Skip Ribbon Commands Skip to main content

Department Facts

Department Facts​​

Department Mission and Vision- adopted May 30, 2001


"To pursue knowledge that will lead to new concepts in plant and pathogen biology; to minimize the impact of disease and weeds on plant productivity; and to provide the highest quality education programs."


"To be a premier department committed to defining new directions of science through quality research and educational programs enabling students and staff to become leaders in their disciplines."


Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, is the land-grant university for Indiana and a member of the Big 10 athletic conference. It is one of the 68 land-grant institutions in the United States dedicated to excellence in all aspects of education, research, and service. Purdue's beginning was initiated largely by a monetary and land gift from Mr. John Purdue, with the university opening for business in September 1874. It ranks among the twenty-five largest universities, with approximately 37,000 students enrolled at the West Lafayette campus.
The Department of Botany and Plant Pathology had its beginning with the appointment of Dr. J. C. Arthur as the first Botanist of the Purdue University Agricultural Experiment Station in 1887. Much of the early research was in the classical botanical areas, but time was devoted to identification and control of noxious weeds, fungicides and their applications, and other applied problems of Indiana agriculture. The various missions of the Department have changed over the years, and in the 1930’s, the department name was changed to The Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. However, the emphasis on the more fundamental aspects in not only plant pathology, but also genetics, plant physiology, mycology, virology, weed science, and other areas has been a central theme in the history of the research, teaching, and service of the department. The very first Ph.D. degree awarded from Purdue University was to a student in the Department of Botany in 1897.

Teaching within the department traditionally has been strong in the graduate arena.  Today the Department has over 30 faculty members who teach and mentor our graduate student population.  The faculty continue to recruit top students into the program and pride themselves on producing well-rounded researchers.

In 1971, an undergraduate option in Crop Protection was introduced jointly with the Department of Entomology. In 1990, the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology introduced their own option in Plant Science. In 2001, a third undergraduate option titled Environmental Plant Studies was introduced as well as the Plant Science option name change to Plant Biology.  The College of Agriculture made a college wide effort in 2012 to reduce the number of majors to prevent confusion during recruitment.  As a result, the Department consolidated down to one major, Plant Science.  Within that major students can choose from three areas of concentration; Plant Cell and Molecular Biology, Plant Ecology and Environment, or Plant Health Management.