Plant Sciences Major

Plant Sciences is the study of plant growth, reproduction, evolution, and adaptation, as well as the use of plants for food, fiber, and ornamental purposes. While students majoring in Plant Sciences necessarily share a common enthusiasm for plants, the variety of available courses and research opportunities encourages a great diversity of individual interests and career paths. Plant Sciences students gain the expertise necessary to advance research in and address many local, regional, and global challenges, such as:

  • Breeding heat- and drought-tolerant plants that will more effectively endure climate change.
  • Developing sustainable agricultural practices that produce healthy and nutritious food for a growing global population.
  • Investigating the disease-fighting properties of plants.
  • Transforming sterile urban environments into vibrant microcosms of nature.

Students in the Plant Sciences major may concentrate in any of the following areas:

  • Plant Genetics and Breeding
  • Sustainable Plant Production and Landscape Management
  • Evolution, Systematics, and Ecology
  • Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology
  • Plants and Human Health

Sample Classes

BIOPL 2410 Introductory Plant Biodiversity and Evolution

Introduction to plant diversity, ecology, structure, reproduction, and evolution, with an emphasis on the flowering plants and the history of life on earth. Laboratory and lectures are integrated to provide hands-on skills and concepts. First and second weeks of laboratory are field trips, starting with the first full week of classes.

PLBR 2250 Plant Genetics

This course surveys modern plant genetics and how this information is integrated with the principles of plant biology. Students learn about plant genomes, cross pollination, and methods for the analysis and manipulation of genes from different crop and plant species.

CSS 4140 Tropical Cropping Systems: Biodiversity, Social, and Environmental Impacts

This course investigates how the characterization of natural, physical, and social resources—including climate, water, and soil—determine different farming systems. Learn about the sustainability and environmental impact of different crop systems found in the tropics.

What recent graduates are doing

  • Graduate and professional study in education, horticulture, plant breeding, public gardens management, plant protection, and medicine
  • Research assistant at an urban botanical garden
  • Assistant grower of fruits and vegetables
  • Retail Branch Manager at a nursery

More about Plant Sciences