Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Study Botany at Otago

Connecting plants and people for a sustainable future.

Because plants provide us with food, fibres and medicines, knowledge about plants is fundamental to our survival.

It’s also vital to the health of the planet, as plants influence the Earth’s climate, and most life forms on Earth depend directly on plants for oxygen, food, or habitat. Plants also include some of the strangest and most beautiful living things on Earth.

Modern Botany includes research into the biochemistry, ecology, genetics and physiology of plants, plant evolution, the role plants play in ecosystems and plant biotechnology. It covers topics from the breeding of crop plants using the most modern molecular techniques, through to modelling the effects of climate change on plants.

Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

Apply Now

Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

Apply Now

Apply for the Bachelor of Science (BSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

Apply Now

Apply for the Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

Apply Now

Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

Apply Now

Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

Apply Now

Why study Botany?

Botany is an exciting and challenging degree taught by a team of excellent plant scientists.

You will learn about important, topical issues such as biotechnology, genetic modification, ecosystem services, sustainability and the ecological impacts of environmental change.

Studying Botany at Otago will enable you to examine New Zealand’s unique flora on land and in the sea. You will study its diversity and evolutionary history as well as how this flora may be affected by changing climatic conditions, ocean acidification, and invasive organisms. Botany courses will cover a wide range of topics from how photosynthetic organisms function to understanding their role in ecosystem processes. This will include the importance of plants in addressing some of the challenges and problems that face society in the 21st Century.

Botany courses have great field-trips focusing on various aspects of plant ecology, and allowing you to participate in hands-on study of our exciting natural environment.

The wide range of topics and skills learnt in Botany can lead to many different careers.

Career opportunities

There will always be jobs for plant scientists because plants are so fundamental to life on earth.

The world’s economies are highly dependent on plants and their associated habitats, not only for food production but also for timber, for the fibres and chemical compounds plants produce and for the ecological services they provide, such as removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

Plant scientists are employed around the world in industry, governmental and non-governmental organisations that seek to understand and conserve the natural environment, and to educate people about it.

Botany graduates are in high demand in industries such as biotechnology, horticulture, tourism and agriculture.

A Botany degree can also lead to a career in conservation, biosecurity, environmental education, environmental consultancy or academic research.

Our graduates take up positions in local and national government, for instance at the Department of Conservation, and Ministry of Primary Industries and Crown Research Institutes.

Background required

While an understanding of basic biology would be useful, it is not essential – you will be taught everything you need to know once you start your course.

The basics of cells, plants and their environments are covered in the first year Biology and Ecology papers. All you need is enthusiasm and curiosity!

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Botany

Level Papers Points
100-level

BIOL 123  Plants: How They Shape the World

One of:
BIOL 112  Animal Biology
CELS 191  Cell and Molecular Biology
ECOL 111  Ecology and Conservation of Diversity
HUBS 191  Human Body Systems 1
HUBS 192  Human Body Systems 2

One of:
CHEM 111  Chemistry: Molecular Architecture
CHEM 191  The Chemical Basis of Biology and Human Health
PHSI 191  Biological Physics
STAT 110  Statistical Methods
STAT 115  Introduction to Biostatistics

18

 

18

 

 

 
18

200-level

BTNY 201  Plant Functional Biology and Biotechnology

BTNY 202  Plant and Fungal Diversity

BTNY 203  Marine and Freshwater Botany

18

18

18

300-level

Any four of:
BTNY 301  Plant Ecology

BTNY 302  Plant Interactions

BTNY 303  Topics in Field Botany

PLBI 301  Applied Plant Science

PLBI 302  Plants for the Future

Note: Other papers approved by the Head of Department may be substituted for one paper at 200-level and for one paper at 300-level.

18

18

18

18

18

Plus

180 further points; must include 54 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Science

180
Total   360

Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) in Botany

Papers
  • BTNY 490  Dissertation

  • Three of:

    Note: With approval from the Head of Department another 400-level paper may be substituted for one of BTNY 461-470.

    Prerequisites:
    At least five 300-level papers including at least four 300-level BTNY or PLBI papers.

    With approval from the Head of Department, one of the papers listed may be replaced by another 300-level paper.

Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) in Botany

Papers

Note: With approval from the Head of Department another 400-level paper may be substituted for one of BTNY 461-470.

Master of Science (MSc) in Botany

Papers and Thesis
  • BTNY 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four of:

    Note: With the approval of the Head of Department, another 400-level paper may be substituted for one of BTNY 461-470.

  • Thesis: BTNY 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Minor subject requirements

Botany as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

Level Papers Points
100-level BIOL 123  Plants: How They Shape the World 18
200-level

Two of:
BTNY 201  Plant Functional Biology and Biotechnology
BTNY 202  Plant and Fungal Diversity
BTNY 203  Marine and Freshwater Botany

36

300-level

Two of:
BTNY 301  Plant Ecology
BTNY 302  Plant Interactions
BTNY 303  Topics in Field Botany
or
One of BTNY 301, BTNY 302, BTNY 303;
one of PLBI 301, PLBI 302

36

Total   90

Papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
BTNY201 2021 Plant Functional Biology and Biotechnology 18 points First Semester
BTNY202 2021 Plant and Fungal Diversity 18 points Second Semester
BTNY203 2021 Marine and Freshwater Botany 18 points Second Semester
BTNY301 2021 Plant Ecology 18 points First Semester
BTNY302 2021 Plant Interactions 18 points Second Semester
BTNY303 2021 Topics in Field Botany 18 points 1st Non standard period
BTNY365 2021 Research Skills 18 points First Semester
BTNY461 2021 Plant Physiology and Biotechnology 20 points First Semester
BTNY465 2021 Plant and Environment 20 points Second Semester
BTNY467 2021 New Zealand Plant Ecology and Evolution 20 points Second Semester
BTNY469 2021 Principles of Nature Conservation 20 points First Semester
BTNY470 2021 Special Topic 20 points Not offered in 2021
BTNY480 2021 Research Project 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
BTNY490 2021 Dissertation 60 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
BTNY495 2021 Master's Thesis Preparation 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

Key information for future students

Contact us

Department of Botany
Email botany@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/botany