There are two avenues for admission to the School of Plant Sciences (SPLS): directly through the School or through the Arizona Biological and Biomedical Sciences (ABBS) graduate program. 

Students can apply directly to the School of Plant Sciences (SPLS) for a degree either in Plant Science (PLS) or Plant Pathology (PLP). Students admitted though SPLS may obtain an MS or PhD degree in Plant Sciences or Plant Pathology.

Alternatively, students can apply through ABBS and, if accepted, can then elect to pursue a PhD in Cancer Biology, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, 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 ABBS, please see

For more information about which application path better suits you, contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Mark Beilstein (

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 UA GradApp - The University of Arizona Graduate Admissions Application. Students applying directly to SPLS must choose PLS or PLP at the time of application. There is an $85-$95 application fee for each application submitted. At this time, the School of Plant Sciences and U of A Graduate Admissions do not offer application fee waivers.


If applying directly to SPLS for the MS or PhD in Plant Sciences or Plant Pathology, 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 interest (see below).  Applications will not be considered with priority unless it is made clear that the applicant has interacted by email with proposed faculty mentors.

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

•     Statement of Purpose - A letter describing the applicant’s background, previous experience, and research interests. As stated above, the letter should include evidence and outcomes of discussions by email of the prospective student’s interest.

•     Three letters of recommendation

•     Transcripts- unofficial transcripts uploaded to GradApp. Official Transcripts will be requested later (click here for transcript requirements)

•    Proof of English proficiency for any international applicant born in a country where English is not the official language; see the UA Graduate College for acceptable credentials.

Once all application materials are received at SPLS, the Graduate Student Program Committee (GSPC) reviews the application and makes a recommendation to the Graduate College. (Only the Graduate College can formally accept an applicant.) Decisions for admission are final when approved by the Graduate College.

Application procedures/requirements for ABBS can be found at How to Apply | Arizona Biological & Biomedical Sciences



SPLS Deadlines for domestic and international applicants

         For Fall admission: December 1

         For Spring admission: June 15- We are not accepting applications for Spring admissions at this time.

ABBS Deadline for domestic and international applicants

         For Fall admission: December 1

         No Spring admission