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The Shaman's Pharmacy (Amazon). Photo courtesy Medicine Hunter, Inc.

The first Shaman’s Pharmacy (Amazon Field Immersion Course) 2010, was led by medicine hunter Chris Kilham. Chris took fifteen students from the Five Colleges area, plus graduate student and co-teacher Zoe Gardner, plus Zoe Helene, to the Peruvian Amazon. If you really want to learn about the Amazon, the only legitimate way is to go there. In The Shaman’s Pharmacy, we did exactly that. This is both a course and a transformative life experience.

University of Massachusetts at Amherst

The Department of Plant, Soil & Insect Sciences (PSIS) is part of the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) at UMass Amherst. The PSIS department currently has over 30 faculty members, and was established by a merger of the former Departments of Plant & Soil Sciences with Entomology. Several Plant Pathologists on campus also joined PSIS, and now the department specializes in areas ranging from molecular genetics to management of whole plants and insects. The main focus areas of PSIS are emphasized in the Department's Plant & Soil Sciences Division (which includes the Plant Pathology Program), and the Entomology Division.

The breadth of our department is extensive, covering areas like genetic engineering to enhance plant uptake of heavy metals to ameliorate contaminated soils; medical entomology to fight menaces like malaria, eastern equine encephalitis and Lyme disease; herbs and medicinal plants and natural products; integrated pest management; turf science; sustainable agriculture and many other fields that may be of potential interest to you. Please click on Faculty Research Interests to read research and instructional interests of our faculty and click on Academic Offerings to check the wide variety of course offerings.

The Department offers one common undergraduate B.S. degree in Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences. There are four Concentration Areas available, allowing students to select an area of specialization, and tailor their course selections to best reflect their academic interests and career goals. The four concentration areas are:

* Applied Biology & Biotechnology
* Horticulture
* Sustainable Food & Farming
* Turfgrass Science & Management

For more information about our Undergraduate Programs and course offerings, click on Academic Offerings and Degree Programs.

At the graduate level, the department offers Master of Science (M.S.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees in two programs, one in Entomology and one in Plant and Soil Sciences. These programs are administered by different graduate program directors (GPD), are governed by different Graduate Policy Committees, and have separate graduation requirements. Click on Academic Offerings and Degree Programs to learn about each program in general and about specific requirements for each program. Contact the individual GPDs if you have additional questions dealing with the curriculum. Courses in the Entomology degree program are designated by the ENTOMOL rubric, whereas the Plant and Soil courses are indicated by the PLNTSOIL rubric. Information regarding your application for admission to can be obtained from the UMass Graduate School.

The following pages provide a wealth of information and we invite you to explore. If you still have questions, please contact Dr. Deborah Picking for information about the undergraduate program. If you have questions about the graduate program in Entomology contact the GPD, Dr. Benjamin Normark. Questions about the Plant and Soil Sciences graduate program may be directed to Dr. Geunhwa Jung, the GPD for that program.

If you are interested in visiting UMass, the university offers campus tours and hosts several open houses for undergraduate students. Dr. Picking, our undergraduate program director, will be happy to meet with you to discuss the programs within our department in greater detail. If you are interested in graduate studies you should make arrangements to visit with faculty who work in areas that are of interest to you.

Plant, Soil & Insect Sciences
102 Fernald Hall
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003 USA
Phone: (413) 545-2004
Fax: (413) 545-2115