Botany is the study of plants, their biology, chemistry, and genetics. “Botany” is referred to by a few names, including plant science, plant biology, and phytology. A multidisciplinary study, those that study this subject will pull from science and technology areas, as well. Botanists come in many forms, some focusing on agricultural uses, such as breeding hardier versions of plants, while others look at the molecular level to understand physiological processes. Botany degrees are conferred at the baccalaureate, master, and doctorate levels.
A bachelor’s in botany typically takes four years to complete when attending full time. The curriculum will include classes on plant physiology, as well as taxonomy, anatomy, and ecology. Organic chemistry, entomology, and cellular biology will be studied, as well. Many of these courses will have accompanying labs and students may be required to conduct their own field research to graduate. A bachelor’s degree qualifies graduates for laboratory or technical assistant positions.
Career paths for graduates with a bachelor’s degree in botany include: Botanist, Academic Journal Assistant Editor, Fish and Wildlife Technician, Laboratory Technician, Municipal Park Ranger, Wetland Scientist, Florist, Forest Technician.
To work in environmental, horticulture, or agriculture sectors of botany, a master’s of science degree in botany is required more often than not. Master’s programs take between one and three years to complete and the curriculum will likely include courses covering weed science, biology of fungi, plant disease management, and biotechnology in agriculture. Career options are many and varied, but often come with higher pay and/or title with a master’s degree. At this level of education, graduates are qualified to research, consult, teach, and hold administrative positions.
Career paths for graduates with a master’s degree in botany include: Botanist, Agricultural Chemist, Agrologist, Biostatistician, Environmental Policy Officer, Plant Geneticist, Soil Scientist, Wildlife Manager.
Taking four to seven years to complete, a PhD in Botany will often require students to choose a major research area or concentration. Opportunities include bryology, mycology, ethnobotany, conservation and restoration ecology, floristics, comparative morphology, monography and revisionary studies, and more. Academia and research are often the end goals when pursuing a PhD. It qualified graduates for advanced positions within research, consulting, administration, and teaching.