Procedure for Admission

  1. Contact Information

    Graduate Programs Coordinator
    Department of Plant Sciences
    101 Tyson Building
    Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802 USA

  2. Application Packet

    A complete application includes (electronically submitted to the Graduate School):

    • completed Graduate School electronic application form,
    • two original sets of transcripts,
    • an official version of the GRE score report,
    • official TOEFL/ IELTS scores for students who come from nations where English is not the native language or who have not received a baccalaureate or master’s degree from an institution in which the language of instruction is English,
    • a personal goal statement,
    • resume, and
    • three letters of reference (names and addresses of references are submitted to the Graduate School as part of the electronic application form).

    Applications may be submitted at any time, but competition for financial support of students starting in the Fall Semester is intense and application should be completed by January 2. International students should have their applications submitted at least nine months before the beginning of the semester for which they are applying. Information on the online application system is available at:

  3. Evaluation by the Department Graduate Programs Committee.

    Complete application packets for graduate study in Agronomy are evaluated by the Department of Plant Science, Agronomy Graduate Programs Committee and potential advisors who consider the applicant’s (1) previous coursework, (2) academic performance (grade-point average), (3) GRE scores, (4) TOEFL/IELTS scores, when appropriate, (5) appraisal of deficiencies, (6) personal vita, (7) personal goal statement, (8) information given on Graduate School application forms, and (9) letters of recommendation. Recommendation for acceptance or rejection of an applicant is made by the Department Head in consultation with the proposed faculty advisors to the Graduate School.

  4. Completing M.S. Degree and Continuing for the PhD Degree

    A master’s candidate who completes his/her degree or is near completion and wants to continue in the Plant Science Department as a candidate for the Ph.D. degree needs to complete an electronic “Resume Study/Change of Graduate Degree or Major” form and submit it to the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services, at least six months prior to expected admission to the PhD program. In addition, the candidate should prepare a new goal statement and arrange to have three letters of recommendation sent to the Graduate Program Director. The candidate’s documents (some items can be secured from the applicant’s M.S. file) will be reviewed by the Department’s Graduate Programs Committee and a recommendation for admission will be submitted to the Department Head.