The Chicago Botanic Garden and Northwestern University combine their strengths to offer a unique graduate program emphasizing environmental plant biology and conservation. Addressing a growing need for expertise in plant science and conservation, the master's of science and doctoral degree programs provide students with advanced training in plant and soil ecology, evolution of plants and fungi, and applied conservation theory and methods. Students take courses at both the Chicago Botanic Garden and Northwestern University and interact with outstanding researchers and faculty from both institutions.
The Garden's Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center is an international center of plant conservation research and serves as home to the graduate program. The Plant Science Center provides a world-class facility designed specifically to meet the needs of students and researchers.
In the research thesis track master's degree in science program, students receive a strong foundation in plant ecology, evolution, and conservation. They can choose to specialize in a variety of areas. Students typically take 2 to 2½ years to complete the degree, with course work completed in year one and research emphasized in year two. Scholarships are available for full-time students; students wishing to be considered for them should indicate this on their application. Students wishing to attend part-time are also welcome.
The Ph.D. program aims to foster an academic and research environment that allows students to gain experience, skills, and knowledge to become scholars, leaders, or practitioners in plant biology and conservation. Graduates of the program will have a strong theoretical and methodological foundation within the field. In addition, they will develop the in-depth knowledge required to be able to identify and articulate the frontiers of scholarship and applied science within their area of specialization. The curriculum emphasizes a complex systems approach while integrating multiple disciplines. In line with the complex nature of global environmental issues, the program offers a breadth of approaches to basic and applied research in addition to local, national, and global issues.