MSc. Horticulture and Soil Health

Area of Focus:

Sustainable vegetable production: cover crops and soil health


There is a GRA opening in the Department of Plant Agriculture for pursuing an MSc. in horticulture and soil health, for Canadian domestic students.


  1. BSc. in horticulture, plant biology, soil science, agronomy, plant pathology microbiology, or related areas.
  2. Student must hold Canadian citizenship or be a permanent resident of Canada.
  3. A valid Ontario G license (or have their G2 and access to their own vehicle)

An annual stipend of $22,000 a will be provided for 2 years, with provision for funding for a seventh semester. To qualify, students must demonstrate a high academic standing during the last two completed years of study (ideally an average of 80% or higher) in addition to the admission requirements of the University.

The ideal candidate will be highly motivated, creative and have excellent communication and writing skills. The candidate should have, or be willing to take, courses in the plant sciences or soil sciences and some in microbiology or plant pathology. Good math skills and an understanding of statistical methods are also important.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to learn about and conduct research related to cover crops and soil health as these relate to vegetable crops grown on high organic matter (muck) soils in the Holland Marsh region of Ontario. The objectives of the project are three-fold: 1) to identify suitable fall cover crops for onion and carrot production 2) evaluate the effects of biofumigant crops (Brassica juncea) on soil health and soilborne plant pathogens and 3) compare the usefulness of soil health tests (including commercially available tests) for high organic matter soils.

Students will be required to travel to the University of Guelph, Ontario Crops Research Centre – Bradford, located in the Holland Marsh, and also to fields of vegetable crops in the area. The student will be based in Guelph and course work will be conducted in Guelph at the main

The student will be supervised by Prof. Mary Ruth McDonald and Prof. Kimberley Schneider.

Screening of applicants will continue until a successful candidate is identified. For information about graduate school admissions visit please visit and send letters of inquiry with a statement of your specific research interests in horticulture and soil health to Prof. Mary Ruth McDonald (