Prospective graduate students

We are pleased you are interested in one of our rigorous and competitive graduate programs in the Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology (PSPP) Department.  PSPP faculty are involved in both teaching and research, which gives graduate students the benefit of hands-on experience in laboratories, classrooms, and research activities. We excel in designing a program of study that will meet each student's needs and prepare them for a professional career or continued training and education.

If interested in applying to The Graduate School and becoming a graduate student in the Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology (PSPP) Department, please follow the five steps below.

1. The GRE exam is not required until further notice due in part to a decrease in testing availability during the pandemic.

2. Visit the PSPP faculty webpage and identify a prospective thesis advisor for a research project that potentially interests both you and a prospective thesis advisor. Contact information is reported with each PSPP faculty member and email is often the preferred method of initiating communication.

3. Contact a prospective thesis advisor and identify your shared research interests and inquire into the possibility of funding for a graduate research project.

4. Once communication has been established and ongoing with a prospective thesis advisor, you will be given an indication of whether you should apply to The Graduate School.

5. Although you can apply without having communicated with a prospective PSPP faculty (thesis) adviser, this is not ideal and your application will likely languish and ultimately be denied.

PSPP graduate student workin in the lab

Bernard Nyamesorto, a doctoral student from Ghana in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, won the graduate research competition at the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative technical workshop for his research in rust-resistant wheat. 


The PSPP Department offers a rich, diverse graduate curriculum taught by award-winning researchers and supplemented by world-class facilities. As a graduate student of in our Department, you will have the opportunity to, for example, influence the future of crop production, play an essential role in maintaining the nation's food supply, develop new technology to manage crop pests, and study the genetics of crops to influence their management and quality. Please visit the PSPP faculty webpage to identify a prospective thesis advisor, as suggested above.

Plant Sciences Graduate Programs
 Program Type Degree Program Options Required Coursework 

Plant Pathology 

Plant Sciences 


M.S. in Plant Pathology or Plant Sciences (click on appropriate link at bottom of page)

Doctoral Plant Sciences

Plant Pathology 

Plant Genetics 

Ph.D. in Plant Sciences (click on appropriate link at bottom of page)

Domestic Degree-seeking Application Deadlines*:

  • Fall Semesters- July 15th
  • Spring Semesters- December 1st
  • Summer Semesters- April 1st 

*deadlines are not formal because applicants should be in communication with a prospective thesis advisor about the application process

International Degree and Non-degree-seeking Application Deadlines*:

  • Fall Semesters - May 15th
  • Spring Semesters - October 1st
  • Summer Semesters - February 1st
  • English Proficiency exams - visit the Graduate School webpage (MSU minimum acceptable scores, TOEFL: 80, IELTS: 6.5, Pearsons: 58, Duolingo: 120) 

*deadlines are not formal because applicants should be in communication with a prospective thesis advisor about the application process

Additional Information 

PSPP Graduate Student Policies and Procedures

Frequently Asked Questions 

Current Graduate Students