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UF/IFAS Plant Breeding

UF/IFAS Plant Breeding

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some some commonly asked questions to help you better understand our program and assist you with your application to the Plant Breeding Ph.D. program. 

  • Should I contact faculty members I am interested in working with?

    In addition to meeting the minimum admission requirements (see STEP ONE) applicants must also identify a faculty member who is mutually interested in serving as an advisor and has the financial support for the program of study. It is always a great strategy to contact faculty whose interests closely match yours to determine if a mutual interest and availability of financial support exist. To get acquainted with faculty who share common research interests, browse our list of faculty members and visit their respective faculty and lab websites to establish contact.

    Please note that some of our faculty members are stationed in Gainesville (main campus) while others are located in different parts of Florida (off‐campus). These off-campus faculty are located in several Research and Educational Centers (aka REC) across the state of Florida, namely Citrus, Everglades, Gulf Coast, Mid-FL, North, and Tropical RECs - click here for a map). 

    Check our Financial Support webpage for information on assistantships and other financial support available to applicants.

  • How does the Plant Breeding admission process work?

    Successful applicants need to meet these 3 requirements for admission into the PBGP:

    1. Approval of the PBGP Admission Committee
    2. Identify a faculty member who is willing to serve as an advisor
    3. Secure financial support for the program of study

    The Admission Committee checks all applications for completeness and critically evaluates applicants’ credentials. The committee reviews past academic records for content and performance, statements of specific research interests and career goals,and letters of recommendation, among other criteria. Applications deemed acceptable by the Admission Committee will be circulated to all PBGP faculty. Interested faculty are then able to review students’ credentials and qualifications.

    Individual plant breeding faculty will identify, evaluate and select qualified applicants they would like to support and admit into the PBGP program. The faculty member will nominate this potential candidate to the PBGP Admissions Committee which will then review the applicant's qualifications. 

    Please note that it is not always possible to match applicants and faculty who are simultaneously willing to serve as an advisor and have the financial resources to support a graduate student.

    Graduate assistantships are awarded to the topmost qualified applicants. Check our Financial Support webpage for more information on assistantships and other financial support.

  • How does the Plant Breeding Admission Committee evaluate my application?

    Our Admission Committee will look for solid research experience, including field and lab experience, good performance in core biology courses, publications in peer-reviewed journals, and good letters of reference from people who can attest to the applicant's potential as a Ph.D. student. Successful applicants typically have a Master's degree in a related area (plant breeding or closely-related biological area). Undergraduate students with advanced coursework in genetics, statistics, plant breeding, and biochemistry and strong research experience are also welcome to apply. Graduate assistantships are awarded to the topmost qualified applicants. 

  • What does the Plant Breeding Graduate Assistantship cover?

    Our assistantships offer a competitive annual stipend, tuition waiver (for 24 credits annually) and health insurance coverage. UF students with a Graduate Assistantship are covered by the University of Florida sponsored GatorGradCare health insurance. Students are mandated by law to have health coverage during the entire year, including annual breaks. Please note that students are responsible for payment of student fees (approximately $2,000 annually) which is separate from tuition at the University of Florida.

  • Are GRE scores required to apply to Plant Breeding?

    No, GRE scores are NOT required.

  • My recommenders are having trouble submitting letters of recommendation online. What can I do?

    You can have your recommenders send their letters in a PDF format directly to Eliana Kampf, PBGP Academic Progam Specialist II,, copied to Dr. Patricio Munoz, PBGP Director, Please note:

    • All recommendation letters should be prefaced by this Form
    • Recommenders should attach an additional page to the form above to provide a written evaluation of the applicant's suitability as a graduate student. These letters should be typed on letterhead, have a valid signature and other credentials. 
    • The form and additional typed letter must be combined as one PDF document.
    • The PDF must be sent directly from the recommender and not by the applicant.
    • The authenticity of each letter will be verified for compliance.   
  • I am an international applicant. Can I be exempt from the English proficiency requirement?

    International applicants are exempt from the English proficiency requirement ONLY if they:

    • Have successfully completed one academic year in a degree-seeking program at a recognized/regionally accredited university or college in the United States or a country where English is the official language OR
    • Hold an earned equivalent of associate's, bachelor's, master's or Ph.D. degree from a recognized/regionally accredited college or university in the United States or country where English is the official language.
  • How early should I submit my application materials?

    Please note that certain application materials, like transcripts and test scores, can take anywhere from 24 hours to a few weeks to link to your UF graduate application. Please provide ample time for this to occur before the application deadline.

  • What is the admission timeline for the Plant Breeding graduate program?

    Applications submitted by deadline will be reviewed by the Admission Committee a few weeks after the deadline.

  • Do I really need to send official transcripts to UF?

    Yes. Arrange to have official transcripts sent to the UF Office of Admissions from each postsecondary institution attended. International applicants need to submit an official copy in the native language of each transcript, mark sheet and diploma/degree certificate from each university or college attended, along with certified, literal (exact) English translations for documents not originally issued in English. In case your official transcript is not available when you apply, you may temporarily send Plant Breeding unofficial copies. However, you will only be admitted to UF when all your official documentation has been submitted to the Office of Admissions.

    Office of Admissions
    201 Criser Hall - PO Box 114000
    Gainesville, FL 32611-4000

  • How does the cost of living in Florida compare to other universities?

    The University of Florida offers one of the highest quality, most affordable graduate education experiences in the country today, while having much to offer in the way of attractive natural, cultural and recreational amenities — especially compared with larger, more congested urban areas. The cost of living in Gainesville or at any of the RECs (Research and Educational Centers) across the state of Florida is relatively low. A detailed annual cost of attendance for UF graduate students is available at This annual cost estimate includes tuition and fees, housing, food, computer costs, health insurance, books and supplies, transportation, and clothing maintenance. We offer a competitive annual stipend to all our PBGP students who in turn are able to study and live comfortably. In addition to a competitive stipend, our PBGP graduate assistantships also offer an annual tuition waiver (for 24 credits) and health insurance.

  • What are my housing options in Gainesville?

    Gainesville offers varied housing options to graduate students! There are many choices whether you have a family or not, want to live off-campus or on-campus, are looking for roommate(s), a house, studio or apartment. UF Housing and Residence Life offers great resources to graduate students looking for housing both on and off campus. 

    The UF Off Campus Life website provides resources and tips to help students successfully find housing off-campus and learn how to be great Gator neighbors while living in the Gainesville community. There you will find information on budgeting, leases, finding the right place to live, city codes, transportation, tenant rights and responsibilities, neighbor rights, and responsibilities, fun things to do off-campus and much more.

    UF also offers on-campus housing options geared toward graduate and professional students, as well as student with families of their own. To review their available choices click here. There is usually a waiting list since these apartments are in high demand. Contact them and apply as soon as possible after being admitted to reserve a spot.