Molecular & Environmental Plant Sciences

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History & Vision

MEPS evolved from the intercollegiate Faculty of Plant Physiology, originally formed in 1983, in response to recommendations from an external panel of scientists convened to review the Faculty's programs in 1998. The recommendation to make the Plant Physiology program more inclusive of scientists in the plant sciences recognized an academic and research environment that is rich in facilities and personnel resources that support the plant sciences. The new name of the Faculty received internal approval of the Faculty Senate in the Fall of 1999. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved a request to change the name of M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Plant Physiology to Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences effective September 1, 2000. MEPS embraces all plant disciplines from fundamental molecular genetics to ecology and includes members from 7 departments in 2 colleges.

Prospective members are nominated through their respective department heads, voted to membership by full MEPS members, and approved by the appropriate dean. The MEPS Faculty comprises 42 full and 7 associate members. Associate members, usually post-doctoral researchers and adjunct faculty, have all the rights and privileges of full members except they may not vote nor hold elected office. As of August 1, 2000, there are 24 graduate students enrolled in MEPS M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs. Four Ph.D.s and one M.S. were graduated from the program in academic year 1999-2000.

The MEPS program is administered by elected members in accordance with its By-laws. The Department of Soil and Crop Sciences is the home department and provides financial accountability services for the program. The Executive Committee is composed of a Chair and 4 members, with no more than 2 members from a single department. Activities of the faculty are carried out through a system of standing and ad hoc committees appointed by the Executive Committee. Principal activities of the MEPS faculty include:

  • Administration of the M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs in MEPS.
  • Presentation of academic courses requisite to contemporary graduate degree programs.
  • Presentation of undergraduate service courses to plant science-based departments.
  • Recruitment and admission of students into its graduate degree programs.
  • Provision of enrichment programs for faculty and students including a seminar program based on external speakers.
  • Promotion and coordination of plant science disciplines at TAMU.


The Faculty of Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences will promote the unification of plant sciences at Texas A&M University through active support of departmental and interdisciplinary efforts to develop internationally recognized programs of excellence in research and graduate education.


The mission of the MEPS program is to serve the faculty and students of TAMU by providing leadership, intercollegiate focus and organizational structure for contemporary training of future researchers, teachers and entrepreneurs and add value to the department-based intellectual environment in all disciplines of plant sciences.


  • To actively promote a more unified approach in plant science programs.
  • To enhance internal and external recognition of our programs of service, research, and graduate education.
  • To increase numbers of assistantships offered by the program through aggressive pursuit of training grants.
  • To enhance communications and interactions among and between faculty and graduate students.
  • To support plant science-based departmental curricula by providing relevant, interdisciplinary plant biology courses.
  • To support research program development and graduate student enrichment by bringing recognized research leaders and grant program administrators to campus.
  • To complement and extend strong plant science research and training programs by maximizing opportunities for collaboration.
  • To enrich the graduate education and training program by providing opportunities for leadership development and participation in extracurricular professional activities.
  • To provide faculty members with opportunities for professional development through active participation in leadership of the Faculty.

The vision and mission statements encompass two important features. Recognition is given to the large and diverse programs in plant sciences currently organized along departmental or commodity lines. Our vision is that the Faculty will provide expertise and leadership to facilitate integration and synergism among all plant science programs. In fulfilling this role, we envision that Faculty members can build on existing strengths to evolve recognized programs of excellence in research and graduate education that will elevate visibility of not only the MEPS program, but also the overall program in plant components of life sciences at TAMU.