Plant Biology, Bachelor of Arts College of Biological Sciences

As organisms that sequester carbon and convert solar energy into oxygen, sugar and other usable forms, plants are a primary source of food and myriad biomaterials on the planet, and function as an important buffer against climate change. The Plant Biology major focuses on fundamental aspects of how plants function as organisms, interact with their environment, and the use of this knowledge to address global challenges. A wide variety of scientific disciplines are integrated within the Plant Biology major, including physiology, cell and molecular biology, development, biochemistry and metabolism, genetics and genomics.

The Program

The Plant Biology Bachelor of Arts major consists of a biological sciences core covering the general principles of biology plus five plant-specific classes dealing with advanced aspects of plant biology including physiology, development, and anatomy. Electives allow students to tailor the degree to suit their interests. Independent research in a laboratory setting is a requirement, and majors in Plant Biology are guaranteed this opportunity. Because of the value of plants as a model system for research in molecular genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry, Plant Biology also can make an excellent minor or second major for students in these fields.

Career Alternatives

A degree in Plant Biology serves as an excellent launching point for a wide range of career options, including domestic and international opportunities in business, research, management, and teaching in both governmental and private sectors. The program is excellent preparation for students wishing to enter graduate or other professional schools, including medicine, law (particularly environmental or patent law) or journalism. Plant biologists can work in the laboratory, in the field, in the forest, in botanical gardens or nurseries, in agricultural companies, or in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, energy or chemical industries, or in the area of environmental protection.

Honors & Honors Programs

Students on the honors list may elect to include a maximum of 5 units of 194H in their major programs. For Dean's Honors List information, see the Honors &​ Prizes for the appropriate College section.

Faculty Advisor

Philipp Zerbe, Ph.D.

Graduate Study

Consult Plant Biology (Graduate Group).

The major requirements below are in addition to meeting University Degree Requirements & College Degree Requirements; unless otherwise noted. The minimum number of units required for the Plant Biology Bachelor of Arts is 76.

Preparatory Subject Matter
Biological Science15
Introduction to Biology: Essentials of Life on Earth
and Introduction to Biology: Principles of Ecology & Evolution
and Introduction to Biology: Biodiversity & the Tree of Life
Choose the 002 series or 004 series:
General Chemistry
and General Chemistry
General Chemistry for the Physical Sciences & Engineering
and General Chemistry for the Physical Sciences & Engineering
008 series:6
Organic Chemistry: Brief Course
and Organic Chemistry: Brief Course
Choose one:4
Elementary Statistics
Elementary Statistics
Applied Statistics for Biological Sciences
Applied Statistics in Agricultural Sciences
General Chemistry
General Chemistry for the Physical Sciences & Engineering
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal35
Depth Subject Matter
Biological Science
BIS 101Genes & Gene Expression4
Plant Biology
PLB/PLS 102 (Discontinued) 15
PLB 108
(Discontinued) 1
EVE 108
(Discontinued) 1
PLB 105Developmental Plant Anatomy5
PLB 111Plant Physiology3
PLB 112Plant Growth & Development3
PLB 117Plant Ecology4
EVE 140Paleobotany4-5
or PLB/PLS 116 Plant Morphology & Evolution
Restricted Electives
Choose additional upper division units in Plant Biology or related natural science courses from elective list via Plant Biology Bachelors of Science. Courses in other departments may be allowed upon prior consultation with a PLB faculty advisor.13
Introduction to Evolution
Introductory Mycology
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal41-42
Total Units76-77

PLB/PLS 102, PLB 108, & EVE 108 are replaced by EVE/PLB/PLS 127.