Graduate Program

Etsuko Moriyama and students

The Plant Sciences Program is a collaborative effort between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's School of Biological Sciences, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, and Center for Plant Science Innovation. It is an interdisciplinary research and training program in the plant sciences. Our graduate training program selects students with strong academic credentials and provides graduate traineeships at a competitive stipend rate, excellent opportunities for laboratory rotation, an outstanding array of shared laboratory facilities and opportunities for international traineeships.

Student Admission

apply onlineGraduate students may be admitted to the program at any time during the year. Information can be obtained at the Plant Sciences Program or by contacting the Plant Graduate Program Coordinator at

Students need to submit a graduate application to the Office of Graduate Studies.

Applicants should submit:
  • A completed UNL Graduate Studies application and $50 application fee.
  • Official transcripts from each undergraduate and graduate institution attended.
  • Submit three letters of reference.
  • Curriculum vita.
  • Official GRE scores.
  • Personal statement describing long-term professional goals.
  • International students need to submit TOEFL scores.
  • Rotation and Traineeship Opportunities

    Students entering the Plant Sciences Program have the opportunity to participate in laboratory rotations, prior to identifying the laboratory in which they will conduct their thesis research. These laboratory rotations provide a student with the opportunity to experience different lab environments before making their selection, and to develop associations within the plant science community.

    Students are also provided the opportunity for international training. This may involve participation in an international laboratory training course or workshop, a brief stay in a collaborating laboratory located in another country or at an international research center or, at a minimum, presentation of research at an international meeting followed by visits to laboratories at the meeting site. We have designed this training opportunity to provide students with exposure to the international scientific community, its breadth, diversity, and perspectives.


    We guarantee competitive stipend support for five years to all students making adequate progress towards the completion of their PhD. Fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships are just a few of the options available to students. Health insurance is available to all admitted students. See additional funding and cost information.

The Student's Home Department and Advisory Committee

Selection of a laboratory for thesis research will determine the home department from which the student will receive their degree. A student is expected to meet the degree requirements of their home department.

Upon identifying a home laboratory, the student is assigned a graduate advisory committee. The advisory committee must include at least one Plant Sciences Program faculty member in addition to the advisor.

Donald Weeks
Fall 2015 Deadlines

Admission to the graduate program will be made only when all the departmental requirements are met and are on file. The Office of Graduate Studies will send official notice of the admission deadlines.

Curriculum and Teaching Requirements

Student curriculum is designed by the student, the student's advisor and the student's advisory committee to meet the needs of the student and to satisfy the requirements of the home department. The core requirements of the PSI involve the completion of four courses listed below:

  • 1 course in plant molecular biology/plant biotechnology/plant genetic engineering
  • 1 course in advanced genetics
  • 1 course in plant biochemistry
  • Participation in one journal club per year

All Plant Sciences Program graduate trainees are expected to serve as a Teaching Assistant for a minimum of one semester during their program. The course in which they participate will be selected to provide suitable training and expertise to the student. This requirement may be met at any time during the program and is designed to enhance a student's mastery of the subject matter and skills in presentation, instruction, and organization.

Examination and Degree Requirements

A student will hold annual progress meetings with the advisory committee. Upon completion in Year 1 of the core curriculum requirements, a qualifying examination will be administered. This examination is designed to identify a student's weaknesses and suitability to the program. The results of this examination will assist the advisory committee in developing a suitable curriculum for the student. Upon completion of the student's program, the dissertation must be accompanied by at least one publication or manuscript suitable for publication in a refereed journal.

About Lincoln

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is located in a vibrant and safe city of 250,000 people that has many of the cultural and entertainment benefits of a much larger city, with the feel of a friendly Midwestern community.The airport is located 10 minutes from downtown, with a much larger airport located in Omaha, just 50 miles away. With the most parkland per capita in the nation, an extensive (and growing) bike trail network, many and diverse employment opportunities and a low cost of living, Lincoln is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the Midwest. Downtown Lincoln, located two blocks from city campus, offers many options for entertainment, art, nightlife, restaurants, shopping, and more. Information about Lincoln.