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Administrative Unit:Botany
College/School: College of Letters and Science
Admitting Plans:M.S., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered:M.S., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates:Ph.D. Minor

Faculty: Professors Baum (chair), Cameron, Fernandez, Gilroy, Givnish, Graham, Spalding, Sytsma, Waller, J. Zedler; Associate Professors Ane, Hotchkiss, Larget, Otegui; Assistant Professors Emshwiller, Maeda; Faculty Affiliates Amasino, Brunet, Spooner, P. Zedler


The Department of Botany, with an active graduate program leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, consists of 20 faculty members and approximately 40 graduate students. According to the American Council on Education Rating of Graduate Program Quality, the department ranks, as it has for many years, among the top five departments of botany in the country.

Graduate students work with faculty and staff on a wide range of projects in plant biology at any level of organization, from molecules, through cells and organs, to populations, communities, and lineages of organisms. Major research areas emphasized are molecular, cellular, and developmental biology; structural plant biology; ecology; evolution; and systematics. Advanced instruction and opportunities for research are also available in phycology, bryology, mycology, ethnobotany, paleoecology, restoration ecology, taxonomy, genetics, and physiology. Increasingly, graduate student projects in botany encompass more than one of these categories. Master's students may complete a nonthesis professional degree in ecological restoration, which is designed to prepare them for careers in environmental consulting, natural resource agencies, and nongovernmental organizations.

Students also interested in fields bordering botany will find rich opportunities for course work, collaborative research, and seminars in many other departments and schools such as Agronomy, Bacteriology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Engineering, Entomology, Forest and Wildlife Ecology, Genetics, Geography, Geoscience, Horticulture, Physics, Plant Breeding/Plant Genetics, Plant Pathology, Soil Science, and Zoology, and in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Interdisciplinary work is encouraged.

Graduate study in the Department of Botany requires a combination of advanced course work, participation in seminars, and original research. Course requirements are set up in four tracks: general botany; ecology; evolution; and molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. Independent research is usually initiated soon after arrival. Through consultation with a faculty supervisor, each student selects a track that includes a combination of courses and research topics that are related to his or her interests and that will provide the array of techniques and detailed knowledge needed for effective research.


The Department of Botany will consider as candidates for advanced degrees applicants who fulfill the minimum admissions requirements of the Graduate School. The credentials of each candidate must be submitted to the department. Applications for fall admission should be submitted by December 1 [catalog update 8/29/13] in order to be considered for financial support; applications may be reviewed until April 15. All applicants are required to take the general Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The GRE subject test in Biology or in Cell and Molecular Biology is not required but, if available, will be considered in the admission process. Admission is based on the applicant's shared interests with one or more potential faculty advisors, undergraduate record, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, previous research experience, and statement of purpose.

For more information: Department of Botany, Graduate Coordinator, 430 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1381; 608-262-0476; botgrad@ls.wisc.edu; www.botany.wisc.edu.