Spotlight On Biology Specializations: Botany

Assumption College Undergraduate

“Three times a week they went out to the greenhouses behind the castle to study Herbology, with a dumpy little witch called Professor Sprout, where they learned how to take care of strange plants and fungi, and found out what they were used for.”

—Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Perhaps the most famous botany course in popular culture is Herbology, the Harry Potter equivalent. Not far off, however, is the actual scientific study of plants: botany. As herbologists do in Harry Potter, botanists use plants to better our world – some with goals of growing the world food supply, finding medicinal qualities in the most surprising of plants and working to protect our air, water and soil.

The field of botany is broad. This means that there are many kinds of plant biologists and a variety of career opportunities available. Botanists get to travel across the globe, studying the plants of all kinds of climates and ecosystems: deserts, rainforests, under the sea, among others. Botanists can specialize in the structure of plants down to their microscopic makeup, study plant reactions to different environments, explore the incredible diversity of different ecosystems, discover how different species have evolved over time, work to eradicate invasive species and more.

The diversity of plant science correlates to the many different specialties and career opportunities available for botanists to choose. If a plant scientist enjoys the outdoors, he or she could find positions as an ecologist, forester, plant explorer or more. A biology major concerned about the world food supply might want to look into plant pathology (the study of plant diseases) or breeding. Plant biologists interested in curing disease can research human reaction to natural plant remedies.

Many botanists continue on to graduate school to learn more about botany and specialize in different areas of the field. Botanists often work for research institutions like a university or specialized government organizations.

Assumption Biology undergraduate students can enroll in Botany during their first and second years.  Students then have the opportunity to dig deeper into macro-level impacts of plant biology like Ecology, higher-level Botany courses, Microbiology, special topics courses and more. Biology majors are also open to minors and courses in Geography and Environmental Science like GEO 134 Conservation of Natural Resources and ENV 350 Wetlands.


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