Coincident with admission to The Graduate School, the student shall be assigned to an adviser.

Applying for Admission to the AEPS Graduate Program

Applications for admission to the AEPS graduate program are accepted year-round.  However, because admission decisions are typically made in January and February, applications received in the fall have the best chance of being considered for the following year.  Also, to meet the annual nomination deadline for College of Agricultural Sciences and Graduate School special fellowships and awards applications must be completed by mid-December.

Before deciding to apply for admission to the AEPS graduate program and an assistantship, the AEPS Graduate Admissions Committee strongly suggests contacting Department faculty members with research programs that match your interests to determine if they may be interested in sponsoring you as graduate student.  You can review all Plant Science Department faculty and their research interests in our faculty directory.

This procedure is usually necessary because assistantships are awarded competitively to students accepted for mentorship by individual faculty and thus, these professors make the decision about who is eligible for their assistantships.  If you find that a faculty member that may be interested in supporting your graduate work, be sure to identify the faculty member in your statement of interests and goals in the application. 

How to Apply

All applications for admission to graduate programs at Penn State must be made through the Graduate School at Penn State.  The Graduate School has application information and instructions on application procedures at: Graduate School application for admission.  The application fee is currently $65.00. 


Course, credit, residence, time, and minimum grade-point average requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Science.

Transfer Credits

Credits may be applied toward requirements for the doctorate degree.

Scholarship and Research Integrity (SARI) Training

SARI is a responsible conduct of research (RCR) education program for graduate students, postdocs, and faculty at Penn State.

Qualifying Examination

The purpose of the qualifying examination is to determine the student's qualifications to pursue a doctoral degree and to determine any course deficiencies that should be considered.

English Competency Assessment

Policy for English Competency Assessment and Rectifying Deficiencies.

Doctoral Committee

The Ph.D. Committee shall be nominated as soon as possible after successful completion of the qualifying examination.

Proposal Meeting

Following successful completion of the qualifying exam and selection of a Ph.D. committee, the student will prepare a written research proposal.

Comprehensive Examination

Overview of the comprehensive examination for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Science.

Continuous Registration

Students must present their work in a scheduled public seminar.

Scheduling the Final Oral Examination

A doctoral candidate who has satisfied all other requirements for the degree will be scheduled by the dean of The Graduate School, on the recommendation of the Doctoral Committee to take a final examination.

Time Limitation

The time to complete the requirements for a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences ranges from 10 to 15 semesters.