Finding a Major Advisor

The most critical step of the admissions process is finding a faculty member who is willing to accept you as a student and serve as your major/thesis advisor. A sponsoring major advisor is a requirement for admission into the Horticulture Graduate Program. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to directly contact potential advisors to learn about available graduate research opportunities and funding prior to applying to the program. We provide a full list of graduate faculty that accept students through Horticulture (along with links to their research and program websites).

When communicating with faculty, you should craft a brief but individualized email that explains why you are interested in working with that particular faculty member. You should also briefly describe your own interests and career goals, as well as any relevant experience or notable accomplishments. If you have any funding such as scholarships or fellowships, make sure to mention it. Including a current CV or resume in your correspondence can also be useful. This blog post provides some more detailed advice on how to craft an effective inquiry letter. Note the author is not affiliated with OSU.

You do not need to find a committed major advisor before applying. All applications are made available to our graduate faculty for review. During the online application, you will be asked to identify potential faculty with whom you would like to work, and this interest will be highlighted when your application is distributed for review. Also, keep in mind that even if your initial inquiries with faculty members are discouraging, it can still be advantageous to submit a formal application. Sometimes the availability of funding changes or a faculty member that you may not have initially considered can express an interest in your application.

How to Apply

Complete the online Graduate School Application. The online application portal will lead you through the process of creating and submitting an application packet to the Horticulture Graduate Program. A complete application packet includes the following:

  1. Academic Records/Transcripts
  2. GRE general test scores
  3. Three Letters of Reference
  4. A 1-2 page statement that outlines your research and professional interests, as well as your interest in the OSU Horticulture Graduate Program. Include information on specific major advisors with whom you would like to work or with whom you have corresponded.
  5. A questionnaire (part of the online application)

International applicants have additional requirements that are detailed here. These include:

  1. Financial Documentation
  2. TOEFL/IELTS Scores (if applicable)

Supplemental Information

Applicants are invited to submit optional supplemental information that may assist in evaluating their application. These could include a curriculum vitae/resume or reprints of publications. You can submit these documents as part of the online application.

Submission Dates

We accept applications at any time of the year, and accepted students can enroll during any academic term. However, we highly recommend that you start the application process early. The following are suggested guidelines for when to apply:

Desired Term for Admission Suggested Application Deadline
Fall Term (September) March 1
Winter Term (January) June 1
Spring Term (March) September 1
Summer Term (June) December 1

The Use of Test Scores

The Horticulture Graduate Program uses Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores as part of a comprehensive evaluation of application packets. There are no minimum GRE scores required for consideration of your application or for admission.

All international applicants and applicants that did not receive a degree in the U.S. (or other English speaking country) must meet these English language proficiency requirements for admission.

The ETS Institution Code for Oregon State University is 4586.

How Admissions Decisions Are Made

After receiving a complete application, the Chair of Graduate Program reviews the applicant's file. If the applicant meets the minimum scholastic standards the file is offered for review to the Horticulture graduate faculty. Admission decisions are primarily made by individual faculty after reviewing application packets. An applicant is not accepted unless a major professor is identified.

Faculty who are interested in a particular applicant typically contact them directly to discuss the opportunity, and a recommendation for admission is forwarded to the Graduate School. Formal admission decisions are made by the Graduate School, which sends official notification of acceptance or rejection.

Admission decisions are typically made within six weeks after a complete application packet (including test scores and letters of recommendation) is received. However, several factors can delay the process including uncertainty about the availability of funding.

Contact Information

If you have any further questions, please contact Elaine Clark.