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Admission to the Graduate Program

If you are seriously interested in our graduate program, we encourage you to submit an on-line application to the horticulture graduate program. For currently available assistantships in our department, please see our Assistantships page.

Alternatively, if you are interested in studying Plant Sciences at UGA, but are not certain whether horticulture is the department for you, you can apply to the Integrated Plant Sciences Program. The IPS program is a cooperation among eight departments, focused at recruiting PhD students with an interest in Plant Sciences. PhD students admitted to the IPS program rotate through three different labs in their first semester, before transferring to a departmental graduate program and starting their PhD work with a particular faculty member. If your interest is in horticulture, rather than Plant Sciences in general, you should apply to the horticulture graduate program, not IPS.

All applications to the horticulture graduate program are reviewed by a five-member departmental committee, which makes a recommendation about whether the applicant meets the departmental standards. Since each applicant is reviewed individually, we do not simply look at test scores and grade point averages. The statement of purpose and letters of recommendation are equally important.

However, as a rough guideline we generally expect applicants for the MS program to have a minimum GRE score of 285 and an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. For PhD applicants we like to see a GRE score of at least 300 and a GPA of 3.0 during the MS program. Please keep in mind that these standards are not absolute; in special cases we may admit students with scores lower than those listed above. However, most of our applicants have much higher GRE scores than these minimums. In the last few years, the GRE scores of students admitted to our MS program have ranged from 285 to 325, with an average score of 305. GRE scores of successful PhD applicants have ranged from 300 to 325, with an average score of 307.

Foreign applicants may also have to take the TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language); minimum scores for this test are 80 for the internet-based test, 213 for the computer-based test and 530 for the paper-based test.

We do not accept students without an MS degree into our PhD program, unless the applicant can show that (s)he has experience that is equivalent to that of an MS degree.

Keep in mind that meeting the departmental standards for admission does not mean that you will be accepted into our graduate program. The biggest obstacle for many applicants is to find a faculty member who has an assistantship available. We get many more applications than we have graduate assistantships, so many qualified applicants may not be admitted. Therefore, we recommend that you contact faculty members who could serve as potential advisors before applying to our graduate program.

For potential graduate students who do not need financial assistance, there generally are more options. Those students are encouraged to contact faculty members who are active in an area of interest to see if they would be willing to serve as their advisor. A list of our graduate faculty and their research expertise can be found in our Graduate Program Guidelines.

Finally, it is important to realize that the horticulture department does not make the final decision regarding admission of potential graduate students. The graduate coordinator sends a recommendation of admission or non-admission to the Graduate School. The Office of Graduate Admissions has the responsibility of reviewing the recommendation and notifying the applicant whether he/she is either approved or denied admission. The Dean of the Graduate School makes the final decision of acceptance or non-acceptance. Upon acceptance by the Graduate School and notification of the Department, a letter will be sent to the successful candidate by the Graduate Coordinator indicating the name of his/her advisor and other pertinent information.