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Plant Science (PHD) 
Program Description

The School of Plant Sciences has a long-standing tradition of excellence in plant science research. The large faculty has diverse research interests ranging from horticulture to genomics and microbiology to evolution. As part of the BIO5 Institute, our faculty are closely associated with colleagues in the Colleges of Engineering, Pharmacy, and Medicine. This diversity is translated into our graduate curriculum, where students gain a broad understanding of all aspects of plant science while retaining the ability to specialize. Students also benefit from regular opportunities to meet scientists from across the country and around the world. An emphasis on critical thinking and written and oral communication prepares students for a wide variety of 21st century careers in academia and beyond, including positions as university faculty, research scientists, plant breeders, consultants, science writers, teachers, or science lawyer/patent officers, among many others.

Department/Academic Unit(s)

School of Plant Science -

The School of Plant Sciences is a vigorous, cutting-edge, and comprehensive academic unit of the University of Arizona, whose scientists are devoted to the study of plants, the organisms that underpin the survival of terrestrial life. Research programs within the School examine how plants grow, how they respond to their environment, how they evolved, how they can be manipulated, and their fungal, bacterial, and viral interactions.

College of Agriculture & Life Sciences  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Georgina M Lambert
Graduate Program Coordinator
Georgina M Lambert
Director of Graduate Studies
Michelle M Mcmahon
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Cindy T Nguyen
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

 There are two avenues for admission to SPLS: directly through the School or through the Arizona Biological and Biomedical Sciences (ABBS). Students admitted though SPLS may obtain an MS or PhD degree in Plant Sciences or Plant Pathology, whereas students admitted through the ABBS program may obtain a PhD degree in Cancer Biology, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and Cell Biology, Biochemistry & Molecular and Cellular Biology, Genetics, Immunobiology, or Plant Sciences (including Plant Pathology). For more details about the ABBS program, and how to apply through the ABBS program, please, see For more information about which application path better suits you, contact the Graduate Coordinator, Georgina Lambert at

The University of Arizona Graduate College handles admission to all graduate programs. However, admissions committees in SPLS and in ABBS make recommendations to the Graduate College. It is therefore necessary to complete the SPLS or ABBS requirements in addition to the required application to the Graduate College.

The first step in application to either program is to complete the Graduate College application at Students applying directly to SPLS must choose PLS or PLP at the time of application. There is an application fee for each application submitted.



In addition to materials requested by the Graduate College, the following items will be required for upload as part of the application process:

•     A letter describing the applicant’s background, previous experience, and research interests (Statement of Purpose). It is very important to contact potential mentors (faculty members in SPLS) before applying. In doing so, the applicant should ask whether the faculty member will take students on this admission cycle, and whether they have funding to support a student. Please indicate that you have contacted these faculty members, and indicate the nature of their responses, in your letter/statement of purpose.  Applications will not be considered with priority unless it is made clear that the applicant has interacted by email with proposed faculty mentors.

•     Three letters of recommendation

•     Official Transcripts (click here for transcript requirements)

•     Graduate Record Examination test scores (GRE) for the General Test, with one advanced test recommended in an area related to applicant's interests/background. (Institution Code: 4832)

•     TOEFL score (international students only)

Standardized Tests

Required test(s): GRE General Test
Required GRE Subject tests:None

Recommended tests:
Recommended GRE Subject tests:

Minimum GRE Verbal:
Minimum GRE Quantitative:
Minumum GRE Written:
Minimum GMAT:
Minimum MAT:
Minimum TOEFL: 79
Minimum IELTS:

Financial Aid
The Academic Unit has not provided this information. 
Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall: December 1
  • Spring: June 15

International Applicants:

  • Fall: December 1
  • Spring: June 15
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832
NRC Taxon(a) for this program: Plant Sciences, Genetics and Genomics, Cell and Developmental Biology, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology, Bioinformatics (emerging field)

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

Please see details of our Program Requirements here:

Minor Requirements

We welcome PhD students from other programs who would like to minor in PLS or PLP. Earning a minor in one of these programs requires successful completion of at least 9 units of courses listed here (, including at least one course from the list of three PLP PhD cores (PLP minor), or at least one course from the list of three PLS PhD cores (PLS minor). Contact the Graduate Coordinator or Director of Graduate Studies with any questions.

Student Handbook  

Program StatisticsInformation about these numbers

Program-level Information
Application Acceptance Rate 57%
Med. Time-to-degree (years) n/a
Department-level Information
Enrollment Percent Male 50%
Enrollment Percent Female 50%
Enrollment Percent International 31%
Enrollment Percent URM 25%

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Last revised 26 Sep 2017