Doctoral Studies

Botany - Field

Brief description of field

The field of Botany under the Biology doctoral study programme covers taxonomy, biosystematics, ecology, palaeoecology, and plant diversity on the level of species, populations and communities. 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.

Profile of a typical graduate

Graduates in the field of Botany have mastered the basic working methods of plant taxonomy, biosystematics, ecology or palaeoecology. They understand current discussions in these and related fields. They are able to identify research topics in the field and design adequate research methods. They are able to publish academic articles in international and national journals and present their result at international and national conferences. They are prepared for independent work in academic and research institutions, education, agriculture, forestry, nature conservation, nature history departments of museum and private firms or non-government organizations focusing on nature conservation and environmental protection, both in the Czech Republic and abroad.

Requirements for applicants

The applicant must show knowledge in the broader field of botany and ecology corresponding to the knowledge of the best graduates in the master’s study of Botany in the programme Ecological and Evolutionary Biology. However, previous graduation in this field is not a prerequisite. The applicant must also submit a dissertation project in which he defines the topic to be studied and specific aims, briefly sums up the existing knowledge, proposes appropriate methods to solve the research problem, project schedule and preliminary budget of the project. Funding of the dissertation project should be secured at the time of acceptance interview (e.g. from supervisor’s grants). The applicant must be capable of engaging in expert discussion on the dissertation topic. Besides specialized knowledge, the applicant must show the ability of fluent expert conversation in English, and the ability to read and understand specialized English texts. These skills are evaluated during an interview by the doctoral committee. The candidate need not be a citizen of the Czech Republic; in foreign citizens knowledge of Czech language is not required.

Study requirements and completion of studies

Individual study plan

  • Courses in a broader field of Biology, focusing mainly on general and methodological aspects. Number of lessons: 2 hours per week for 2 semesters.
  • Based on the advisor’s recommendation, the students attend courses related to the dissertation topic 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 in Charles University, Prague, and University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice, courses at the 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 of external specialists about their research work.
  • 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.
  • Doctoral students assist in under-graduate teaching at the Department of Botany and Zoology (2 hours a week for 6 semesters).

 State doctoral exams, required knowledge

The state doctoral exams 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 exam also contains discussion on specific topics related to the candidate’s dissertation work. The intent of the exam is not to demonstrate the candidate’s encyclopedic knowledge, but his/her ability to apply knowledge of botany and ecology in a creative way for solving concrete problems.

 Requirements for doctoral thesis

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. 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.

 Examples of dissertation topics

* Biosystemic study of a selected taxonomic group of plants

* Variation in plant genome size: causes and consequences

* Large-scale diversity patterns of vegetation and flora and their environmental controls

* Ecology and palaeoecology of peat bogs

* Development and testing of new methods of vegetation analysis and classification

Individual study plan

More information in "Study requirements and complation of studies"

List of members of doctoral committee

List of supervisors

Commission for state doctoral exams and defenses

List of current doctoral topics

Department pages

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