Undergraduate Handbook

Welcome to Las Cruces and New Mexico State University's Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences! This handbook will provide valuable information to answer the most commonly asked questions about undergraduate programs and departmental policies.

The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences offers Undergraduate degrees in Agriculture and Environmental Science. The faculty come from a variety of disciplines, including crop physiology, ornamental horticulture, soil science, plant breeding and genetics, nursery production, molecular biology, and forestry.

Although much of your time will be spent in class, you are encouraged to interact with other faculty members and fellow students, which are valuable sources of information. You are encouraged to join one of the undergraduate clubs and work toward certification in your area of expertise.

Degree Requirements - Check Lists

Filing Notice of Degree Candidacy

Degree candidates are required to file an application for degree and pay the graduation fee for each degree sought. This fee ($10 for one-year certificates, $25 for associate or bachelor's, and $35 for graduate degrees) will be included in the total paid for the semester or session in which the candidate anticipates completing degree requirements. If degree requirements are not completed during the semester or session for which the student paid the fee, the student must reapply and pay the appropriate fees. The application for degree form is available at the Office of the Registrar and the student's advising center/Dean's Office. It must be completed and submitted to the Office of the Registrar by the deadline for the semester/session. A $25 late fee applies to applications received after the last day to register, and no applications will be accepted after midterm. Additional policies and guidelines are as follows:

  • A student must specify choice of catalog as indicated under "Graduation Requirements." Latest date for substitution or waiver of required courses for candidates for degrees is two weeks after the last date of registration for regular or summer terms.
  • All fees and bills owed the university must be paid before a student may receive a diploma or transcript of credits.
  • In the Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, the student goes to the Associate Dean of Academic Programs and applies for a degree check before filing for the degree candidacy. This should be done at the beginning of the senior year. There is a sign-up sheet in the office to request a degree check. Also, the Dean's office will check at the beginning of each semester and will initiate a degree check if the student has not requested one. The Dean's office does the initial degree check and then sends the paperwork to the department head where it is distributed to the advisors for a final check to be completed. After the final check is signed by the advisor, the department head signs the degree check and sends it back to the Dean's office. The department has a policy of having some other advisor than the student's advisor do the check. The student should bring a copy of the catalog that they will use to graduate under if different than the current catalog when they meet with the person doing the degree check.
  • Each program in the department has a degree check form that is unique to the major. The student should indicate which major they are under when requesting a degree check in the Dean's office. If the student does not request a degree check, a general form will be used and the student must transfer the information from that form to the specific major form before the degree check advisor and student can complete the check. Any comments about the degree check are to be typed and attached to the degree check form.
  • When desiring to substitute a course in the option list, the advisor must complete a substitution form for the Dean of Academic Programs through the department head to substitute the course in the degree check. The faculty advising environmental science students have agreed that any substitution will be voted on by all faculty advising environmental science students and not just the student advisor.

The Degree check forms are pdf documents and can be accessed below:

Academic Misconduct and Plagiarism

Academic misconduct including plagiarism will not be tolerated in the Plant and Environmental Sciences Department. The Department follows the policies and procedures pertaining to academic misconduct and plagiarism found in the NMSU Student Code of Conduct available online.

Financial Assistance

Financial support is available for undergraduate students in the form of scholarships and work opportunities. Departmental jobs are posted at the student employment office in Garcia Annex.

DEPARTMENT SCHOLARSHIPS-The department awarded over $40,000 in scholarships in the year of 2011.

In the educational services building, there is a financial aid office that helps new undergraduate students apply for many types of financial support. Perkins loans (national direct student loans), Stanford loans (GSL), and college work study are available to undergraduate students. The amount of aid awarded will be based on the financial need for each student.

New undergraduate students wanting financial support should contact the following office to get a financial advisor: Director, Financial Aid Office, New Mexico State University, Box 30001, Dept. 5100, Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003, Telephone (575) 646-4105.

International Students

The Center for International Programs (CIP) at New Mexico State University is the focal point for the University's international activities. The CIP provides services and advisement to international students that come from over 72 countries.

New international students must contact an international student advisor who will coordinate admissions, provide immigration advice, enroll the student in orientation programs, provide general counseling, and develop special programs for the student. The CIP also cooperates with international student associations and community organizations to organize socio-cultural activities for international students and their families.

The CIP is in Garcia Annex, room 238, telephone (575) 646-2017.

The CIP cannot lend money to a student unless the student's government sponsor has made arrangements with the CIP in advance.

Office and Support Staff

Administrative Support:

  • Taylor L'Heureux, Administrative Assistant, Associate - Phone: 575-646-3405

Accounting Support:

  • Patricia Wallace, Fiscal Assistant, Associate - Phone: 575-646-1141

Professional Societies - Certification Programs

Belonging to a professional organization while an undergraduate student is well worth the cost. The student has the opportunity to attend professional meetings, meet others in his/her field, and present research at these meetings to gain useful experience and exposure. Below are some common professional organizations and a brief explanation of each.

1. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

  • Encompasses all fields of science and technology. Publishes the weekly journal Science. Headquarters are at 1333 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005. Undergraduate membership is $75. Dr. Paul Bosland and Dr. William Lindemann are NMSU members.

2. American Society of Agronomy (ASA) Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)

  • These societies are independent, autonomous organizations, but work closely together. They share a headquarters office at 677 S. Segoe Rd, Madison, WI. 53711. Undergraduate student memberships is $15 for all three societies. Many agronomy and soil science professors are members.

3. American Society for Horticulture Science (ASHS)

  • Undergraduate student membership is $25; membership applications are usually in the back of the organization's journal, HortScience. All horticulture professors are members. National meetings are held annually, either in the summer or fall. ASHS awards student travel grants to attend the meetings if presenting. The Department Head submits graduate student names and abstracts to ASHS for travel grants.

4. American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB)

  • Publishes Plant Physiology, an international journal devoted to research on physiology, molecular biology, environmental biology, biochemistry, and cell biology of plants. Undergraduate student membership is $45.

5. Association for Women in Science (AWIS)

  • A regular membership is $65. Information is available through: AWIS, 1321 Duke Street, Suite 210, Alexandria, VA 22314.

6. Society of American Foresters (SAF)

  • Student membership is $35. Dr. John Mexal is chairperson of the Southern New Mexico Chapter of SAF and has membership information.

Certification Programs for Agronomy and Horticulture Students

Student Clubs and Organizations