Plant Sciences Option – B.S.

About The Program

Plant science option students study the physiology, ecology, development, systematics, and natural history of plants. They are curious about how plants work, enjoy solving problems, and often are deeply committed both to solving pressing environmental problems and helping society. Plant science students study a wide variety of organisms, from algae to flowering plants, and utilize an assortment of approaches involving the tools of molecular biology to those of ecology. Plant science option students work in the public and private sectors, for arboreta and gardens, commercial greenhouses, state and federal agencies, pharmaceutical and agricultural businesses, as ecological consultants, as natural resource managers, as well as other fields.



Our curriculum in plant sciences is designed to be rigorous and challenging and to provide both depth of knowledge in plant sciences as well a solid, broad background in the breadth of biology. Our philosophy is that our students should first be a biologists and then specialists within biological science. Because the plant sciences require a basic understanding of the physical world as revealed by the physical sciences, this program requires extensive coursework in chemistry, physics, and mathematics. This program combines rigorous training in science with a strong background and perspective in the liberal arts. Our goal is to prepare our students to meet the challenges of today's world and to be ready for the unknown challenges of the future. Thus we strongly believe that the best training for the future is to become a lifelong learner. The biology faculty at Millersville is a group of such learners who attempt to teach students how to be critical thinkers. We help our students learn to write and speak well and to become proficient in analyzing and solving problems as well as technical experts.

The James C. Parks Memorial Herbarium collection is housed in Roddy Hall and includes representatives of much of the local flora as well as species from around the world. Our greenhouse facilities include two glass greenhouses. One of which is attached to the botany teaching laboratories. Our botanical facilities also include numerous large growth chambers, a campus orchard, and a biological preserve.

We strongly believe that scientific research is an extremely valuable experience for students. Therefore, the members of the biology faculty maintain active research programs specifically geared to the participation and training of undergraduates. Not only do these activities provide extremely valuable training and experience for our plant sciences option students, but they help keep the faculty abreast of and participating in the advancement of biological knowledge.

Our plant sciences students also benefit greatly from a campus with rich resources and expertise in a wide range of related subspecialties. Rigorous programs and outstanding faculties in meteorology, geology, chemistry, oceanography, environmental biology, and geography enhance the strength of our program. The Millersville University Center for Environmental Science (MUCES) serves as an organizational framework for all these programs and involves faculty, students and off-campus organizations in partnerships dedicated to research and education on matters relating to the understanding, management, and protection of the natural resources of the lower Susquehanna river region. Interdisciplinary minors can also be obtained through MUCES.

Cooperative education can be an extremely valuable part of an undergraduate education. A number of our plant sciences option students in botany have taken advantage of this opportunity. Coops allow students to apply knowledge gained from regular courses in "real life" situations, and often coops can be extremely useful in making contacts and entry into the job market! Our plant sciences option students often complete coop experiences with commercial greenhouses, plant propagation facilities, government agencies, and horticulture. The fact that these organizations continue to actively request more of our majors testifies to the quality of our students.


The graduates of our plant sciences option are quite successful. Most have gone on to do graduate study and/or post-doctoral work in the plant sciences at Penn State, Purdue, Duke, Cornell, Iowa State, and the Universities of Washington, Delaware, Maryland, California-Davis, Portland, and Kansas. A number are employed by federal and state agencies and private industry. Others hold faculty or research positions at the Universities of Pennsylvania, Southern Alabama, Alaska, and Georgia and the Smithsonian Institution.