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About Environmental & Plant Biology

Hayley Herock does undergraduate research in the lab.
Hayley Herock does undergraduate research in the lab.


Ohio University offers one of the premier undergraduate and graduate programs in plant biology, with state, national and international stature.

In the most recent report from the National Research Council of the National Academies "A Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States" by Ostriker et al. (2010), the Environmental & Plant Biology graduate program (along with Physics) was ranked as one of the two best graduate programs at OHIO and had an R ranking of 34 out of 118 plant science programs in the nation. The Ph.D. program fared well in virtually all of the metrics used to assess the quality of graduate programs. In addition, based on a national survey conducted in October 2007, of 43 universities with undergraduate plant biology programs, the department ranked third in the number of undergraduate majors behind Humboldt State University (California) and the University of California at Berkeley. In short, both the undergraduate and graduate programs in Plant Biology are among the strongest in the country.


The Department of Environmental and Plant Biology’s core mission is to advance our scientific understanding of plant systems through transformative research and teaching excellence in an inclusive and diverse environment. The faculty provides undergraduate and graduate student training through diverse research activities, from molecules to ecosystems. Our department is made of faculty from three complementary research programs to strategically foster research opportunities and education: Functional Genomics, Systematics & Evolution, and Ecology.


The Department of Environmental and Plant Biology is dedicated to advancing knowledge of plants through innovative research programs, discovery, and exploration. Faculty collaborate with undergraduate and graduate students to advance our understanding of environmental and plant biology through scientific discovery. We are committed to providing transformative and experiential learning opportunities to our students that prepare them to meet present and future challenges that benefit society, the environment, and industry.

Environmental & Plant Biology Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning assessment at the program level is intended to promote and maintain program excellence and improve student learning. Each department in the College of Arts & Sciences has developed a set of learning outcomes for their programs and engages in faculty-led assessment activities to help inform curricular and program review and development. Student learning is assessed in different ways across A&S departments, informed by disciplinary standards and the specific learning outcomes of the program.

From the Chair

The Environmental & Plant Biology Department is an exciting and dynamic place in which faculty, staff, and students engage in academic life. Excellence in teaching, research and service are central to this life and to our academic mission.

Internships are a centerpiece for our majors, and we annually have a large cohort of students who are placed in positions around Ohio and in other parts of the country. These internships provide valuable, real-world experiences to our students, which strengthens their resumes and often leads to employment opportunities.

Our commitment to teaching and student education is also reflected by our faculty receiving numerous college and university awards for excellence in teaching. Connections made between our faculty and students often result in cherished, life-long bonds.

Research is a vital part of our academic mission and is not mutually exclusive of teaching. Instead, research and teaching are complementary, synergistic activities, immersing faculty and students in both learning and discovery. Our faculty have obtained and continue to seek substantial grant funding to support their research programs. They engage both undergraduate and graduate students in their research programs, as evidenced by the numerous co-authored papers and presentations at regional, national, and international scientific meetings and conferences.

Our faculty are active in service to the university, college and their own disciplines. As an example, more than half of our faculty serve as editors or associate editors for academic journals. Additionally, many of our faculty are engaged in outreach at the local, regional and national levels to educate and inform K-12 students, teachers and the public about plants and their importance to society and the environment.

I invite you to explore our web pages to find out more about us and the work we do to fulfill our academic mission. If you are a potential undergraduate or graduate student, I invite you to contact me or one of the faculty to learn even more about us and apply for admission. If you are an alumnus, alumna or friend of the department, I hope to hear from you about the great things you are doing, and I ask you to consider providing financial support to our department, as we have a number of worthy plant biology giving opportunities available for your consideration.

Dr. Jared DeForest
Professor and Chair of Environmental & Plant Biology