Plant Science: Academic Requirements, Professional Outlook

Plant Science:  Academic Requirements, Professional Outlook

Plant Science

Plants are vital to all existence on Earth; they provide oxygen to breathe, raw materials for building shelter and food to eat. Knowing how they work and how they can be improved can help us have better crops, better medicines and beautiful landscape plants. "Plant science explores through investigation and experimentation how plants grow, develop, reproduce, evolve, fight off pests and diseases, and interact with and respond to their environment," according to the University of Nottingham's Plant Science program website.

The field is socially important because Plant Scientists help to improve the products that we get from plants, including food, fiber and medicine. Plant Scientists also work in environmental protection, helping to clean up damage to the environment.

The Academic Requirements

Students will take courses in biology (including genetics), chemistry, ecology, and environmental sciences. Students will learn about the different technologies that are applied to plant science and the applications of Plant Science to agriculture, horticulture, crop science, and environmental sciences. Students may also pursue courses in related fields, such as crop science, soil science or weed science.

Here are some courses that we've seen:

  • Genetic Improvement of Plants and Animals
  • Plant Pathology
  • Soil Fertility
  • Weeds and Weed Control
  • Marketing Specialty Agricultural Products
  • Community and Whole Plant Physiology
  • Ecology
  • Plant Cell Signaling
  • Resource Capture by Plants
  • Botany
  • Ornamental Horticulture
  • Elements of Entomology
  • Environmental Soil Management

Professional Outlook

Plant Scientists can work in research for industries or academics, they can work in health industries (such as pharmaceutical research laboratories), in education, or with a variety of private companies or government agencies. They can work in food industries, in horticulture and plant breeding, with crop protection companies, or in environmental protection agencies. Many Plant Scientists work in basic (academic) or applied (problem-solving) research and development. Those in senior positions may manage or administer research and development programs all over the world. Some Plant Scientists are consultants to business firms, private businesses or the government. To conduct independent research or to be in a managerial position, a master's or doctorate degree is usually required.

The Bureau of Labor website says; "Agricultural scientists involved in management or basic research tend to work regular hours in offices and laboratories. The work environment for those engaged in applied research or product development varies, depending on the discipline of agricultural science and on the type of employer." Some plant scientists, especially those assisting researchers, may work outside, collecting samples and monitoring projects.

Here are some job titles that we've seen, including some of the organizations that offer them, all of which included a requirement for experience in Plant Science:


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