Admission requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Science.

A student becomes a doctoral candidate upon passing a candidacy examination administered by the Student Advisory Committee.

Any student admitted into the Graduate Program has the option of pursuing the Ph.D. degree without first earning an M.S. degree. A student who desires to pursue this option must first be recommended to the Graduate Program and Admissions Committee by the student's advisor, Student Advisory Committee, department head, and Graduate Program chair, and pass the candidacy examination.

AEPS Program Requirements for Admission

Applicants should have a B.S., B.A., or comparable degree in plant-related agriculture (horticulture, agronomy, turfgrass) or biological sciences with strong academic performance.  Students from other majors will be considered provided they have academic background that includes biological or environmental sciences, chemistry, and mathematics.  Expected course background varies with the intended area of concentration, but botany or plant science courses, statistics, soils, and chemistry are recommended.  Students who lack some of the prerequisite courses may be admitted but may be required to take these courses without degree credit.  In most cases, Ph.D. applicants should have a M.S. degree in a related field or significant research experience in the plant or environmental sciences.

Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general tests are not required for admission to the AEPS program but will be taken into consideration if submitted with an application.

A minimum junior/senior grade-point average 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) is required for acceptance to the AEPS program.

Applicants must submit a statement of interests and goals and three letters of reference.  Reference letters should be provided by individuals who are familiar with the demands of graduate-level scholarship and can assess the applicant’s aptitude for research and postbaccalaureate coursework.

Additional Application/Admission Requirements for International Students

The language of instruction at Penn State is English.  International applicants must take and submit   scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

TOEFL internet-based test (iBT):  A total score of 80 with at least 19 on the speaking section is required for the internet-based test (iBT).  Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, with Graduate School approval, which requires completion of specified remedial English courses ESL 114G (American Oral English for Academic Purposes) and/or ESL 116G (ESL/Composition for Academic Disciplines) and attainment of a grade of B or higher within the first semester of enrollment.

TOEFL paper-based test (taken July 2017 or later):  A combined total of the three sections evaluated must be 60 or greater.  If taken before July 2017, the minimum acceptable score is 550.

IELTS:  The minimum acceptable composite score for the IELTS Academic Test is 6.5.

International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement if they have received a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree from a college, university, or institution in any of the following locations: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.