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UF/IFAS Plant Breeding

UF/IFAS Plant Breeding

Financial Support

A critical step of the PBGP admission process is to secure financial support for your Ph.D. studies with us. Such financial resources may originate from funds provided by state and federal governments, industry, foundations, among others or a combination of these. Graduate assistanships are offered to competitive applicants either via our PBGP program (in-house funding) or grant funds awarded to specific plant breeding faculty members. Sometimes funds are provided by the applicant themselves or financed by external funding sources.

We describe in detail below our two PBGP in-house awards (PBGI and CALS Dean's Award) and graduate assistantships sponsored by a specific PBGP faculty member. We also provide other helpful funding available to graduate student applicants.     

PBGP in-house funding

  • Plant Breeding Graduate Initiative (PBGI)
    • This award annually funds three to four graduate assistantships (stipend and tuition for 4 years) for highly qualified students with an interest in cultivar development. Funding for these scholarships is generously provided by the UF/IFAS Plant Breeding Working Group (PBWG) and UF/IFAS Dean for Research. The PBGI awards are only available to students seeking admission in the fall semesters. PBGI programs are expected to be transdisciplinary and are designed to expose students to the use of novel approaches focused on germplasm improvement and cultivar release. PBGI awards are granted directly to PBGP faculty who will then identify, screen, interview and nominate qualified applicants to the PBGP Admission Committee. 
  • CALS Dean's Award
    • This award provided by the CALS Dean's Office offers one graduate assistantship (stipend and tuition for 4 years) to our most competitive, top-qualified applicant. Top applicants will be selected by the Admission Committee and must have identified a faculty and corresponding plant breeding lab that they will join. In addition to meeting the general admission criteria, the successful CALS Dean's Award recipient should have:
      • A Master's degree in an appropriate field (plant breeding or closely-related biological sciences area) or Bachelor's degree in appropriate field with significant and demonstrated experience in plant breeding
      • Publication(s)
      • Good grades in relevant plant breeding-related courses
      • Outstanding Statement of Purpose
      • Outstanding Letters of Recommendation
      • Excellent communication skills


Graduate Assistantship sponsored by PBGP faculty

Interested students should approach faculty about their availability of funds for assistantships. Applicants must meet PBGP admission requirements and demonstrate clear evidence of superior ability and promise. The faculty member is also responsible for identifying, interviewing, and nominating the most competitive candidate(s) to the PBGP Admission Committee. This committee will further review the applicant's qualifications and, if appropriate, extend a PBGP admission offer to the applicant.

External Funding Sources 

External sources of funding are considered those not coming from any of the sources described above. These may include applicants who bring their own personal funds or have obtained fellowship or assistantship funding from federal (e.g. NSF, USDA), government, industry, foundations, among others, or a combination of these. Students who bring their own source of funding still need to identify a faculty that will accept them in their lab and meet PBGP admission requirements.

Financial aid information for graduate students can also be found from a number of other  University of Florida websites.