Ethnobotany Education and Training Program Information

Read about education and training programs in ethnobotany. Learn about program requirements, courses, career choices, employment outlook and continuing education in related areas that could expand your job opportunities.

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Essential Information

Ethnobotany is the study of the human-plant physiological relationship. It's typically only offered as an undergraduate major, and students engage in field research and laboratory studies as well as classes. Students who want to study ethnobotany at the graduate level might find some courses available as part of a degree program in a related field, such as botany or ecology.

Though even bachelor's-level programs are extremely rare, interested students can earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Ethnobotany. Programs primarily focus on plant use and evolution throughout ancient and modern times. Students design and execute research projects, study analytical methods and interpret data. Students also look at ethnobotany from a scientific perspective, developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The goal of a bachelor's degree program in this field is to prepare students for entry-level employment, typically in research laboratories, or for graduate-level education in a closely related field.

Educational Requirements

Applicants should have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Colleges and universities also take into consideration factors such as letters of recommendation, previous academic achievement and scores on standardized entrance exams, such as the ACT or SAT. Students may also consider developing a background in biology and chemistry.

Program Coursework

A bachelor's degree program combines core general educational requirements with introductory and advanced courses in the ethnobotany major. Students divide their time between academic coursework and research, field research and laboratory experimentation. Some course topics include:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Plant taxonomy
  • Plant physiology
  • Ecology
  • Medicinal botany

Popular Career Options

Students with a bachelor's degree in ethnobotany may pursue careers in botany or ecology. Graduates with a bachelor's degree are poised to seek internships or entry-level positions in a number of diverse fields. Some possible career paths include:

  • Field researcher
  • Teacher
  • Research technician
  • Plant taxonomist
  • Conservation scientist

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected 14% job growth for biological technicians from 2010-2020, which is about as fast as average. For life, physical and social science occupations in general, the projection was 16% growth. As of May 2012, biological technicians earned a median annual salary of $39,750. Conservation scientists could expect job growth of five percent, slower than the average for all occupations. As of May 2012, these professionals earned a median average salary of $61,100.

Continuing Education

Graduate programs specifically in ethnobotany are virtually non-existent; however, students looking for graduate level education can pursue graduate degrees in botany or ecology. Some programs may offer specific courses in ethnobotany and pharmacogncy as part of a degree program in a related subject field, such as botany. Advanced degrees often lead to greater job prospects and potentially higher starting salary.

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