Tree Fruit Physiology (GRA)

Area of Focus:

Tree Fruit Physiology


The Fruit Tree Physiology Program within the Department of Plant Agriculture has GRA openings at the MSc or PhD level in tree fruit research for Canadian domestic students. International students are not permitted to receive these GRAs which are backed by incentives provided by the University of Guelph to enhance graduate enrollment of domestic students.

Qualifications include:
a) BSc. or MSc in horticulture, botany, plant biology, plant physiology, or soil science-related area.
b) Coursework or experience in pomology/tree fruit physiology is a requirement.
c) Student must hold Canadian citizenship (open only to domestic students)

An annual stipend of $18,000 (M.Sc.) or $20,000 (Ph.D.) will be provided for 2 or 3 years, respectively with a $2,000 top-up bonus/year. To qualify, students must demonstrate a high academic standing during the last two completed years of study (minimum of 75% but) in addition to the admission requirements of the University (see link below). Student must be willing to apply for support through departmental scholarships.

Ideal candidates will be highly motivated, creative, hard working, and willing to work in the general area of whole-tree fruit physiology. Our program conducts research on apple (Malus), peach (Prunus), and tart cherry (P. cerasus).

Successful candidates will have the opportunity to learn about and conduct research related to plant growth and development and crop production techniques related to fruit set, thinning and crop load management, inhibition of vegetative growth, and flower induction, cultivar adaption and susceptibility to biotic and abiotic stress, water relations, rootstock-scion interactions, and trickle irrigation, and tree pruning/training.

Our current research projects focus on assisting the Ontario hard cider industry with understanding the performance and European apple cultivars in Ontario and measuring the juice attributes for hard cider making. In addition, we anticipate new opportunities to study methods to thin apples without the use of the Carbaryl. We are also investigating the biology of biennial bearing with respect to hormonal signaling and flower induction. 

Students will be required to travel to the University of Guelph, Simcoe Campus andproducer orchards in rural Ontario to conduct field/laboratory research as required by their project. Course work will be conducted in Guelph at the main campus.

Screening of applicants will continue until a successful candidate is identified. For information about graduate school admissions visit please visit and and send letters of inquiry with a statement of your specific research interests in pomology to Prof. John Cline (