for the program. The course of study pursued by our students will prepare them in all aspects of the prevention, diagnosis and management of plant health problems (see Curriculum).

Can DPH students specialize?

Yes. DPH students will be encouraged to specialize in areas that address their individual career interests and goals. The students can choose to enhance their training in specific interest areas through selection of elective credits (12 elective course credits), research projects (4 credits) and work and internship experiences. Students will be strongly encouraged to use these options to structure their program to address their anticipated career objectives (e.g. field crops, specialty crops, horticulture, turf, forestry, organics, regulatory, etc.).

Why study at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln?

Studying plant health at UNL allows you to take advantage of the diversity of crop and plant systems and soils in the four major ecoregions across Nebraska. The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resourses, of which this program is a part, is home to some of the most-cited agricultural scientists in the world, and you'll have the opportunity to study and be advised by members of that faculty.

What are the career possibilities for graduates?

The broad and extensive practical training that DPH students receive affords graduates a wide variety of interesting and rewarding career possibilities (see Careers). The agricultural and horticultural consulting, contract research, and seed and chemical industries have expressed considerable interest in future graduates and have been extremely supportive in the initiation of this program. Extensive opportunities also exist with state and federal agencies and agricultural and horticultural extension and teaching.

How do I make arrangements to visit campus?

We welcome students to visit the campus to see the program firsthand, meet DPH related faculty, and to discuss the potential of this exciting program for their careers. To contact the Director, Dr. Jeff Bradshaw see Contact Us for mail, telephone, and email contact information.


Application Process

What materials are required for application to the DPH program?

Please visit the Application Checklist and Deadlines information page on our Program Summary webpage.

Do I need to submit my University of University of Nebraska–Lincoln transcripts?

No, the Office of Graduate Studies will request your UNL transcripts after you apply.

When is the deadline to apply?

We evaluate applications to the DPH Program when received, but we recommend applying at least two months before the semester you would like to start.

What is the GRE & TOEFL institution code?

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln's institution code is 6877. You don't need to enter a departmental code as all scores are processed centrally.

Will I get admitted?

The DPH Admission Committee decides who is admitted to the program. These decisions are based on many factors including academic background and performance, leadership abilities and experiences and the student’s fit within the program. These factors will be assessed by a thorough review of all application materials.

How do I change information submitted on my online application?

Requests must be received in writing; email graduate@unl.edu.

How do I check the status of my application?

See Application Status.

How long does the admission process take?

Once the application materials packet is complete we strive to have a decision to the student within three weeks.  Therefore, it is important for the applicant to make sure the application and all supporting documents have been submitted.

Can I defer my admission to a later term?

Requests must be received in writing; email DPH and include first and last name, NU ID and which term you would like to defer admission to.

How do I withdraw my application?

Requests must be received in writing; email graduate@unl.edu and include first and last name, NU ID and details of request.

Do I have to pay an application fee?

Yes, there is a $50.00 fee for all applications. See Application Fee for details and to see if you are exempt from paying the application fee.

I am applying to more than one program at UNL; do I have to pay multiple application fees?

See Applying to Multiple Programs.

How do I submit payment of the application fee?

See Application Fee for all payment options.


International Applicants

Is my current degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree?

The DPH program will follow the UNL Graduate Studies Guidelines with regard to Degree Equivalency. See Degree Equivalency.

What tests are accepted for proof of English proficiency?

The DPH program will follow the UNL Graduate Studies Guidelines with regard to English Equivalency. See English Proficiency.

What is your TOEFL institution code?

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln's institution code is 6877.

What is the minimum TOEFL score?

Minimum Scores Required for Admission

  • Required by Doctor of Plant Health:
  • 79 on Internet TOEFL
  • 550 on Paper TOEFL
  • 6.5 on IELTS

Students must score above 550 (TOEFL, paper) to enable them to adequately undertake the rigors of this program.


Program Costs / Financial Assistance

What does it cost to earn a DPH degree?

Tuition costs are determined by the Board of Regents and announced in July for the upcoming year. See Tuition Costs for tuition per credit hour and a listing of fees. You may also access our Tuition Cost Worksheet to estimate your cost of one year of study.  Note tuition waiver for non-resident students:  Non-Resident students will pay only 125% of resident tuition (a substantial savings for non-resident students).  Contact Gary L. Hein, Ph.D., Director of Plant Health Program to discuss funding options and opportunities or 402-472-3365.

What financial assistance is available?

DPH specific fellowships are limited to full-time, degree-seeking students with eligibility determined by the Admissions Committee. Fellowship offers will be made at the time that acceptance into the program is determined. See Tuition, Fees, and Funding for information about general funding opportunities.

It is expected that many students will undertake part-time employment to assist in meeting school and living expenses. We anticipate that there will be several opportunities for students to work for UNL faculty on research, extension and/or teaching projects during the school year. These opportunities may also extend through vacations and the summer. We are also working with collaborative agencies and companies that may offer students employment during the school year or at other time.

Students will be paid during their major internships, and it is anticipated that students will make enough during these internships to provide some support during the rest of the year.

Contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid for information about additional financial aid, such as student loans.

How do I pay for my courses?

Consult Student Accounts for information on billings and payment processes.

How can I become a resident of Nebraska?

To see if you might qualify for resident for tuition purposes, download the Application for Residence Classification for Tuition Purposes and read the document carefully. If you wish to apply, submit the completed residency application and supporting materials to the Office of Graduate Studies.


UNL Registration

How do I get my NUID?

You will receive your NUID by email after completing the Graduate Application for Admission. Otherwise,  contact us.

How do I get my password to access True You and MyRed?

See About MyRED.

How do I register for classes?

See Enrolling in Courses. Registering for classes is easy using the online student self-service site, MyRED. See the Academic Calendar for dates of open registration.  New international graduate students must check in at the Office of Graduate Studies before registering for classes.

How many credits should I register for?

We recommend that DPH students average about 12 credits during the fall and spring semesters. Internships and/or perhaps other courses can be taken during summer sessions or at any time during the year. Full-time enrollment for DPH students is considered 9 credit hours during fall and spring semesters and 6 credit hours during summer. However, taking fewer credits per semester will increase the time needed to complete the degree.

International students must maintain full-time enrollment during the fall and spring semesters. Summer registration is not required for international students for maintaining immigration status.

Continuous full-time enrollment may also be required for certain kinds of financial aid and insurance coverage. Each situation is unique, so be sure to consider these when determining how many credits to take.

What courses should I take?

Consult your adviser or the DPH Director to determine what courses you should take prior to registering for classes. DPH students just entering the program will be advised by the Program Director during the first year.  MyRed makes it easy to drop and add courses, but you are responsible for tuition and fees for any course you register for, so be sure to pay attention to the drop deadlines.

What if I need to change my course registrations?

During open enrollment period, you can manage your course choices in MyRED. After open enrollment, contact the DPH office for assistance in adjusting your schedule.