Botany Sophister Course Handbook 2022/2023 available here
Is this course for me?
If you are interested in the future of the planet and life on it then Botany is for you. Almost no other course offers you the opportunity to study the natural, living World in the field and laboratory. Our graduates enter into a large range of careers and, as there is a global shortage of plant scientists find employment in a huge range of careers.
David is currently undertaking the MSc. Management program at the Trinity Business School, after receiving a scholarship to attend. David’s passion for business developed during his study of Botany, particularly during his thesis on bioenergy crops, which went on to win the Irish Undergraduate Award in Earth and Environmental Sciences. David has completed internships in consulting at Deloitte, a neuropathology lab, and the botany department. He is also a freelance contributor to the Irish Times and has recently started a blog, davidfjmadden.com.
I entered the general entry Science Course programme at Trinity in 2011, initially focused on life sciences. However as modules went on, I soon found myself increasingly more interested in global environmental issues and their implications on the plant environment interactions. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and the range of activities it entailed, from fieldwork in Gran Canaria, through karyotyping the onion to learning R for statistical analysis! The vast range of modules ensures a well-rounded, solid foundation of plant biology as well as understanding of the wider environmental picture. I would highly recommend the course to every curious, budding (plant) scientist out there!
Year 1: Junior Fresh & Year 2: Senior Fresh
In the Biological and Biomedical Stream (TR060) students will study the core concepts that are fundamental to all biological systems. These will be presented in core modules during the first two years and will include: cell structure and composition, genetics and evolution, molecular biology, metabolism, anatomy and physiology of bacteria, fungi, plants and animals, ecosystems and environmental biology. Students will also acquire mathematical, statistical and computational skills that are relevant for the analysis of biological systems. In addition, students have the opportunity both to expand their scientific knowledge and to pursue their individual interests by choosing from a cohort of approved and elective modules on topics such as foundation physics, geoscience, history and philosophy of science, cancer, infection and immunity, and behaviour. In the third year, students specialise in one of the 11 moderatorships offered in this stream:
- Environmental Science
- Human Genetics
- Molecular Medicine
The fundamental concepts of that discipline will be presented in core modules while students will also select from a cohort of approved modules from allied disciplines that enhance understanding of their chosen discipline and encourage interdisciplinary thinking and research. Students can also experience the wide range of knowledge and investigation available throughout the university by choosing an elective module from a selection that highlights major research themes from across all faculties. In the fourth year students choose from a selection of modules on advanced topics within their discipline. They will also undertake a research project in Trinity or in a research laboratory in another university, research institute or hospital. Throughout this programme, students will also acquire skill in problem solving and data handling and in oral and written communication.
Botany Course Handbook 2018/2019 with further information on modules available in years 3 & 4 is available here
Year 3: Junior Sophister
The JS year consists of a diverse programme of lectures, laboratory practicals, field trips, tutorials and seminars, totalling 55 mandatory credits. In addition to core Botany modules, students also take either a Broad Curriculum module or choose an optional module (5 credits) from outside of the core Botany course. These modules are listed below.
- BOU33100 Plant Physiology
- BOU33107 Plant Molecular Biology
- BOU33108 Plants and the Irish Environment
- BOU33109 General Botanical Science
- BOU33111 Angiosperm Diversity and Systematics
- BOU33120 Environmental Dynamics
- BOU33121 Field Skills in Plant and Environmental Science (Canary Islands during reading week in second semester)
- BOU33122 Entomology
- BOU33123 Soil Science
- BOU33124 Economic Botany
- BOU33125 Diversity of Plant Morphology
- ZOU33010 Fundamentals of Ecology
- ZOU33070 Experimental Design and Analysis
Year 4: Senior Sophister
In the Senior Sophister year, students attend a series of lectures, laboratory practicals, field work, seminars, tutorials and workshops. In addition, they are required to undertake a 20 credit research project which culminates in the submission of a dissertation. The year consists of a total of 55 mandatory credits and 5 optional credits for one of two modules taken from outside the Botany course. These modules are listed below.
- FBU44000 Research Project
- BOU44103 Plant Conservation and Biodiversity
- BOU44105 Global Environmental Change
- BOU44106 Tutorials in Botany
- BOU44107 Plant-Animal Interactions
- BOU44108 Plant-Environment Interactions
- BOU44109 Vegetation Description and Analysis
- BOU44110 The Evolution of Plants and Plant-Atmosphere Interaction
- BOU44111 Restoration Ecology and Re-wilding
- FBU44060 Plant Breeding and Biotechnology
- ZOU44017 Tropical Ecology
- ZOU44030 Data Handling
There are two major field trips. The first is the Autumn Field trip which is based in and around Dublin with a residential stay in Wicklow. It takes place during the first week of Michaelmas Term and involves field and laboratory studies of woodlands, bogs and grasslands. The second field trip, based in an ecologically and biodiverse area of Europe (Canary Islands), is likely to take place during the study week in Hilary Term. Students also have the option of participating in a tropical field course.
Graduate skills and career opportunities
When you graduate you can move directly into a career related to plant biology, such as nature conservation, environmental consultancy, environmental protection, plant evolutionary biology or agricultural research as well as teaching at second-level. Our recent graduates are employed in many organisations, including Teagasc, the OPW, Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin, Kew, Edinburgh, Oman and Missouri, Barclay Crop Protection and the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre. Alternatively, you might decide to go on to take a higher degree in Trinity or elsewhere. The skills you acquire in the third and fourth years are also widely applicable in business and industry.
Study Abroad Options
Two of the field courses on offer are based abroad and there are potential opportunities available to study abroad in institutions with which we have a Memorandum of Understanding e.g. in Thailand.