Field Botany students.

Program Overview

Quick Facts

  • Delivery: On Campus
  • Credits: 120
  • Only Concentration of Its Kind in the Region
  • Diverse Field Botany Coverage
  • Training Outdoors

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 to address global 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. You will receive training in the biology and conservation of native and regional flora. 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 including agricultural jobs and graduate programs.

Meet the Biology Faculty Who Teach in this Concentration

Research Opportunities

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
  • systematic botany
  • climate and pollution stress effects on forest communities
  • landscape analysis of regional plant communities

Botany Resources

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.

  • Don and Brenda Ruch Herbarium – This collection, located in the Foundational Sciences Building, serves as a growing repository of 20,000+ 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.

Small Class Sizes

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.

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: 37-38
  • Field Botany Concentration: 29
  • University Core Curriculum: 66-70


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: 18 credits

  • BIO 111 – Principles of Biology 1
  • BIO 112 – Principles of Biology 2
  • BIO 201 - Symposium
  • BIO 214 – Genetics
  • BIO 216 – Ecology
  • One of the following:
    • BIO 314 – Methods in Genetics
    • BIO 315 – Methods in Cell Biology
    • BIO 316 – Methods in Ecology

*Note: All field botany concentration students are required to take BIO 316.

Other Required Courses: 18-20 credits

  • CHEM 111 – General Chemistry 1
  • CHEM 112 – General Chemistry 2
  • PHYC 110 – General Physics 1
  • One of the following:
    • CHEM 230 – Organic Chemistry for the Life Sciences AND CHEM 241 – Organic Chemistry Laboratory 1
    • CHEM 231 – Organic Chemistry 1 AND CHEM 241 – Organic Chemistry Laboratory 1
  • One of the following:
    • MATH 112 – Precalculus Trigonometry
    • MATH 114 – Precalculus Trigonometry (accelerated 8 week course)
    • MATH 161 – Applied Calculus 1
    • MATH 165 – Calculus 1 


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

  • BIO 210 – Introduction to Botany
  • BIO 316 – Methods in Ecology
  • BOT 380 – Forestry
  • BOT 440 – Taxonomy of Vascular Plants
  • BIO 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

Keep Exploring

Take the Next Step

Do you want to learn more about our program or have questions about the application process or financial aid? We’re here to help! One of the best ways to understand why Ball State is right for you is to schedule a visit through our Office of Undergraduate Admissions to see it for yourself. Or if you’d like to speak directly to someone in our department, please feel free to call or email us.


Related Programs