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Plant Biology

Program | Faculty | Master's | Doctoral | Courses

The Program in Plant Biology trains master’s and doctoral students whose research interests are focused on the study of plants. Reflecting its interdisciplinary nature and the diverse interests and expertise of the faculty, the program offers areas of concentration in research in cell biology and physiology; biochemistry and metabolism; genetics and evolution; and environmental, ecological, and integrative biology. Within these topic areas the research goals can be either theoretically or practically oriented. Participating faculty are members of the departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemical Engineering, Food Science, and Plant, Soil, and Insect Sciences, as well as Smith, Mount Holyoke and Amherst colleges.

Prerequisites of the Program
Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in botany, biology, biochemistry, or a related field, with an overall cumulative average of 3.0. Minimal undergraduate course requirements include the following: one year of general biology or plant science or biochemistry; one year of general chemistry with laboratory; one year of organic chemistry with laboratory; mathematics through calculus; and one semester of physics. Students lacking these introductory courses should include a statement with their admissions application explaining how they will obtain such knowledge before their preliminary examinations or M.S. defense. Finally, evidence of laboratory training and research experience is highly desirable.

Applicants must submit the standard University of Massachusetts application form for Graduate School admission. Official Graduate Record Examination scores, official transcripts, and letters of reference must be included. The subject test in biology, chemistry, or biochemistry is optional. For more information, prospective applicants should contact the Plant Biology office by email:, or through its website:

General Requirements
The general requirements for the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Biology follow those of the Graduate School. Plant Biology requires no foreign language competency. A detailed description of degree requirements may be obtained from the program office.