Jun 16, 2024  
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2020-21 
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2020-21 [Archived Catalog]

Environmental and Plant Biology Major (B.S. in Environmental and Plant Biology) [offered through Honors Tutorial College]

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Major Code BS1901

Honors Tutorial College  
35 Park Place
Athens, OH 45701
Phone: 740.593.2723
Fax: 740.593.9521

Jared DeForest, director of studies/contact person

Program Overview

The HTC program in environmental and plant biology offers exceptional students the opportunity to study the many aspects of plant biology, including functional genomics, physiology, ecology, plant identification and classification, and plant evolution in one-on-one relationships with 13 faculty members. Maximum opportunities will be afforded for the student to progress well beyond the material found in conventional courses. The primary purpose of the tutorial program is to serve as preparation for graduate study. Students will receive a degree of Bachelor of Science from the Honors Tutorial College.


Students are required to complete eight tutorials, including two devoted to the thesis for three credit hours each. In maintaining an open format to permit students to develop tutorial-based degree programs to challenge and to inspire their creativity and learning, only key departmental and extradepartmental courses in chemistry and mathematics are required for providing foundational knowledge. The rest of the program involves student-driven tutorials with faculty.

In addition to the tutorials, the student must complete the Tier I English requirement; the core plant biology courses; courses in professional development; independent research; extradepartmental courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics; and an appropriate number of approved electives. Internships and/or study abroad may be included within the program with special permission from the director of studies (credit will only be given once). Honors Tutorial students take a minimum of 15 hours per semester.

Advising and Monitoring

Each student receives initial advice from the director of studies regarding selection and sequencing of courses, choice of a thesis advisor, and other procedural matters. A committee of the director of studies and the advisor will help guide the thesis proposal and monitor the thesis work. A typical tutorial will meet on a weekly basis for a minimum of one hour. The student and the tutor can discuss the current reading and written assignments, discuss problems and solutions, debate and offer critical analysis and/or conduct an experiment. The tutor continuously evaluates the progress of the student and a final grade is made based on many facets of evaluation available to the tutor; written assignments, exams, discussions, presentations by the student, field work, etc.

The Honors Thesis

The honors thesis is a reflection of the student’s special interests. Its acceptance, dependent upon an appropriate mixture of research and analysis, relies upon the judgement of their committee and the director of studies. In the case of a duel major with a single thesis, the committee will be the director of studies from each major and the thesis advisor. It is expected that this major paper will constitute work of the highest quality in investigating a problem of concern to both scholars and practitioners. Although an intensive study of relevant theoretical and research literatures is the underpinning of the thesis, students are encouraged to augment this scholarly base with field data whenever possible.


Students throughout the program earn letter grades consistent with the University grading system and are expected to maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Students who earn less than a B (3.0), or who maintain less than 3.5 GPA will need to confer with the director of studies and/or the Dean of the College. In addition to letter grade assessments, tutors complete course descriptions and evaluations of each student’s work each semester. In these assessments both the student’s academic standing and academic aptitude are evaluated.

Admissions Information

Freshman/First-Year Admission

Students are selected by the director of studies of the environmental and plant biology tutorial program and the Honors Tutorial College on the basis of superior ability and sustained motivation. We look for good scores on standardized tests (30 composite score on the ACT or a combined score of 1300 on the SAT), but we also require a good high school record (class standing in the top 10%). An interview with a representative of the College of Arts and Sciences is required for acceptance into our program. Recommendations from two high school teachers are strongly recommended. The personalized aspects of the tutorial system occasionally make it possible for us to accept students who have not performed well on standardized measures of ability but who demonstrate exceptional aptitude in other ways. The priority deadline for application for admission is November 15th, and admission interviews are held in January.

Change in Program Policy

First-year students at Ohio University may apply to transfer into the environmental and plant biology tutorial program and the Honors Tutorial College. These students must meet the same entrance requirements as entering freshmen, The priority deadline for application is November 15th.

External Transfer Admission

First-year students at another institution may also apply to transfer into the environmental and plant biology tutorial program and the Honors Tutorial College. These students must meet the same entrance requirement as entering freshmen, the priority deadline for application is November 15th.

Opportunities Upon Graduation

Most students graduating from the program go to top-quality graduate schools across the country or abroad, leading to M.S. and PH.D. degrees. A few pursue employment directly in private industry or governmental agencies dealing with agriculture/horticulture/floriculture, biotechnology or pharmaceutical firms, conservation agencies and museums of natural history, environmental consulting firms, food companies, plant nurseries, greenhouses, botanical gardens and arboreta.


HTC Grade Requirements

Maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher overall.

University English Composition Requirement

Complete one First-Year Composition course (1E) and one Junior Composition course (1J).

HTC Seminar

First-year students must complete the following course:

Transfer students

Transfer students may substitute an HC special topics seminar for their HC 2500 requirement.

Environmental and Plant Biology Tutorials

Each year, up to your senior year, enroll in one of the following tutorials:

Senior Honors Tutorial Thesis

Complete the following tutorials focused on performing research and the development of a thesis:

HTC Thesis Requirement

Approval of a completed thesis or professional project by the advisor, director of studies, and Dean of the College.

Plant Biology Requirements

Complete the following courses:

Plant Physiology

Complete one of the following courses:

PBIO Professional Skills

Complete the following courses:

Extradepartmental Requirements

Complete the following courses:

Biological Sciences

Complete either BIOS 1710 or any BIOS course at the 3000- or 4000-level.

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