Plant Science

M.S. in Agriculture, Plant Science

Lillian Wang, M.S. Agriculture, Plant Science, 2022, planting basil for aquaponic production in the Plant Science Department urban agriculture greenhouse.Program Description

The Master's of Science degree program in Agriculture, Plant Science will advance students' knowledge, and students will conduct applied research, in a specialized area of Plant Science. Students, with their major professor and faculty advisors, decide on a program of study through required coursework, directed elective coursework, and a thesis research project related to the major professor's expertise and partnerships between the Plant Science Department and related commercial industries, government agencies, university collaborations, and community organizations. Students complete a field, greenhouse, and/or laboratory research project culminating in oral and written presentation of the Master's thesis.

Career Opportunities

Opportunities include, but are not limited to, Soil Conservationist and Natural Resource Specialist (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service), Agricultural /Standards Inspector (California Department of Food and Agriculture, Agricultural Commissioner Offices),  Research in commercial, academic or government settings (e.g., entomology, plant pathology, integrated pest management, plant breeding), Environmental Horticulture Specialist, Agronomist, Water Resource Specialist and Irrigation Design,  Urban and Community Agriculture Specialist, Commercial Greenhouse Grower/Manager (food crops and ornamental horticulture), and preparation for advanced graduate training at the doctoral level.

Program Admission Requirements

An applicant for admission to the agriculture master of science program in plant science must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution (preferably a B.S. in a Plant Science related major) and minimum course requirements in the biological and physical sciences, as well as other courses aligned with plant science emphases of the program (horticulture, entomology, soil science, plant pathology, ecology, integrated pest management, etc.).

Students having undergraduate majors in fields other than Plant Science may apply to the program, but the following courses, or their equivalents, are required to be completed prior to admission:

Course equivalents expected to be completed for non-majors
Subject Area
Biological Science (biology, ecology, genetics, agricultural sciences, etc.), of which a minimum of one quarter or semester must be general biology with laboratory.
Physical Science (chemistry, physics, etc.), of which a minimum of one quarter or semester must be general chemistry with laboratory.
Statistics, at least one quarter or semester.
Plant Science (horticulture, botany, plant physiology, plant pathology, soil science, etc.), at least one quarter or semester course.

An undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 is required for unconditional admission.

For additional information and guidance please visit Cal Poly Pomona Career Center - Graduate School webpage covering 'Planning for a Successful Transition', 'Graduate School Planning Videos', 'Additional Resources' and 'Career Counseling'.

How To Apply

Applicants are encouraged to communicate with faculty (Faculty Listing) or contact the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Priti Saxena ( regarding potential research areas.

To begin the application process, visit Cal State Apply (

Applicants for admission to the M.S. Agriculture program in Plant Science must submit the following application materials to California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly), Pomona through Cal State Apply.

  1. Statement of Research Interest. The personal statement should include each of the following three bullet point sections. Each section should be at least 300 words and no more than 500 words:
    • What are your interests and qualifications for the program? Please specify the emphasis (plant breeding, plant pathology, entomology, soil science, etc.) that you are willing to pursue.
    • How do your professional and academic experiences and achievements make you a suitable candidate for our Master´s program? Be sure to include any research experience.
    • How will the M.S. Agriculture, Plant Science program help you to reach your future goals?
  2. Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume.
  3. Adademic Transcripts
  4. TOEFL scores ― required if your bachelor’s degree was from a school in which English was not the primary language of instruction. TOEFL 80 minimum on internet-based exam (and IELTS 6.5 minimum).
  5. Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can discuss your academic qualifications and potential as a graduate student.  In the 'Recommendations' section of the application:
    • Click on '+ Add General Letter Upload Recommendations'.
    • Select 'Request New Recommendations' from the drop-down menu.
    • Enter the name and email for the person who will supply your letter of recommendation.
    • Enter the Due Date of April 1st for the year you are applying to Fall Semester.
    • Complete the required sections of the form.
    • Click 'Save This Recommendation Request'.
    • Cal Poly Pomona will automatically send an email to this address with instructions on how they can upload their letter of recommendation to the admissions portal.
    • Repeat the steps above for two (2) addtional letters of recommendation (Three (3) total). 

Application Deadline

Complete applications are due in Cal State Apply for Agriculture - Plant Science M.S. on April 1st. This deadline is for consideration for admission for Fall semester. For example applications are open until April 1st, 2023 for admission to the 2023-2024 academic year with Fall 2023 start term.