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Graduate Program Overview

Why join us

Training the next generation of scientists is a core part of our identity, whether you plan to build an academic research career or want to ’change the world’ through non-academic pathways. Here is what our students say makes us different:

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Internationally renowned scientists; Consistently funded for cutting-edge research; Exceptional research facilities

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Prolific publication record; Legacy of award-winning scientists; Alum in academia, industry and government

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Embedded in one of the largest plant science universities worldwide; Networking and training opportunities for academic and alternative careers

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Three collaborative research projects, funded by DOE; Well-defined research opportunities; Friendly and trusting community

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Freedom to explore personal research interests within institutional framework; Access to cutting-edge equipment and techniques

"Ihave learned that there are many resources available to help move my research forward [at the PRL], all I need to do is ask what is available for me and somehow, I find what I need." Bianca Serda, graduate student in the Sharkey lab

Program Features

There are multiple routes to joing the PRL for graduate studies. Graduate research with the PRL is coordinated within the context of other on-campus graduate programs because the PRL is not directly a degree-granting department. Most PRL graduate students complete their degree in 5-6 years. Conducting Masters or Ph.D. research within a PRL lab includes a number of features:

  • Interdisciplinary training in plant biology and photosynthetic microbes
  • Research opportunities in collaborative group projects that tackle some of today’s most pressing challenges in plant biology, energy, and sustainability
  • Rotations in 3+ labs for first-year graduate assistants. Check with your primary department for the specific requirements of your program.
  • Renewable 12-month research assistantships
  • Stipend
    • Up to 9 credits per semester free
      • Allowed to enroll in up to 16, but the student is responsible for the cost above 9.
    • In-state tuition rates for all additional credits
    • Health insurance coverage
  • Exposure to broader plant research activities through seminar offerings twice weekly, including the PRL Tuesday Noons and the MPS Monday Seminar Series
  • Travel Funds are available to PRL graduate students who are presenting a talk or poster at a conference. $500 is available to you, once per year, for travel. Contact your PI or the front office for details.
  • Opportunity to pursue Certification in Teaching College Science and Mathematics, a voluntary comprehensive program to prepare graduate students for careers in post-secondary education
  • Regular departmental events featuring presentations of research projects, group outings/activities and discussion of the vision for the PRL
  • The PRL Graduate Student Committee meets regularily to create a sense of community among our graduate students
  • Training to prepare students for a variety of scientific careers and exposure to non-academic career paths

Student and Alum Profiles

From first-year graduate students up to National Academy of Science members, our people are making a difference in their classrooms, labs, and communities, everyday. Here are some profiles that highlight their achievements.