What Can I Do With This Major?
BOTANY

PLANT BIOLOGY

Anatomy
Biochemistry
Biophysics
Cytology
Ecology
Genetics
Molecular Biology
Morphology
Paleobotany
Physiology
Systematics
Systems Ecology
Taxonomy

EMPLOYERS
Research organizations
Colleges and universities
Museums
Botanical gardens and arboretums
U.S. Department of Agriculture branches including Medical Plant Resources Laboratory, Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, National Arboretum, U.S. Forest Service
Federal agencies including Departments of Interior and State, U.S. Public Health Service, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Smithsonian Institution, and Environmental Protection Agency
State agencies
Environmental and biotechnical regulatory agencies
Ecological consulting companies
Industries including petrochemical, chemical, and lumber and paper
Companies including pharmaceutical, food, seed and nursery, fruit growers, biological supply houses, and biotechnology firms

STRATEGIES
Obtain a Ph.D. for teaching and advanced research positions. Conduct undergraduate research with professors to gain experience. Apply for undergraduate research fellowships or other student research programs. Maintain a high grade point average and develop good references in preparation for graduate school. Develop excellent computer skills. Join related professional associations. Read scientific journals or articles to stay abreast of current research. Learn federal and state government job application process.

APPLIED PLANT SCIENCE

Agronomy
Biotechnology
Breeding
Economic Botany
Food Science and Technology
Forestry
Horticulture
Natural Resource Management
Plant Pathology

EMPLOYERS
Colleges and universities
Research organizations
Agriculture industry including lumber and paper, seed and nursery, fruit and vegetable growers, fermentation, food industry, and biological supply houses
Biotechnology firms
Industries including petrochemical, pharmaceutical, and chemical
Ecological consulting companies
Federal, state, and local government agencies
Environmental and biotechnical regulatory agencies

STRATEGIES
Take courses or double major in your area of interest. Gain relevant experience through volunteer positions, part-time work, or internships. Obtain a Ph.D. for teaching, advanced research positions, and administration. Learn a foreign language for international work such as plant studies in the tropics. Learn federal, state and local government job application process.

ORGANISMIC SPECIALTIES

Bryology
Lichenology
Microbiology
Pteridology
Mycology
Phycology/Marine Botanists

EMPLOYERS
Colleges and universities
Research organizations
Federal and state government laboratories including Agriculture, Health, etc.
Pharmaceutical companies
Food and beverage industries including brewing and fermentation
Hospitals
Related industries

STRATEGIES
Gain experience working with technology. Become familiar with laboratory procedures and equipment. Assist a professor with research or find a part-time job in a laboratory. Obtain a graduate degree in area of interest.

EDUCATION

Teaching
Research
Administration

EMPLOYERS
Public and private high schools
Colleges and universities
Museums, botanical gardens and herbaria

STRATEGIES
Gain certification or licensure for high school science teaching. Obtain a Ph.D. for positions in college teaching and research. Gain experience through tutoring. Learn to work well with different types of people.

COMMUNICATION

Writing
Editing
Botanical Illustration

EMPLOYERS
Publishing companies including newspapers, magazines, books, and textbooks
Professional associations
Scientific and educational software companies
Non-profit organizations

STRATEGIES
Take courses in technical writing, journalism, or illustration. Develop word processing and desktop publishing skills or computer-aided design. Find an internship with a magazine, newspaper, or publisher. Obtain a master's degree in scientific journalism.

LAW

Agricultural
Environmental
Biotechnological

EMPLOYERS
Law firms with environmental focus
Government agencies and regulatory agencies
Biotechnical regulatory firms or agencies

STRATEGIES
Obtain law degree after completion of bachelor's degree. Gain relevant experience by working at a law firm.

BUSINESS

Sales/Marketing
Administration/Management

EMPLOYERS
Pharmaceutical companies
Seed companies
Biotechnology firms
Scientific publishers
Biological supply houses

STRATEGIES
Earn a minor in business. Hold leadership positions in campus organizations. Join related professional associations. Develop good communication skills; take a course in public speaking. Learn various software packages including spreadsheets, databases, and word processing.

COMPUTER PROGRAMMING

EMPLOYERS
Scientific and educational software companies

STRATEGIES
Double major or minor in computer programming. Gain related work experience through internships or part-time and summer jobs.


GENERAL INFORMATION

Bachelor's degree qualifies one for work as a laboratory technician or technical assistant in education, industry, government, museums, parks, and gardens.

Master's degree opens some opportunities in research and administration.

Ph.D. is required for advanced research and administrative positions or college teaching. Most plant scientists work in higher education.

Build good relationships with science professors and secure strong recommendations. Maintain a high g.p.a. for graduate school admission.

Obtain part-time, summer, co-op, volunteer, or internship experience with government agencies, college/university labs, agricultural experiment stations, freshwater and marine biological stations, or private companies.

Complete an undergraduate research project to decide on a specific area of interest in botany.

Enjoy outdoor activities if planning to conduct research in an outdoor environment.

Join organizations concerned with the world food supply and other related areas. Read scientific journals related to botany.

Develop an excellent background in mathematics and strong verbal and written communication skills.

Select a broad range of courses in English, social sciences, arts, and humanities.

Become proficient with computers.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (1995, Revised 2000, 2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA Employer.

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