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Botany: What Can I Do With This Degree?

Plant Biology

  • Anatomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cytology
  • Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Morphology
  • Paleobotany
  • Physiology
  • Systematics
  • Systems Ecology
  • Taxonomy

Employers

  • Research organizations
  • Colleges and universities
  • Museums
  • Botanical gardens and arboretums
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture branches including Medical Plant Resources Laboratory, Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, National Arboretum, U.S. Forest Service
  • Federal agencies including Departments of Interior and State, U.S. Public Health Service, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Smithsonian Institution, and Environmental Protection Agency
  • State agencies
  • Environmental and biotechnical regulatory agencies
  • Ecological consulting companies
  • Industries including petrochemical, chemical, and lumber and paper
  • Companies including pharmaceutical, food, seed and nursery, fruit growers, biological supply houses, and biotechnology firms

Information & Strategies

  • Obtain a PhD for teaching and advanced research positions.
  • Conduct undergraduate research with professors to gain experience.
  • Apply for undergraduate research fellowships or other student research programs.
  • Maintain a high GPA and develop good references in preparation for graduate school.
  • Develop excellent computer skills.
  • Join related professional associations.
  • Read scientific journals our articles to stay abreast of current research.
  • Learn federal and state government job application process.

Applied Plant Science

  • Agronomy
  • Biotechnology
  • Breeding
  • Economic botany
  • Food science and technology
  • Forestry
  • Horticulture
  • Natural resource management
  • Plant pathology

Employers

  • Colleges and universities
  • Research organizations
  • Agriculture industry including lumber and paper, seed and nursery, fruit and vegetable growers, fermentation, food industry, and biological supply houses
  • Biotechnology firms
  • Industries including petrochemical, pharmaceutical, and chemical
  • Ecological consulting companies
  • Federal, state, and local government agencies
  • Environmental and biotechnical regulatory agencies

Information & Strategies

  • Take courses or double major in your area of interest.
  • Gain relevant experience through volunteer positions, part-time work, or internships.
  • Obtain a PhD for teaching, advanced research positions, and administration.
  • Learn a foreign language for international work such as plant studies in the tropics.
  • Learn federal, state, and local government job application process.

Organismic Specialties

  • Bryology
  • Lichenology
  • Microbiology
  • Pteridology
  • Mycology
  • Phycology/Marine botanists

Employers

  • Colleges and universities
  • Research organizations
  • Federal and state government laboratories including agriculture, health, etc.
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Food and beverage industries including brewing and fermentation
  • Hospitals
  • Related industries

Information & Strategies

  • Gain experience working with technology.
  • Become familiar with laboratory procedures and equipment.
  • Assist a professor with research or find a part-time job in a laboratory.
  • Obtain a graduate degree in area of interest.

Education

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Administration

Employers

  • Public and private high schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Museums, botanical gardens and herbaria

Information & Strategies

  • Gain certification or licensure for high school science teaching.
  • Obtain a PhD for positions in college teaching and research.
  • Gain experience through tutoring.
  • Learn to work well with different types of people.

Communication

  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Botanical illustration

Employers

  • Publishing companies including newspapers, magazines, books, and textbooks
  • Professional associations
  • Scientific and educational software companies
  • Nonprofit organizations

Information & Strategies

  • Take courses in technical writing, journalism, or illustration.
  • Develop word processing and desktop publishing skills or computer-aided design.
  • Find an internship with a magazine, newspaper, or publisher.
  • Obtain a master's degree in scientific journalism.

Law

  • Agricultural
  • Environmental
  • Biotechnological

Employers

  • Law firms with environmental focus
  • Government agencies and regulatory agencies
  • Biotechnical regulatory firms or agencies

Information & Strategies

  • Obtain law degree after completion of bachelor's degree.
  • Gain relevant experience by working at a law firm.

Business

  • Sales/Marketing
  • Administration/Management

Employers

  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Seed companies
  • Biotechnology firms
  • Scientific publishers
  • Biological supply houses

Information & Strategies

  • Earn a minor in business.
  • Hold leadership positions in campus organizations.
  • Join related professional associations.
  • Develop good communication skills; take a course in public speaking.
  • Learn various software packages including spreadsheets, databases, and word processing.

Computer Programming

    Employers

    • Scientific and educational software companies

    Information & Strategies

    • Double major or minor in computer programming.
    • Gain related work experience through internships or part-time and summer jobs.

    General Information

    • Bachelor's degree qualifies one for work as a laboratory technician or technical assistant in education, industry, government, museums, parks, and gardens.
    • Master's degree opens some opportunities in research and administration.
    • PhD is required for advanced research and administrative positions or college teaching. Most plant scientists work in higher education.
    • Build good relationships with science professors and secure strong recommendations. Maintain a high GPA for graduate school admission.
    • Obtain part-time, summer, co-op, volunteer, or internship experience with government agencies, college/university labs, agricultural experiment stations, freshwater and marine biological stations, or private companies.
    • Complete an undergraduate research project to decide on a specific area of interest in botany.
    • Enjoy outdoor activities if planning to conduct research in an outdoor environment.
    • Join organizations concerned with the world food supply and other related areas. Read scientific journals related to botany.
    • Develop an excellent background in mathematics and strong verbal and written communication skills.
    • Select a broad range of courses in English, social sciences, arts, and humanities.
    • Become proficient with computers.
    Download a PDF of this chart for easy printing.

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