Horticulture - MS, MAg, PhD

Program Degree:

Graduate Certificate:


Graduate study in horticulture emphasizes the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Graduates are prepared for careers in teaching, research, business, public horticulture or Cooperative Extension. Master-level programs are available to students with undergraduate degrees in horticulture and to those from other areas seeking opportunities in horticulture-related careers. For the MS program, students must have a bachelor’s degree in horticulture or a related area from an accredited university and meet specific departmental academic standards. Applicants from related areas will be required to correct any undergraduate course deficiencies. GRE test scores, GPA, letters of intent and reference, as well as other support material, will be considered in evaluating applicants. A GRE Analytical Writing Score of 3.0 or above is recommended. For applicants scoring less than 3.0 on the essay portion of the GRE, ENGL 3040 Technical Writing will be considered a deficiency course. An absolute requirement for admission is a faculty member willing to serve as the applicant's  advisor. The MS requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate work, including at least 21 credit hours in the major field of study and six of which may be research & thesis hours (HORT 7990). The student’s plan of study is individually tailored by the student, the major professor and the advisory committee to meet the student’s career goals. A thesis based on research by the student is required. Students in the MS program in Horticulture who are on departmental funding cannot change to the Master of Agriculture program.

Admission requirements for the MAg program, a non-thesis degree, are the same as for the MS degree. The MAg requires successful completion of 32 credit hours, 21 of which must be in agricultural sciences. Credit for HORT 7990, Research and Thesis, cannot be counted toward graduation requirements for the MAg. Additional courses may be required for individual students as determined by the major professor and the advisory committee. There is no specific schedule of courses for MS or MAg students or a foreign language requirement for any graduate students in Horticulture. Students in this option must complete a research or special project and pass a comprehensive oral exam covering course work and the project.

Admission to the Doctor of Philosophy program requires the completion of a thesis-based degree and meeting the same requirements as for master-level programs. Doctoral candidates must follow all Graduate School and departmental requirements concerning course work. For the PhD, the Graduate School requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of graded (e.g. A, B, C) graduate course work (6000-level and above) beyond the bachelor’s degree, and at least 30 semester hours of additional graduate course work that may include un-graded courses, including 7990 and 8990. The advisory committee may require additional course work. Upon completion of all course work, PhD students may be required to take a general written examination by his/her committee. Students must pass all parts of the written examination before scheduling the required preliminary oral examination (referred to as the PhD prelim exam). After satisfactory completion of the prelim exam the student advances to candidacy. The PhD student will conduct independent research and prepare a dissertation through the guidance and direction of an advisory committee. After completion of the dissertation, the student must pass a final oral examination defending the dissertation.

Several minors are available for horticulture graduate students. Auburn University’s Department of Horticulture and School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences offer a minor in Urban Forestry. An interdisciplinary minor in Environmental Studies administered by the Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences Department is also an option, as are minors in Ecology and Biochemistry and Cell/Molecular Biology.  The department also offers a Graduate Certificate in Public Horticulture.