One Program  |  Two Ways to Apply

Option 1

Through the Integrated Plant Sciences (IPS) application portal. Admissions must be received by December 1 to be considered for the next fall. Students admitted through IPS spend their first fall semester rotating through in three different plant science laboratories before settling on a final study 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.

Option 2

Direct admission for the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics & Genomics (IPBGG). The IPBGG offers both MS and PhD degrees, and students get admitted directly to one professor's program within IPBGG, so we encourage you to identify and contact ahead of time particular 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. 

Admission of a student to the graduate program in Plant Breeding, Genetics, & Genomics is highly competitive and relies on a case-by-case evaluation of each applicant. Final admission depends on a favorable evaluation by the Institute's Steering Committee and acceptance by the Graduate School of the University of Georgia, which in turn depend on:

  • Meeting the admission criteria
  • Preferably have a GPA of at least 3.0 for a Master’s degree and 3.5 for the Doctoral degree. 
  • Foreign applicants have to take the TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language); minimum scores for this test are 80 for the internet-based test (with minimum of 20 on the speaking and 20 on the writing portion), 213 for the computer-based test and 530 for the paper-based test
  • The availability of a faculty member able to serve as Major Professor
  • The availability of assistantship funds
Note that admission is a two-step process. The decisions on assistantship awards are made separately from the decisions on admission, so it is possible to be provisionally accepted for graduate study but not be admitted into the program due to lack of an available assistantship, as only a very limited number of assistantships is available.

Application Deadlines

The IPBGG uses rolling admissions, and considers applications as they come in.  Students wishing to receive full consideration for fall semester should complete their applications by December 1 of the prior year.  For those that miss the deadline, student applications will be considered on a case by case basis with deadlines as follows:

Domestic Applicants

  • Fall Semester: July 1
  • Spring Semester: November 15
  • May and Extended Summer Session: April 1
  • Summer Semester: May 1

International Applicants

  • Fall Semester: April 15
  • Spring Semester: October 15
  • Summer Semester: February 15

UGA Graduate School Requirements

Please become familiar with the Admissions section of the Graduate School web site.

Application materials for all applicants:

  • 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.
  • Three letters of recommendation (submit recommenders’ names, institutions, and official business email addresses online with application)
    The letters of recommendation should be composed by the recommenders on their official business letterhead (including institution’s address, phone and email) and include their authentic signatures.
  • Application Fee. Please visit the Office of Student Financial Aid for current fees.
  • Unofficial transcripts.
    • Domestic applicants: submit unofficial transcripts from each institution of higher education attended. Here is the link to the Graduate School's Transcripts and Academic Records section: Graduate School Transcripts and Academic Records
    • International applicants: submit official academic records and certified English translations, if applicable.
  • GRE Standardized test scores (GRE not required for the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics & Genomics)

Additional materials for international applicants:

  • Either TOEFL scores officially sent from the testing agency (ETS School Code: 5813) OR the IELTS Scores officially sent form the IELTS Testing Center. NOTE: In order to be considered for a departmental teaching assistantship, international applicants must obtain a score of 26 on the speaking portion of the IBT TOEFL.
  • Certificate of Finances form (COF)

For additional information to help you with the application process, visit Supplemental Information for Prospective International Student.

Send all Graduate School documents to:

Office of Graduate Admissions
University of Georgia
Brooks Hall
310 Herty Drive
Athens GA  30602


Additional Requirements for the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Genomics

Application materials

1. Curriculum Vitae Summarize your academic career to date.

2. Statement of Purpose 1-2 pages in length (see details below, in FAQ's & Insights).

3. Three letters of recommendation 
Submitted online with application (see details below, in FAQ's & Insights).

For questions or additional assistance, please contact Deborah Franco at 706-542-5607 or email at

Send all Institute documents to:

Graduate Coordinator
Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Genomics

111 Riverbend Road
Room 136 
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602-1680


FAQ's & Insights

The Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Genomics typically receives between 25-50 applications to its graduate program each year and typically admits 5-10 students. The departmental committee that selects students for admission looks at each file in its entirety. No single piece of information is conclusive. The committee takes into account the applicant's undergraduate (and, if relevant, graduate) record, GRE scores, writing sample, statement of purpose, and fit with the department. Consider, briefly, each of these items in turn:

Student Record

Most of the students we admit have a strong undergraduate record, with GPAs of 3.5 or better being typical. Some have straight As. However, the requirement GPA for admission is 3.0 for undergrad and 3.5 for Masters. Applicants who already have a Master's degree in Plant Breeding are evaluated on the basis of their undergraduate and graduate records.

All applicants should submit a Curriculum Vitae summarizing their academic careers to date.


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


Foreign applicants have to take the TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language); minimum scores for this test are 80 for the internet-based test (with minimum of 20 on the speaking and 20 on the writing portion), 213 for the computer-based test and 530 for the paper-based test.

Statement of Purpose

Use the Statement of Purpose to convey a sense of who you are, and what your interests, goals, and ambitions are. Explain both what draws you to Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Genomics as well as what draws you to study in our Institute. 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). 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.

If you already have a Master's degree in Plant Biology, 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

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 social 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.

Letters from employers, family friends, politicians, and other non academic sources are less useful to our Steering Committee. 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.

Additional Suggestions

  1. Become familiar with the "Admissions" section of the University of Georgia's Graduate School.
  2. If you are having difficulties with applying online or downloading forms, request that the information be sent via postal mail. Contact the Graduate School by email or web request.
  3. After you submit your Admissions Application to the Graduate School, applicants can check application status at Please email for additional information on your status.
  4. Prospective Students are encouraged to contact Deborah Franco, Administrative Manager for the Institute, for further assistance at 706-542-5607 or Email at

For additional questions or assistance, please contact:

Graduate Coordinator

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