Prerequisites for Admission

Students entering the Applied Plant Sciences program should have a foundation in the biological and physical sciences, preferably with an emphasis in plant science. A minimum of 10 credits of math and physics, 12 credits of chemistry, and 15 credits of biological or agricultural sciences are recommended for admission. Applicants typically have completed a B.S. or B.A. degree in agriculture or biology. Students with a B.S. or B.A. degree outside these areas may be admitted with the requirement that they take the above prerequisite courses in addition to their graduate coursework.


Apply by December 5 for admission in the fall semester of the next year. Applications received after December 5 will be considered only if space and funds are available. Applications for spring semester (which begins in mid-January) should be submitted by October 15 to allow time for processing application materials (especially for international students who will need to get visa approval). 


Submit all application materials online. Applications cannot be reviewed until all of the required application materials have been received. Admission decisions (for fall admission) are normally sent by early April. Transcripts and other credentials need to be authenticated by the Graduate School before admission decisions are officially made.

Application Materials

  1. Personal statement. Tell us why you wish to obtain an M.S. or Ph.D. degree in Applied Plant Sciences at the University of Minnesota. Describe your educational background, motivations, work and related experiences, research interests, and career goals. Share why you believe you are an excellent fit for the Applied Plant Sciences program, and why the Applied Plant Sciences program is an excellent fit for you. Feel free to mention any specific professors you may wish to have as your adviser.
  2. Diversity statement. We value a diverse student body at the University of Minnesota. Describe the distinctive personal qualities and life experiences you would bring to the Applied Plant Sciences program and to the University as a whole. Note that we use the diversity statement to help determine who we nominate for fellowships designed to enrich diversity among our graduate students.
  3. Application fee. (Click here for details.)
  4. University transcripts. Unofficial transcripts should be uploaded online as part of the application. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. Do not mail paper copies of your transcripts. Official transcripts are not needed for the initial review; the University will request official copies if you are admitted. (Click here for further information.)
  5. Letters of reference. These should be written by professors or employers who can critically assess your potential for graduate work.
  6. Graduate Record Examination. We do not require the GRE, but if you have already taken the exam please include your results. 
  7. Evidence of English proficiency. Students whose native language is not English should submit scores for one of the following examinations: TOEFL (minimum of 550 for paper-based test or 79 for Web-based test); MELAB (minimum of 80); or IELTS (minimum of 6.5).

(We do not require a Written Sample and Research Description.)


  • Although this is not required, get in touch with one or more professors whose interests are similar to yours. Individual professors would be able to provide you with more specific information regarding opportunities for graduate education and research in their respective programs. See the list of professors under the Agronomy/Agroecology, Horticulture, and Plant Breeding/Molecular Genetics specializations.
  • Give your references plenty of time to write letters on your behalf.

Prospective Students