Prospective Students

Thank you for your interest in the Graduate Program in Plant Biology at Michigan State University. Our program is one of the finest in the country for research, training, and scholarship in plant biology. The Department of Plant Biology has over 35 faculty members who study all aspects of plant biology from the level of molecules to ecosystems.

The Department of Plant Biology is just one facet of Michigan State University’s emphasis on plant science. MSU has among the biggest and best plant science research programs in the world, which encompass many departments (e.g. Plant Biology, Horticulture, Forestry, Crop and Soil Sciences, Plant Pathology, Biochemistry, Fisheries and Wildlife), units (e.g. Plant Research Laboratory, Kellogg Biological Station) and programs (e.g. Genetics, Cell and Molecular Biology, and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior). The Department of Plant Biology is the nexus of this enormous research focus on plant science and is an exciting place to study and perform research.

The faculty in the Department of Plant Biology focuses on basic research in all disciplines of plant biology. Students in our program are trained to integrate information between different hierarchies of biological organization. Because of the great diversity of research programs in the department, our graduate program is very flexible. There are very few courses required for all students; rather each student can work with their committee to set a curriculum that best suits their needs. It is also possible for students to get dual degrees or certifications by fulfilling requirements in various other programs at MSU.

The Department of Plant Biology offers both an M.S. and a PhD degree. It is possible for students to get dual degrees or certifications by fulfilling the requirements in interdisciplinary programs at MSU, such as Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior.

Plant Biology Students are provided financial support in almost all cases. PhD students are typically provided five years of support and M.S. students are provided three. Support is provided by fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, or some combination of these funds.

If you have any questions or would like further information about the graduate program in Plant Biology at MSU, please contact us.

Recommended Preparation and Requirements

Successful applicants to the program typically have at least one year of undergraduate biology, or its equivalent, and one year each of chemistry, physics and mathematics.

The department does not have a minimum requirement for GPA for applicants. However, successful applicants typically have a GPA of 3.3 or higher with no less than a 3.0 in major. Consideration may be given to students who have a GPA less than 3.0 if an alternative proof of potential academic excellence, such as outstanding letters of reference, exceptional performance on the GREs, extensive research experience, etc., is provided for consideration by the admissions committee.

We require all students to take the three standard sections of the Graduate Record Examination, but no subject test is required. There is no minimum GRE score required, and the exam is only one component of our admission requirement.

International students are required to take the TOEFL examination. Most applicants take the computer-based version. For this exam, university requirements are minimum scores of 213 (overall) and 19 for each sub-score. If you have taken the internet based or paper-based version, different minimums apply. Please contact us to discuss if you have taken one of the other versions.

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