How to prepare a successful application
- Start with reviewing the research interests of the Plant Biology faculty. Contact your potential advisor(s) to determine if you are a good match. Note that not all faculty are accepting new graduate students in a given year and formal lab choice and advisor agreement occurs after 3 lab rotations. International students: this step is particularly important due to the remote nature of recruitment.
- In your application please identify three faculty you are interested to work with.
- It is best to plan on submitting your application well in advance. The Plant Biology faculty will review all applications received by the first weekday of December. However, arranging all required documentation can take a considerable amount of time and we highly recommend starting the process early. As a first step, please create an applicant’s account on the UGA Graduate School website and review what you need to submit.
- Prepare a clear, well-written “Personal statement/Statement of purpose”. You will be asked to submit it while filling in your Background and Interest Form. This is very important because these statements aid faculty to assess your fit to their research interests.
- If there are any unmet criteria in your application, it is best to address it in your Personal Statement. It might be a good idea not to leave any potential gaps open to speculation. Remember that all aspects of application are reviewed and not meeting some requirement does not necessarily diminish your chances of recruitment.
- Make sure your application is complete. The more information you provide about yourself the better and it is generally perceived in your favor.
Starting the process
Students applying to the PBIO M.S. program should complete two steps:
- Complete the online Background and Interest Form. This form allows the Plant Biology faculty to review information about your qualifications, career goals, research interests and graduate advisor preference that you provide. There is no fee for this step (designed to enable us to contact you informally).
- Complete the online application to the UGA Graduate School (degree code MS_PBIO). Arranging all required documentation can take a considerable amount of time and we highly recommend starting the process early. As a first step, please create an applicant’s account on the UGA Graduate School website and review what you need to submit.
Among the documents you will be asked to submit are:
- Transcripts: Domestic and international applicants should submit unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended as part of the online application. Official transcripts are not required during the review process and will only be required for applicants who are offered admission. Do not mail official transcripts until offered admission. For any previous UGA attendance, UGA transcripts are not required. If you are currently enrolled, provide the last expected date of enrollment.
- Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Scores: The PBIO M.S. Program no longer requires GRE scores, but they will be accepted as supplemental application material. ETS can send official test scores directly to the Graduate School by using an Institutional Code of 5813; no departmental code is required.
- Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation must be submitted using the online recommendation form of the Graduate School: you must provide a valid e-mail address for each recommender. Please make sure that your recommenders have indicated that they are willing to fill out a reference form for you in advance. Also keep in mind that it is your responsibility to ensure that your recommender has submitted the form by the appropriate deadline. Your recommender will receive an email notification with login information upon your final submission of this application.
- English Language Tests for International Students: For International Applicants from countries whose primary language is not English, a copy of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) OR IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test scores are also required. Test scores must be submitted directly from the testing agency. TOEFL scores can be submitted directly from ETS by using the institutional code of 5813; no departmental code is required. The Plant Biology Department normally requires at least a 620 on the paper test or 105 on the iBT (Internet-based TOEFL test) with a minimum speaking score of 20 and a minimum writing score of 20. Higher TOEFL score, particularly in the speaking section, can enhance eligibility for additional funding sources and thus increase your opportunities for admission. An iBT speaking section score of 24 or higher makes you eligible for all available funding sources (including Teaching Assistantship). If you take the TOEFL more than once, we keep the highest score for each part of the test from the different test dates.
- Certificate of Finances: The Graduate School requires international students to submit a Certificate of Finances (COF) form (found in Downloadable Forms in the Graduate Schools Application). You do not need to submit this form at the time of your application. The Plant Biology Office will provide the Graduate School with this required information.
- Application fee: Be aware that your application cannot be evaluated by our Graduate Studies Committee until you have sent your application fee to the Graduate School. Currently, the fee is $75.00 for domestic students and $100.00 for international students. Please note that we are unable to waive this fee for anyone due to University regulations!
Please see the UGA Graduate School website for more detailed descriptions of admissions requirements, the application fee, and other pertinent information and updates.