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Undergraduate Course Catalog 2008-2009

College of Life Sciences and Agriculture


Plant Biology (PBIO)


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Chairperson: Garrett E. Crow
Professor: Garrett E. Crow, Thomas M. Davis, Wayne R. Fagerberg, Curtis V. Givan, Leland S. Jahnke, J. Brent Loy, Arthur C. Mathieson, Subhash C. Minocha
Affiliate Professor: Clinton J. Dawes, Rakesh Minocha, Walter C. Shortle, Kevin T. Smith
Associate Professor: Alan L. Baker, Estelle M. Hrabak, Anita S. Klein, Christopher D. Neefus, James E. Pollard
Affiliate Associate Professor: Janet R. Sullivan, John C. Wallace
Research Assistant Professor: Dennis E. Mathews
Affiliate Assistant Professor: Jianhua Li
Extension Professor: Alan T. Eaton, Catherine A. Neal, John M. Roberts, Cheryl A. Smith, Stanley R. Swier
Extension Associate Professor: Rebecca C. Grube

Plant biology is the study of plants at the population, organismal, cellular, and molecular level; and the investigation of the uses of plants for food, fiber, recreational, and ornamental purposes. Offerings in marine and freshwater plant biology also are provided and are facilitated by the Jackson Estuarine Laboratory and two marine laboratories where the plant biology faculty maintains an active involvement in teaching and research. The Department of Plant Biology offers three baccalaureate degrees: bachelor of science in plant biology, bachelor of science in environmental horticulture, and bachelor of arts in plant biology. See also programs listed under biology major and marine sciences.

General Science Certification
See Department of Education and COLSA.

B.S. in Plant Biology

This degree is for students intending to seek employment in agricultural, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries; to work in governmental agencies, environmental groups, and consulting firms; to teach secondary education; or to undertake graduate studies in preparation for advanced research and teaching positions. Students interested in university teaching and/or research, and governmental and industrial research, should plan to complete an advanced degree in the field.

Students are required to take the core courses, which include the biology core curriculum, and five plant biology elective courses.

Core Courses

Abbreviation Course Number Title Credits
BIOL   411   Principles of Biology I   4  
BIOL   412   Principles of Biology II   4  
CHEM   403   General Chemistry I   4  
CHEM   404   General Chemistry II   4  
MATH   424B   Calculus for Life Sciences   4  
MICR   503   General Microbiology   5  
BIOL   541   General Ecology   4  
BIOL   528   Applied Biostatistics I   4  
CHEM   545/546   Organic Chemistry and Laboratory   5  
BCHM   658/659   General Biochemistry and Laboratory   5  
PHYS   401   Introduction to Physics I   4  
PHYS   402   Introduction to Physics II   4  
BIOL   604   Principles of Genetics   4  
PBIO   701/702   Plant Physiology and Laboratory   5  
PBIO   758   Plant Anatomy   5  
PBIO   774   Plant Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering   3  
PBIO   566   Systematic Botany    

Plant Biology Electives

Five additional courses must be selected from those listed under categories 1-5. No more than three courses from any one category can be used to fulfill the requirement. It is strongly recommended that students choose courses from as many of the categories as possible to obtain a broad background in plant biology. Core courses cannot be used to fulfill elective requirements. PBIO 795, Investigations in Plant Biology can be used once to fulfill one of the five electives, if taken for 3 or more credits. PBIO 796, Special Topics in Plant Biology can be used to fulfill elective requirements, if taken for 3 or more credits and pre-approved by adviser.

Category 1: Systematics, Ecology, and Evolution
PBIO 566, 625,  717, 719, 721, 722, 723, 747,  761; ZOOL 545; NR 713, 730, 765, 783

Category 2: Marine and Freshwater Plant Biology
PBIO 503, 625, 717, 719, 721, 722, 723, 725, 727, 732,  747

Category 3: Plant Structure and Physiology
PBIO 709, 713, 714/715, 727, 774/775

Category 4: Environmental Horticulture
NR 506; PBIO 546, 547, 565, 572, 650, 651, 652, 678, 679,  ; ZOOL 745

Category 5: Plant Genetics, Cell Biology, and Biotechnology
BCHM 771; GEN 705; PBIO 751, 753, 754,  772, 775

B.A. in Plant Biology

The curriculum provides a broad background in the liberal arts and plant biology. Students may enter this program as freshmen or transfer into it from other liberal arts or science programs. This program is of particular interest to students who intend to utilize their plant biology training in public relations, teaching, or other related careers in combination with a liberal arts background. The program allows students to obtain minors in other fields such as English, history and philosophy of science, international affairs, education, art, etc., to create an interdisciplinary program, or to pursue a double major. Students must complete a minimum of 40 semester credits in the major, including B.A. degree core courses, upper level biology category electives, required general education requirements, and other B.A. requirements.

Upper Level Plant Biology Category Electives
12 credits minimum
Select courses from several of the five plant biology categories (see B.S. program). PBIO 758 and 774 are also recommended.

Required General Education Courses
Required: Group 3, CHEM 403-404, General Chemistry
Recommended: Group 2, BIOL 528, Applied Biostatistics I
Group 8, PHIL 424, Science, Technology, & Society; or HUMA 651, Humanities and Science: The Nature of Scientific Creativity

Other B.A. Requirements
Foreign language (equivalent to one year of college language)


Abbreviation Course Number Title Credits
PBIO   412   Introductory Botany*   4  
ZOOL   412   Biology of Animals   4  
PBIO   501   Basic Biochemistry   3  
or CHEM   545/546   Organic Chemistry and Laboratory   5  
BIOL   541   General Ecology   4  
PBIO   566   Systematic Botany   4  
or PBIO   721   Microscopic Algae   4  
or PBIO   722   Marine Phycology   4  
BIOL   604   Principles of Genetics   4  
or PBIO   612   Plant Genetics and Reproduction   4  
PBIO   701/702   Plant Physiology and Laboratory   5  

*waived if previous credit received for BIOL 411-412 or equivalent


The Department of Plant Biology offers two departmental minors: a minor in plant biology and a minor in environmental horticulture. These minors are available to all students and are designed to provide a flexible and broad selection of courses to complement any other major area of study.

The requirements for the plant biology minor are

PBIO  PBIO 412 or equivalent or BIOL 601, and a minimum of  16 credits from the following list of courses: PBIO 566, 625, 651,  668, 701/702, 709, 713, 714/715 717, 719, 721, 722,  727,  751,  753, 754, 758, 761, 772, 774/775, 795 (maximum of 4 cr.), 796, 799; BIOL 601

The requirements for the environmental horticulture minor are

PBIO  PBIO 421, and a minimum of 16 credits from the following list of courses: PBIO 405, 547, 565, 566, 572, 612, 650, 651, 652,  678, 679, 689, 701/702, 795, 796; BIOL 601

For advice on course selection, students should see the department chairperson.

Departmental Honors

Honors in plant biology or environmental horticulture will be awarded to students who complete 16 credits of honors courses in plant biology courses (including a minimum of four credits in a senior honors thesis project), and maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.20 (overall average and in major coursework). Students wishing to apply to the departmental honors program should consult with the department chairperson.

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