Navigating Admission to Horticulture Graduate Studies

[Please check the Graduate School's home page, and that of the Office of International Programs and Services (864-656-2357), if applicable, for pertinent information, application materials, etc.]

  1. Read the program descriptions and faculty profiles provide on the Horticulture home page (or those available in the main departmental office).
  2. Determine which faculty member(s') has a research/program that aligns with your professional interests and educational goals.
  3. Contact this faculty member(s), by e-mail, phone, letter or a personal visit, to verify the common interest, determine their willingness to serve as your advisor and discuss ideas for specific research or study projects.
  4. During these deliberations, it is very appropriate to discuss your financial needs and explore the availability of funding (e.g., assistantship, fellowship, scholarship, etc.). It is very important to identify a faculty member, who agrees to serve as your advisor/mentor, prior to formally applying for admission to one of our degree programs.
  5. If your interests and enthusiasm continues, now is the time to formally apply to the Graduate School for admission. This requires filling out the application form (please indicate which faculty member has indicated they will serve as your advisor) and submitting all required materials. The Graduate School will make a preliminary evaluation of your qualifications (e.g., transcripts with cumulative GPA or GPR, GRE scores, TOEFL scores if necessary, etc.). Once complete, your application will automatically be forwarded to the Horticulture Department for evaluation by our Graduate Admissions Committee. Note that it is your responsibility to make sure all required information is supplied to the Graduate School. You can check on the status of your application by checking the Graduate School site (, calling Graduate School Admissions (864-656-3195, -1, -2). Also, it's a good idea to inform your prospective advisor of the impending arrival of your application, so he can contact the GA Committee chair.
  6. Members of our GA Committee will individually review your application packet and make recommendations regarding your qualifications and acceptability to pursue a graduate degree in Horticulture, Genetics or Plant Physiology. The latter two interdepartmental degree programs require approval by their admissions committees or program coordinators as well - this will all be taken care of automatically once a completed application is available and it indicates to which program you are applying and with which faculty member you intend to work.
  7. The GA Committee's majority decision will be conveyed to your prospective advisor, who, in the case of acceptability, will communicate to the GA Committee chair his/her intentions to serve as your advisor and provide financial support.
  8. This information will be forwarded to the Department Chair who will inform the Graduate School (or the coordinator of the Genetics or Plant Physiology Programs) of your acceptance/rejection. It is the Graduate School who makes the final decision and then mails the official letter of acceptance or rejection. Barring extreme circumstances, steps 6 - 8 should take less than 30 days. The official letter of acceptance will likely also include a date by which you must respond to the offer. In certain cases (at your or the Department's request), admittance may be postponed to a later semester than originally requested in your application.
  9. Be sure to read the current Graduate School Announcements (on line via the Graduate School's home page, or a hard copy) regarding Academic Expenses, Application Deadlines, Admission Classification, Degree Requirements, etc.