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Common Questions about Graduate Admission to Plant Sciences

“Are there any departmental assistantships available to support graduate degree studies in Plant Sciences?”

  • At this time, there are no general departmental resources available for graduate student assistantship support.
  • Members of our faculty may have their own resources available that can provide support or partial support for graduate assistantships. These opportunities are often funded through their success with external grants and funding. To learn more, you may email or contact those members of our faculty who are working in your area of research interest.

“Should I communicate with a Plant Sciences faculty member or identify a potential advisor as part of my application process?”

  • Yes, nearly all successful applicants to the department’s graduate degree programs have corresponded with one of our faculty members and have secured that faculty member’s stated willingness to advise the prospective student if admitted to our department.
    • Applicant credentials still must meet with the departmental admissions committee’s approval.

Plant Sciences Faculty & their Disciplinary Areas

“What deadlines are in effect for applying to graduate studies at UT Knoxville and Plant Sciences?”

“I found out that I won’t be able to start (or my potential mentorship’s funding support is not available) until a semester later than the semester that I applied for. What can I do to change my planned starting term for admission?

  • Contact your UT Graduate admissions specialist using the online application process to request that your term of admission be moved forward to a future semester. There is no cost to request this admission extension.
    • Please note: The Plant Sciences Graduate Director cannot request this action on your behalf.

“Does Plant Sciences require the general Graduate Requirement Exam (GRE)?”

  • Yes, our department does request that GRE score be received from applicants as part of our application materials. Test scores should be submitted directly to the Graduate School as part of the online application process.

    • In some limited circumstances (for example, applicants who have achieved significant work experience that is directly relevant to the planned program of study and research interests), credentials of the applicants may merit an exception to the departmental GRE requirement.
    • Waiver-of-GRE requests must be made to the graduate director. Requests are considered on an individual basis and must include an explanation of the conditions/circumstances that may merit evaluation of the applicant without GRE scores.

“Who would be good references that I should ask to contribute to my graduate application?”

  • Past faculty graduate advisors, teachers and instructors who are familiar with your academic and research aptitudes and capabilities are preferred references. Former employers and supervisors who can speak to your professional strengths, talents, work ethic/self-motivation, and intellectual curiosity are also good references.


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Answers to Other Questions:

  • Applicants may apply for a PhD program with expectation that the MS degree will be completed. Conferral of final admission status will require evidence that that the MS (or BS/BA) degree has been conferred.
    • This step will be achieved by having official transcripts be sent directly from the awarding institution to University of Tennessee Graduate Admissions.
  • Our departmental admissions committee generally is unlikely to consider PhD applicants who apply directly with a BA/BS degree (only).


“What is the new building on the west campus, next to the Plant Biotechnology Building?”

  • Coming Spring 2024 is the new Energy and Environmental Science Research Building, which will house classrooms, labs, offices and departmental headquarters for several Institute of Agriculture programs.