Faculty | PhD | MSc | Courses

Chair - R. Larry Peterson (303 Axelrod, Ext. 6000/8302)
Graduate co-ordinator - Joe Gerrath (113 Axelrod, Ext. 3277) (E-mail:
Graduate secretary - Laurie Winn (301 Axelrod, Ext. 2731)

J. Derek Bewley BSc, PhD Queen Elizabeth College, University of London, DSc University of London, FRSC - Professor
Judith M. Canne-Hilliker BSc State U. of New York, MSc Ball State, PhD Ohio State - Associate Professor
Joseph F. Gerrath BA, BSc, MSc, PhD British Columbia - Associate Professor
John S. Greenwood BSc, MSc McMaster, PhD Calgary - Associate Professor
Roger F. Horton BSc Wales, D Phil Oxford - Professor
Brian C. Husband BSc, MSc Alberta, PhD Toronto - Assistant Professor
John N. Klironomos BSc Concordia, PhD Waterloo - Assistant Professor
Douglas W. Larson BSc, PhD McMaster - Professor
Annette Nassuth BSc, MSc Free University, Amsterdam, PhD Leiden - Assistant Professor
R. Larry Peterson BEd, MSc Alberta, PhD California, FRSC - Professor
Usher Posluszny BSc, PhD McGill - Professor
Wilfried E. Rauser BSA, MSA Toronto, PhD Illinois - Professor
Richard J. Reader BSc Windsor, MSc Manitoba, PhD North Carolina - Professor
Robert G. Sheath BSc, PhD Toronto - Professor and Dean of College of Biological Science

From the Department of Environmental Biology:
Peter G. Kevan BSc McGill, PhD Alberta - Professor

Associated Graduate Faculty
John Ambrose BS, MS Michigan, PhD Cornell - Metro Toronto Zoo
B. Ann Oaks BA Toronto, MA, PhD Saskatchewan, FRSC - McMaster University

Special Graduate Faculty
Melissa Farquhar BSc, PhD Guelph - Research Associate

The Department of Botany offers MSc and PhD degrees in the fields of terrestrial and aquatic ecology (Husband, Klironomos, Larson, Reader, Sheath), plant physiology (Bewley, Greenwood, Horton, Rauser), plant anatomy and morphology (Peterson, Posluszny), plant systematics and population biology (Gerrath, Canne-Hilliker, Husband, Sheath), and cellular and molecular botany (Bewley, Greenwood, Nassuth, Peterson). The primary objective of the graduate program in botany is to provide training in research, in a field and/or laboratory setting.
   The department is actively involved in the Plant Biology Council, which has a mandate to strengthen undergraduate and graduate teaching in plant biology, provide incentives for collaborative research, and to ensure communication among the Departments of Botany, Crop Science, Environmental Biology and Horticultural Science. There are also close ties with plant-oriented researchers in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics.
   Applicants must submit a statement of their research interests and are encouraged to contact potential advisers prior to submission of an application.
   Students may be admitted in any of the three semesters. However, applications should generally be completed two months before the start of a semester to be considered for admission and funding in that semester. Applications from international students must be completed six months before the start of the semester.

   This program is primarily a learning experience for students to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to complete high-quality research.

Admission Requirements
   To be considered for admission, applicants should hold or obtain a baccalaureate degree in an honours program or equivalent from a recognized university or college and have an average academic standing of at least second-class honours (70% or 'B-') during the last four semesters or two years of study.

Degree Requirements
   Students in the MSc degree program are required to take four semester-long courses, prepare and defend an acceptable research proposal, and prepare and defend an acceptable thesis.
   Four course equivalents (i.e., at least 1.5 credits), which are acceptable to the department and the Dean of Graduate Studies for graduate credit, are required. Courses included in the Graduate Calendar plus several of the senior undergraduate courses have graduate credit. Other undergraduate courses may be taken on the advisory committee's recommendation as additional courses.
   Students must prepare a written research proposal on their research topic which is acceptable to their advisory committee. The oral presentation of the proposal is public.
   An acceptable thesis has to be prepared for the final MSc oral examination, at which time the thesis is defended.

   This program is more rigorous than the MSc degree and more research oriented. The research completed must have elements of originality and be publishable in a recognized peer-review journal.

Admission Requirements
   Applicants for the PhD program should have a recognized master's degree with a 75% ('B') average in their postgraduate studies. Direct admission of honours baccalaureate graduates to the PhD program is normally not granted and will only be considered for students with a superior average academic standing (at least 80% or 'A-' during the last four semesters or two years of study).

Degree Requirements
   Students in the PhD degree program are required to prepare and defend an acceptable research proposal, pass a qualifying examination, and prepare and defend an acceptable thesis. There are no specific minimum course requirements, except for students accepted directly after an honours baccalaureate degree (see under Degree Requirements for the MSc program).
   Students must prepare a written research proposal on their research topic which is acceptable to their advisory committee. The oral presentation of this proposal is public.
   The qualifying examination is used to determine whether or not the student has the academic foundation and native ability to complete the PhD degree. A student will be required to withdraw from the PhD program if the qualifying examination is not passed (one repeat is permitted).
   An acceptable thesis has to be prepared for the final PhD oral examination, at which time this thesis is defended. The examination committee includes an appropriate external examiner.

1706404 Theoretical Plant Biology (0.5) F (every year)
The discovery, formulation and analysis of biological concepts, models, theories and their implications as they apply to botanical studies. The course also focuses on the logical relationships among theoretical constructs and deals with conceptual frameworks and paradigms. Examples will be used from such disciplines as morphology, systematics, ecology and population biology.

Plant Ecology
1706301 Plant Ecology I (0.5) F or W
1706302 Plant Ecology II (0.5) F or W
These courses focus on a range of subjects dealing with the dynamics of plant populations and communities. Critical assessment of current theories, experimental methods and analytical techniques will be emphasized.

Plant Physiology
1706402 Regulation and Control of Plant Growth (0.5) F (even years)
The regulation of plant growth and development from the environmental to the molecular level, and the integration of these processes in time and space. Topics include growth regulation and regulators, photomorphogenesis, reproductive development, and development in stressful environments.
1706403 Seed Development and Germination (0.5) F (odd years)
Physiological, biochemical and molecular aspects of seed development and germination and establishment of the seedling will be discussed in lectures and discussions of recent advances in the literature.

Plant Systematics
1706201 Plant Systematics and Speciation in Plants (0.5) W (every year)
Topics of current interest in plant systematics are discussed. Issues may include advances in the classification process and the relative merits of various methods of classification and phylogenetic reconstruction. Also, the origin of species in higher plants is discussed in relation to modes and mechanisms of the formation of taxa in nature, and the recognition and circumscription of these taxa.
1706203 Topics in Phycology (0.5) W (every year)
Topics of current interest in algal biology, morphology and systematics are discussed.

Cellular and Molecular Biology
1706601 Molecular Basis of Plant-Microbe Interactions (0.5) F (every year)
A lecture and seminar course on recent advances in the study of plant-microbe interactions. Topics included are the biochemical, physiological and genetic aspects of plant defenses and the interaction of plants with pathogenic and mutualistic bacteria, fungi and viruses. Offered in conjunction with 8304000. Extra work is required of graduate students.

Plant Anatomy and Morphology
1706405 Modern Approaches to Plant Ultrastructure (0.5) W (every year)
An introduction to some of the recent advances in electron microscopy and their application to ultrastructural studies of plant systems.
1706501 Topics in Flowering Plant Morphology (0.5) W (every year)
Current research in the morphology of flowering plants, plant architecture and comparative plant development. The impact of plant morphology on systematics and developmental molecular genetics.

1706800 Seminar (0.25)
A written literature review and research proposal on the student's thesis research topic will form the basis of this departmental seminar. This will be presented within two semesters of entering the MSc or PhD program.

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