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Botany for High School Credit

September 17, 2009

Colleges want to see three sciences and at least one science lab, but you still have a lot of freedom within those requirements.

My daughter has expressed interest in studying Botany for this year (she’s a freshman) instead of studying a traditional Biology course.  I have found a great course for her as well as additional supplemental materials.  I want to make sure before I purchase the materials that our course will be accepted by colleges/universities as a bonifide biological science credit. Thank you for any insight, advice, or suggestions you can share!
~ Anissa in North Carolina


Hi Anissa,

Every college will have different policies, so to get the “official” answer you would really have to ask the colleges you are considering.  For example, some colleges will require some sort of documented, tested PROOF of sciences, in which case you’d need a test in biology or chemistry or physics in order to meet their admission standards.  I have to say, though, that doesn’t happen too often. For most colleges, they accept a homeschool transcript as long as the standardized ACT or SAT tests scores look acceptable.

From a homeschool perspective, I have seen many successful homeschoolers include botany for their science courses, and they have not had a problem.  Colleges in general like to see three sciences in high school, and in general they want at least one of those sciences to be a lab science.  Beyond that, however, colleges don’t usually specify WHICH science you need to teach.  Sometimes people assume that science has to be biology, chemistry and then physics, but that isn’t necessarily the case.  If your child wants to go into a science career, then those “big three” might help in the long run.  Other than that, you can branch out a bit.  I usually suggest at least one year of science from biology, chemistry and physics, just to cover your bases.

So feel free to branch out!  Botany seems fun, she is interested so she should do well with it, and I’ve seen homeschoolers be successful with botany on their transcript.  Go for it!


Interested in learning what a successful book of course descriptions looks like.  Check out my Comprehensive Record Solution here.


  1. Julie says:

    How did your boys do science? I’m thinking of having mine work on an archaeological dig next summer, but didn’t realize they’d need THREE. We’re doing some Chemistry. What would you suggest for a third?

    September 17th, 2009 at 8:33 am

  2. Lee says:

    Hi Julie,
    We did biology, chemistry and physics with Apologia because my son was going into engineering. When you have a child that is looking at a science field, covering those three can really help.

    I heard Jay Wile speak one time about the vast difference between biology, chemistry, and physics. He suggested that we expose our children to each one. I think that’s great advice, but I also know that it doesn’t fit all homeschoolers. I would cover one or two of the “regular” sciences. Biology might be fun, and it doesn’t require math. It’s certainly different than geology or chemistry, so the variety might be nice!

    I hope that helps,

    September 17th, 2009 at 8:52 am

  3. J W says:

    There are many fine science curriculae out there, but I’d like to second Lee’s recommendation of Apologia. It’s fantastic. I’d recommend looking into the smaller, more specialized publishers for science if Apologia doesn’t tickle your fancy or doesn’t provide enough in a particular subject matter – I liked a lot of what I saw from such vendors at the homeschool convention. One of these days I’m going to take a course in geology from one such vendor, and I’m going to do it myself if neither of my kids is interested!

    September 17th, 2009 at 12:46 pm

  4. Nancy says:

    I’d like to hear what people have found for Botany. That is the third science that we are planning on besides Chemistry and Physics, but I’ve had a hard time finding resources. Thanks!

    September 17th, 2009 at 9:36 pm

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