Plant Science

Three students watch technician take sample in lab, all wearing lab coats

With society's emerging dependency on plants in the bio-economy and needs for both increased environmental management and efficient production of healthy foods, in this major you will investigate the many wonders of plants. In the Plant Science Major of the Bachelor of Science degree program, you will explore the intricacies of plant diversity, growth and development, plant-environment interactions, advances in molecular biology, and the wide variety of economic uses for plants. Study these areas alongside one of the largest concentration of plant scientists in Canada.

This major will give you hands-on experience in plant ecology, systematics, physiology, botany, genetics, agriculture, ethnobotany and biotechnology using the international expertise and advanced technologies found in the departments of Plant Agriculture, Environmental Biology, Integrative Biology and Molecular Cellular Biology. The curriculum is designed to offer focus in areas of emphasis, or allow you to custom-design a program of studies to suit your needs.

The University of Guelph is an internationally top-ranked university with both biological science and agriculture colleges. The Plant Science program crosses college boundaries to bring the full range of plant science programming to students. Students in Plant Sciences, who graduate with a B.Sc. degree, have the freedom to merge studies in botany, ecology and agriculture in a way that best suits their interests. This program is offered and administered by the Department of Plant Agriculture, and/or the School of Environmental Sciences in conjunction with the College of Biological Science.

Students in the program benefit from the knowledge of more than fifty faculty who offer expertise in plants (in areas such as agronomy, biochemistry, bioinformatics, botany, cell biology, ecology, genetics, genetic engineering, horticulture, molecular biology, physiology, plant breeding, tissue culture and taxonomy).

Admission Requirements

Ontario students applying for the Bachelor of Science – Plant Science program require 4U English; Advanced Functions; 2 courses from 4U Biology, Chemistry and Physics; 2 additional 4U or 4M courses. To be best prepared for semester one of the program, all applicants are advised to include 4U Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

Full information on admission requirements can be found here: https://www.uoguelph.ca/registrar/calendars/undergraduate/current/c04/index.shtml

How to Apply

Sample First Year Courses

Semester 1

  • Discovering Biodiversity
  • General Chemistry I
  • Elements of Calculus I
  • Physics for Life Sciences
  • Arts or Social Science elective

Semester 2

  • Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • General Chemistry II
  • Physics for Life Sciences II
  • One of: Introduction to Computing; Introduction to Programming; Elements of Calculus II
  • Arts or Social Science elective

For full course descriptions and a listing of second, third and fourth year courses, check out the undergraduate calendar here.

Life as a Plant Science Student

Sometimes the best way to learn about a program is through meeting a current student. Learn about student experiences through the following student profiles: 

Career Opportunities

Applied Plant Science

  • Agronomist
  • Crop production manager
  • Entrepreneur
  • Extension specialist
  • Government regulator
  • Graduate student
  • Greenhouse manager
  • Grower
  • Horticulturalist
  • Pest management advisor
  • Research technician
  • Sales representative/manager
  • Turfgrass specialist/golf course manager

Botany

  • Conservation biologist
  • Environmental consultant
  • Ethnobotanist
  • Graduate student
  • Government regulator
  • Policy developer
  • Research technician

Plant Biotechnology

  • Government regulator/specialist
  • Graduate student
  • Product development and bio-safety testing 
  • Research technician
  • Scientist in government
  • Scientist in the biotechnology and agri-food industries

Plant Environmental Sciences

  • Conservation biologist
  • Environmental consultant
  • Field botanist
  • Government biologist
  • Invasive species biologist
  • Park naturalist
  • Rare and endangered species biologist
  • Research technician
  • Restoration specialist
  • Wetland/forest ecologist

 

Experiential Learning

Research Opportunities in Plant Science

In the 4th-year of studies, students have an opportunity to enroll in research courses. This is a good opportunity to get hands-on experience in experimentation, especially for those interested in graduate studies or research-related careers. A student usually identifies a professor with common scientific interests and develops an original research project, most often working closely with an established member of the lab. The projects culminates with written and oral reports, and can sometimes lead to scientific publication.

AGR*4450 [1.00] Research Project I
AGR*4460 [1.00] Research Project II
-or-
IBIO*4500 [0.75] Research in Integrative Biology I
IBIO 4510 [0.75] Research in Integrative Biology II
-or-
MCB*4500 [1.00] Research Project in Molecular and Cellular Biology I
MCB*4510 [1.00] Research Project in Molecular and Cellular Biology II

Student-Run Clubs

University of Guelph students have the option to join various student-run clubs to explore their interests beyond the classroom. Two clubs that plant science students often join are:

The Botany Club

The Botany Club gives students, with an interest in plants, an opportunity to meet, gather and participate in a variety of wonderful events throughout the year. Members of this club have a great wealth of botanical knowledge, so it is an excellent place to learn and share. Whether you want more information about a certain class or tips on plant care, you can find it here. Events throughout the year include, themed nature walks, trips to the Royal Botanical Garden and camping. Contact botany@uoguelph.ca for more information.

Horticulture Club

Over the years the Horticulture Club has brought people together from all different areas of interest to share our love for plants. Every year the club participates in the Canadian Greenhouse Conference hosted by the University of Guelph in early October. Another annual activity for the club is College Royal. College Royal is the University of Guelph’s Open House where all of the departments, clubs, and organizations on campus display their best for the public. The club always creates many interactive displays for this event and have won many awards for their fine work. Contact hortclub@uoguelph.ca for more information.

Contact

Prof. David Wolyn
Plant Science Faculty Advisor
519-824-4120 ext.53092
plantsciencemajor@uoguelph.ca