Biology - Plant Sciences - Focus | UW-Superior

Natural Sciences Department

Fact Sheet Details

Biology - Plant Sciences - Focus

The Biology - Plant Sciences Focus at UW-Superior is a handson study program for students wanting real-world experience working with plants in natural and greenhouse environments. The strength of our program lies in coursework with small class sizes and the ability to work with faculty to carry out independent research.


The Biology major at UW-Superior is based in science and research. You will become broadly trained in biological principles, including coursework in introductory biology, ecology, cell biology, and genetics. Additional coursework in the Plant Sciences typically includes:

  • Plant Physiology
  • Plant Taxonomy
  • Forest Ecology and Management
  • Undergraduate Research or Internship

Student Research and Internships

The Plant Sciences Focus emphasizes opportunities for student-based research carried out in close cooperation with faculty. Projects typically include a field or greenhouse component.

Recent student projects have involved spatial changes in sand dune plants, invasive plants on Wisconsin Point, survey methodology for inland wetland vegetation, and regional population assessments of rare plants.

Plant Sciences students have received a wide variety of internships in the last few years, including

  • Surveying invasive plants with the USDA Forest Service
  • Monitoring forest harvest plots along streams with the University of Minnesota
  • Monitoring invasive plants on Wisconsin County Forests
  • Working with the Wisconsin DOT to delineate wetlands for transportation projects

Educational and Research Facilities

In the Stanley Oexemann Greenhouse constructed in Fall 2012, students have applied experiences growing plants and evaluating physiological responses to plant hormones and other environmental cues.

Students learn plant identification in the Donald W. Davidson Herbarium, founded in 1940 and currently holding over 8000 mounted plant specimens. Our herbarium supports active research projects for undergraduates and recent alumni, with hundreds of new specimens annually collected and archived.

Students in the plant sciences also take advantage of the tremendous natural setting around Superior. The 140-acre Gordon MacQuarrie Wetlands and the forested, 77-acre Dutchman's Creek parcel serve as outdoor ecological laboratories for classroom and research purposes.

What can you do with a degree in Plant Sciences from UW-Superior?

After completing this program, students will have knowledge and skills that translate directly to career opportunities, ranging from graduate school to positions with management agencies or even greenhouses. Over the past few years, our graduates have taken positions such as:

  • Botanist with Minnesota DNR
  • Intern with Student Conservation Association
  • Research Scientist with Lake Superior Research Institute
  • Graduate Students at institutions such as:

  • University of Minnesota Duluth, Integrated Biological Sciences

Additional information about the wide variety of plant-related careers can be found at the website of The Botanical Society of America:

Alumni Highlights

Derek Anderson
Graduated: 2004
Current Position: Botanist/Plant Ecologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
"A number of my plant science and biology classes had hands on activities and direct interactions with professors that provided a wealth of opportunities that directly transferred into the real world." "My plant science course work, mixed with classes in GIS, ecology, and geology demonstrated a diverse knowledge base. This, coupled with opportunities to work in the herbarium and other projects at the university led to my position with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources."

Jason Bramstad
Graduated: 2008
Internship with USFS monitoring crew Accepted into MS program in Forestry at Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI.

Brianne Looze
Graduated: 2009
Internship with U of M riparian vegetation survey crew.

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