Orange Flowers

A constantly changing Earth supports an increasing human population that continues to demand more and more resources. The foundation for many of these resources is plants.

Plants are the primary energy source for virtually all other species on Earth. Plants also define the habitat for most species on land. A greater understanding of field botany is necessary if we are going to address problems such as environmental degradation, increasing species extinctions, and the need to produce more food for a growing human population.

As a field botany student, you will study plants as well as fungi and algae to gain a strong understanding of the field. In addition to traditional classroom experiences, you will also find many opportunities for practical experiences through participation in faculty-directed research, internships, or career-related summer employment. Your degree will open the door to a number of careers.

What It’s Like to Study Field Botany at Ball State

Ball State’s field botany faculty are more than teachers—they are also active researchers that regularly invite students to work alongside them.

Some of the research projects our students have assisted with include:

  • conservation of plant diversity
  • plant community ecology
  • floristic inventories of natural areas
  • vegetation monitoring in response to fire management
  • ultrastructure, physiology and taxonomy of fungi
  • climate and pollution stress effects on forest communities
  • landscape analysis of regional plant communities

As a Ball State student, you will have access to a number of resources on and off campus to conduct botany research both in the classroom and out in the field.

  • Ball State Herbarium Collection – This collection, located in the Cooper Science Building on the southwest end of campus, serves as a growing repository hundreds of samples of plant matter for research and analysis.
  • Rinard Orchid Greenhouse – This on-campus greenhouse houses nearly 2,000 orchids and tropical fruit-bearing plants, making Ball State University the home of the largest university-based orchid collection in the United States.
  • Christy Woods and the Teaching and Research Greenhouse – This 17-acre area is located on the southwest end of campus to give students hands-on experience studying, testing and growing local and exotic flora.
  • Additionally, six properties in the area provide dozens of acres of wetlands, tallgrass prairies, forests and agricultural fields to visit for teaching and research.

Our low student-to-professor ratio and small class sizes give you daily contact with professors in lecture, laboratory and out in the field, plus the individualized attention you need to excel.

Program Requirements

The concentration in field botany fulfills part of the requirements that lead to a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree with a major in biology. All biology majors must also complete the biology core curriculum and the University Core Curriculum.

Credits Required

Total to Graduate: 120

  • Biology Core Curriculum: 44-45
  • Field Botany Concentration: 23
  • University Core Curriculum: 66-70


Biology Core

All biology majors in every concentration are required to complete a core curriculum in biology that is separate from your concentration requirements and from the University Core Curriculum.

These foundational courses provide you with an overview of the principles in biology and develop a necessary competency in chemistry, physics and math.

Biology Core Courses: 25 credits

  • BIO 111 – Principles of Biology 1
  • BIO 112 – Principles of Biology 2
  • BIO 210 – Intro to Botany
  • BIO 214 – Genetics
  • BIO 215 – Cell Biology
  • BIO 216 – Ecology
  • BIO 315 – Cell Methods or Bio 316 – Ecology Methods
  • BIO 499 – Senior Symposium

Other Required Courses: 19-20 credits

  • CHEM 111 – General Chemistry 1
  • CHEM 112 – General Chemistry 2
  • CHEM 231 – Organic Chemistry
  • PHYCS 110 – General Physics 1
  • one course in mathematics:
    • MATH 112 – Pre-calculus Trigonometry
    • MATH 161 – Applied Calculus
    • MATH 165 – Calculus 1

Note: All aquatic biology and fisheries concentration students are required to take Math 161.

View Catalog

The courses you will take to complete the field botany concentration are:

  • BOT 380 – Forestry
  • BOT 440 – Taxonomy of Vascular Plants
  • BOT 448 Biometry
  • BOT 470 – Dendrology
  • BOT 480 – Plant Ecology
  • BOT 481 – Aquatic Botany
  • NREM 221 – Soil Resources

For a complete list of all the courses you will take for your degree and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Degree in Biology with a Concentration in Field Botany?

In addition to preparing you for further education in graduate school, here are a few examples of where your degree can take you:

  • ecologist
  • taxonomist
  • conservationist
  • forester
  • agronomy
  • food science technology
  • economic botany
  • horticulture
  • plant pathology

And no matter where you are in your education or career, our faculty and the Ball State Career Center will help guide you every step of the way.

Paying for Your Education

Apply to Ball State

Admission to Ball State is selective, and we carefully evaluate all applications on an individual basis. Applying is easy. Use our convenient, comprehensive, and secure online application.

Apply Now

Want to Learn More?

The best way to get a true feel for Ball State is to spend some time here, so we encourage you and your family to schedule a campus visit. Take a tour, attend an information session, meet with a professor in our area, and ask plenty of questions. Or if you’d rather speak to someone directly by phone or email, please feel free to contact us.

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