A North Dakota State University (NDSU) graduate degree is more than just a mind-broadening exercise that results in a paper qualification. It’s a journey with dedicated faculty and peers to advance the state and the world.
One of them is Abbeah Navasca from the island of Mindanao, the agricultural basket of the Philippines. Her province is known as the “Banana Capital of the Philippines” due to the massive production of Cavendish bananas for export. “My experience with banana diseases led me to seek experts on fungal pathogens,” she says. “I decided to pursue a PhD to elucidate the genetics and genomics of Fusarium species under the joint mentorship of Dr. Thomas Baldwin and Dr. Gary Secor at NDSU.”
Today, the PhD student in Plant Pathology spends her days investigating the genomic and transcriptomic features, cross-infectivity, and quantification of Fusarium species in North Dakota crops. “We intend to improve the disease management strategies of notorious Fusarium species by deeply understanding how they adapt and potentially provide solutions to manage the notorious Fusarium species in important crops of North Dakota,” says the co-organiser of the US Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative ScabNET and Secretary of the Diagnostic Committee of the American Phytopathological Society.
This year, Navasca was selected as a Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) Fellowship. NDSU’s sponsorship made this possible for her. “This prestigious fellowship provides exceptional professional development and career guidance to the next generation of food and agriculture scientists,” she says. “I am the first NDSU student and Filipino to be awarded this fellowship, and it brings me so much joy to represent both the university and the Filipinos in this programme.”
Over at the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, professor Ying Huang is focusing her research on smart and advanced transportation infrastructures. She’s answering important questions related to smart cities, intelligent transportation systems, multifunctional and advanced materials, pipeline inspection and assessment, corrosion mitigation and monitoring, sensor technologies, and artificial intelligence and big data applications in energy and civil infrastructures.
Graduate students get to be part of Ying’s laboratories and fieldwork. “For example, one of the projects which the students have led is the development of a dual-purpose cleaning and inspection pipeline robot also known as pipeline inspection gauge,” she says. “Two student researchers successfully developed a simple protocol for the demonstration of the feasibility of the concept which resulted in a US$1 million project funded by the US Department of Transportation to continue developing the product to be field applicable. This is just one of many other successful stories of the student-led research.”
Such opportunities are common among NDSU’s world-class research programmes. NDSU is a top-tier research university as classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. As a Research 1 university, it holds the distinction of receiving substantial grant funding and awarding a significant number of doctoral degrees.
Its research programmes reflect this R1 ranking. Many provide opportunities for you to conduct interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research. Unique NDSU interdisciplinary programmes include Cellular and Molecular Biology; Discipline-Based Education Research; Environmental and Conservation Sciences; Genomics, Phenomics, and Bioinformatics; and Materials and Nanotechnology.
By joining these programmes, you get to conduct ground-breaking research that leads to a better understanding of plants, animals, materials, and the environment. Research areas include animal breeding, conservation biology, cancer cell biology, computational statistics, curriculum development, data mining, environmental engineering, microbial genomics, plant breeding, polymers, structural biology, student success, and sustainable agriculture.
If you’re passionate about any of these areas, you can work with top-tier researchers at NDSU — and with few financial concerns to hinder your academic pursuits. NDSU offers graduate assistantships that provide full tuition waivers and monthly stipends.
Professional master’s programmes: Affordable and accessible
If you see a non-thesis route to a graduate degree, consider NDSU’s professional master’s programmes. These are affordable options that advance your career. Earning an online degree allows you to pay in-state tuition ($421 per credit) and save on visa, travel and other expenses. Upon completion, you’re set to earn 20% to 50% higher salaries than those with only a bachelor’s degree.
Among the online professional master’s programmes offered is the Master of Public Health (MPH). Specialisations offered include Community Health Sciences and Epidemiology. For those interested in natural resource management, the Master of Natural Resource Management (MNRM) offers a customisable degree that addresses the environmental challenges of the 21st century.
The Master of Supply Chain Management (MSCM) provides a wide array of interdisciplinary courses that enhance supply chain skills and research abilities, preparing you for roles such as supply chain manager, logistics manager, and business process improvement analyst. Those seeking to advance or pivot to the tech industry can opt for the Master of Software Engineering (MSE), which develops highly marketable skills in courses such as Software Testing and Debugging, Software Design, and Software Project Planning and Estimation.
Full support from university to industry
NDSU takes pride in its commitment to providing unparalleled support and guidance to graduate students. It has a wide range of services and state-of-the-art facilities to ensure you have every resource you need to excel at NDSU and in your future career.
“NDSU, as a whole, is working to help our students explore new career paths and identify how the skills learned through a PhD programme transfer to industry, government, and non-profit positions,” says Jennifer Momsen, professor of Biological Sciences and director of the Discipline Based Education Research PhD programme.
“We host career panels where the skills learned in the programmes are covered. We also support students who complete internships – for example, a recent student completed an internship with the US Department of Education, which has opened an entire career pathway.”