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Botany Department

Graduate Programs

Faculty in the Department of Botany host and advise graduate students in several graduate programs (Botany; Ecology; Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences). Below you will find information about options for pursuing a graduate degree under the direction of a faculty member in the Department of Botany. The process of application and admission to the graduate programs begins by contacting a faculty member in the student's field of interest. Admission is contingent upon a faculty member agreeing to serve as a graduate adviser to a student.

See Botany Learning goals here.

M.S. and Ph.D. in Botany

The Department of Botany offers graduate programs leading to the M.S. and the Ph.D. degrees. As part of these programs students participate in research, teaching and coursework that lay a foundation for expertise in the broad discipline of plant biology. Our faculty have strong research programs in plant biology, in which undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students play a key role. 

The primary goal of graduate studies in the Department of Botany at the University of Wyoming is the education of highly qualified individuals for productive careers in an academic or non-academic profession, including teaching, research, industry, government, environmental management or other applications of plant biology1. The foundation for professional training is built upon achieving a high level of intellectual development and scholarly research. Two advanced degrees are offered to accomplish this goal: the M.S. degree with a thesis and the Ph.D. degree. Regardless of the degree program or professional direction, students educated in the Department of Botany will achieve a breadth of knowledge about plant biology and will be accomplished in their ability to extend knowledge through scholarly research. Students will be skilled in conveying knowledge in both academic and non-academic settings and will understand the value and practice of scientific service activities

Programs of graduate study are based on courses, seminars, readings and research, and normally utilize some materials and human resources from other parts of the university or other centers of scholarship. It is expected that each student will work closely with a faculty adviser from the Department of Botany and that this association will determine the exact nature of the
individual's professional growth.

Details of the graduate program philosophy and degree requirements are given in the Botany Graduate Student Handbook (.pdf). This document contains important information for prospective and current students.

Specific instructions for the application procedure are below ("How to Apply").

Ph.D. in Ecology

Several faculty in the Department of Botany participate in the interdepartmental, doctoral Program in Ecology (PiE). Applicants to the Program in Ecology apply to a host department for admission. If you are a prospective student for the Program in Ecology, with a faculty adviser in Botany, please follow the instructions below ("How to Apply") and review the instructions for application to the Program in Ecology. Questions can be directed to

Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences

Three botany faculty members also participate in the interdepartmental Ph.D. program in Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences (MCLS). Students apply directly to the MCLS program, rather than to the Department of Botany. First year students rotate through four laboratories before choosing a mentor for their degree. Prospective students are encouraged to contact individual Botany faculty (Buerkle, Ward, and Weinig) and to review information about the program, including application procedures. Questions can be directed to

How to apply

Components of the application to Botany include completion of a graduate program application form, a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation, transcripts from all other post-secondary institutions attended, and results from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE; Subject test is not required). International students may need to complete the TOEFL (more information).

You should initiate the online application process with Graduate Education. Official documents (transcripts, GRE results) are required for formal admission.

Each year review of applications begins February 1st.

Requirements for admission

Evidence of aptitude and likely success are required for admission. This evidence will come from various components of the application. The program and university require minimum GRE scores of 150 (M.S.) or 153 (Ph.D.) on the verbal and 141 (M.S.) or 144 (Ph.D.) on the quantitative sections for admission. Similarly, a minimum GPA of 3.0 on previous coursework is required for admission (3.25 for Ph.D. in Ecology or MCLS).

Checklist for applicants:

1. Correspond with a faculty member with appropriate research interests

2. Visit Graduate Admission Process Overview

Begin Online Application and next steps

3. Letter of interest

Describe your background and interests, your prior communication with a faculty member in the department, and your plans for your degree.

4. Curriculum vitae

Describe your educational, research and relevant employment background.

5. Three letters of recommendation

Letters should be sent directly by a student's recommenders.

6. Transcripts from all post-secondary schools you have attended

Unofficial copies of transcripts are acceptable initially. If a student is admitted, official transcripts will be required.

7. Results of the GRE exam

Results from the General Test are typically required of all applicants. The Biology Subject Test is not required. Unofficial copies of results are acceptable initially.

8. Results of the TOEFL for some international students

Some international students are required to take the TOEFL (see details).

Financial Assistance

Teaching and Research Assistantships, including stipends and tuition, are available to support students admitted to the graduate programs. Individual faculty should be contacted for possible support from grant funds. Summer and scholarship support is often available as well.


Please direct inquiries about the graduate programs to a faculty member with whom you share research interests, or to the Graduate Program Officer for Botany (email Dr. Alex Buerkle).


Contact Us

Department of Botany, 3165

Aven Nelson Room 114

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 1-307-766-4393

Fax: 1-307-766-2851


1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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