Born in London, he was educated at Oxford University (awarded Master of Arts) and Wurzburg University (awarded Doctor of Philosophy), studying under the famous botanist Julius von Sachs.
From 1882 to 1885 he was Assistant to the Professor of Botany at University College, London, and from 1885 to 1892 Assistant Professor in Biology (Botany) at the Royal College of Science, South Kensington. In 1892, Scott left the Royal College of Science when he was appointed Honorary Keeper of the Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Gardens at Kew, a position he held for fourteen years. He published many papers on botany in scientific journals.
He was president of the Linnean Society from 1908 to 1912.
He died in East Oakley House near Basingstoke, Hampshire. One of his most brilliant students was Harold Wager, who became his student in botany in 1886 and went on to become F.R.S in 1904.
Royal Society; Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Linnean Society of London]
He was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1916 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in June 1894.