Botany Degree Programs and Colleges

Botanists study the taxonomy, physiology, germination, maturation and growth of plants. Botanists also study the causes and cures of plant diseases, genetic engineering and the use of plants as resources in economic products. Keep reading for more information about botany degree programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels and jobs that correspond with level of education. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Botanists investigate all the details of plant and algae life, including cellular structure, organ function and evolutionary characteristics. They differ from horticultural scientists, who specialize in the cultivation and breeding of plants, such as methods for improving crop yields of flowers.

Programs Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in botany and plant biology
Colleges Look for relationships with local businesses or government agencies, recently published faculty research, ongoing faculty research
Future Career Options Biological technician, high school science teacher, biological scientist, university professor

What Kinds of Botany Degree Programs Are Available?

Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in botany are available. Because hands-on coursework in a laboratory setting is required, most programs are campus-based. Lab facilities at many universities usually have modern research equipment and a wide variety of plant specimens for students to work with. Here are examples of schools with botany and plant biology degree programs:

  • Claremont Graduate University: Master of Science in Botany
  • Oregon State University: Master of Arts, Master of Science and PhD in Botany and Plant Pathology
  • University of California, Davis: Master of Science in Plant Biology
  • Oklahoma State University: Bachelor of Science in Plant Biology
  • University of Texas at Austin: Bachelor of Science in Biology

What Should I Consider When Selecting a Botany Degree Program?

When selecting a botany program, you should consider whether a college maintains working relationships with local businesses or government agencies; these relationships could lead to internship opportunities for students. Faculty of a school's botany department should have published research findings in peer-reviewed journals. Some plant science or botany teachers may conduct ongoing research projects in which students are encouraged to participate.

What Topics Will I Study?

In a botany bachelor's degree program, you'll take courses like basic biology, statistics and physics. To complement this core, students learn about plant genetics, plant ecology and microbiology. Completion of a final project may be required in order to graduate.

Master's-level students are expected to select a degree specialization, like morphology, genetics or plant physiology. Course topics might include cell biology, taxonomic classification or biochemistry. You'll usually need to complete a thesis project in order to earn a master's degree.

Students enrolled in a doctoral program in botany are required to complete a dissertation on a plant science topic. You'll be asked to defend your dissertation before a faculty committee in order to receive your doctorate. Topics might include:

  • Pathogenic threats to agricultural plants
  • Bio-fuel potential of a plant species
  • Recovery and preservation of an endangered plant population

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's or Master's Degree?

After earning a bachelor's or master's degree, you might be prepared for work as a biological technician with a government agency or pharmaceutical company. You could also find work as a high school science teacher, though you'll need to complete some additional courses in order to qualify for teaching licensure.

Biological technicians operate laboratory equipment and act as assistants for biological or medical scientists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), biological technicians earned a median annual salary of $43,800 in 2017. During the same year, high school teachers earned a median annual salary of $59,170.

What Can I Do With a Doctoral Degree?

Completing a doctoral program could lead to a career as a biological scientist for a pharmaceutical company or bioengineering firm. Biological scientists conduct experiments, perform field-based research and analyze data. In 2017, biochemists, one type of biological scientist, earned a median annual salary of $91,190, as reported by the BLS.

Earning a doctoral degree in botany could also prepare you for a university teaching position. According to the BLS, biological science teachers at the postsecondary level earned a median annual salary of $78,240 in 2017.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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