Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics Graduate Degree Program

Position title: Caitlin Collies, Graduate Program Manager


Website: Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics Graduate Degree Program's website

Phone: 608-262-1390

373 Moore Hall
1575 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706


The Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics program is truly interdisciplinary, with membership from agronomy, biochemistry, botany,  genetics, horticulture, plant pathology, and statistics. Research areas include biochemical and molecular genetics, biometry, quantitative genetics, cytogenetics and cytology, genecology, genetics, and plant breeding.

The program has been designated a UW System Center of Excellence program. Faculty have included members of the National Academy of Sciences, endowed chair professors, and recipients of the National Council of Plant Breeders “Genetic and Plant Breeding Award.” The University of Wisconsin leads the nation in the number of plant breeding programs and number of graduate students trained.

The 50-60 students majoring in plant breeding and plant genetics come from throughout the United States and all over the world. Graduates are found in responsible positions with academic institutions, research institutions, and private companies involved in molecular to cultivar development work.


Financial support may be available through research assistantships (RAs) or fellowships. Fellowships are granted to students with very outstanding academic records. We recommend that your application be complete by the application deadlines in order to be considered for funding. Research assistantships are awarded by individual professors through funds available to their research programs.

Please be advised that you do not need to make a separate application for financial support as your admission application will also serve as an application for assistantships and fellowships.


Satisfactory preparation for graduate study in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics includes undergraduate coursework in mathematics through differential and integral calculus, general chemistry and organic chemistry, physics, and a comprehensive biology sequence that covers both plant and animal biology and includes labs. Some of this preparatory coursework may be completed during the first year of graduate study. Normally, applicants will have had undergraduate training in the biological or agricultural sciences. All applicants must fulfill the minimum entrance requirements of the Graduate School.

Application Checklist

A complete application should include the following items:

  1. Graduate School Application: We only accept applications submitted online through the Graduate School.
  2. Supplementary Application: The supplementary application will appear as a part of the Graduate School’s electronic application once the applicant selects Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics.
  3. Application Fee: Instructions for paying the application fee are available through the Graduate School’s online application form.
  4. Statement of Purpose: Your essay should be a concise description of your reasons for choosing to study Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics at the University of Wisconsin. Please include your research interests and career goals as well as a description of your preparation for graduate study including relevant coursework, related employment, research experience, publications, presentations, awards, and honors.  The essay may be submitted electronically through the Graduate School’s online application.
  5. Transcripts: We require all applicants to submit an unofficial transcript in PDF format to their online application. If an applicant is recommended for admission, then they will be required to submit their official transcript to the Graduate School.  International academic records must be submitted in the original language and accompanied by an official English translation. Documents must be issued by the institution with an official seal/stamp and an official signature.
  6.  Three Letters of Recommendation, with at least two from academic sources.
  7. Proof of English Proficiency: Applicants, whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must follow the Graduate School’s guidelines for proof of English proficiency.

Application Process

Applications for graduate study in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics must be submitted using the Graduate School’s online application. If you are applying to multiple programs at the University of Wisconsin, make sure you send application materials to each program.

At this time, the graduate program in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics does not support lab rotations.  Applicants are admitted directly into a specific research program with one major professor. Admissions decisions are contingent upon the acceptance of an applicant by a faculty mentor.  Because we receive many more applications from qualified applicants than we are able to admit, we highly recommend that applicants directly contact any faculty members with whom they are interested in working.