A masters degree in plant science explores the science of plant life, including fungi, algae, and viruses. Botanists study a range of plant structure and function, including growth, reproduction, and disease.
This area of study may also be known as plant biology and conservation, biology, plant science, soil science, or plant protection, depending upon the focus of the particular school.
Ideal applicants to botany and plant studies graduate schools should possess the following qualifications:
- Strong background in biology and chemistry
- Interest in research
- Curious about plant life
Botany and Plan Science Graduate Program Application Requirements
Applicants to graduate botany and plant science programs are usually required to submit a personal statement, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, transcripts, and TOEFL scores, if applicable. Each graduate school may have its own particular requirements, so be certain to check with the admissions department for details. A strong background in the sciences, volunteer, work, and/or internship experience in the field (or a closely related one) will also enhance a resume.
Botany and Plant Studies Graduate Programs and Curriculum
A master’s degree in botany and plant studies generally takes an average of one to three years to complete, while a Ph.D. in botany and plant studies can take between four and seven years. Ph.D. students may need to complete oral and written exams, as well as a dissertation based on original research. Master’s students may be required to complete a thesis.
Students at botany and plant studies graduate programs might encounter the following courses:
- Weed science
- Plant classification
- Plant ecology
- Plants and civilization
- Biology of fungi
- Plant-bacteria interaction
- Biotechnology in agriculture
- Plant anatomy
- Plant disease management
In addition, they may focus their research on a particular area. Some of these include:
- Plant Growth and Development
- Genetics and Evolution of Plants
- Plant Cell Biology and Physiology
- Plant Genomics and Bioinformatics
- Plant-Pathogen Interactions
- Fungal genetics and biology
- Infection-related morphogenesis
- Physiology, genetics and molecular aspects of host-pathogen interactions
- Plant disease management
- Biological control
- Mechanisms of disease resistance
- Molecular Virology
Botany and Plant Studies Career Paths
Botanists may find work at private industries, educational institutions, and state and federal agencies. In addition, botanists and plant scientists might also find potential career opportunities in industries ranging from pharmaceuticals to biotechnology, from food companies to lumber companies. Many governmental agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior might employ botanists. Botanist and plant scientists might also pursue careers in teaching at the high school level, or at community colleges, or universities. Those working at universities might work as researchers, teachers, professors, laboratory managers, laboratory directors, department heads, and upper administration.