Prospective undergraduate students in botany should have an inclination towards studying nature and environment in general, and the fascinating aspects of plant form and function in particular.
The course-content of the first year includes a study of molecules of life, cell structure and function including introduction to contemporary and newer tools and techniques, viruses, bacteria, algae (water-blooms, sea-kelps etc.), fungi and plant diseases.
The second year of the B Sc Botany programme conforms to the study of mosses, ferns, conifers, economic botany, genetics and plant breeding.
The third year includes study of internal structure (anatomy), reproduction and embryology of flowering plants, environmental science/ecology, classification (taxonomy), plant physiology and metabolism.
The undergraduate programme strives to equip the student with the entire gamut of understanding related to plant biology.
For the undergraduate programme, choice of botany as the subject of study over relatively specialised fields (such as biochemistry, biotechnology or microbiology) has proved to be far superior and more pragmatic, since it keeps open a larger variety of options.
A botany-graduate can either pursue research in pure botany or undertake post-graduate courses in specialised fields ranging from biochemistry, bioinformatics, biomedical sciences to genomics, forestry marine biology and food-processing.
Forest of options
Major employers of botanists are educational/research institutions, environment-related agencies and various bio-produce industries.
Botanical Survey of India, Department of Environment, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) are just some of the organisations employing botanists.
Government agencies (including Pollution Control Boards) and NGOs, departments related to conservation and land management, food-processing companies, fruit-growers, medicinal drug developers and manufacturers, paper, sugar and lumber-industries—offer avenues for botanists.
Botanist can also work for pharmaceutical companies as plant explorers seeking new species of medicinal herbs, manuscript-editors and highly-paid) tea-taster for tea-companies!
AK Shukla is Professor, Ramjas College