Our academic programs emphasize translational plant and microbial sciences -- putting the basic research knowledge to work to solve hands-on, real-world problems. We offer both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees where students can participate in collaborative, multi-disciplinary projects with world-class faculty members in preparation for careers in industry, government and academia.

 For full admissions consideration, PPWS graduate applications should be received by February 1st for fall semester.  Spring applicants are encouraged to apply by October 1 (September 1 for international applicants).

Applicants interested in any of the three areas of plant pathology, plant physiology, or weed science are encouraged to browse faculty biographies to learn more about their areas of research and expertise. Students are accepted into PPWS based on willingness of specific faculty members to advise and support them. Therefore, student-faculty interaction is very important and applicants are encouraged to contact specific faculty members to discuss mutual research interests and explore potential openings in their programs. 

Individuals with molecular orientation may also apply via the Translational Plant Sciences program, which encompasses several departments. Students with microbiology orientation may also apply via the Interdisciplinary Microbiology Graduate Program, which also encompasses several departments.

Students entering PPWS degree programs must have a bachelor’s degree with relevant course work in the sciences.

Desirable undergraduate courses include: college mathematics, chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry, physics, courses in the biological and plant sciences, and genetics.

We suggest students also include statistics and soil science courses in their undergraduate program of study. Students with background deficiencies relative to their degree program may need to complete some supportive undergraduate coursework for which graduate credit will not be earned. 

The Graduate School requires that all non-U.S. citizens or non-U.S. permanent residents demonstrate English proficiency to ensure they enter the university with sufficient English skills necessary to function in a graduate program.  The required minimum TOEFL score is 80. The TOEFL testing requirement is waived if one's bachelor's degree was conferred at an English speaking accredited university.

GRE scores are required by PPWS as part of a completed application portfolio. Although a minimum score is not mandated for admissions consideration, applicants are strongly encouraged to have a minimum combined verbal/quantitative score of 300 to be a competitive applicant.

Test scores should be sent to Virginia Tech's Graduate School using ETS institution code 5859. No department code is required, as the Graduate School will receive your official scores from ETS and our department will access and verify those scores. Please allow four weeks for the Graduate School to receive your scores after you submitted them through ETS.

You may apply online along with the $75 application fee.

Video instructions on submitting your application are here.


Attach unofficial copies of your college transcripts to your application. Official copies will be needed once an offer of admission has been extended. (Virginia Tech students do not need to submit official transcripts.)


We require three letters of recommendation. When submitting your application, please provide their name and email address. A separate email will be sent to your referee with instructions on completing and uploading their letter of recommendation. If a paper copy is to be submitted, please contact the program coordinator for further instructions.


 A current resume reflecting work history and/or academic achievements.


A one to two page paper outlining your interest in graduate study in our program.

It can take some time for all the application materials to reach Virginia Tech and form a complete application package. Incomplete applications is the most common reason for delay. Applicants are encouraged to follow up with their references and with Virginia Tech to make sure that everything has been sent and received.

Once the Graduate School has a complete application, it notifies the department. The department then initiates a review of the applicant.

A major reason for delay in an admissions decision is due to lack of immediately available funding for student support. If an applicant is well qualified, we retain the application awaiting news of new funding availability. Because research funding awards are announced intermittently throughout the year, it is not easy to predict whether or when funds will become available. The best course of action for an applicant in this situation is to maintain regular contact with the department to keep abreast of emerging possibilities for support.

We try to provide financial support for all students that we accept. This support is primarily in the form of research assistantships, which cover tuition and provide a stipend that allows students to live comfortably in Blacksburg. We evaluate student applications and make decisions on acceptance and support based on our available funds. Financial arrangements are made after formal acceptance into the Graduate School. Assistantships and fellowships are available on a competitive basis and awarded to students for demonstrated scholastic ability. The amount and duration of assistance is dependent upon satisfactory progress throughout the graduate program and the availability of funds.

Most assistantships are funded through grants of individual faculty; therefore, the research area of study must contribute to the objectives of the grant. Students on assistantships have in-state status, and tuition is provided as part of their assistantship. Students are responsible for their comprehensive fees (payroll deductible).

For more financial assistance information, contact the Virginia Tech Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.


If you are interested in more information about graduate study in PPWS, contact PPWS Admissions.

Anton Baudoin
Graduate Program Head
417 Price Hall
170 Drillfrield Drive

Cris Thompson
Graduate Student Coordinator
413 Price Hall
170 Drillfrield Drive