The Bachelor Degree in Botany

Christa Schwintzer, Coordinator
christas@maine.edu
310 Deering Hall
(207) 581-3115
Trish Costello, Contact Person
teresa.costello@umit.maine.edu
5751 Murray Hall
(207) 581-2540

Botany is the study of all aspects of the biology of plants including the familiar seed plants, the ferns and other seedless vascular plants, the bryophytes, the algae and fungi. The fungi have traditionally been included in botany even though we now know that they are more closely related to the animals than to the green plants. Botany majors study how plants function at the cellular, tissue, organ, and organismal levels, how they have evolved and contribute to biodiversity, and how they interact with each other and their physical environment. The study of botany includes not only what is currently known about plants but also learning how to do research to increase our basic knowledge about plants and to solve problems in many fields including agriculture, ecology, and horticulture.

Students choose between a BS or BA degree. Both the BS and BA degrees provide a strong background in botany, but the BS degree requires more math, chemistry, and physics and is pursued by most of our students. The BS program prepares students for graduate study in botany or a career that requires a higher level of technical skill than is provided by the BA degree. In contrast, the BA degree has a stronger focus on the social sciences and humanities and is particularly well suited for students pursuing a double major or seeking an international perspective.

Students pursuing a BA or BS in Botany can declare a concentration in Ecology.

The Botany curriculum offers a wide range of choice. The program is solidly grounded in the basic sciences (general biology, chemistry, math, and physics) needed to understand the latest research in plant biology. It also allows a range of choice in upper level courses permitting students to tailor their degrees to their particular interests within plant biology. Students choose from upper level courses taught by distinguished faculty who are accomplished teachers and have cutting edge research programs. These courses are offered by biology faculty and by faculty in related disciplines (biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, plant science, and marine science). Each student works with an academic adviser in the faculty to develop a curriculum that best meets the student’s goals and allows for exploration or specialization as desired.

Students interested in research have many opportunities to participate in important investigations in faculty research laboratories or in the field. This can be for academic credit or for employment during the academic year or the summer and is an important resume builder. Students in their third and fourth years of study who intend to pursue graduate studies are strongly encouraged to include independent research under the guidance of a member of the biology faculty in their program.

Special opportunities. The Schoodic Experience for incoming first year students takes place at the Schoodic Research and Education Center in Acadia National Park in the week before classes start. Incoming students meet their faculty advisors and each other, are introduced to the academic program, view plants and animals in a variety of habitats, and enjoy recreational time in a beautiful setting.

Specific Program Requirements

Program Goals and Objectives

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