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General Information

Programs of Study

The Department offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Horticultural Science (non-thesis), Master of Science (thesis) and Doctor of Philosophy (thesis) degrees. Completion of these degrees normally takes 2 to 2 1/2 years for the Masters and 3 to 3 1/2 years for the Doctor of Philosophy. Studies may be oriented to:

  • Floriculture
  • Ornamental and landscape horticulture
  • Pomology (fruit crops)
  • Olericulture (vegetables)

A variety of areas for study and research are available:

  • Plant physiology
  • Breeding and genetics
  • Herbicide physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Propagation
  • Plant molecular biology and biotechnology
  • Genomics
  • Growth regulators
  • Postharvest physiology
  • Sustainable and organic agriculture

Opportunities for employment after graduate study include teaching and research faculty positions in state and private universities; extension specialist and county agent careers; research, production and sales work with horticultural businesses or services to horticultural industries.

Research Facilities

Facilities for graduate studies include 40,500 square feet of greenhouse space; the University Phytotron (available for controlled environmental studies on horticultural crops); 19 well-equipped laboratories; 14 controlled temperature storage rooms, an extensive collection of plant materials, both living and preserved; and fifteen outlying research stations providing a variety of climates and soils from coast to mountains in North Carolina.

Financial Aid

Due to the limited number of assistantships available from the Department of Horticultural Science, if you require financial assistance, please contact the Director of Graduate Programs ( prior to submitting your application. If you are interested, applicants should apply by January 31st for Fall enrollment of the same year and by September 30th for Spring (January) enrollment to have the greatest chance of obtaining an assistantship.

Cost of Study

Tuition and fees for a full program of study per semester are $3,917.10 for NC residents and $9,941.10 for non-residents. All eligible students on graduate assistantships are provided with tuition and health insurance.

Student Body

The Department of Horticultural Science has 40 to 50 graduate students divided between Masters and PhD candidates. Each year 5 to 10 of these students are from other countries.


Admission to The Graduate School and the Department is competitive. Admission is usually limited to students with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Horticultural Science candidates should have completed course work in:

  • Horticulture
  • Plant physiology
  • Entomology
  • Plant pathology
  • Genetics
  • Soils
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Physics

Landscape Horticulture candidates should have a complete landscape design background but do not need to have an extensive course work in science. An applicant deficient in course work may be admitted on a provisional basis until the deficiency is made up. Applicants must provide the basic Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, three letters of reference, one official transcript for each previous degree and a statement of career goals. Applicants from other countries must also furnish evidence of proficiency in English (TOEFL).


The capital of North Carolina, Raleigh, is located in the center of the state with easy access to Interstate Highways 40 and 85. Raleigh is a cosmopolitan city of more than 409,000 residents. It forms one corner of the Research Triangle, a community of three major universities, the National Humanities Center, numerous colleges and junior colleges, and more than twenty research laboratories, public and private. The presence of these educational institutions and research centers creates a stimulating environment.