Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources Plant Biology (CASNR)

Quick points
Attribute Value
College: Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources
Degree Offered: Bachelor of Science in Plant Biology
Hours Required: 120
Minimum Cumulative GPA: 2.0 for graduation
Minor Available: Yes
Advisor: Don Lee
  1. Intro

Plant Biology (CASNR)

COLLEGE: Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources

MAJOR: Plant Biology (CASNR)

DEGREE OFFERED: Bachelor of Science in Plant Biology


MINIMUM CUMULATIVE GPA: 2.0 for graduation




Steering Committee: Paparozzi (chair) (agronomy and horticulture), Awada (natural resources), Cahoon (center for plant science innovation and biochemistry), Lee (agronomy and horticulture), Markwell (biochemistry), Osterman (biological sciences), Powers (plant pathology), Schacht (agronomy and horticulture), Wedin (natural resources)


The plant biology degree program provides flexible entry for undergraduate students that have an interest in the plant sciences. Once enrolled in the program, students will take a core of classes that will allow them to continue in the plant biology degree program or allow them to easily transfer to other Life Sciences programs. Students will have the opportunity to interact with the faculty of the Center for Plant Science Innovation as well as the above departments and schools for advising, internships and research opportunities.

Studying plant biology will allow students to explore their knowledge of plants at the: 1) molecular (biotechnology option), 2) cellular and organismal (biological, biochemical/chemical sciences), 3) whole plant/applied physiological (horticulture and agronomy courses), and 4) ecological levels (ecology and management option). Students may select a bachelor of science track through the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources or a bachelor of science or arts track through the College of Arts and Sciences. Every student must complete a set of core courses that provide breadth in basic sciences. Introduction to plant biology should be taken during the first semester in the program. Students also must complete an emphasis to provide depth in one of the following options: Biotechnology or Ecology and Management.

The plant biology program includes a career experience/internship course (AGRO 295/RNGE 295/SOIL 295; BIOS 395; HORT 395; NRES 497) which provides the opportunity to gain work experience in an off-campus setting related to a students academic and career objectives.

A research project initiated by the beginning of the junior year is required. Presentation of this work will be part of the Plant Biology Portfolio and Assessment course.

Students interested in plant biology through the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources are advised to make an initial appointment with the Chief Academic Advisor who will then assign them to a faculty member in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.


The core courses and one of the options must be completed.

Core Requirements

College Integrative Courses5

AGRI 103/NRES 103 Introduction to Agricultural & Natural Resource Systems3

Career Experience1

AGRO 295/RNGE 295/SOIL 295; BIOS 395; AGRO 395/HORT 395/TLMT 395; NRES 497

Independent Study/Current Project1

AGRO 496/RNGE 496/SOIL 496; BIOS 498; HORT 396 or HORT 399; NRES 496; PLPT 496

AGRO 92 Plant Biology Portfolio & Assessment (HORT 92/NRES 92) (0 cr)

Mathematical and Statistics (ACE 3)8

MATH 106 Calculus I or MATH 106B Calculus I for Biology & Medicine5

STAT 218 Introduction to Statistics3


Written Communication (ACE 1)3

Select from: ENGL 150, ENGL 151, ENGL 254; JGEN 120, JGEN 200, JGEN 300

Oral Communication (ACE 2)3

Select from: COMM 109, COMM 209, COMM 286

Natural Sciences21

BIOC 321 & BIOC 321L Elements of Biochemistry & Lab or higher4

CHEM 109 General Chemistry I (ACE 4)4

CHEM 110 General Chemistry II4

CHEM 255 & CHEM 257 Biological Organic Chemistry & Lab or CHEM 251 & CHEM 253 Organic Chemistry I & Lab4

PHYS 141 Elementary General Physics I or higher (ACE 4)5

Biological Sciences28

AGRO 315 Genetics or BIOS 206 General Genetics4

AGRO 325 Introductory Plant Physiology4

BIOS 109 General Botany4

BIOS 207 Ecology & Evolution4

BIOS 471 Plant Systematics or BIOS 429 Plylogenetic Biology4

LIFE 120 & LIFE 120L Fundamentals of Biology I & Lab4

LIFE 121 & LIFE 121L Fundamentals of Biology II & Lab4

Economics, Humanities and Social Sciences15

ECON 211 or ECON 212 (ACE 6)3

ACE Courses12

Select one course each from ACE outcomes 5, 7, 8, and 9.

Total Core Requirements83

Option Requirements37

Total Requirements for Graduation120

Ecology and Management Option

Within this option one course must be taken to fulfill the ACE 10 outcome.


AGRO 153 Soil Resources (HORT 153/SOIL 153)4

AGRO 444 Vegetation Analysis (NRES 444/RNGE 444)3

Earth Sciences6-8


Select one from:

METR 100 Weather & Climate (4 cr)

NRES 208 Applied Climate Sciences (3 cr)

NRES 408 Microclimate: The Biological Environment (AGRO 408/GEOG 408/HORT 408/METR 408/WATS 408) (3 cr)

WATS 281 Introduction to Water Science (GEOG 281/NRES 281) (3 cr)

Geospatial Information Sciences3-4

Select one from:

GEOG 412 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (NRES 412) (4 cr)

GEOG 418 Introduction to Remote Sensing (NRES 418) (4 cr)

NRES 312 Introduction to Geospatial Information Sciences (GEOG 312) (3 cr)


Plant Identification3-4

Select one from:

AGRO 442 Wildland Plants (NRES 442/RNGE 442) (3 cr)

BIOS 455 Great Plains Flora (4 cr)

Plant-Animal-Organismal Interactions3-4

Select one from:

AGRO 340 Range Management & Improvement (RNGE 340) (3 cr)

AGRO 460 Soil Microbiology (BIOS 447/NRES 460/SOIL 460) (3 cr)

BIOS 475 Ornithology (3 cr)

BIOS 476 Mammalogy (NRES 476) (4 cr)

ENTO 115 Insect Biology (BIOS 115) (3 cr) & ENTO 116 (BIOS 116) Insect Identification (1 cr)

NRES 211 Introduction to Conservation Biology (3 cr)

NRES 311 Wildlife Ecology & Management (3 cr)

NRES 348 Wildlife Damage Management (3 cr)

Ecology and Management7-8

Select two from:

AGRO 204 Resource-Efficient Crop Management (3 cr)

AGRO 240 Forage Crop & Range Management (RNGE 240) (4 cr)

AGRO 440 Great Plains Ecosystem (NRES 440/RNGE 440) (3 cr)

BIOS 454 Ecological Interactions (NRES 454) (3 cr)

BIOS 457 Ecosystem Ecology (GEOL 457) (4 cr)

BIOS 470 Prairie Ecology (4 cr)

NRES 310 Introduction to Forest Management (4 cr)

NRES 417 Agroforestry Systems in Sustainable Agriculture (HORT 418) (3 cr)

NRES 424 Forest Ecology (4 cr)

NRES 459 Limnology (BIOS 459/WATS 459) (4 cr)

NRES 468 Wetlands (BIOS 458/WATS 468) (4 cr)


Biotechnology Option

Within this option one course must be taken to fulfill the ACE 10 outcome.


BIOS 312 Microbiology3

BIOS 237 Basic Applications of Bioinformatics (4 cr) or BIOC 442/STAT 442 Computational Biology (3 cr), or BIOS 427 Practical Bioinformatics Lab (3 cr)3-4

BIOS 478 Plant Anatomy4

Select at least 3 credits from each of the three categories below for a total of 17 hours or more17

Biological Sciences

AGRO 460 Soil Microbiology (BIOS 447/NRES 460/SOIL 460) (3 cr)

BIOS 205 Genetics, Molecular & Cellular Biology Lab (2 cr)

AGRO 270 Biological Invaders (HORT 270/NRES 270/PLPT 270) (3 cr)

BIOS 302 Cell Biology (3 cr)

BIOS 407 Biology of Cells & Organelles (4 cr)

BIOS 418 Advanced Genetics (3 cr)

BIOS 420 Molecular Genetics (3 cr)

BIOS 425 Plant Biotechnology (3 cr)

BIOS 477 Bioinformatics & Molecular Evolution (3 cr)

Applied Plant Biology

AGRO 131 Plant Science (HORT 131) (3 cr) and either AGRO 132 Plant Science Lab (1 cr) or HORT 133 Horticultural Plant Science Lab (1 cr)

AGRO 408 Microclimate: The Biological Environment (GEOG 408/HORT 408/METR 408/NRES 408/WATS 408) (3 cr)

AGRO 411 Crop Genetic Engineering (2 cr)

AGRO 412 Crop & Weed Genetics (1 cr)

HORT 221 Plant Propagation (3 cr)

NRES 406/HORT 406/AGRO 406 Plant Ecophysiology: Theory & Practice (4 cr)

PLPT 369 Introductory Plant Pathology (BIOS 369) (3 cr)

Plant and Food System Management

AGRO 204 Resource-Efficient Crop Management (3 cr)

AGRO 240 Forage Crop & Range Management (RNGE 240) (4 cr) or AGRO 227 Introductory Turfgrass Management (HORT 227/PGAM 227/TLMT 227) (3 cr)

AGRO 405 Crop Management Strategies (ACE 10) or AGRO 435 Agroecology (HORT 435/NRES 435) (3 cr)

AGRO 426 Invasive Plants (HORT 426/NRES 426) (3 cr)

AGRO 437 Animal, Food & Industrial Uses of Grain (2 cr)

AGRO 438 Producing Grain for Animal, Food & Industrial Uses (1 cr)

ENTO 115 Insect Biology (BIOS 115) (3 cr) & ENTO 116 Insect Identification (BIOS 116) (1 cr)

FDST 205 Food Composition & Analysis (3 cr)

HORT 325 Greenhouse Practices & Management (4 cr)

HORT 352 Production & Physiology of Horticultural Crops (2 cr)

HORT 355 Perennial, Pot & Bedding Plant Production Lab (2 cr)

HORT 462 Nursery Management & Crop Production (4 cr) (ACE 10)


Minor Requirements

Requirements for the minor include a minimum of 19 hours of course work with a minimum of 7 hours at the 300 level or above.


Grade Rules

Pass/No Pass

Students in plant biology may not take any of the core or option courses required for the degree Pass/No Pass except for the Exploring Plant Biology and Career Experience courses.

Program Assessment. To gauge the effectiveness of this program, students will be required to start and maintain an experiential portfolio throughout their program, culminating with a presentation of their research in the Introduction to Plant Biology course.


Plant Biology Minor


AGRO 131 Plant Science (HORT 131) and either AGRO 132 Plant Science Lab or HORT 133 Horticultural Plant Science Lab4

AGRO 325 Introductory Plant Physiology4

BIOS 109 General Botany4

Select either the Biotechnology Focus or Ecology and Management Focus

Biotechnology Focus7-8

AGRO 315 Genetics or BIOS 206 General Genetics4

Any 300 or 400 level course listed under the Plant Biology Major–Biotechnology Option3-4

Ecology and Management Focus7-8

BIOS 220 Principles of Ecology (NRES 220) (3 cr) plus BIOS 222 Ecology Lab (NRES 222)4

Any 300 or 400 level course listed under the Plant Biology Major–Ecology & Management Option3-4


College Admission

Requirements for admission into the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) are consistent with general University admission requirements (one unit equals one high school year): 4 units of English, 4 units of mathematics, 3 units of natural sciences, 3 units of social studies, and 2 units of foreign language. Students must also meet performance requirements (ACT composite of 20 or higher OR combined SAT score of 950 or higher OR rank in the top one-half of graduating class; transfer students must have a 2.0 (on a 4.0 scale) cumulative grade point average and 2.0 on most recent term of attendance.

Admission Deficiencies/Removal of Deficiencies

Students who are admitted to CASNR with core course deficiencies must remove these deficiencies within the first 30 credit hours at UNL, or within the first calendar year at UNL, whichever takes longer, excluding foreign languages. Students have up to 60 credit hours to remove foreign language deficiencies. College-level course work taken to remove deficiencies may be used to meet degree requirements in CASNR.

Deficiencies in the required entrance subjects can be removed by completion of specified courses in the University or by correspondence.

The Office of Admissions, Alexander Building (east entrance), City Campus, provides information to new students on how deficiencies can be removed.

College Degree Requirements

Curriculum Requirements

The curriculum requirements of the College consist of three areas: ACE (Achievement-Centered Education); College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Core; and Degree Program requirements and electives. All three areas of the College Curriculum Requirements are incorporated within the description of the Major/Degree Program sections of the bulletin. The individual major/degree program listings of classes insures that a student will meet the minimum curriculum requirements of the College.

Foreign Languages/Language Requirement

Two units of a foreign language are required. This requirement is usually met with two years of high school language.

Minimum Hours Required for Graduation

The College grants the bachelors degree in programs associated with agricultural sciences, natural resources and related programs. Students working toward a degree must earn at least 120 semester hours of credit. A minimum cumulative grade point average of C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) must be maintained throughout the course of studies and is required for graduation.

Grade Rules

Removal of C-, D and F Grades

Only the most recent letter grade received in a given course will be used in computing a student’s cumulative grade point average if the student has completed the course more than once and previously received a grade or grades below C in that course.

The previous grade (or grades) will not be used in computation of the cumulative grade point average, but it will remain a part of the academic record and will appear on any transcript.

A student can remove from his/her cumulative average a course grade of C-, D+, D, D- or F if the student repeats the same course at the University of Nebraska and receives a grade other than P (pass), I (incomplete), N (no pass), W (withdrew), or NR (no report). If a course is no longer being offered, it is not eligible for the revised grade point average computation process.

For complete procedures and regulations, see the Office of the University Registrar website at

Pass/No Pass Limits

Students in CASNR may take any course offered on a Pass/No Pass basis within the 24-hour limitation established by the Faculty Senate. However, a department may specify that the Pass/No Pass status of its courses be limited to non-majors, or may choose to offer some courses for letter grades only.

GPA Requirements

A minimum cumulative grade point average of C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) must be maintained throughout the course of studies and is required for graduation.

Transfer Credit Rules

To be considered for admission, a transfer student, Nebraska resident or nonresident, must have an accumulated average of C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) and a minimum C average in the last semester of attendance at another college. Transfer students who have completed less than 12 credit hours of college study must submit either ACT or SAT scores.

Ordinarily, credits earned at an accredited college are accepted by the University. The College, however, will evaluate all hours submitted on an application for transfer and reserves the right to accept or reject any of them. Sixty is the maximum number of hours UNL will accept on transfer from a two-year college. Ninety is the maximum number of hours UNL will accept from a four-year college. Transfer credit in the degree program must be approved by the degree program advisor on a Request for Substitution Form to meet specific course requirements, group requirements, or course level requirements in the major. At least 9 hours in the major field, including the capstone course, must be completed at UNL regardless of the number of hours transferred.

The College will accept no more than 10 semester hours of C-, D+, D and D- grades from other schools. The C-, D+, D and D- grades can only be applied to free electives. This policy does not apply to the transfer of grades from UNO or UNK to UNL.

Joint Academic Transfer Programs

The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources has agreements with many institutions to support joint academic programs. The transfer programs include dual degree programs and cooperative degree programs. Dual degree programs offer students the opportunity to receive a degree from a participating institution and also to complete requirements for a bachelor of science degree in CASNR. Cooperative programs result in a single degree from either UNL or the cooperating institution.

Dual Degree Programs

A to B Programs

The A to B Program, a joint academic program offered by the CASNR and participating community colleges, allows students to complete the first two years of a degree program at the participating community college and continue their education and study in a degree program leading toward a bachelor of science degree.

The A to B Program provides a basic knowledge plus specialized course work. Students transfer into CASNR with junior standing.

Depending on the community college, students enrolled in the A to B Program may complete the requirements for an associate of science at the community college, transfer to UNL, and work toward a bachelor of science degree.

Participating community colleges include:

  • Central Community College
  • Metropolitan Community College
  • Mid-Plains Community College
  • Northeast Community College
  • Southeast Community College
  • Western Nebraska Community College

3+2 Programs

Two specialized degree programs in animal science and veterinary science are offered jointly with an accredited college or school of veterinary medicine. These two programs permit CASNR animal science or veterinary science students to receive a bachelor of science degree from UNL with a degree in animal science or veterinary science after successfully completing two years of the professional curriculum in veterinary medicine at an accredited veterinary school. Students who successfully complete the 3+2 Program, must complete the “Application for Degree” form and provide transcripts to the Credentials Clerk, Office of the University Registrar, 107 Canfield Administration Building, UNL. Students should discuss these degree programs with their academic advisor.

Cooperative Degree Programs

Academic credit from UNL and a cooperating institution is applied towards a four-year degree from either UNL (UNL degree-granting program) or the cooperating institution (non UNL degree-granting program). All have approved programs of study.

UNL Degree-Granting Programs

A UNL degree-granting program is designed to provide students the opportunity to complete a two-year program of study at one of the four-year institutions listed below, transfer to CASNR and complete the requirements for a bachelor of science degree.

Chadron State College. Chadron State College offers a 2+2 program leading to a grassland ecology and management degree program.

University of Nebraska at Kearney. Transfer programs are available for students pursuing degree programs leading to a bachelor of science degree.

University of Nebraska at Omaha. The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) cooperates with CASNR in providing four-semester pre-agricultural sciences, pre-natural resources, pre-food science and technology, and pre-horticulture transfer programs.

A student enrolled in these programs may transfer all satisfactorily completed academic credits identified in the suggested program of study, and enter CASNR to study toward a degree program leading to a bachelor of science degree. The total program would require a minimum of four years or eight semesters (16 credit hours/semester or 120 credit hours).

UNL CASNR faculty teach horticulture and food science and technology courses at UNO to assist an urban population in better understanding the food processing, horticulture, and landscape horticulture industries.

For more information, contact Associate Professor Steven Rodie, Pre-Horticulture Program, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 402-554-3752; and/or the CASNR Dean’s Office, 800-472-8800, ext. 2541.

Non UNL Degree-Granting Programs

The CASNR cooperates with other institutions to provide course work that is applied towards a degree at the cooperating institution. Pre-professional programs offered by CASNR allow students to complete the first two or three years of a degree program at UNL prior to transferring and completing a degree at the cooperating institution.

Chadron State College–Range Science. The 3+1 Program in range science allows Chadron State College students to pursue a range science degree through Chadron State College. Students complete three years of course work at Chadron State College and one year of specialized range science course work (32 credit hours) at CASNR.

Dordt College (Iowa) – Agricultural Education: Teaching Option. This program allows students to pursue an Agricultural Education Teaching Option degree leading toward a bachelor of science in agricultural education. Students at Dordt College will complete 90 credit hours in the Agricultural Education: Teaching Option Transfer Program.


Students must complete at least 30 of the total hours for their degree using UNL credits. Credit earned during education abroad may be used toward the residency requirement if students register through UNL and participate in prior-approved education abroad programs. UNL open enrollment and summer independent study courses count toward residence.

Online and Distance Education

There are many opportunities to earn college credit through the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Office of Online and Distance Education. Some of these credits may be applicable not only as elective credits, but also toward the fulfillment of the College’s education requirements. Credits earned through the UNL Online and Distance Education program may count toward residency. However, certain offerings may not be counted toward scholarship requirements or academic recognition criteria.

For further information, contact:

Office of Online and Distance Education

University of Nebraska–Lincoln

2100 Vine Street

Lincoln, NE 68588-8307


Independent Study Rules

Students wishing to take part in independent studies must obtain permission; complete and sign a contract form; and furnish copies of the contract to the instructor, advisor, departmental office, and the Dean’s Office. The contract should be completed before registration. Forms are available in 103 Agricultural Hall or online at the CASNR website.

Independent study projects include research, literature review or extension of course work under supervision and evaluation of a departmental faculty member.

Students may only count 12 hours of independent study toward their degrees and no more than 6 hours can be counted during their last 36 hours earned, excluding senior thesis, internships, and courses taught under an independent study number.

Other College Degree Requirements

Capstone Course Requirement

A capstone course is required for each CASNR degree program. A capstone course is defined as a course in which students are required to integrate diverse bodies of knowledge to solve a problem or formulate a policy of societal importance.

ACE Requirements

All students must fulfill the Achievement Centered Education (ACE) requirements. Information about the ACE program may be viewed at www.ace.unl.

The minimum requirements of CASNR reflect the common core of courses that apply to students pursuing degrees in the college. Students should work with an advisor to satisfy ACE outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 10 with the college requirements.

Bulletin Rule

Students must fulfill the requirements stated in the bulletin for the academic year in which they are first admitted to UNL or when they were first admitted to a Joint Academic Transfer Program. In consultation with advisors, a student may choose to follow a subsequent bulletin for any academic year in which they are admitted to and enrolled as a degree-seeking student at UNL in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Students must complete all degree requirements from a single bulletin year. The bulletin which a student follows for degree requirements may not be more than 10 years old at the time of graduation.