Majoring in Botany

Botany Certificate


Plant science holds a special place at Connecticut College. Here, botany is its own department, distinct from biology. Major in botany and you have unparalleled study and research opportunities. Teaching and research are inextricably linked, and the department has an international reputation in coastal, marine and estuarine studies. We have an exceptionally strong program in freshwater botany, as well as courses in such diverse areas as terrestrial ecology, plant systematics, ethnobotany and plant cell biology. You focus on your areas of interest while developing a strong background in all aspects of plant biology.

Research opportunities

Thanks to a low student-faculty ratio and ample funding, you are able to conduct research with a botany faculty member, often as early as your first or sophomore year. In recent years, students have worked on projects in many parts of New England and the continental U.S., as well as Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Venezuela and Peru. Faculty-student collaborations often lead to presentations at conferences and co-authorship of papers in top journals.


We offer top-flight transmission and scanning electron microscopes as well as light microscopes. You get hands-on experience in our extensive greenhouses and learn plant identification and classification in our Graves Herbarium, a renowned resource for scholars. Another unusual resource for a small college is our 750-acre Arboretum, a living laboratory with hundreds of species of native trees and shrubs and a large variety of wetland and upland habitats.

What can you do with a majorcertificate in Botany?

Here are some of the positions our graduates have gone on to hold:

  • Director, the Harvard Forest
  • Agreements Officer, Convention on Migratory Species
  • Ecologist, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
  • Project Leader, U.S. Forest Service
  • CEO and President, Connecticut United for Research Excellence
  • Gardener, the Taft School
  • Forest Tech, U.S. Forest Service
  • Landscape Designer, Sprigs & Twigs
  • Owner, Highland Foods LLC
  • Producer/ Reporter, KQED Public Radio
  • Environmental Protection Specialist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Research Scientist, Novartis
  • Executive Director, Delaware Center of Horticulture
  • Biology Teacher, Glendale Community College
  • Resident Ethnobotanist, Kona Kai Resort
  • Executive Director, Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center
  • Environmental Health & Safety Manager, Pratt & Whitney
  • Meteorologist, National Weather Service
  • Manager of Load Forecasting, New England Power Service Co.
  • Professor of Biology, Pace University


Glenn Dreyer, Charles and Sarah P. Becker '27 Director of the Arboretum, Adjunct Associate Professor of Botany Glenn Dreyer, Charles and Sarah P. Becker '27 Director of the Arboretum, Adjunct Associate Professor of Botany

Glenn Dreyer, Charles and Sarah P. Becker '27 Director of the Arboretum, Adjunct Associate Professor of Botany
Vegetation management • Ecology and horticulture of native plants • Invasive exotic woody plants • Large and historic trees

Kristine J. Hardeman, Senior Lecturer in Biology and Botany Departments Kristine J. Hardeman, Senior Lecturer in Biology and Botany Departments

Kristine J. Hardeman, Senior Lecturer in Biology and Botany Departments
Molecular biology • Genetics • Plant biotechnology

Pamela Hine, Senior Lecturer Pamela Hine, Senior Lecturer

Pamela Hine, Senior Lecturer
Environmental education • Plant ecology • Tidal marsh ecology • Pollination ecology

Chad Jones, Associate Professor of Botany Chad Jones, Associate Professor of Botany

Chad Jones, Associate Professor of Botany
Plant ecology • Plant succession • Invasive species • GIS and ecological modeling

Rachel Spicer, Assistant Professor of Botany Rachel Spicer, Assistant Professor of Botany

Rachel Spicer, Assistant Professor of Botany  (On sabbatical Fall 2014)
Xylem structure and function • Vascular development in trees • Parenchyma physiology

Sardha Suriyapperuma, Senior Lecturer in Biology and Botany Sardha Suriyapperuma, Senior Lecturer in Biology and Botany

Sardha Suriyapperuma, Senior Lecturer in Biology and Botany
Molecular biology • Plant and cell biology • Microarray • Genomics and linkage mapping • Plant-microbe interactions

Student profile

Daniel Evanich Daniel Evanich

Botany major, chemistry minor

Q: Why Connecticut College?
A: I have always been really interested in plant biology and I knew coming in that I wanted to be a Botany major. The Botany Department is a huge reason why I decided to come to Connecticut College. It is unique for a small school like Connecticut College to offer a Botany major so I really felt like coming here was the best of both worlds. I also knew I wanted to do research and was excited at the prospect of getting involved in a lab early on.

Q: Have you done research?
A: I started working in Professor Rachel Spicer’s lab in the second semester of my freshman year and I can truly say it has been one of the most rewarding experiences. Professor Spicer’s research centers on the plant hormone auxin and its role in vascular development and connectivity. My current project is looking at alternative sites for auxin biosynthesis and trying to determine how these sites might contribute to the auxin content of the whole plant.

Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I am planning on applying to graduate schools early next year with the goal of beginning in the fall of 2015. I am particularly interested in plant biochemistry and am hoping to join a lab doing research in that area.

Selected courses

  • Plants, Protists and Fungi
  • Indigenous Use of Tropical Rainforests
  • Ethnobotany of Southern New England
  • Ecology of Terrestrial and Wetland Plant Communities
  • Marine and Freshwater Botany
  • Genetically Modified Crops
  • Electron Microscopy
  • Plant Structure and Function
  • Plant Systematics and the Local Flora


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