Botany – Field of study catalogue MU
“Discovering the world of plants”
The study programme of Botany under the Biology doctoral degree programme covers taxonomy, biosystematics, ecology, paleoecology, and plant diversity on the level of species, populations, communities and ecosystems. It includes all systematic groups of lower and higher plants, fungi and cyanobacteria, and interaction between plants and animals. In the area of taxonomy-biosystematics, the main emphasis is on combining modern biosystematic methods such as genetical analyses and multivariate statistics with traditional taxonomical methods. In the ecologically oriented research, preferred topics are large-scale studies of diversity of vegetation and flora, and vegetation dynamics in relation to the abiotic, biotic, and human factors.
After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:
- have mastered the basic working methods of plant taxonomy, biosystematics, ecology or paleoecology
- understand current discussions in these and related fields
- identify research topics in the field and design adequate research methods
- publish academic articles in international and national journals and present their results at international and national conferences
Graduates are prepared for independent work in academic and research institutions, education, agriculture, forestry, nature conservation, nature history departments of museums and private firms or non-governmental organizations focusing on nature conservation and environmental protection, both in the Czech Republic and abroad.
The study is organized according to a customized study plan, which is prepared for the period of four years in case of the internal study mode. The customized study plan is specified by the supervisor based on a preliminary discussion with the PhD student. The customized study plan typically consists of the following parts:
1. Courses in a broader field of biology, focusing mainly on general and methodological aspects. Number of lessons: 2 hours per week for 2 semesters.
2. Based on the advisor’s recommendation, students attend courses related to the topic of their doctoral thesis offered by the Department of Botany and Zoology or other departments of the Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, doctoral courses offered at the Departments of Botany at Charles University, Prague, and the University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice, courses at Mendel University Brno, or other courses. A course especially suited for doctoral students is Selected Topic in Ecology, which is held at the Department of Botany and Zoology every semester, and consists of lectures given by external specialists about their research work.
3. Each doctoral student attends Botany Seminar (2 hours a week for 6 semesters). Students focusing on plant ecology also attend Geobotanical Seminar and Plant Ecology Lab Meeting (in English), and students focusing on plant taxonomy or biosystematics attend Biosystematics Seminar.
4. Doctoral students assist in undergraduate teaching at the Department of Botany and Zoology (2 hours a week for 6 semesters).
Graduation requirements include the doctoral state examinations and defence of students' doctoral thesis.
The doctoral state examinations are composed of the following subjects: Plant Systematics and Evolution, Plant Ecology, Regional Botany, and Methods of Botany. The level of these subjects corresponds to the university courses taught at the Faculty of Science, Masaryk University. The examination also contains a discussion on specific topics related to the candidate’s doctoral thesis. The intent of the examination is not to demonstrate the candidate’s encyclopaedic knowledge, but their ability to apply knowledge of botany and ecology in a creative way for solving concrete problems.
Doctoral thesis is written in English or Czech. It may take the form of a series of published, accepted or submitted papers on a single topic, or the form of a larger manuscript work. The first form is recommended and preferred by the doctoral committee. The series of papers must contain an introduction that puts individual papers into a common context, presents the basic outline of the problem in the context of existing knowledge, defines the main goals and summarizes the main results of the thesis. The thesis in the form of manuscript is divided into Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions, References and Appendices. The most important results of the thesis must be published or accepted for publication in international journals in the fields of plant sciences or ecology. It is required that before the submission of the thesis at least two papers are accepted in journals included in the database Thomson – Web of Science, and the candidate is the first author of at least one of these papers. It is also required that the candidate reports on some of the results of the thesis in an English-language international conference or workshop.