Postgraduate studies


The Department of Botany is at present equipped to offer post-graduate training in Botany with emphasis in any one of the following specializations: Plant Physiology, Ecology, Genetics, Cytogenetics, Plant Taxonomy, Bryology, Algology, and Pteridology.

Degree Awarded

M.Sc. and Ph.D in the fields listed above.

General Requirements
General entrance and course requirements are as set forth by University and Faculty regulations.

General Departmental Requirements
Candidates must hold a B.Sc. degree which represents work including general courses of their equivalents in Biology, Botany, Ecology, Genetics, Agriculture or forestry.

Other information about the degree are:

Course Work

General Plan
The programme of study for the Master of Science degree is of minimum of twelve months continuous residence.  Approximately the first eight months are spent in course work research, while the four months are devoted to intensive research, analysis and the preparation of a dissertation.

The course load required of all candidates is from 24 units.  Of these, at least 15 units must be taken from the department.  Course equaling 9 units may be selected from courses outside the Department or Faculty, always upon the recommendation of the supervisor and approval of the postgraduate college.  The thesis (6 units) is required of all candidates and Seminar is also required.

Course Requirements

(i)        Courses are listed below, arranged according to area of degree specialization.  Not all courses will be offered every year: those available will depend upon staffing and the current research programme of the department.

(ii)        Several of the courses will be offered in association with other Departments and Faculties of the University.

(iii)       To qualify for an M.Sc. degree in Botany a candidate must take at least 24 units of study as follows:

Compulsory Courses are BOT 601 and 602 – 5 units
Selected Courses mainly chosen from
BOT 603 – 622                        – 13 units
BOT 623 – Thesis.                 –   6 units

(iv)       Course Requirements  for Ph.D. Degree

As for M.Sc. plus at least two years of research leading to the thesis.  He must present a seminar on his research work.


Course No. Course Title Units
BOT 601
BOT 602
BOT 603
BOT 604
BOT 605
BOT 606
BOT 607
BOT 608
BOT 609
BOT 610
BOT 611
BOT 612
BOT 613
BOT 614
BOT 615
BOT 616
BOT 617
BOT 618
BOT 619
BOT 620
BOT 621
BOT 622
BOT 623
Seminar in Botany
Special Research Techniques in Botany
Comparative Plant Anatomy
Developmental Plant Anatomy
Mineral Nutrition of Plants
Water Relations in Plants
Growth and Developmental Physiology of Plants
Primary Metabolism of Plants
Conventional Taxonomic Techniques
Experimental Methods in Taxonomy
Critical Studies in Nigerian Flora
Forest and Savanna Ecology
Bryophyte Ecology
Statistical plant Ecology
Special Research Techniques in Ecology
Weeds and Colonisers
Ecology of Epiphytes
Physiological plant Ecology
Advanced Cytogenetics
Radiation Genetics in plants
Genetics of Weeds and pests
Evolutionary Mechanisms
Dissertation in Botany


Each course will be examined at the completion of the course and all such examinations will be completed within nine months from the time the candidate came into residence.  A thesis based on original research work and written in accordance to the regulations stipulated by the postgraduate college of the Obafemi Awolowo University must be presented by the candidate at the end of twelve months of residence.  The thesis will be assessed in accordance with University and Faculty regulations.

The Ph.D. degree shall require not less than 4 semesters of full-time study and will be subject to general and special regulations laid down by the University and Faculty.  The candidate will be expected to devote most of his time to research, at the end of which he shall present a thesis; the thesis shall be examined according to the regulations prescribed by University and the Faculty.

All lecturers from the grade of Lecturer I can teach post-graduate courses.  While Senior Lecturers and above can supervise both M.Sc. and Ph.D programmes, a Lecturer I can only supervise M.Sc.

Course Syllabus

BOT 601:        Seminar in Botany 2 units. Fortnightly
Directed readings in Botany.  Seminars led by staff members and visiting scientists on current topics of botanical research.

BOT 602:        Special Research Techniques in Botany 3 units 0+2+3
Practical work with accompanying lectures where necessary on the basic techniques used in the modern investigations of problems in various aspects of Botany.

BOT 603:        Comparative Plant Anatomy:
A review of the patterns of variation of anatomical features and their contribution to taxonomy and evolution.  In-depth treatment of epidermal structures and wood anatomy of some critical groups of plant.  Other applications of anatomical information to such areas as enviromental studies, drug research, forest products, weeds and animal feed anaylsis.

BOT 604:        Development Plant Anatomy
A review of the patterns of growth in plants.  Apical meristems, the shoot and root apices, organization and experimental investigations.  The initiation and development of leaves and buds; phyllotaxis, stomatogenesis.  The vascular cambium: differentiation and origin of procambium; cambial growth and periodicity of cambial growth.  Differentiation of primary and secondary vascular tissues.  Differentiation in roots. Floral anatomy; initiation and development of the flower.

BOT 605:        Mineral Nutrition of Plant 3 units. 0+2+3
Mechanics and kinetics of minerals uptake and transport.  Utilization and mode of action of minerals.  Mineral deficiency and toxicity.  Nitrogen fixation and nitrification.  Nitrogen metabolism. Anthocyanin biosynthesis in relation to mineral nutrition.

BOT 606:        Water Relations in Plants 3 units. 0+2+3
Water relations considered at organismal and cellular level with particular reference to the tropics and tropical plants.

BOT 607:        Growth and Developmental Physiology of plants 3 units 2+0+4
Plant growth–cell division.  Differentiation and correlative development.  Current concepts and mode of action of plant hormones.  Recent advances in the general field of growth and developmental plant physiology.

BOT 608:        Primary Metabolism of Plants 3 units. 2+0+4
Photosynthesis and carbon dioxide fixation.  Photosynthesis and the entrance of energy into the cell.  Respiration–energy storage, utilization and loss. Recent advances in the area of photosynthesis, respiration and nitrogen metabolism.

 BOT 609:        Conventional Taxonomic Techniques
A course designed to prepare students to take effective responsibility for developing functional teaching and research herbaria–is a thorough treatment of Angiosperm systematics; procedures for the preparation of first-class herbarium material, special training in the effective use of keys and other procedures for plant identification and in the construction of improved keys for large groups of higly crititical plants. Herbarium administration and training of junior staff.

BOT 610:        Experimental Methods in Taxonomy 3 units. 0+2+4
A course surveying how the fields of anatomy, genetics, phytochemistry, phytogeography, palynology and multivariate anaysis may be applied with advantages to taxonomy, with in-depth consideration of one or more areas.  Emphasis on working with living materials sometimes under experimental growing conditions, and on methods for the object recognition of taxa independent of previously accepted views.

BOT 611:        Critical Studies in Nigerian Flora units. 0+2+4
An intensive investigation into the taxonomy and ecology of a critical group of plants, vascular or non-vascular.

BOT 612:        Forest and Savanna Ecology 4 units. 0+3+5
Survey of vegetation types of West Africa and critical evaluation of such zonal classifications; alternative approaches.  Survey of animals found in such vegetation types, their habitat adaptation and food relationships; methods of animal collection.  Field work in wet southern forest, derived savanna, northern Guinea savanna, with emphasis on the types of problems encountered in assessment of abundance of plants and animals, characterization of environment, description and comparison, productivity estimation and ecosystem modelling. 

BOT 613:        Bryophyte Ecology 3 units. 1+1+3
Review taxonomy of West African bryophytes.  Life forms. Seasonality of growth and reproduction.  Water and nutrient relations; temperature responses of bryophytes.  Problems of attachment to the substratum.  Bryophytes as sensitive indicators of atmospheric pollution.

BOT 614:        Statistical Plant Ecology 4 units.1+2+3
Data collection, cleaning, coding; information retrieval.  Significance testing.  Multiple and partial correlation and regression.  Classification, clustering, ordination and Principal Components Analysis.  Ecosystem modelling and Systems approach to ecological problems.

BOT 615:        Special Research Techniques in Ecology 3 units. 0+2+3
The precise content of the course will vary according to major needs of Ecology degree candidates but will always include basic work in environmental measurements and recording of climatic variables; remote sensing; plant, animal, habitat census and survey.

BOT 616:        Weeds and colonizers 3 units. 1+1+4
Principles of weed ecology and physiology, distribution, population growth, competition.  Taxonomy of Nigerian weeds.
BOT617:         Ecology of Epiphytes 3 units. 1+1+3
Survey of major epiphyte groups with special emphasis on the vascular plants.  Ecological and physiological problems associated with the epiphytic way of life.  Contribution of epiphyte studies to general ecology.

BOT 618:        Physiological plant Ecology 3 units 1+2+0
In-depth consideration of the physiological aspects of plant-animal-physical/chemical environment relationships. Emphasis is placed on field problems such as productivity limitations and environmental stress.

 BOT 619:       Advanced Cytogenetics 3 units.  2+0+3
Evolution of genophores.  Chromosome structure and function.  Supernumerary chromosomes.  Meiotic and mitotic crossing over.  Genes and chromosomes.  Evolution of karyotyope.  New approaches to karyotyping.  Structural changes in chromosomes–duplications and deficiencies, inversions and interchanges with emphasis on their evolutionary significance and their applications in gene-mapping.  Balanced lethal systems (Oenothera cytogenetics, ClB and similar systems). Polyploidy: types, genetic behaviour, characteristics, evolutionary significance and induction of autopolyploidy and allopolyploidy.  Applications of polyploidy. Origins, terminology, breeding behaviours and genetic ratios in aneuploids.  Evolution of sex-determining mechanisms.

BOT 620:        Radiation Genetics in plants 3 units 2+1+0
Comparison of spontaneous and induced mutations.  Mutation, selection and population fitness.  Types of ionizing radiation and their cytogenetic effects.  Effects of pre-irradiation and post-irradiation.  Factors modifying irradiation of successive generations.  Spontaneous and induced mutations in vegetatively propagated species.  Methods of utilizing induced mutations in crops improvement.

BOT 621:        Genetic of Weeds and Pests 3 units. 2+0+3
The evolutionary and economic implications of weeds as the vegetation of the future.  The interaction of genetic variability and environmental variability in evolution.  Anthropogenic factors in the evolution of weeds.  The weed-crop ecosystem and weed-crop co-evolution; weeds as alternate hosts to crop pests–the evolutionary-genetic angle.  Modes of weed evolution; mutation, chromosome re-arrangements, aneuploid changes,  polypoid changes; polyploidy and hybridization.  Genetic and cytogenetic modes of weed evolution; examples from Nigeria-occurring Gramineae and Compositae; other examples.  Weedy relatives of cultivated plants; Manihot, Oryza, Sorghum, Dioscorea  etc. Prospects for genetic control of weeds.   Pattern of adaptation and genetic variation in insects.  The problems of heritable resistance to insecticides.  Genetic control of pests: chemosterilization and male -sterile techniques.  Speciation in tropical environments.

BOT 622:        Evolutionary Mechanisms 3 units. 2+0+3
The synthetic theory of evolution and its development.  The sources of variability.  The nature of mutation, its causes and adaptiveness.  The organization of genetic variability.  The differentiation of population.  Reproductive isolation and the origin of species.  The role of hybridization and polyploidy in evolution.  Major trends of evolution.