A lot of people become interested in plants. Some become amateur gardeners, while others start a business as a florist. Others even become farmers. But for some, who prefer a more rigorous and scientific approach to the study of plant life, the best approach is to get a college degree in botany.
Botany is the scientific study of plant life. It is the study of their biology, ecology, and environment. For high school students considering a career in Botany, the best college prep courses to take are biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. English courses will also help, along with at least one foreign language. Humanities and social studies may also be very useful, because many botanists end up participating in public community affairs.
Students should also try to participate in science clubs and science fairs. Summer internship programs associated with biology may also be taken into account, and these include working in farms, parks, plant nurseries. Students can also work for florists and landscape architects during the summer.
In college, after the introductory courses you’ll be inundated with advanced math along with the lab sciences. These will include physics, chemistry, biology, and botany courses. Some schools may also add microbiology and zoology.
The botany courses will deal with increasingly advanced aspects of plant biology, such as the development, physiology, and structure of plants. Other subjects will include botanical diversity, evolution, plant genetics, biochemistry, and plant taxonomy.
Many graduates with a Bachelor’s Degree in Botany proceed to post-graduate studies, which can be a medical degree or a PhD in botany. But some go to work immediate after graduation.
They can become an ecologist, studying plant ecosystems so that they can be protected. They study how plants interact with other organisms and with the environment.
Some become agronomists who work to improve the yield of field crops by improving farming methods and by preventing disease. Taxonomists are those who categorize plant species. Mycologists focus on fungi and study how these organisms harm other plant life.
They can also be plant breeders, who improve plants for human use or for the environment by crossbreeding and creating hybrids. They are a type of plant geneticist, except they don’t use genetic engineering.
Horticulturists grow and care for plants, including flowers and fruits, by working in tree orchards, plant nurseries, or gardens.
Of course, some can become teachers in high school or elementary. Others can also work as a writer, producing articles and books containing practical advice for gardeners. Some may also become florists while others may also work in landscape architecture.
Best Schools for a Botany Degree
Many excellent schools offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Botany. Among the most highly regarded include Cornell University, the University of California Berkeley, Northwestern University, the University of Florida, and Washington University in St. Louis.
Other good schools with a Botany program are University of Wisconsin Madison, University of Georgia, the University of Texas at Austin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of California Davis.