Botany Undergraduate Major

Why Study Plants?

Plants play crucial roles in ecosystems across the globe. They provide us with oxygen, food, medicine, and fiber for clothing and shelter. Plant biology is essential to confront 21st century problems of global importance: hunger, energy supply, health, resource sustainability, climate change, and environmental stewardship.

Majoring in Botany

Students majoring in Botany study the fundamental biology of plants and fungi from molecular and cellular to the global ecosystem level. The curriculum includes core classes in plant structure, systematics, ecology, and physiology, along with courses in biochemistry, cell biology, and genetics. Students also learn how to apply their knowledge to current issues and problems of in food production, conservation, and healthy ecosystems.

Botany Undergraduate Major Requirements

Botany Majors can select one of five options:

Botany minor

The Botany minor requires courses in plant genetics, systematics, physiology, and ecology. Learn more.

Learning by Experience

Botany students earn upper-division credit and great job skills by putting their knowledge to work in undergraduate research projects and internships at OSU and off-campus. Learn more about these activities and research scholarships, and see some examples and get advice from our Botany alumni.

What can I do with a degree in Botany?

A botany degree is applicable to many types of careers. Some plant biologists work primarily outdoors, in forests, parklands, or fields. Others work in laboratories, museums, in botanical gardens, or in industry. Graduates go into fields as diverse as biotechnology, environmental monitoring and protection, and agriculture. More than half of Botany students go on to graduate studies in natural science, agriculture, environmental sciences, and education.

Learn More About Botany Careers

How do I prepare? How do I apply?

Students enter the BS degree program in Botany in three different ways. Choose the one that applies to you for information on preparation and applying.

  1. Admission Planner for High School Students
  2. Admission Planner for Community College Students
  3. Admission Planner for Post-baccalaureate Students (have a college degree)

You are always welcome to contact our Office Specialist, Kimberly Callahan, with any questions at or (541) 737-5261.

Undergraduate Learning Outcomes for students in Botany and Plant Pathology (as of June 2017)

  1. Communicate scientific concepts, experimental results and analytical arguments clearly and concisely verbally and in writing.
  2. Apply scientific methods, reasoning and appropriate mathematics to describe, explain and understand biological systems.
  3. Demonstrate understanding of five core concepts in biology: evolution; pathways and transformations of energy and matter; information flow, exchange and storage; structure and function; biological systems.
  4. Use interdisciplinary approaches (applying chemistry and quantitative skills) to work on biological problems.
  5. Ecosystems are defined by complex networks of interactions that determine energy flow, and the cycling of water, carbon, nitrogen, and minerals.
  6. Identify and analyze the anatomical and morphological features of plants and plant structures as they enable plant function and reveal plant evolutionary histories.
  7. Recognize and describe the features of plant groups using standard botanical terminology. Interpret the evolutionary and phylogenetic relationships of plants by evaluating analytical and experimental tools used to understand organismal diversity.
  8. Incorporate information from physiology, genetics, developmental biology, biochemistry and genomics to explain how plants integrate water-relations, mineral and organic nutrition, solute transport, respiration and photosynthesis, hormonal and environmental signals to regulate the processes of growth and reproduction.
  9. Describe and implement laboratory methods typically used in genome-enabled plant molecular and cellular biology studies.