The Department of Botany provides an introduction to the living world: the diversity of its organisms; its historical origins through evolution; its principles of structure, function, and ecology; and its interactions, relationships, and effects on the nonliving world. Botany is the science of plants, algae, fungi, and bacteria—all living organisms except animals. Green plants and algae provide the photosynthetic energy for fueling all other life on earth and drive global water and carbon cycles. Fungi and bacteria are the fundamental recyclers of the earth.

The study of botany provides a broad background in the principles of modern biology and gives a solid foundation for careers in environmental studies, conservation biology, ecology, systematics, evolution, genetics, physiology, biotechnology, agriculture, and horticulture. Jobs requiring such preparation include teaching in secondary schools and colleges, research and development in industry and medicine, stewardship of our natural world through private and governmental programs, and research and teaching in academia.

Undergraduates interested in majoring in botany should take an introductory course or course sequence in their freshmen or sophomore years:

Option A (strongly recommended)
BOTANY/​BIOLOGY  130 General Botany5
With or without the following:
Animal Biology
and Animal Biology Laboratory
Option B (also appropriate)
BIOLOGY/BOTANY/ZOOLOGY 151 Introductory Biology5
BIOLOGY/BOTANY/ZOOLOGY 152 Introductory Biology5
Option C (also appropriate)
Biology Core Curriculum

The general undergraduate botany advisor will help guide students to a botany faculty member in their field of interest, who should be chosen as soon as possible—no later than the junior year. All botany faculty members serve as advisors for their special fields.

The department encourages undergraduates to participate in its activities. Volunteers are welcome in the herbarium and greenhouses. There are a few paid positions there and in many of the research laboratories as well.

Professors Ane, Baum, Cameron, Emshwiller, Gilroy, Givnish, Hotchkiss, Maeda, Otegui, Spalding, Sytsma (chair)

Associate Professor McCulloh

Assistant Professors Keefover-Ring