Application Steps and Instructions

The Department of Plant and Microbial Biology (PMB) uses an entirely electronic application process. All materials are to be submitted through the online application. Students may only apply to one program at UC Berkeley per admission term. PMB offers two Ph.D. degree programs: one in Plant Biology and another in Microbiology. If your research interests are in microbial ecology and evolution, fungal diversity or mycology, please apply to the Microbiology Ph.D. program.

Please review and complete all relevant parts of the UC Berkeley Graduate Application. If eligible, you may request to have your application fee waived using the link below. 


The deadline to apply is December 1, 2023 by 11:59pm (EST).

Join us on October 30th, 2023 for our Graduate Diversity Admissions Fair to learn more about becoming a successful applicant and get all your questions answered by our admissions staff!  REGISTER HERE TO JOIN.

What to Include in the Application

The following list provides instructions and detail for specific sections of the online graduate application. You should also review UC Berkeley's Graduate Admissions Requirements for additional information on admissions requirements.

Academic History 

Enter each educational institution attended after high school, including UC Berkeley or any other campus of the University of California, regardless of the length of attendance. Please upload a scanned copy of your transcript for each institution. Make sure to redact your social security number, student ID number, address and any other sensitive personal information that may appear on your transcript before you upload it. Applicants who attended a university in a non-English speaking country should upload a copy of both the English translation of their transcript and the one in their native language as one PDF.


The primary (native) language selection is required. The secondary areas are optional and/or not applicable.


The employment history section is optional. You are required to upload your Resume/CV in the Supporting Materials section of the application.


You are required to submit three letters of recommendation. You will be asked to submit the names and email addresses of your three recommenders as part of the online application. The request for the letter of recommendation will be initiated in the application itself. They will also be directly submitted once your recommender sends the letter online. Science faculty should write at least two of your three letters. All reviewers should be familiar with your scholarly abilities. If you have had research experience in a lab setting, we also recommend that you submit letters from your faculty research supervisor. You do not have to wait until letters of recommendation are submitted in order to submit your online application.

Test Scores 

 Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
The GRE exam scores are not required for the graduate application. They will not be reviewed or considered even if submitted.

All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a recognized U.S. institution, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must upload an unofficial transcript from the recognized U.S. institution. Please review the Graduate Division’s requirements for Evidence of English Language Proficiency. Indicate institution code 4833 (UC Berkeley) to have scores sent.

With few exceptions, UC Berkeley requires a TOEFL score of at least 570 on the paper and pencil test, or 230 on the computer-based test and 90 on the Internet-based TOEFL. Take the TOEFL by November. Note on the TOEFL order form the institution code 4833 (UC Berkeley) and the department code 37 (botany). Please read the Graduate Division's Evidence of English Language Proficiency page for more information.

Statement of Purpose (required)

The statement of purpose should convince readers—the faculty on the selection committee—that you have solid achievements behind you that show promise for your success in graduate study. Please be specific about why UC Berkeley would be a good intellectual fit for you. Generally, these are 1 to 2 pages in length. We strongly recommend you review the Graduate Division's tips for Writing the Statement of Purpose.

Personal Statement  (required)

The personal statement should give concrete evidence of your promise as a member of the academic community, giving the committee an image of you as a person. This is also where you represent your potential to bring to your academic career a critical perspective rooted in a non-traditional educational background, or your understanding of the experiences of groups historically under-represented in higher education and your commitment to increase participation by a diverse population in higher education. Generally, these are 1 to 2 pages in length. We strongly recommend you review the Graduate Division's tips for Writing the Personal Statement.

Resume/Curriculum Vitae

This is required. In addition to your work history, you may like to list any awards, fellowships, summer research opportunities, traineeships, prizes, participation in student organizations etc.

Sampling of Relevant Work 

This section is not applicable. Please do not submit written work.

Publications and Presentations

Applicants have the option of uploading additional documents they believe will help strengthen their application. Although not required, you may choose to upload publications, papers, and/or posters related to your academic and/or professional background.

Optional Sections

The Honors and Awards, Website, and Survey sections of the application are optional.

Graduate Diversity Admissions Fair 2023 

Join us on October 30th, 2023 to learn more about becoming a successful applicant and get all your questions answered by our admissions staff!  REGISTER HERE TO JOIN.

Questions? Should you have any questions or concerns about the graduate admissions application or graduate admissions process, please contact the Graduate Advisor at

After You Apply