Students entering the Applied Plant Sciences program should have a foundation in the biological and physical sciences, preferably with an emphasis in plant science. A minimum of 10 credits of math and physics, 12 credits of chemistry, and 15 credits of biological or agricultural sciences are recommended for admission. Applicants typically have completed a B.S. or B.A. degree in agriculture or biology. Students with a B.S. or B.A. degree outside these areas may be admitted with the requirement that they take the above prerequisite courses in addition to their graduate coursework.


Apply by December 1 for admission in the fall semester of the next year. Applications received after December 1 will be considered only if space and funds are available. Applications for the spring semester, which begins in mid-January, should be submitted by October 15 to allow time for processing. International students should allow extra time for visa approval.

Application Materials

Submit all application materials online. Applications cannot be reviewed until all of the required application materials have been received. Transcripts and other credentials need to be authenticated by the Graduate School before admission decisions are officially made.

  • Personal statement. Tell us why you wish to obtain an M.S. or Ph.D. degree in Applied Plant Sciences at the University of Minnesota. Describe your educational background, motivations, work and related experiences, research interests, and career goals. Share why you believe you are an excellent fit for the Applied Plant Sciences program, and why the Applied Plant Sciences program is an excellent fit for you. Feel free to mention any specific professors you may wish to have as your adviser.
  • Diversity statement. We value a diverse student body at the University of Minnesota. Describe the distinctive personal qualities and life experiences you would bring to the Applied Plant Sciences program and to the University as a whole. Note that we use the diversity statement to help determine who we nominate for fellowships designed to enrich diversity among our graduate students.
  • Application fee.
  • University transcripts. Unofficial transcripts should be uploaded online as part of the application. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. Do not mail paper copies of your transcripts. Official transcripts are not needed for the initial review; the University will request official copies if you are admitted.
  • Letters of reference. These should be written by professors or employers who can critically assess your potential for graduate work.
  • Graduate Record Examination. We do not require the GRE, but if you have already taken the exam please include your results.
  • Evidence of English proficiency. Students whose native language is not English should submit scores for one of the following examinations: TOEFL (minimum of 550 for paper-based test or 79 for Web-based test); MELAB (minimum of 80); or IELTS (minimum of 6.5).
  • We do not require a Written Sample or Research Description.


Identifying an Advisor

The APS program strongly encourages prospective students to contact potential advisors to learn about their research programs and inquire whether they are currently looking to recruit new graduate students. The APS program has an admissions committee that reviews all applications. However, generally speaking, the program will only admit students who have at least one potential faculty advisor willing to commit to financially support the student. There are two reasons for this:

(1) In most cases, APS students are expected to perform research and write a thesis as part of their degree program. The advisor plays a key role in guiding this process.

(2) If a graduate student does not have an advisor supporting their Research Assistantship, then the costs will be very high to the student. Please see this website for details: Cost of attendance | Twin Cities One Stop Student Services ( Look under the "Cost of attendance for graduate students 23-24" section; click on the "Graduate" menu to see the estimated costs for “Resident” and "Nonresident" graduate students that do not have an Assistantship.

An APS student with an advisor supporting a Research Assistantship will have access to guidance and resources for their thesis research project, a stipend to support their cost of living, and they will not have to pay tuition. Furthermore, students bringing their own funding (e.g., through Fellowships) are also strongly encouraged to reach out to potential faculty advisors and inquire about possible opportunities with their research groups. To find faculty descriptions and website links, please select the tracks under the “Research” tab found at: About Us | Applied Plant Sciences Graduate Program (