The Department of Horticulture invites applications to our MS and PhD programs. Our graduate program emphasizes scientific study and original research. Each student’s program is tailored to meet the needs of that student. Graduates from our program are targeted to fill positions in academia, government, international organizations, and the private sector.

Prospective students can choose among the major commodity areas of fruit and nut crops, vegetables, and ornamentals. Within these commodities, specialization is available in many areas, including environmental conservation, plant physiology, post-harvest, plant development, plant nutrition, biochemistry, product utilization, pest management, sustainable horticulture, breeding, and biotechnology. Departmental assistantships, which include tuition waivers, are available for graduate students starting in Spring, Summer, or Fall 2019.

Applications will be evaluated based on the academic strength and research background of the applicant, as well as the fit with ongoing research programs in the department. For more information, see or contact the graduate coordinator, Dr. Marc van Iersel. Applications must be submitted on-line at

All graduate assistantships include a stipend and tuition waiver. Graduate students also have health insurance through the university. Graduate students pay a $25 matriculation fee/semester, as well as any university fees. For more information about fees, see:

Ph.D. Graduate Research Assistantship in Fruit Production and Genetics

The University of Georgia Department of Horticulture is seeking applicants for a Ph.D. student in the Fruit Production and Genetics Program. The student will join research efforts focused on blueberry and fruit crop research and extension at the Griffin Campus, Griffin, GA with direct interaction with growers in the state.  Areas of study may include: fruit quality characteristics in blueberry, genetic diversity in raspberry, and gene expression and segregation of fruit quality attributes in perennial fruit crop populations, among others.  An assistantship including a competitive stipend and tuition waiver is available. Prospective applicants should contact Dr. Rachel Itle ( ) directly with the following information: 1) statement of interest, 2) resume, 3) GRE score (plus TOEFL if applicable), 4) unofficial transcripts, and 5) the names of three references.  The students will be expected to collaborate directly on research and extension publications. The student will be expected to complete class work at the Athens Campus, conduct research at the Griffin Campus, and assist with other ongoing research projects in fruit crops. Anticipated start date: January 2019 or May 2019

Ph.D./M.S. assistantship in Fruit Ripening and Physiology

The research will investigate molecular, hormonal and metabolic regulation of either 1. Ripening and postharvest fruit quality in blueberry or 2. Postharvest disorders in relation to calcium physiology in pepper and tomato. These studies would involve determining efficacy of plant growth regulators in field and using lab techniques such as Real-Time PCR, GC-MS, gene silencing and transformation. There will be opportunities to employ transcriptomics and bioinformatics analyses in these projects. Students with a strong molecular biology background and demonstration of good laboratory skills in past projects are encouraged to apply. If interested please contact Dr. Savithri Nambeesan at with a statement of purpose, CV, GRE and TOEFL scores and four names of references.  

MS or PhD Assistantship in Woody Ornamental Plants

The research focus will be on conventional and molecular-aided woody plant breeding and selection of tea and/or woody ornamental plants. The successful candidates will work on germplasm collection locally and internationally, regenerate plants in vitro (tissue culture and embryogenesis), and apply DNA technology (markers and gene editing) to speed up the woody plant breeding cycle. The anticipated start date is flexible, but will ideally be between January and August 2019. For more information, contact Dr. Donglin Zhang (