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Study Ethnobotany Australia

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Greetings again guys,

Im planing on studying Ethnobotany or at least anthropology at University level, I have a Cert 3 in Arborculture and Cert 3 in Horticulture so hopefully i will have enough "credits" to get in.

Im a mature aged student but dont fully understand the higher education system, I did a browse at Qtac and cant find much directly linked to Ethnobotany (or at least anthropology majoring in plants ...or something along those lines...."or maybe even a diploma in herbal medicine tog et my foot in the door"..)

Im wondering if anyone here can point me in the right direction please, I would love to study "BT3370:03 BUSH FOOD, PLANT DEFENCES & PHYSIOLOGY" But cant seem to work out what degree that is part of or is it just a short course.. i also cant seem to work out what prerequisite are required, I have emailed the institute with no response yet, If anyone has some spare time to point me in the right direction i would really appreciate it.

Some Links:

Ethnobotany: Higher Education Courses

Any ideas appreciated,

I look forward to your response,


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From having a quick look then it appears that it's just a "subject/course", i.e. you only study it for a semester. However upon searching I could not find it in the latest course handbook. The pre-reqs for the subject appear to be one of the following (of which some have their own pre-reqs):



I'm not sure how the course codes work @ JCU, but I am pretty sure that 1xxx codes refer to 1st year subjects, and 2xxx to second year and so on. Might be better to ring them though as each uni does things differently!

Doubt you are going to find an ethnobotany major or anything, you will probably have to look through the courses of each of the unis you were looking at to see which one has the most ethno-related courses. To save time I wouldn't look at any first year subjects as they are just generic ones.

Good luck!

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I'm following a similar interest, more along mycological lines though.

The only way i can see tackling this is starting with a standard degree and working towards a specific endgoal.

an ethnobotanist is simply a botanist who has specialised in the field of botany with an interest in how plants have subsequntly been adapted and used by humans.

universities can only offer a basic plan of study to a general point. ethnobotany is fairly specialised, so i would assume it is therefore the type of thing you would chase as part of your honours program of even into a PhD level of study.

I have heard of fairly specific extracuricular options though. I remember Dennis McKenna and Kat Harrison were running something at the University of Hawaii that was open to international students. If this is still running I'd love to go, as it would fit into my degree plan nicely.

Good luck with it, but my best advice is just go with a science degree or go anthropology as you have mentioned.

Cheers, Obtuse.

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Thanks IceCube, Seems my study plan is....:

Senior Chemistry Introductory Chemistry (CHEM1090)


BM1000 - Introductory Biochemistry and Microbiology


BT2250 - Plants and the Tropical Environment - 2001



I know they are just short course but i imagine they will be fun, and it should give me credits to get into the degree i whant??

There are a few institute's over sea's that offer what im after, one in Austria and one via distance education in Canada, i would rather attend the lectures :(

Thanks for the info guys, i think my only option is to study anthropology until Australian University's decide Ethnobotany is worth its own department. (matter of fact i can only find 1 university close to me with a social science department...)

Some more details for those who are interested.

______University of Queensland_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Anthropology is offered as:

a single or extended plan in the Bachelor of Arts

a sequence of elective courses in the Bachelor of Social Science

an elective as part of other degrees offered by UQ



Single Major

#16 consisting of:

#4 for -

Course Code Units Course Title

ANTH1008 2 Introduction to Anthropology: People, Cultures and Societies

ANTH1030 2 Anthropology of Current World Issues: An Introduction

plus #8 from the following advanced level courses -

Level 2

Course Code Units Course Title

ANTH2010 2 Anthropology of Aboriginal Australia

ANTH2018 2 Material Culture

ANTH2020 2 Power, Position & Knowledge in Anthropology

ANTH2050 2 Ritual, Religion and Performance

ANTH2060 2 Political Ecology: Knowledge, Resources and Rights

ANTH2098 2 Aboriginal Heritage: Anthropological and Archaeological Perspectives

ANTH2168 2 Evolutionary Anthropology

ANTH2240 2 Kinship and Society

Level 3

Course Code Units Course Title

ANTH3019 2 Development Practice & Social Impact

and may include #2 from the following advanced level courses -

Course Code Units Course Title

ABTS2010 2 Aboriginal Women: Gendered Business

ARCA2118 2 Cultural Heritage Management

plus #4 for -

Course Code Units Course Title

ANTH3090 2 Ethnographic Fieldwork

ANTH3140 2 Advanced Research Topics in Anthropology


Edited by vual

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It's tricky, because there are a number of related disciplines that you could study to become involved in Ethnobotany because so many different disciplines intersect in it: Botany, Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacology, Geography, Ecology, Anthropology, Sociology, History, Archaeology and Agriculture - these sit closer to the core.

But disciplines like Religious Studies, Psychology, Philosophy, Politics, Palaeontology, Neuro-anything and even Economics would have something to say about Ethnobotany, especially if you have some knowledge from that first group.

For example, you might be interested in the Ethnobotany of Salvia Divinorum and the questions you could ask about that.

  • Who used it in the past and how did it's use spread or contract? (History, Anthropology, Archeology)
  • Who uses it now? (Anthropology, Sociology)
  • Why do they use it? (the above 2, plus Psychology)
  • Why is it restricted or not in different places and is this right? (Politics, Philosophy, Sociology, Law) (maybe add Communications and PR if you want to chage this)
  • How does it work - Why does it have this effect on us? (Neuro-chemistry, Pharmacology, Molecular Biology etc)
  • How is this plant related to other plants? (Botany, Genetics)

You get the idea - there are lots of ways of approaching something that appears to be a single 'thing'.

On a more personal note vual, take the time to figure out your strengths and then go with them, especially in your undergraduate degree. It's important to gain the skills and knowledge that you are interested in, but it's also really important to do as well as possible. P's make degrees, but HD's open doors. I'm probably biased (given that I'm doing a PhD and work & teach at uni), but research is where you have a chance at doing some really exciting work and being paid pretty well for it. I know that this might seem a bit full-on, but I wasted years of my life because I didn't have the guts to aim high and risk failure, so I can't encourage you enough to get out there and fucking pwn that study! :) Your plan looks pretty good to me as well.

I agree that there isn't much in the way of specialised Ethnobotany around. If I were looking for a more science-y take on this, and I didn't mind the weather, I'd go for a B Sci at Uni of Melbourne - with a major in Plant Science and/or Pharmacology. But I've never studied there, so I can't say much other than it looks cool.

If you think outside the square, almost any education can help you get closer to where you want to be.

I'm really keen to hear other people's suggestions for vual.

Have more thoughts, but will leave them for later.

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you said it yeti!

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Thanks for your assistance,

I totally agree with you Yeti101 and that is the route i am going to take.



Edited by vual

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You're welcome vual.

BSci in Ethnobotany at University of Hawai'i https://sites.google.com/site/hawaiiethnobotany/bs-in-ethnobotany

BSci (Ethnobotany) from Frostburg State University http://www.frostburg.edu/dept/biol/undergraduate/ethnobotany.htm

Even if you don't go there for these programs, it might be worth looking into some time on exchange.

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Hi Vual

Lots of good feedback above, studying anthropology a good start.


Thinking of ethnobotanical plants, Some free Australian content can be found here - https://www.youtube.com/entheotv/

Worth its also thinking about Australian ethnobotanical confrance - www.gardenstates.org



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