The Department of Botany at the University of Wisconsin has an active graduate program leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. 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, ethnobotany, paleoecology, restoration ecology, taxonomy, genetics, and physiology. Increasingly, graduate student projects in Botany encompass more than one of these categories. The department’s Research Overview and the faculty members’ web pages should be consulted for more details about current and future research opportunities. Information about affiliate faculty who can serve as graduate trainers also should be reviewed.
If you are interested in graduate studies in the Department of Botany, we highly recommend that you contact one or more faculty members who you think might be a potential research advisor(s) before formally applying. You might email such faculty, mentioning particular aspects of their research programs that interest you. You might also indicate any previous experience that you have already had in that field. You might ask if the faculty members of interest plan to add graduate students to their labs, because sometimes space or financial resources limit faculty ability to enlarge lab groups. Please feel free to consult graduate coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your questions about the admissions process. Be sure to review the application process page and frequently asked questions.
Students also interested in fields bordering botany will find rich opportunities for coursework, collaborative research, and seminars in many other departments and schools such as Agronomy, Bacteriology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Engineering, Entomology, Forest and Wildlife Ecology, Genetics, Geography, Geology, Horticulture, Physics, Plant Breeding/Plant Genetics, Plant Pathology, Soil Science, and Integrative Biology and in the Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies. Interdisciplinary work is encouraged.
Graduate study in the Department of Botany requires a combination of advanced coursework, participation in seminars, and original research. The course requirements have been 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 member 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. See the 2015 Assessment document for statements of goals, expected outcomes, and means of assessment of the Botany graduate program.