Individuals who are interested in enrolling in a master's degree program in plant biology have a number of options, as this degree is offered at numerous institutions across the country. In this article, we will explore some details about these degree programs, including common course requirements and admission standards.
Information About Master's Programs in Plant Biology
Master's degree programs in plant biology are typically designed to be completed within three years. Often, these programs give students the option of completing a master's-level research thesis or following a coursework-only track. Due to the hands-on nature of this field, these programs also typically include a large laboratory component. Below, we will look at five courses that are commonly found in master's degree programs in plant biology.
Master's programs in plant biology will likely include a course that focuses on soil microbiology. In a course like this, students will study topics like microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, soil microorganisms, soil quality, and general soil science. The course may include a lab component in which students will learn different methods and techniques for analyzing soil samples.
A course in community ecology will focus on how plant communities are organized and structured. Topics that may be covered in this course include levels of interaction, the essential properties of a community, and natural communities. This course will also focus on different modeling and quantitative methods that can be used when trying to understand a plant community.
Plant Anatomy & Physiology
In a course that focuses on plant anatomy and physiology, students will learn about plant cells, tissues, and organs in order to better understand the anatomical make-up of various types of plants. In addition, the course may focus on physiological topics like the chemical and physical elements of plant processes like respiration, photosynthesis, plant transport, and metabolism. The course may also focus on how different plants adapt to their environments from an anatomical and physiological perspective.
Plant Molecular Genetics
Master's programs in plant biology also often require that students take a course that covers plant genetics. In this course, students will learn the fundamentals of genetics in relation to plants and the organization of the plant genome. Topics that may be covered include gene expression, how genetic material is transmitted in plants, and how genetic material evolves over time.
A course in restoration ecology is another common part of the curriculum of a plant biology master's program. This course will cover various topics in restoration ecology, including philosophies of ecology. The course may highlight different scales of restoration, depending in whether the focus is on an individual plant species or on an entire ecosystem.
Admission Standards for Master's Degree Programs in Plant Biology
Prospective students who are interested in pursuing a master's degree in plant biology will need to meet a number of prerequisites in order to be considered for admission. Generally, students are expected to have completed a degree in one of the natural sciences and have taken a significant number of courses in biology. In addition, it is also recommended that students have experience in statistics, chemistry, and physics. When applying to a program, students will need to submit a complete application that consists of a completed application form, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, transcripts of past undergraduate work, and results from the GRE.
To summarize, students who are interested in master's degree programs in plant biology can prepare for these programs by taking undergraduate courses in biology. These programs offer students a high level of specialized study in topics related to plant biology through coursework and individual research opportunities.