What Is Plant Biotechnology?

Plant biotechnology can involve finding solutions for alternative energy and food shortage problems. Continue reading to learn about the field of plant biotechnology, the available degree programs and the career options available in the field. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Plant biotechnology is essentially genetic engineering related to botanical science. Educational options for this career begin at the bachelor's degree level. You can also find master's degree programs. A master's degree will give you more career options, as well as offering additional training in the field.

Degrees Bachelor's and master's degrees are available
Courses Plant pathology and immunology, plant development, advanced plant physiology, cell biology, microbial ecology and nucleic acid structures, the genetic origins of plants, botanical communication, microbiology, parasitology, agricultural and horticultural sciences, evolution in botany and plant DNA and RNA
Future Career Options Laboratory technician, research technician, plant breeding support scientist, technical writer, technical assistant, plant propagation specialist, field representative, scientist, teacher, lab technician and research specialist

What Degree Programs Are Available?

You can find many plant biotechnology programs at the bachelor's and master's levels. A program might focus solely on biological technology related to botanical science, or it may offer a concentration within a related discipline, such as crop science or general biotechnology. Sometimes you'll find plant biotechnology programs offered in conjunction with another field of study, such as molecular biology.

Bachelor's degree programs generally serve as an introduction to plant biotechnology and botanical science in general. Master's degree programs are designed to take you to the next level, fostering a hands-on environment that centers primarily on research.

What Will I Learn?

Course topics at the undergraduate level include communication, writing, genetics, plant pathology and immunology. You'll usually take some basic life science courses, such as chemistry and physics. At the graduate level, your courses might include plant development, advanced plant physiology, cell biology, microbial ecology and nucleic acid structures. Some specialized course topics include:

  • Genetic origins of plants
  • Botanical communication
  • Microbiology
  • Parasitology
  • Agricultural and horticultural sciences
  • Evolution in botany
  • Plant DNA and RNA

What Does A Career in Plant Biotechnology Involve?

Professionals in this field identify, isolate and transfer genes from one plant organism to another. Plant biotechnologists improve plant production for practical uses, such as producing food, biofuels and fibers. The discipline can be used to make plants more resistant to the effects of nature and disease, as well as yield more fruits or regenerative seeds.

What Are My Career Options?

With a bachelor's degree, you'll qualify for employment in a variety of settings, including government laboratories, educational institutions, parks and museums. Some possible career options include:

  • Laboratory Technician
  • Research Associate
  • Plant Breeding Support Scientist
  • Technical Assistant
  • Plant Propagation Specialist
  • Field Representative
  • Plant Geneticist
  • Plant Pathologist

As a master's graduate, you'll increase your opportunities in administration, academia and research. Your opportunities include a number of industries, including pharmaceutical companies and consulting services. Possible job titles include:

  • Scientist
  • Scientific Director
  • Project Manager
  • Corporate Manager
  • Teacher
  • Research Specialist

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:

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