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How to Apply

PRL faculty are engaged in a variety of interdisciplinary research activities and are affiliated with multiple departments and programs on campus. Graduate students working in PRL laboratories therefore come from many different graduate programs on campus.

If a student's PI is a PRL faculty member, they are considered a PRL graduate student. The PRL is not a degree-granting department. Students must apply to the university through the primary degree-granting department they are interested in. Typically, this will be through the BMS Gateway or the Department of Plant Biology. Our affiliated departments are listed below.

We encourage potential students to contact their core PRL faculty of interest regarding potential openings in their laboratories. Not all faculty accepts students every year.

It is also recommended that prospective graduate students apply through the Molecular Plant Sciences (MPS) graduate program. When you apply to the MPS program, please note in your Statement of Purpose that you would like to be considered by the PRL and also indicate any PRL faculty whose research areas interest you. 

Our faculty are affiliated with one college and seven departments through joint appointments of its faculty:


Graduate students in the PRL are fully funded through their PIs, funding and other sources. However, many also apply for outside support. Being awarded a fellowship in recognition of outstanding performance can be an attractive addition to a resume, and in some cases the stipend may be slightly larger. These fellowships typically only applied after studnets have joined their graduate program, but check the individual websites for more information.

  • Graduate School Funding for Graduate Education: More information on fellowships available through MSU.
  • NRT-IMPACTS: Integrated training Model in Plant And Compu-Tational Sciences is an NSF-funded program for training doctoral students to employ advanced computational/data science approaches to address grand challenges in plant biology.
  • PBHS: The Plant Biotechnology for Health and Sustainability (PBHS) Graduate Training Program has successfully completed its first five years as an NIH funded T32 training program.
  • NSF GRFP: The purpose of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is to ensure the quality, vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. GRFP seeks to broaden participation in science and engineering of underrepresented groups, including women, minorities, persons with disabilities and veterans.