How to Apply to the Graduate Program

The first step of the admissions process is finding a major advisor who will accept you as a student. A Department of Horticulture faculty member must first agree to serve as a Graduate Mentor before you are accepted. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact potential faculty directly to learn about available graduate research opportunities and funding prior to applying to the graduate program. Sending a current CV allows the faculty member to consider your potential fit within his or her research program. 

Before Applying

We ask that you submit a Graduate Application Questionnaire (PDF) (Word) prior to formally applying to Oregon State for graduate school. Please email your questionnaire to:

If you prefer to send a hard copy instead, please mail it to:

Caroline Charlton
Oregon State University
4017 ALS Building
Corvallis, OR 97331-3002

Phone: (541) 737-5477
Fax: (541) 737-3479

Do NOT send your official transcripts to Caroline Charlton. You are only required to submit official transcripts to the Graduate School if you are accepted into our program. We only need your unofficial transcripts for evaluation purposes. Caroline Charlton does NOT accept official transcripts, as they must be sent directly to the Graduate School.

In addition, as we describe above, you may wish to provide specific faculty members with summary information such as a CV, a statement of interests, and test scores before submitting a formal application. Communicating directly with faculty is a good way to gauge the likelihood of finding a major advisor and to determine the availability of research opportunities and assistantships before submitting a full application packet.

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 could express an interest in your application. 

How to Apply

A complete application packet includes the following:

  • Graduate Application Questionnaire (PDF) (Word
  • An application form.
  • 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 that you would like to work with, or with whom you have corresponded.
  • Unofficial transcripts of all previous academic coursework. If you are accepted, you will be required to send official transcripts to the OSU Graduate School, but we only require unofficial transcripts for our evaluation purposes in the meantime.
  • GRE scores.
  • Three letters of reference.
  • International students: TOEFL scores.

With the exception of the Graduate Application Questionnaire, submit the application materials through the online application portal administered by the OSU Graduate School. Online submission facilitates sharing your application among potential advisors and checking to ensure that all your application materials (such as letters of recommendation) have arrived. Follow the submission guidelines and instructions outlined on the Graduate School website.There is a $60 application fee. 

Letters of Reference

We require that your letters of reference be submitted online through the Graduate School. Within two days of submitting your application, you will receive a link to the online reference management tool, where you can enter the names and email addresses of your references. They will receive instructions on how to submit letters and will receive reminders, if necessary. More information about online submission of letters of reference is available from the Graduate School.

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 an online application through the graduate school or you can include them along with your Graduate Application Questionnaire directly to the Department of Horticulture.

Submission Dates

We accept applications at anytime 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 of when to apply: 

Fall Term - March 1
Winter Term - June 1
Spring Term - September 1
Summer Term - December 1

GRE and TOEFL Scores

The Department of Horticulture requires that graduate applicants submit scores of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test. Applicants are encouraged to also submit scores for the GRE Biology Test. GRE tests are given regularly at many colleges and universities. There are no minimum GRE scores required for consideration of your application or for admission.

For the new Internet-based TOEFL, students must have a total score of 80 or higher, and meet or exceed the minimum score of 18 in all four categories (reading, listening, speaking and writing) to be eligible for full admission. A minimum score of 7.0 on the IELTS may be used as an alternative to the TOEFL test. The university requires that foreign applicants whose native language is not English demonstrate proficiency in English [a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (written test) or 213 (computer-based test)].

The ETS Institution Code for Oregon State University is 4586.

How Admissions Decisions Are Made

After receiving all of the application materials from the Graduate School (e.g. all transcripts, application forms, statement of objectives, reference letters, GRE scores, and TOEFL score, if applicable), the department's Graduate Admissions Committee reviews the applicant's file and evaluates the transcripts. If the applicant meets the minimum scholastic standards (i.e. a GPA of at least 3.00 on the last 90 hours of graded undergraduate work plus all work completed thereafter) the file is offered for review to graduate faculty whose programs match the interests of the applicant. Each indicates whether he or she is willing to serve as the applicant's major professor. An applicant is not accepted unless a major professor is identified.

Based on this review, the department transmits its recommendations to the Graduate School. Accepted applicants are encouraged to contact faculty members who have indicated a willingness to serve as their major professor. Others are informed of the reason that their request for admission was rejected. The department does not have an application deadline; files are reviewed as they are received. 

The Graduate School sends the applicant official notification of acceptance or rejection. To receive an official notification of acceptance, applicants from foreign countries must provide evidence that they have adequate funds for the proposed program of study (Certification of Finances). If a graduate faculty member indicates that he or she intends to provide the applicant with a Graduate Assistantship, the value of the annual assistantship stipend and accompanying tuition waiver can be included in the applicant's evidence of adequate funds.