Skip to content

Plant and Environmental Sciences

Graduate Research Assistantship Openings

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistant in Soil Biogeochemistry at Clemson University
    1. Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Description: The position is available starting May (Summer) or August (Fall) 2023. The fellow will work on an NRCS project to investigate and demonstrate how management practices affect soil carbon and greenhouse gas emissions in peanut and leafy green production systems across South Carolina. Major responsibilities include 1) leading and training a team of field/laboratory measurement personnel, including graduate students and technicians, 2) planning, organizing, and coordinating field measurement campaigns, 3) participating in field measurements in both peanut and leafy green production systems, 4) compiling field/laboratory data to demonstrate the impacts of conservation management practices, and 5) completing reports and disseminating demonstration data to publics, farmers, extension agents, and academic communities through publication and outreach activities.

    Salary: The position (up to three years) provides competitive salaries. Continuation of employment is contingent upon satisfactory performance.  

    Qualification: Applicants must have a Ph.D. degree in soil sciences or relevant soil disciplines. A strong background in soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics is essential. Applicants with knowledge and skill in operating Picarro gas analyzers and Eosense soil flux chambers are encouraged to apply.

    Application: To apply, please contact Dr. Rongzhong Ye ( with your cover letter, CV, and contact information for three references. The review of applicants starts immediately and continues until the position is filled.

    1. Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistant

    Description: The position is available starting May (Summer) or August (Fall) 2023. The Ph.D. student will work on an NRCS project to investigate how conservative management practices affect soi physical-biogeochemical properties and greenhouse gas emissions in production systems. The research has field and laboratory components. Working under potentially hot/warm and humid climate conditions is expected. Major responsibilities include field data collection and soil analyses, publications in academic journals, and presentations at professional conferences. The assistantship provides a competitive stipend, tuition remission, and health insurance.

    Qualification: Applicants must have an M.S. degree in soil sciences, agriculture sciences, or relevant disciplines. A background in soil nutrients and/or clearly demonstrated laboratory skills are ideal. Applicants with knowledge and skill in greenhouse gas production/emissions are encouraged to apply. Demonstrated ability in peer-reviewed publications is a plus.

    Application: To apply, please contact Dr. Rongzhong Ye ( with your CV, unofficial copy of transcripts and contact information for three references. The review of applicants starts immediately and continues until the position is filled.

  • Four USDA National Needs Fellowships - Ph.D., Plant Pathology Research

    Position: USDA National Needs Fellowship

    Fellows will earn a Ph.D. degree in Plant and Environmental Sciences, fulfill a residency requirement in one of the Clemson University Research and Education Centers (RECs), complete an Extension leadership training, and gain experience in the University’s Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic. The program includes a core curriculum in plant pathology with focus on translational research and opportunities for teaching. Four students will receive fellowships to form a cohesive cohort with extensive interaction throughout the program. The fellowship award includes tuition, health insurance, an annual stipend of $24,500 for three years and a $2,000 yearly allowance.

    Start Date: August 2022 (Fall semester)

    Location: The students will reside in Clemson, SC for the first semester of the graduate program to fulfill course requirements. Dissertation research will take place at one of the Clemson Research and Education Centers (listed in the adviser descriptions below).

    Optional graduate student housing may be offered on-site at the REC station dependent upon availability and approval.

    Qualifications: Applicants must be US citizens. The fellowship program is available to women and underrepresented minority groups. The candidate should be passionate about research in plant pathology, detail-oriented, and a team player with strong organization and communication skills. An M.S. degree in plant pathology, breeding, genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, or related field is preferred.

    How to apply: Send a single pdf of your CV, unofficial transcripts, and a one-page letter of interest to Dr. Paula Agudelo at Applications must be received by March 1, 2022, for full consideration. In-person interviews will include a tour of the RECs with all fellowship finalists and advisors. Final offers will be made by April 1, 2022.

    Fellowship Advisors:

    Dr. Sandra Branham,  is an Assistant Professor of Vegetable Breeding and Genetics located at Coastal Research and Education Center, Charleston, SC.

    Instagram: branham_breeding; Twitter: @branhambreeding

    The primary goal of Dr. Branham’s research program is the improvement of vegetable crops for production in the Southeastern US. Her focus is on genomics-assisted breeding of vegetable crops through 1) development of genomic resources, 2) exploring the genetic and phenotypic diversity of the USDA germplasm repositories, 3) identifying QTL associated with resistance to heat and disease, 4) developing and testing molecular markers associated with phenotypes of interest, and 5) population development for marker validation, trait introgression and gene pyramiding. The fellowship project will use molecular breeding approaches to develop vegetable varieties with improved resistance to fungal pathogens.

    Dr. Hehe Wang is an Assistant Professor of Plant Bacteriology, located at Edisto Research and Education Center, Blackville, SC.

    Dr. Wang’s lab conducts both basic and applied research to study the epidemiology, ecology, and/or genetics of bacterial pathogens in different crop production systems (e.g. peach, brassica greens, tomato) and develop sustainable and information-driven strategies for disease management. She also studies interactions between different plant pathogens, explore beneficial bacteria for plant health management, and conduct molecular diagnosis for pathogens and pests. The fellowship project will study the mechanisms of bactericide resistance in bacterial pathogens, identify environmental factors that affect pathogen inoculum and population dynamics, and/or develop improved disease management strategies.

    Dr. Joseph Roberts is an Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Pathology and Nematology located at the Pee Dee Research and Education Center in Florence, SC.

    Dr. Roberts’ lab works at the interface of fundamental and applied research to better understand pathogenic nematodes, fungi, and bacteria that infect turfgrasses. Current projects are aimed at identifying relationships within the plant, environment and microbiome that translate into sustainable management tools that enhance turfgrass survival. The fellowship project will study nematode diversity and population development in grasses managed in the southeastern U.S.

    Dr. Elizabeth Cieniewicz is an Assistant Professor of Plant Virology, located at the main campus in Clemson, SC and working at the Piedmont REC, particularly at the Musser Fruit Research Center

    Lab Website: Plant Virology at Clemson University 

    Twitter: @ejcieniewicz, 

    Dr. Cieniewicz’s research program is focused on understanding virus disease ecology in several systems including peach, grapevine, and berries. Current projects include pathogen-pathogen interactions and coinfection synergism, virus diversity and ecology at the agro-ecological interface, and understanding the molecular and ecological mechanisms underlying transmission of viruses through pollen. This fellowship project would be focusing on coinfection synergism (virus-virus and/or virus-bacterial interactions) or investigating the risk of transmission from wild alternative hosts of peach viruses.

  • Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistantship - Dr. Buphinder Farma, Soil Fertility

    Position: Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) for a full-time M.S./Ph.D. student is available at Clemson University. Various research projects are available with the focus on soil fertility and nutrient management for Southeastern US crop production systems. Student will have his/her own project to work on and in addition, will assist with other projects. The candidate will present his/her research work as oral presentations and posters at scientific meetings, seminars, and workshops. In addition, the candidate will be required to publish peer-reviewed journal articles.

    Location: Student will complete the coursework on Clemson’s main campus or virtually, but the research will be conducted at Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville, SC, one of Clemson’s off-campus research sites.

    Qualification sought: We are looking for a highly motivated applicant with strong interest in field plot research and enthusiasm to work and interact in an international scientific environment. The applicant should have excellent writing and oral communication skills and the ability to work independently and as a part of a team. Ideal candidate will have prior degree(s) in agriculture or related discipline. Candidate with field and lab research experience in soil chemistry, agronomy, or microbiology will be preferred. The applicant should be a quick learner, have good time management skills, and pay attention to details. Pro-activeness is an asset.

    Application details: Send a single pdf of CV, GRE & TOEFL scores, a summary of relevant experience and career goals, and contact details of three references to Dr. Bhupinder Farmaha. Screening of applicants will start immediately and the search will continue until a suitable candidate is identified. The start date is negotiable but preferred in the Summer/Fall, 2021 semester. The GRA includes tuition waiver, health insurance and an annual stipend.

    Dr. Bhupinder S. Farmaha

    Assistant Professor, Nutrient Management Specialist
    Department of Plant & Environmental Sciences, Clemson University

    Edisto Research & Education Center
    64 Research Road Blackville,
    South Carolina 29817

    Soil Fertility

    Candidates will be required to formally apply to and be accepted by the Clemson University Graduate School.

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences | 171 Poole Agricultural Center Clemson, SC