One Program  |  Two Ways to Apply

Option 1

Direct Admission to the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics & Genomics (IPBGG)

The IPBGG offers MS and PhD degrees. Successful applicants get admitted directly to one professor's program within IPBGG, so we encourage you to first identify and contact those faculty members for whom you would like to work. There are no rotations.

Applications can be submitted at any time. Accepted graduate students can start in Fall, Spring, or Summer semester.  Submit your online application to the UGA Graduate School.

For questions, contact the IPBGG Graduate Coordinator.

Option 2

Through the Integrated Plant Sciences (IPS) Application Portal

Applications must be received by December 1 to be considered for the next fall.

Students admitted through IPS spend their first fall semester rotating through three different plant science laboratories before settling on a final program. This portal is only for students wishing to enroll in a PhD program. Please follow the instructions on the IPS web site to apply for admission through IPS.

For questions, contact the IPS Graduate Coordinator.

IPBGG Application Process (both steps must be completed)

1. Submit an official application to the UGA Graduate School

  • UGA Graduate School Application - Apply Now
    Note: Applicants requesting Georgia residence status for the purpose of paying in-state fees must complete the Application for Georgia Residence Status form contained in the admission application.
  • Application materials for all applicants. Please upload these materials as part of the online application:
    • Three letters of recommendation. Submit recommenders’ names, institutions, and official business email addresses online with application.
    • Application Fee.
    • Unofficial transcripts.
      • Domestic applicants: submit unofficial transcripts from each institution of higher education attended. For more information, visit Graduate School Transcripts and Academic Records.
        • International applicants: submit official academic records and certified English translations, if applicable.
  • GRE scores are not required for the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics & Genomics, but will be considered if submitted.
  • Additional materials for international applicants:

2. Send the following materials directly to

  • Curriculum Vitae summarizing your career to date (see details below in FAQ's & Insights).
  • Statement of Purpose - 1 to 2 pages in length (see details below in FAQ's & Insights).

For questions or additional assistance, please contact Stacey Gay at 706-542-5607 or email at These items can be submitted at any time, but preferably soon after you submit your online application to the UGA Graduate School. These are critical to the evaluation of your application.

FAQ's & Insights

The IPBGG uses rolling admissions, and considers applications as they come in. The IPBGG program typically receives between 25-50 applications to its graduate program each year, while admitting 5-10 students. 

Admission to IPBGG is highly competitive. The committee that selects students for admission looks at each file in its entirety. No single piece of information is conclusive. The committee considers the applicant's undergraduate (and, if relevant, graduate) record, GRE scores (if submitted), writing sample, statement of purpose, previous work and research experience, and fit with the department. Final admission depends on a favorable evaluation by the committee, acceptance by the Graduate School, the availability of a faculty member to serve as Major Professor, and the availability of assistantship funds. Whenever possible, students being considered for admission may be invited to campus for an interview.


Most of the students we admit have a strong undergraduate record, with GPAs of 3.5 or better being typical. Some have straight As. The minimum requirements are that applicants should have a GPA of at least 3.0 for a Master’s degree and 3.5 for the Doctoral degree. Applicants who already have a Master's degree are evaluated on the basis of their undergraduate and graduate records.


If GRE scores are submitted, they will be considered since they are a measure of ability. Submission of GRE scores is not a requirement. 


Use your CV to summarize your career to date. Your CV is a great place to highlight any relevant work or research experience, as well as any leadership, teamwork or communication skills you have.

Statement of Purpose

Use the Statement of Purpose to convey a sense of who you are, and what your interests, goals, and ambitions are. We also encourage you to identify particular faculty members with whom you would like to work. Your statement should be 1-2 pages in length.

Use your statement to elaborate on: 

  • what draws you to Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Genomics
  • how a degree Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Genomics will help you achieve your career goals
  • evidence of scholarly activity (e.g., work or research experiences, manuscripts published/in preparation)
  • evidence of leadership, teamwork, and communication skills
  • if applicable, explanations for any perceived deficiencies in your application

Also use your statement to explain any special circumstances of which you wish to make us aware.  If you have an unusual background, tell us (e.g., you are the first person in your family to obtain a college degree; you have lived abroad for several years). 

If you already have a Master's degree, we expect that your statement will reveal a clear sense of what you want to work on for your doctoral dissertation. Again, this is not an absolute requirement, but because you have a graduate degree, it is reasonable to expect you to have formed at least a preliminary research agenda.

Letters of Recommendation

Please let your referees know that letters of recommendation should be written on official business letterhead (including institution’s address, phone and email) and include authentic signatures, digital or otherwise. 

The strongest letters of recommendation come from professors who know you well and think highly of you. Their enthusiasm for you is more important than their status. If you have a choice between an enthusiastic letter from an Assistant Professor and a lukewarm letter from the Head of Department, choose the former.  The best letters address your work ethic, academic and research abilities, and other qualities, such as leadership and teamwork abilities.

Letters from employers, family friends, politicians, and other non-academic sources are less useful for evaluation. They help to describe you as a person, but they speak less directly to your intellectual ability - our primary focus. Do not include more than one letter of this type.


Minimum for the TOEFL is an overall score of 80, and of 20 on the speaking and writing sections. For the IELTS, it is an overall bandwidth of 6.5, with no single band score below 6.0. Students who meet certain requirements might be exempted.

For additional questions or assistance, please contact:

Graduate Coordinator

Esther van der Knaap
Esther van der Knaap Professor; Emphasis: Tomatoes, plant development, genetics & genomics
Horticulture Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics (IPBGG)