Application to the Department of Botany Graduate Program

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To Apply

The Department of Botany’s graduate program has one admission cycle per year. Applications are due by January 15, for fall admission of that same year.

1. Documents to be sent to UH Office of Graduate Education are described online at:

Graduate Forms

A link to the Office of Graduate Education online application system is here.


These may be submitted online or as paper copy.

2.  Documents to be sent to the Botany Graduate Program include copies of all documents sent to UH Office of Graduate Education, plus the additional documents described below (see checklist – PDF document):

  • Transcripts from all academic institutions (unofficial transcripts may be sent to the department, though official transcripts must be submitted with the application to UH Office of Graduate Education– see 1 above)
  • Statement of Objectives (2 page maximum, 12 pt font and single spaced), which should include the following:
    • A clear explanation of research interests with proposed hypotheses or research questions
    • A statement indicating why you have chosen to apply to the Department of Botany at the University of Hawaii
    • An indication of having contacted one or more UH Botany faculty members to discuss potential projects.  Please note that students are unlikely to be accepted into the graduate program unless a faculty member agrees to serve as an advisor.
  • Curriculum Vita

In addition, please have the following sent to the department:

  • Three Letters of Recommendation, at least two of which should be from academic referees.  Letters of recommendation must include the following form: (Download PDF document)
  • Additionally, if you wish to apply for a Teaching Assistantship, please include the application form: (download form as PDF document)

Send all documents to:

Botany Graduate Program Chair
Department of Botany, St. John 101
University of Hawaii at Manoa
3190 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822

Tel: 808-956-8369
FAX: 808-956-3923


The Evaluation Process

Basic Requirements

  • Bachelor degree from an accredited U.S. college or university, or equivalent from a recognized foreign institution of higher learning.
  • Applicant must demonstrate contact with one or more faculty members to determine the possibility of a project of common interest and to be able to demonstrate communication with a potential advisor. Students are not accepted into the program unless a faculty member commits to serving as an advisor.
  • See the University of Hawai‘i General and Graduate Information Catalog for more specific details. This catalog is available online


Evaluation Criteria

Following the January 15 deadline, all applications are reviewed for completeness and to determine whether at least one faculty member is willing to consider advising the applicant. All applications meeting this initial screening process are evaluated by a committee of graduate faculty based on the following criteria, with the goal of notifying applicants by April 15:

1. GPA score(s)

2. Funding – it is considered advantageous if a student has secured his or her own support through scholarships or fellowships, or if their advisor will be able to support them on a research assistantship.

3. Prior research experience

4. Whether the applicant has authored or co-authored a peer-reviewed publication as a result of his or her prior research experience.

5. Potential, as indicated by letters of recommendation.

6. Prior coursework and/or background in biology and the botanical sciences.

Other factors may also be involved in the final decision of whether to admit an applicant (such as available resources within the Department).

IMPORTANT: To be considered, an application must contain all of the above documents. Delays in processing and reviewing applications are often caused by late arrival of transcripts and letters of recommendation.


Financial Support

In general, applicants will receive notice of financial support at the same time as their acceptance to the program.

Teaching assistantships are open to students accepted in either the MS or the PhD program. Teaching assistantship appointments include nine month stipends, and include a tuition waiver. Applications for teaching assistantships (download form as PDF document) are due January 15.

Local students (graduating from a Hawaii high school) applying to the Botany MS program may be eligible for support through the Hauoli Mau Loa Foundation Graduate Assistantships. Download the application information here: SOEST_CNS_HML_Announcement_2015

Research assistantships are sometimes available through grants to specific faculty members and usually include a tuition waiver. Research assistantships are either 9- or 11-month appointments.

Students with interests in ecology, evolution and conservation biology are encouraged inquire about possible support and program opportunities through the Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology Graduate (EECB) Specialization Program.

The East-West Center offers scholarships to Asian, Pacific, and American students for affiliation in one of their programs. Of particular interest to some students in botany are the Resources Institute and the Environment and Policy Institute. Inquiries should be directed to the Office of Admissions, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822.

Students are encouraged to apply for external fellowships, many of which are listed on the Office of Graduate Education website: Graduate Fellowships and Scholarships.