Departmental Graduate Student Research Assistantships

The Department of Plant Sciences at the University of California, Davis, awards approximately 10 Research Assistantships (Graduate Student Research Assistantships) on an annual basis. For students pursuing a M. Sc. Degree, the Research Assistantship is awarded for a maximum period of two years; for students who pursue a Ph.D. degree, the Research Assistantship is awarded for a maximum period of four years. In addition to a stipend for 12 months, the Research Assistantship also covers in- and out of state tuition and fees. Graduate students who have not yet enrolled at UC Davis and those students already enrolled can apply for a Departmental Research Assistantship.

Areas of research emphasis in the Department of Plant Sciences include but are not limited to: agroecology, plant breeding, plant genetics and genomics, plant-microbial interactions, plant physiology, ecosystem management, restoration ecology, plant biochemistry, post harvest physiology, urban ecology, and weed science.

Minimum Qualifications/Requirements to be Eligible

  • Candidates must be accepted by a graduate group/program. (Applying for admission is a separate process.)

  • Only graduate students whose major professor is a member of the Department of Plant Sciences are eligible for a Departmental Research Assistantship. If the student will be co-supervised by two major professors, at least one major professor must be a member of the Department of Plant Sciences.

  • Only graduate students who conduct research to fulfill the requirements for a thesis (M. Sc.) or dissertation (Ph. D.) qualify for a Research Assistantship.

  • Minimum GPA of 3.4 (undergraduate record) or 3.5 (graduate record).

  • Deadline to submit completed Research Assistantship application packet is March 15th.  Awards for successful applicants will begin in Fall.

Application materials to be submitted:

  • On-line application form

  • Research proposal: maximum of two pages (plus references), font no smaller than 10 pt, line spacing no less than single spaced, margins should be at least 1 inch. The proposal should be your own work, although your Major Professor can review it and provide feedback. The proposal should include the following sections:

    • Relevance and justification (approximately 1/2 pg) - why your research would be relevant to the mission of the Dept of Plant Sciences

    • Goals and objectives (approximately 1/2 pg) - list format recommended

    • Experimental plan (approximately 1 pg) - should align with goals and objectives

  • Resume or cv; can include, but is not limited to, scholarly papers and reports, honors and citations, grants, and previous graduate degrees.

  • Letter of reference: You will need to enter the name and e-mail address of your recommender in the on-line application, and an e-mail will be sent to him/her with instructions on uploading the letter. For continuing students, this letter must be from your Major Professor (MP). For incoming students, this letter should be provided by a faculty member from your previous university, unless you have worked for a number of months with your prospective MP and feel he/she knows you well enough to provide this letter. If the letter of recommendation does not come from your prospective MP, he/she must send an e-mail to Lisa Brown,, indicating that he/she has agreed to serve as your MP and understands the cost-sharing involved in this award.

  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts: These should be scanned and uploaded with your on-line application. If you are a current UCD graduate student, you do not need to submit a transcript for your UCD graduate work; it will be provided separately.

  • Copy of GRE scores: This should be scanned and uploaded with your on-line application; it can be a scan of the score report that was sent to you, or a screenshot of your scores from the ETS website.

  • Students who have been graduate students at UC Davis for at least a year at the time of application must also provide some documentation of research productivity and progress, separate from their transcripts. This should include a paragraph on your research progress to date and current or expected results. It can also include publications, presentations, posters, grants obtained, evidence of outreach activities, TAships, etc.

Potential for research accomplishment is ultimately the most important factor in choosing successful candidates. Students contemplating application for departmental support should prepare their research proposals carefully with this objective in mind.

It is very important to be aware that the application for admission to a graduate group/program is separate from the application for a Graduate Student Research Assistantship in the Department of Plant Sciences. Application deadlines vary for different graduate programs, so be sure to check your graduate program's website for their admissions application deadline.

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Brown (530-752-7738) for further information.