How to Choose a Botany School or College

Dec 05, 2019

Botanists are scientists who study plants, their ecology and the environment. Bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in botany are available in this field.

Students can find undergraduate and graduate-level botany programs at four-year colleges and universities around the country. These programs typically combine classroom courses, laboratory training and field work.

Ten Schools with Botany Programs

These schools offer degree programs in botany:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (in-state, 2018-2019)*
University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI 4-year, Public Bachelor's,
$10,555 undergrad,
$12,010 grad
University of Wyoming Laramie, WY 4-year, Public Bachelor's,
$5,400 undergrad,
$6,078 grad
Oregon State University Corvallis, OR 4-year, Public Bachelor's,
$11,166 undergrad,
$14,331 grad
Weber State University Ogden, UT 4-year, Public Bachelor's $5,859 undergrad
$8,118 grad
University of Hawai'i at Manoa Honolulu, HI 4-year, Public Bachelor's,
$11,970 undergrad,
$16,502 grad
University of California - Riverside Riverside, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's,
$13,827 undergrad,
$13,584 grad
Claremont Graduate University Claremont, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's,
University of Maine Orono, ME 4-year, Public Bachelor's,
$11,170 undergrad,
$9,106 grad
Utah Valley University Orem, UT 4-year, Public Bachelor's $5,726
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's,
$6,381 undergrad,
$12,737 grad

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

Here are some things to consider when choosing between botany programs:

  • Prospective graduate students should make sure that there are faculty members at the school with whom they share research interests, as they may serve as thesis or dissertation advisors.
  • It can be helpful for students to explore the lab facilities at the school, in order to ensure that they will have access to the latest technologies.
  • The school's location may be an important factor in the student's decision, since it can affect the field experience opportunities that are available. For instance, students who are interested in studying desert or mountain plant life should choose a school in their preferred setting.
  • Students may want to find out if the school has relationships with federal and state agricultural departments, local botanical gardens, arboretums, nurseries and botanical societies, which may lead to networking opportunities or internships.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Bachelor's degree programs in botany provide a broad educational foundation in the sciences. They include courses in advanced mathematics and lab sciences, including botany, biology, chemistry and physics. After finishing the introductory science curriculum, botany students can take more advanced classes in plant physiology, development and structure. Possible electives include plant taxonomy, plant genetics and botanical diversity. These programs can lead to a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.

Master's Degree Programs

Master of Science (MS) programs in botany usually combine lectures, seminars, case studies and directed research in botanical topics. Students take advanced courses in topics like cytology, molecular biology and environmental studies. In most programs, they also conduct research in a particular interest area under the supervision of a university faculty member, leading to a final master's thesis.

Doctoral Degree Programs

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs in botany give students the chance to narrow their focus in a botanical specialty. They conduct advanced research in a particular area of interest, either in the lab or in the field, and they must write and defend a doctoral dissertation prior to graduation. In most cases, graduates go on to work as university professors at research institutions.

There are four-year universities around the country that provide bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in botany. Key considerations for prospective students include school facilities and research opportunities.

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