How to Apply

Please follow the instructions below to apply to the Graduate Program in Plant Biology at Michigan State University. The application procedure is the same for both the PhD and M.S. programs, with the exception of Question #17 (instructions provided below). If you have any questions, please contact us.


Application materials are due in December 1 for admission to the graduate program for the following fall semester.  Late applications are accepted but many of our fellowship nominations are made in early January, so for full consideration of your application it is important for you to have all materials to MSU by December 1.

All materials, with the exception of transcripts, should be uploaded via the Student Portal.

Required Application Documents

  1. MSU Application for Admission to Graduate Study

    The interactive application form for domestic or international applicants must be filled out online. All information is secured with SSL encryption. When a completed application form is received by the University, it will automatically be sent to the Department of Plant Biology if you list the correct major code (Question 17 on the form). The major codes for Plant Biology are 7019 for PhD applicants and 7018 for M.S. applicants. Once we have received a completed application we will confirm this with you.

  2. Resume

    Please list each activity that accounts for your time since earning a bachelor's degree (e.g. employment, military service, travel). Be sure to include the type of activity, name of your employer, city/state, and dates.; List the most recent activity first.

  3. Academic and Personal Statements

    Two separate written statements are required and should be submitted, via your student portal, as separate documents. Your Academic Statement should include a moderately detailed explanation of your plans for graduate study, your future professional goals, and how the graduate program in the Department of Plant Biology will help you meet your career and educational objectives. Be sure to indicate your area(s) of research interest and include mention of any research experience you have had prior to applying to graduate school at MSU. Please indicate specific faculty who you may wish to work with in the Department of Plant Biology.

    The Personal Statement should explain how your background and life experiences, including social, economic, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree. You may also wish to explain how these factors have motivated you in pursuit of higher education and how they will help shape your contributions to the Plant Biology graduate program.

  4. Letters of Recommendation

    Three letters of recommendation must be submitted from professors or others who can assess your promise of success in the graduate program. Applicants should upload letters of reference via the student portal.

  5. Transcripts

    Please arrange to have official transcripts from all institutions of higher learning that you have attended sent to the following address.

    Attn: Graduate Secretary
    Michigan State University
    Department of Plant Biology
    Plant Biology Laboratories
    612 Wilson Road, Room 166
    East Lansing MI 48824-1312

    Applicants pursuing or who have earned degrees from universities in China must submit certified copies (sealed and stamped by institutions) of all university transcripts, graduate certificates and degrees directly to The Department of Plant Biology. MSU requires these documents in the original language (Chinese) as well as an official English translation. If you are admitted: You must also obtain verification of your undergraduate (or equivalent) transcript from the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC). Please refer to their website: Please note, there is a fee to have your transcripts verified. The Department will reimburse you upon your enrollment at MSU.

  6. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores

    Have an official report of your GRE scores sent directly from the Educational Testing Service. The Institution Code for MSU is 1465, the Departmental Code for Plant Biology is 0205. Subject exams are not required for our program. Since there is often a delay before such reports are received by the University, you may wish to also upload a copy of your score report to your student portal, to be sure that we receive at least a copy of your GRE scores before the December 1 deadline.

  7. TOEFL scores (International applicants only)

    Please have the originals sent to the Department of Plant Biology at the below address.  You may also upload a copy with your application to be sure we receive all materials before December 1. The Institution code for MSU is 1465, and the Plant Biology program code is 35.

  8. Supplemental Application Form

    This form will help connect applicants with faculty members who are actively recruiting graduate students to join their labs. Please complete this form and upload it to the student application portal and select “Supplemental Application” as the document type. PLEASE NOTE: This form is available as a fillable form if you download it, save it to your device, and reopen it in Adobe Reader. Scanned forms with handwritten responses are also acceptable. If you have problems accessing this form, please contact Jessica Leadbetter ( 


Thank you for your application!

If you have any questions about the application procedure, please contact us.