Photo of a SoPH student at work in the Nolen Greenhouse

How to Apply

2023 applications are now closed. Applications will reopen on May 1, 2024.

Admission is selective and is based on a combination of academic achievement, practical experience, and demonstrated commitment to the field of horticulture.

We suggest that applicants secure letters of reference at least one month prior to deadline. Late applications will be accepted only at the discretion of the Director.

All applicants who have met the School’s admission requirements will be interviewed by the end of September. Those who are accepted for enrollment will be notified by October 1.

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    • Must possess 500 hours of hands-on experience in the field of horticulture prior to entering the School. This experience may be volunteer work experience. Most public institutions have volunteer opportunities. Like work experience, these hours must be fulfilled under the guidance of a horticulturist.
      • Hands-on in horticulture is defined as the action of planting, maintaining, recording, and/or removing live plants. Cashiering at a flower shop does not count. Work in one’s own garden does not qualify. Experience must be under the guidance of a horticulturist in the public or private sector. (A horticulturist is a person possessing a degree in horticulture or someone who has more than five years of work experience.) Examples of acceptable work experience are horticulture internships, nursery work, growing, landscape installation, and gardening. Applicants should be prepared to discuss work experience during their interview.
    • Two years of post-secondary education are strongly encouraged and preferred. All transcripts are to be submitted.
    • Must be at least 18 years of age at the time of entrance in the School.
    • Must be able to do rigorous work both indoors and outdoors.
    • Must possess at least a high school or a New York State equivalency diploma.
    • Must complete an application form, submit it by the due date, and interview either in person or by phone (out-of-town applicants).
    • If working full time at 40 hours per week, applicants may expect to complete the 500-hour requirement in 12.5 weeks or just over 3 months.
    • Completed application form (Download)
    • Application fee of $75 in U.S. currency (non-refundable) in either check or money order made payable to School of Professional Horticulture
    • Photocopy of birth certificate or other official proof of age and nationality (i.e., passport)
    • Transcripts of all post-secondary education; if none, then high school transcripts are required
    • Proof of work experience: letter from employer stating start and end date and the hours completed
    • Three letters of reference. This can be combined with documentation of practical experience. At least one letter should be a horticultural reference
    • Medical examination report on the form supplied by the School (Download)
    • Résumé
  1. The School welcomes applications from foreign nationals and is authorized by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to accept non-immigrant foreign students. All international applicants must submit, in English, the eight items previously listed, as well as the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 600 (paper based), and 100 (Internet based). The School also accepts the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum band score of 7 in the academic module

    Applications must include a photocopy of the applicants passport ID page along with a letter of financial support in English or translated into English from the applicant’s bank.

    Note: Applicant’s proficiency in English should be sufficient to understand class instruction and to converse comfortably.

  2. Interviews are scheduled for the third week of September. The Admissions Committee is made up of members of horticulture staff, instructors, administrators, and alumni. Applicants should be prepared to discuss all aspects of their horticulture experience, their career aspirations, and how the School can help them achieve their goals. Applicants from outside the New York area will be interviewed by phone or Zoom.

  3. The School of Professional Horticulture has a policy of non-discrimination. It prohibits discriminatory actions against and treatment of applicants for admissions based on actual or perceived race, color, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, religion or creed, gender, disability, age (18 and over), military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, marital status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, sexual orientation, or status as a victim of domestic violence, a sex offense, or stalking. The New York Botanical Garden is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer.

    The School is accessible and accommodating to persons with disabilities.

  4. All required application materials must be submitted by September 1. Late applications will be accepted only at the discretion of the director. All applicants who have met the School’s admission requirements will be interviewed by the end of September. Those who are accepted for enrollment will be notified by October 1.

  5. Financial aid is available in several forms (i.e., tuition scholarships, grants, and loans). Tuition scholarship awards are made by the Scholarship Committee to currently enrolled students.

    Title IV

    The School of Professional Horticulture is certified by the U.S. Department of Education to administer Title IV funds (Federal Pell Grant Program and Federal Direct Student Loan Program) to qualified students. Students may apply online at

    Tuition Scholarship

    The Charles M. Yurgalevitch Scholarship

    The New York Botanical Garden is pleased to offer the Charles M. Yurgalevitch Scholarship, sponsored by The Peckham Family Foundation, for underrepresented students pursuing careers in horticulture. This scholarship is designed to support and encourage students from diverse backgrounds who are interested in studying horticulture or related fields.

    The Charles M. Yurgalevitch Scholarship will cover school tuition and provide a $2,500 yearly stipend.

     The Geraldine Stutz Trust Scholarship

    The New York Botanical Garden is extremely grateful for the Geraldine Stutz Trust’s commitment to SOPH students and the future of horticulture. For over a decade, this critical funding has allowed talented students to attain an education in horticulture and to make a positive impact on the field. Scholarship award amounts are variable and are based financial need, good academic standing, overall performance and professionalism.

    Veterans Administration Educational Benefits

    In accordance with Title 38 US Code 3679 subsection (e), our school adopts the following additional provisions for any students using U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Post 9/11 G.I. Bill® (Ch. 33) or Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Ch. 31) benefits, while payment to the institution is pending from the VA. Our school will not:

    • Prevent nor delay the student’s enrollment
    • Assess a late penalty fee to the student
    • Require the student to secure alternative or additional funding
    • Deny the student access to any resources available to other students who have satisfied their tuition and fee bills to the institution, including but not limited to access to classes, libraries, or other institutional facilities.

    To qualify for this provision, students will be required to produce the Certificate of Eligibility by the first day of class and provide a written request to be certified. Contact the Director for further information.

Application Procedures

Send all inquiries to:
Richard Smith, Director
The School of Professional Horticulture
The New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
Tel: 718.817.8797

A person with brown hair, wearing a red shirt and rubber waders, poses for a photo as they work in a pool of aquatic plants