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Department of Plant Science

Student Michael Urner cotton research.

How to Apply

Admission Criteria
Prerequisite Courses

Applicants for admission to the M.S. program in Plant Science must complete two application packets. One seeks acceptance as a graduate student at California State University, Fresno. The other application seeks admission to the Plant Science degree program.

Deadlines: For current deadlines for fall and spring admission, check the Division of Graduate Studies website at Final application deadlines are typically June 1st for fall semester (begins in late August) and November 1st for spring semester (begins in January).  However, to be considered for funding (fellowship, assistantship, etc.), one must apply much earlier. 

Under limited circumstances, applications may be accepted after these deadlines, but options for financial assistance are very limited. In some cases, domestic students can take one or two courses through Open Enrollment ( the semester prior to being fully admitted to a graduate program. In that case, no more than 9 units can be transferred in. Please contact the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Sharon Benes (sbenes@csu regarding this option.


University Application

Apply online at Use the drop down menu to select Plant Science major and the M.S. degree. This will require:

  • Payment of the application fee ($70)
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores (V, Q, Analytical Writing). Your application will not be processed without these scores.
  • Teaching of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score— required if your bachelor’s degree was from a school in which English was not the primary language of instruction.
  • Official transcripts from your undergraduate institution(s). Students who completed their undergraduate degree at Fresno State do not have to submit a transcript.  Domestic students from other institutions should have transcripts sent to Graduate Admissions as explained at students can submit their transcript electronically, but an official transcript in an unsealed envelope must be presented upon arrival to Fresno State.  


Admission Criteria

Admission will be based on consideration of the following:

  1. Official GRE score: suggested minimum of 152 verbal, 147 Quantitative and 3.0 analytical writing, sent to the university by ETS.
  2. Grade point average (GPA) for the last 60 units: minimum 2.75
  3. TOEFL score: for those required to take this exam, score of 80 (internet-based exam).
  4. Official college transcript verifying completion of prerequisite courses and conferral of the bachelor's degree
  5. Three letters of reference
  6. Statement of research interest - please identify specific research interests within the field of Plant Science.

Identification of a potential area of specialization for thesis research is highly encouraged.

Applicants are encouraged to communicate with the professor most closely associated with their area of focus ( Faculty Listing )

or contact the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Sharon Benes ( regarding potential research areas.

To begin the application process, visit


Prerequisite Courses

Preparation equivalent to a B.S. degree in Plant Science is required. Students having undergraduate majors in fields other than Plant Science may enter the program, but may have additional course requirements. The following courses, or their equivalents, are expected to be completed prior† to admission:

Grad Program Prerequisite Courses
Units Subject Area
3 Plant Physiology
3 Statistics
3 Soils
3 Soils
6 Physical Science (chemistry, physics, etc.) of which a minimum of 3 units must be in chemistry
9 Biological Sciences (biology, ecology, genetics, agricultural sciences, etc.)


Departmental Application

The following materials can be hard copy mailed to the Plant Science Graduate Coordinator (address below) or submitted in one email to

  • Statement of Research Interest (approx. 500 words) which addresses a specific area of research interest.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can discuss your academic qualifications. At least one of these should be from a current professor, advisor, or employer. Letters can be emailed directly to by their author. 
  • GRE scores: electronic copy of the “Test Taker Score Report” which the student receives from ETS is acceptable.
  • TOEFL scoresrequired if your bachelor’s degree was from a school in which English was not the primary language of instruction. Electronic copy of the “Test Taker Score Report” from ETS is acceptable.

Send to:

                     Dr. Sharon Benes, Graduate Program Coordinator
                     Department of Plant Science
                     California State University, Fresno
                     2415 E. San Ramon Ave., M/S AS72
                     Fresno, CA 93740-8033