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.

In addition, the Department of Plant Science must be in receipt of a personal statement, CV/resume, and three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic qualifications and potential as a graduate student. All components of the complete application must be submitted by the applicant to Cal State Apply as instructed below.

For additional information and guidance please visit Cal Poly Pomona Career Center's Career Planning - Job Search or Graduate School webpage, and Cal Poly Pomona Graduate Studies Future Students webpage.

Advisor Matching Requirement

Prospective applicants are advised that admission to our Department of Plant Science graduate program requires alignment with a major professor advisor. As such, applicants must identify and secure commitment from a faculty member willing to serve as their advisor prior to applying. Applications submitted without a designated major professor advisor will not be considered for admission.

Applicants are encouraged to communicate with faculty (Faculty Listing) or contact the Department Chair, Dr. Eileen Cullen ( regarding potential research project areas with up to date information on faculty who have project funding and are accepting applications for new students. 

How To Apply

To begin the application process, visit Cal State Apply (

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

  1. Statement of Research Interest. The personal statement should include the following sections, each should be at least 300 words and no more than 500 words:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. How will the M.S. Agriculture, Plant Science Option help you to reach your future goals?
  2. Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume.
  3. Academic Transcripts from all accredited institutions attended.
  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) additional letters of recommendation (Three (3) total). 

Application Deadline

Complete applications are due in Cal State Apply for the M.S. Agriculture - Plant Science Option on April 1st each year for subsequent Fall term cohort.