UH Manoa to offer ethnobotany degree

Program will be the first of its kind in the country

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Jul 18, 2005

HONOLULU — At its monthly meeting held today at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, the UH Board of Regents (BOR) approved the establishment of a Bachelor of Science degree program in Ethnobotany. The program will be the first ethnobotany degree program in the United States and will fulfill a local and national demand that has been steadily growing over the past 15 years.

UH Mānoa is currently the leading center for ethnobotanical research in the Pacific. The aim of the program is to become the leading center for ethnobotanical research in the world. UH Mānoa also has the highest density of ethnobotany faculty members in the United States, followed closely by a consortium of New York universities.

Offered by the College of Natural Sciences‘ Department of Botany at UH Mānoa, the program is already in high demand. Approximately 200 students are enrolled in the college‘s introductory ethnobotany course each semester, which is currently only required for Hawaiian studies majors, who account for only a small percentage of the students enrolled each semester. In addition, the department has on file over 200 inquiries from undergraduate students inquiring about opportunities to study ethnobotany on the Mānoa campus.

Ethnobotany is a botanical science focusing on cultural interactions with plants. It is an emerging science based primarily on botany, biology, and anthropology. The program will enable students to work in areas related to the conservation of biological and cultural diversity, including cultural resource management, cultural/biological interpretation, and consultancy for cultural and environmental impact issues; work in natural health care business and practices; enter graduate school programs in ethnobotany, botany, anthropology, and related fields; and enter advanced medical training programs including pharmacy, nursing, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, and herbalism.