Food production has tripled in the last forty years, but one billion people still go hungry every year. On average 30% of all food produced is wasted in the pathway from ‘field to fork’. With the global human population set to rise from seven to over nine billion by 2050, we urgently need sustainable solutions that will allow us to increase the global food supply while preserving the integrity of agricultural and non-agricultural ecosystems.
Our trees and forests face new plant health threats which in turn threaten areas of great natural beauty and diversity, and affect both rural and urban landscapes. Our unique MSc Sustainable Plant Health will give you the opportunity to develop your understanding of the vital role of plant health, applying your skills by conducting laboratory and field studies.
This programme is primarily aimed at graduates wishing to pursue a career in plant protection in agriculture, horticulture, forestry or urban settings, and also careers in policy development and implementation, plant health inspection, academic and industrial research, consultancy and conservation management, and private industry.
Applicants who applied after 12 December 2016 receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, may be required to pay a tuition fee deposit. Please see the fees and costs section for more information.
This 12 month programme involves two semesters of classes followed by an individual research project. Students will take 80 credits of compulsory courses, with the opportunity to choose two optional courses. Field trips will also form a crucial part of this course.
Compulsory courses typically will be*:
Option courses may include* (select two):
*Please note: courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change each year.
On completion of this course our graduates will have gained:
Plant health scientists are employed in a range of vocations: environmental consultancy, research, overseas development, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, urban planning, policy development, plant inspection and management. Long term career prospects are strong as agricultural scientists will continue to be needed to balance increased output with protection and preservation of ecosystems.
Our graduates will gain particularly valuable skills due to our programme's unique approach looking at impacts across ecosystems. They also benefit from the applied nature of the course allowing them to use their practical skills in a range of field trip environments with expert supervision.
In the last 10-15 years the study of plant sciences has been revolutionised by the development of new tools and technologies which have allowed unprecedented progress in the study of plant biology - knowledge which is being applied to develop sustainable solutions to some of the major challenges of the 21st century.
This programme provides training in modern molecular aspects of plant science. Teaching is delivered by academics from the University’s Centre for Plant Sciences (CPS) and is often related to their areas of expertise and current research projects.
You’ll benefit from the research of international experts in DNA recombination and repair mechanisms and explore the wide range of approaches used in bio-imaging alongside the range of modern techniques and methodologies that underpin contemporary biomolecular sciences. You’ll explore the key topic areas of molecular biology; structural biology; cell imaging and flow cytometry; high throughput techniques; and transgenic organisms.
You’ll study in a stimulating environment which houses cutting-edge facilities. The CPS laboratories feature a state-of-the-art plant growth unit, including tissue culture suites with culture rooms, growth rooms and cabinets alongside glass-houses to meet a range of growth requirements.
You’ll gain an overview of a range of modern techniques and methodologies that underpin contemporary biomolecular sciences through the investigation of five topic areas: molecular biology; structural biology; cell imaging and flow cytometry; high throughput techniques; and transgenic organisms. You’ll also conduct an extended practical investigation in the form of a laboratory-based project, involving practical training in a range of modern molecular biology and protein engineering techniques such as gene cloning, PCR, mutagenesis, protein expression, protein purification and analysis.
A module on plant biotechnology will address topics such as the engineering of plants, development of stress-tolerant crop varieties and techniques for gene expression and gene silencing. You’ll have the opportunity to benefit from the research of international experts in DNA recombination and repair mechanisms and their importance for transgene integration and biotechnological applications; biogenesis of mitochondria, chloroplast and peroxisomes; and the biosynthesis, structure and function of plant cell walls. You’ll also explore the wide range of approaches used in bio-imaging and their relative advantages and disadvantages for analysing protein and cellular function.
In the final part of the course you'll work on an independent laboratory-based research project related to your course options. You’ll receive extensive training in experimental design, the practical use of advanced techniques and technologies, data analysis and interpretation, and will be assigned a research project supervisor who will support and guide you through your project.
We provide the very best learning resources and academic support and our teaching draws on the University’s world-class research base and highly-qualified professionals from industry, non-governmental organisations and charities.
You’ll experience wide range of teaching methods including formal lectures, interactive workshops, problem-solving, practical classes and demonstrations.
Through your research project and specialist plant science and biotechnology modules, you’ll receive substantial subject-specific training. Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop you into a scientist who is able to think independently, solve problems, communicate effectively and demonstrate a high level of practical ability.
We use a variety of assessment methods: multiple-choice testing, practical work, data handling and problem solving exercises, group work, discussion groups (face-to-face and online), computer-based simulation, essays, posters and oral presentations.
The strong research element of the Plant Science and Biotechnology MSc, along with the specialist and generic skills you develop, mean you’re equipped for a wide range of careers.
Our graduates work in diverse posts, ranging from bioscience-related research through to scientific publication, teacher training, health and safety and pharmaceutical market research.
Links with industry
We have a proactive Industrial Advisory Board who advise us on what they look for in graduates and on employability-related skills within our programmes.
We collaborate with a wide range of organisations in the public and commercial sectors. Many of these are represented on our Industrial Advisory Board. They include:
Industrial research placements
Some of our partners offer MSc research projects in their organisations, allowing students to develop their commercial awareness and build their network of contacts.
A substantial proportion of our graduates undertake further study at Leeds or elsewhere. Recent graduates have gone on to:
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.