Mycologists are botanists who specialise in fungi. They study various aspects of fungi such as their biochemical properties and genetic structure. They also classify fungi into different categories depending on their specific features. Mycologists also study the use of fungi for medicinal purposes.

Fungi can be used for the manufacture of penicillin and other antibiotics, vaccines, cheese, alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine, and may be used as food in the form of edible mushrooms.

Mycologists find out which fungi are dangerous, causing infections, diseases (such as ringworm, athlete’s foot), or poisoning. They analyse, test and experiment with different types of fungi and use their research to develop new products and procedures for human use or for improving the environment. They document all their research and prepare reports and scientific papers on their findings.

Mycologists can work independently or as part of a team that would include microbiologists, botanists and phytopathologists. The team would also have assistants who support them with technical matters and research.

They work in laboratories and offices conducting research and tests, or outdoors collecting samples and carrying out field trials.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

What to Study

Degree: BSc - all universities. Mycology as one of the subjects in the Botany Department.


  • research institutions
  • medical laboratories
  • environmental organisations
  • medical industry
  • educational institutions
  • horticulture industry
  • forestry industry
  • self-employment

Further Information

Centre for Applied Mycological Studies
University of Pretoria
Tel: (012) 420-5817 Fax: (012) 420-5806

P O Box 395
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 841-2911 Fax: (012) 349-1153

Getting Started

  • speak to a mycologist about this career
  • read up on different types of fungi and their us

Programmes by Study Institutions

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