Prospective Graduate Students

Admission Recommendations and Requirements

Applicants are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to contact faculty who may be willing to serve as the major professor. Specific faculty interest areas can be found within our Faculty Directory and Programs Area. Willingness of a specific faculty member to serve as major professor is not required for application, but is required at the time of admission. For guidance in identifying a prospective faculty member to serve in this role, please contact the Graduate Programs Director.

Applicants for the M.S. program must have completed a bachelor of science or arts degree; applicants for the Ph.D. program must have completed a M.S. program or its equivalent.

Applicants should have a B.S. or B.A. degree in agriculture or biological sciences. Applicants not trained in these fields will be considered provided they have a robust academic and/or experiential background. Previous courses in college-level physics, chemistry, mathematics, statistics, and plant science are strongly recommended. Applicants should read and understand the Departmental recommendations for minimum academic coursework to be completed prior to, or during, the program. Applicants lacking sufficient background coursework may be admitted on a provisional basis, as long as no more than eight credits of such courses are needed. Please read the procedures and policies related to provisional admissions in the Graduate Student Handbook.

A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, based upon the courses taken during the last two academic years, is required for admission.

Scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections are required for consideration of applications. Admitted students in the M.S. and Ph.D. programs generally score in the upper 50th percentile in all three sections.

For non-U.S. students who are not native English speakers, scores for the Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are required for consideration of applications. For TOEFL, a minimum average score of 80 is required, with minimal subscore of 19 for reading, listening, and speaking, and 22 for writing. For IELTS, a score of 6.5 or higher is required.

How to Apply

Applications can be submitted at any time. However, to receive full consideration for assistantships and fellowships, applications should be complete by January 1, for admission for the following fall semester.

Applicants must submit the following:

    • Completed online MSU Domestic or International Graduate Application via the MSU Graduate School website. No fee is required for the initial application.
    • Three letters of recommendation, completed by instructors or supervisors familiar with the applicant's work. Letters of recommendation must be submitted on official stationery with an original signature.
    • A written Academic Statement. Include on the application or attach a separate sheet with a concise academic statement of your plans for graduate study, your career goals, and how MSU's graduate program will help you meet your career and educational objectives.
    • A written Personal Statement. Include on the application or attach a separate personal statement about 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.
    • One official copy of transcripts from all previous universities attended.
    • An official copy of your Graduate Record Examination (GRE) results. (Institution code 1465.)
    • An official copy of TOEFL or IELTS scores (only for non-U.S. students who are not native English speakers) 
    • A statement of financial proof may be required. If so, the administrative staff of the Horticulture Department of the University will contact you and request the needed information.  In this case, the requested statement must originate from your source of support and must be a certified statement with an original signature. We cannot accept photocopies unless notarized, signed and sealed.

All materials should be sent directly to the following address:

Horticulture Graduate Programs Office
A288 Plant and Soil Sciences
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Ml 48824 USA
Phone: (517) 353-0362
Fax: (517) 353-0890
Email: hrtgrad@msu.edu 

Visits and Interviews

Highly qualified applicants may be invited to visit Michigan State University and meet with members of the Horticulture faculty and graduate students. In such case, the Horticulture Department may cover travel expenses.

Have further questions? 

Please give us a call or email using the contact information above.