Track in Plant Sciences
The field of Plant Sciences broadly includes the study of photosynthetic organisms, especially plants and algae. It prepares students to make important contributions to the world in the areas of agriculture, food security, natural resource management, sustainability, policy, and many others. Alumni find jobs in academia, private industry, environmental consulting companies, government agencies, and nonprofit agencies. Many go on to graduate school to study ecology, evolution, systematics, physiology, biotechnology, genomics, biochemistry, molecular biology, structural biology, agriculture, or horticulture. Explore some of the careers this track prepares you for at the career websites of the American Society of Plant Biologists and the Botanical Society of America. This is also a helpful infographic.
Plants represent an origin of complex multicellularity independent of animals, leading to the strikingly different structure and function of their bodies. We recommend that all students take Eukaryotic Diversity (BSC 3016) at an early stage because it enables students to identify the breadth to which their understanding of a group of organisms (e.g., plants or algae) is applicable across the Tree of Life.
The following is a list of other elective courses offered by the department that are applicable to the plant sciences. Students should determine which elective courses to take based on educational interests and career goals.
- Plant Biology Lab (BOT 3015L)
- Field Botany (BOT 3143C)
- Plants and Society (BSC 4933)
- Plant Molecular Biology (BOT 4394)
- Plant Physiology (BOT 4503)
- Plant Physiology Lab (BOT 4503L)
- Conservation Biology (BSC 3052)
- Algal Signal Transduction (BSC 3402L)
- Plant Cytogenetics (BSC 3402L)
- General Ecology (PCB 3043)
- General Ecology Lab (PCB 3043L)
- Cell Structure and Function (PCB 3134)
- Molecular Biology (PCB 4024)
- Molecular Biology Lab (PCB 4024L)
Opportunities for Research & Hands-on Experience
Students are strongly encouraged to gain experience in research through sponsoring faculty and their labs. You can become involved in research in these labs and at local research facilities in three ways:
- Directed Individual Study (BSC 4900) Research or other individual study for credit:
Available to students with a GPA of 3.0 in courses that apply to the major. Search faculty pages here for appropriate mentors.
- Honors in the Major:
(BSC 4970). A two-semester independent research experience for qualified students. Available to students with a GPA of 3.2.
- Medical Volunteering:
Volunteering is a great way to find out if a topic interests you and gain experience even if you can’t make a semester-long commitment (though some students do volunteer long-term). Internships provide experience outside of academic labs. For a list of volunteer and internship opportunities read the Department of Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Opportunities page.
Instructional and research facilities for the plant sciences at FSU are exceptional. Advanced undergraduates who have demonstrated special aptitude have access to state-of-the-art instrumentation and expertise in most areas of the plant sciences. In-house electronic, machine, and wood shops support instructional and research activities, as do the Electron Microscope Labs, the Monoclonal Antibody Lab, the Structural Biology Lab, and the Analytical Lab. The Mission Road Plant Growth Facility and the FSU Marine Laboratory on the Gulf of Mexico are available for terrestrial and aquatic plant research projects. FSU's Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium contains 220,000 plant specimens that document over 150 years of plant diversity and distribution. Other local resources such as the privately owned Tall Timbers Research Station provide additional plant research opportunities in fire ecology and conservation.
Contact: For details, see the Advising Office or find an appropriate faculty member.
Register here to be added to a voluntary list of track members to receive news and updates of interest to the track via email.