Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Before you initiate your application to PMCB, check below for a few commonly asked questions that will help you better understand our program.
Do I need to contact professors prior to being admitted to the program?
While it is always a great strategy to contact faculty you are interested in, it is not strictly necessary if you are interested in coming as a rotation student. It is a great way of making sure that the lab you will ultimately chose will be the right one (you can check compatibility with the advisor, lab members, students in the lab, etc.) Also, you may find a faculty you would like to rotate with after you arrive here.
How are students admitted to PMCB?
Our Ph.D. students can be admitted two ways: as a “direct admit” or as a rotation student. While rotation students rotate in three different labs before deciding what lab and PI they will permanently join, “direct admit” students come to work specifically with a faculty member. To be directly admitted means you have secured a permanent advisor and funding prior to getting admitted to the program.
When applying, do I need to indicate I am interested in financial support or a graduate assistantship?
No, all applicants are automatically considered for financial support. Also, all admitted PMCB students are hired via a PMCB Graduate Assistantship (or Fellowship) or are financially supported by international educational programs (for example, Fulbright, etc.). That means that PMCB does not accept students unless we will be able to support them with a full graduate assistantship.
What does the PMCB graduate assistantship cover?
As of fall 2022, our assistantships offer an annual stipend of $32,000, tuition waiver (for 24 credits annually) and health insurance coverage. UF students with a Graduate Assistantship are covered by GatorGradCare. There is no additional cost to the student. Students are mandated by law to have health coverage during the entire year, including annual breaks. Please note that students are responsible for payment of student fees (approximately $1,000 annually) which is separate from tuition at the University of Florida.
How does the PMCB admission process work?
The PMCB admissions committee examines all applications from our pool of applications. Top applicants are then interviewed online. Based on results from these interviews, prospective students currently living in the US are invited for a two-three days visit to UF, all expenses paid (on-campus visits are cancelled for Fall 2021 admissions due to COVID-19). Once here, applicants have the chance of meeting with faculty on a one-on-one basis, tour our facilities, campus and city and meet with current PMCB students. The visit is very important to all involved because it ensures that PMCB, UF, Gainesville and the applicants are a good fit. For international applicants, in lieu of visits we conduct more online interviews and check references. Subsequently, offers of admission are made but not all students accept our offers. The admission committee goes down our list of qualified students. This process may go well beyond April of the year students are applying.
How does the PMCB Admissions Committee evaluate my application?
Our Admissions Committee will look for solid research experience, including research and lab experience, good performance in core biology courses, good letters of reference from people who can attest to your potential as a Ph.D. student and publications.
Are GRE scores required to apply to PMCB?
GRE scores are not required to apply to PMCB.
I am an international applicant. Can I be exempt from the English proficiency requirement?
International applicants are exempt from the English proficiency requirement only if they:
- have enrolled in one academic year in a degree-seeking program at a recognized/regionally accredited university or college in a country where English is the official language prior to the anticipated term of enrollment at UF, or
- are from one of these exempt countries
Do I really need to send official transcripts to UF?
Yes. Arrange to have official transcripts sent to the UF Office of Admissions from each postsecondary institution attended. International applicants need to submit an official copy in the native language of each transcript, mark sheet and diploma/degree certificate from each university or college attended, along with certified, literal (exact) English translations for documents not originally issued in English. In case your official transcript is not available when you apply, you may temporarily send PMCB unofficial copies. However, you will only be admitted to UF when all your official documentation has been submitted to:
Office of Admissions.
201 Criser Hall - PO Box 114000
Gainesville, FL 32611-4000
How does the cost of living in Gainesville compare to other universities
The cost of living in Gainesville, Florida is relatively low. A detailed Annual Cost of Attendance for UF graduate students is available from the Student Financial Affairs. This annual cost estimate includes tuition and fees, housing, food, computer costs, health insurance, books and supplies, transportation, and clothing maintenance. Students with a PMCB Graduate Assistantship are able to live comfortably.
What are my housing options in Gainesville?
The PMCB Student and Faculty Handbook provides all the official rules, policies and regulations that need to be followed by both graduate students and faculty in the program. The Handbook also assists students in successfully fulfilling requirements of the University of Florida Graduate School.
- On Campus Student Family Housing is available to single or married students (with or without children); however, there is usually a waiting list since it is in high demand. Contact the UF Housing Office for more information. If interested, sign up for on-campus housing as soon as possible.
- Off-Campus Housing are available online. Some of them include Apartment Finders, College Rentals, Apartment Hunters, Gainesville Apartment & Condominium Guide, The Alligator, Apartments.com, and ApartmentList.com.
What is the process for an international student once admitted to PMCB?
The International Students Services at the UF International Center assists all international students with the required immigration documents (I-20 if obtaining an F-1 visa or DS-2019 if applying for a J-1 student visa) to study in the United States. The UFIC is also committed to ensuring the integration of international students and families into the life of the University of Florida and ensuring a smooth transition to American culture and UF student life.
How many students does PMCB accept every fall?
It varies. PMCB does not have a pre-determined number of students it accepts per year. PMCB is highly selective, so we may accept few or many students every year. The number of students accepted every years also depends on available funding. From 2011 to 2016, PMCB received an average of 60 applicants every year while the average number of students enrolled was 5.5. The average percentage of applicants who received admission offers and matriculated in PMCB was 71.1%.
What is the composition of a typical PMCB incoming class?
It varies. From 2011 to 2016 the average number of female students was 42%, the average percentage of minority students was 11% (14.3% in fall 2016) and the average percentage of international applicants was 48%.
What other additional funding opportunities exist to UF available to PMCB applicants?
There are a number of other financial aid options to help incoming graduate students to supplement their graduate assistantships, to name a few:
The University of Florida Student Financial Affairs Office offers online material on loans, grants, scholarships, student employment and other forms of financial aid from university, government and outside sources to incoming graduate students.
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) offers a list of awards, scholarships and travel grants to prospective CALS graduate students. PMCB is part of CALS.
The Graduate School Office of Graduate Diversity Initiatives offers several fellowships and funding awards. Among them are the Graduate School Funding Awards (Grad School Preeminence Award and Graduate School Fellowship Program), Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship, FAMU Feeder Fellowship, McKnight Doctoral Fellowship, McNair Graduate Fellowship, and Grinter Fellowship. PMCB has proudly had several students receiving these fellowships.
My background is not plant specific. Do I qualify for PMCB?
We welcome applicants from other related science and engineering disciplines who are genuinely interested in pursuing a Ph.D. working with plants. We have several students who came from the medical sciences, for example.