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Masters Degrees (Plant Biology)

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Life on Earth depends on solar energy captured by plants - they are the base of most food webs and underpin the functioning of all major ecosystems. Read more
Life on Earth depends on solar energy captured by plants - they are the base of most food webs and underpin the functioning of all major ecosystems. Plants release the oxygen we breath. They convert solar energy into chemical energy, providing us with food, fibres, renewable energy sources, and raw materials for many industries. Plants do not carry out these processes in isolation. They interact with other organisms and the physical and chemical environment, communicate and actively adjust to their circumstances. How do they do these things and how can we profit from understanding them? When you have graduated from the Master’s Program in Plant Biology you will have the answers to these big questions, and more, such as:
-How one plant cell develops into a complicated organism and how plant cells, tissues and organs communicate with each other
-How plants avoid, tolerate or defend themselves from external stress factors such as diseases, drought and excessive solar radiation
-How plants sense their environment and communicate with each other and with other organisms
-How plants, interacting with microbes, fungi and animals, maintain ecosystems and thus life
-How the genotypic, functional and morphological differences between plants allow them to thrive in vastly different habitats

You will also be able to:
-Understand how research in plant biology and biotechnology can contribute to plant breeding and production.
-Plan, coordinate and execute high-quality basic and applied scientific research.
-Have a good command of the scientific method and critically evaluate research across scientific disciplines.
-Use the basic skills needed to expand your knowledge into other related fields and communicate with experts in those fields.
-Act in working life as an expert and innovator in your field, supported by your language, communication and other transferable skills.
-Be eligible for scientific post-graduate (doctoral) studies.

After earning your degree, you can continue towards a PhD or move directly into a career. If you have a Bachelor’s degree in a field of biology from another Finnish university or from a foreign university anywhere in the world, you are welcome to apply for the Master’s programme in Plant Biology. Based on your previous studies we will evaluate the possible need for supplementary studies, which will be included in your degree.

The University of Helsinki will introduce annual tuition fees to foreign-language Master’s programmes starting on August 1, 2017 or later. The fee ranges from 13 000-18 000 euros. Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries, who do not have a permanent residence status in the area, are liable to these fees. You can check this FAQ at the Studyinfo website whether or not you are required to pay tuition fees.

Programme Contents

The Master’s Programme in Plant Biology is a joint programme of the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences and the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, which ensures an exceptionally comprehensive curriculum. You will be able to study the diversity of wild and cultivated plants from the Arctic to the Tropics, as well as plant functions from the molecular to the ecosystem level.

The teaching is diverse, consisting of modern laboratory and computer courses, field courses, seminars and excursions. The curriculum is intertwined with research. You will be introduced to the research groups from the beginning of your studies, so you will become familiar with research methods as your studies progress. Much of the study material is in various learning platforms (such as Moodle), which allow distance learning. You will have a personal tutor who will help you tailor an individual study plan according to your requirements.

Within the programme you can choose among several optional study modules and focus on, for example:
-Plant biotechnology and breeding
-Molecular biology and genetics
-Regulation of growth, reproduction and differentiation of tissues
-Biological basis of crop yield
-Plant ecology and evolutionary biology
-Evolutionary history and systematics of plants and fungi
-Species identification

All modules are worth at least 15 credits. They are interlinked to ensure a coherent and balanced degree that allows you to obtain a broad perspective. Alternatively, you can focus on your primary research interest while acquiring the skills needed to follow your career goals on completion of your degree.

A translational perspective is emphasised in courses in which it is relevant. That will allow you to apply the acquired basic knowledge in problem-based research, bridging the gap between basic and applied research.

Selection of the Major

By choosing study modules you find interesting you will be able to deepen your expertise in particular areas of plant biology. Your degree can thus be tailored depending on your aspirations, whether you want to be a university researcher, entrepreneur, or environmental/agricultural consultant. You will also be free to pick individual courses from any module, without having to take all courses in it. However, each module is a coherent entity so we recommend that you take all of the courses in it.

Programme Structure

The extent of the programme is 120 credits (ECTS), to be completed in two years of full-time studies. The degree consists of:
-60 credits of advanced studies (in plant biology), including Master’s thesis (30 credits).
-60 credits of other studies from this programme or other programmes.

The curriculum contains a personal study plan and it can contain career planning or transferable skill studies.

Career Prospects

With a Master’s degree in Plant Biology, you will have many potential career opportunities. You can work especially:
-As a researcher and/or part-time teacher at universities or other institutions of higher education.
-As a researcher in national and international institutions in the public and private sectors.
-As an expert, civil servant, authority or PR officer in public administration.
-In various positions in international organisations or enterprises engaged in bioeconomy.
-As an entrepreneur in the biological or environmental sectors of business.

Internationalization

International scope is a key benefit of the Plant Biology programme. You will be encouraged and helped to seek exchange possibilities in international student exchange programmes with cooperating universities. In this way you will get new ideas, perspectives and personal contacts that may prove useful later in your working life or doctoral studies.

All of our research groups include numerous members from Europe and farther afield. Thus you will be doing research in an international community and will be able to improve your skills in foreign languages, especially English, which is of primary importance in working life today.

You can also tutor international students or act in the student’s subject association or Student’s Union and get valuable experience of international and multicultural communities.

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The Plant Biotechnology programme is the combination of different fields of the classical plant sciences (e.g. plant physiology, plant breeding, plant pathology) working with a whole new range of techniques and possibilities opened up by modern molecular biology. Read more

MSc Plant Biotechnology

The Plant Biotechnology programme is the combination of different fields of the classical plant sciences (e.g. plant physiology, plant breeding, plant pathology) working with a whole new range of techniques and possibilities opened up by modern molecular biology.

Programme summary

Due to rapid technological developments in the genomics, molecular biology and biotechnology, the use of molecular marker technology has accelerated the selection of new plant varieties with many desirable traits. It also facilitates the design, development and management of transgenic plants. At present, plants are increasingly used to produce valuable proteins and secondary metabolites for food and pharmaceutical purposes. New insights into the molecular basis of plant-insect, plant- pathogen and crop-weed relationships enable the development of disease-resistant plants and strategies for integrated pest management. A fundamental approach is combined with the development of tools and technologies to apply in plant breeding, plant pathology, post-harvest quality control, and the production of renewable resources. Besides covering the technological aspects, Plant Biotechnology also deals with the ethical issues and regulatory aspects, including intellectual property rights.

Specialisations

Functional Plant Genomics
Functional genomics aims at understanding the relationship between an organism's genome and its phenotype. The availability of a wide variety of sequenced plant genomes has revolutionised insight into plant genetics. By combining array technology, proteomics, metabolomics and phenomics with bioinformatics, gene expression can be studied to understand the dynamic properties of plants and other organisms.

Plants for Human and Animal Health
Plants are increasingly being used as a safe and inexpensive alternative for the production of valuable proteins and metabolites for food supplements and pharmaceuticals. This specialisation provides a fundamental understanding of how plants can be used for the production of foreign proteins and metabolites. In addition, biomedical aspects such as immunology and food allergy, as well as nutritional genomics and plant metabolomics, can also be studied.

Molecular Plant Breeding and Pathology
Molecular approaches to analyse and modify qualitative and quantitative traits in crops are highly effective in improving crop yield, food quality, disease resistance and abiotic stress tolerance. Molecular plant breeding focuses on the application of genomics and QTL-mapping to enable marker assisted selection of a trait of interest (e.g. productivity, quality). Molecular plant pathology aims to provide a greater understanding of plant-insect, plant-pathogen and crop-weed interactions in addition to developing new technologies for integrated plant health management.These technologies include improved molecular detection of pathogens and transgene methods to introduce resistance genes into crops.

Your future career

The main career focus of graduates in Plant Biotechnology is on research and development positions at universities, research institutes, and biotech- or plant breeding companies. Other job opportunities can be found in the fields of policy, consultancy and communication in agribusiness and both governmental and non-governmental organisations. Over 75% of Plant Biotechnology graduates start their (academic) career with a PhD.

Alumnus Behzad Rashidi.
“I obtained my bachelor degree in the field of agricultural engineering, agronomy and plant breeding, at Isfahan University of Technology, Iran. The curiosity and interest for studying plant biotechnology and great reputation of Wageningen University motivated me to follow the master programme Plant Biotechnology. I got a chance to do my internship at State University of New York at Buffalo, working on biofuel production from microalgae. Working with this small unicellular organism made me even more motivated to continue my research after my master. Now I am doing my PhD in the Plant Breeding department of Wageningen University, working on biorefinery of microalgae.”

Related programmes:
MSc Biotechnology
MSc Molecular Life Sciences
MSc Plant Sciences
MSc Nutrition and Health
MSc Bioinformatics
MSc Biology.

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The Plant Sciences programme has been designed to help meet the worldwide demand for scientific expertise in the development of plant and crop production and farming systems. Read more

MSc Plant Sciences

The Plant Sciences programme has been designed to help meet the worldwide demand for scientific expertise in the development of plant and crop production and farming systems.

Programme summary

Plant Sciences deals with crop production ranging from plant breeding to the development of sustainable systems for the production of food, pharmaceuticals and renewable resources. It is linked with a professional sector that is highly important to the world economy. The programme focuses on the principles of plant breeding, agro-ecology and plant pathology and the integration of these disciplines to provide healthy plants for food and non-food applications. Technological aspects of crop production are combined with environmental, quality, socio-economic and logistic aspects. Students learn to apply their knowledge to develop integrated approaches for sustainable plant production.

Specialisations

Crop Science
Sound knowledge of crop science is essential to develop appropriate cultivation methods for a reliable supply of safe, healthy food; while considering nature conservation and biodiversity. An integrated approach is crucial to studying plant production at various levels (plant, crop, farm, region). This requires a sound understanding of basic physical, chemical, and physiological aspects of crop growth. Modelling and simulation are used to analyse yield constraints and to improve production efficiency.

Greenhouse Horticulture
Greenhouse horticulture is a unique agro-system and a key economic sector in the Netherlands. It is the only system that allows significant control of (a-) biotic factors through protected cultivation. The advances in this field are based on technological innovations. This specialisation combines product quality with quality of production and focuses on production, quality- and chain management of vegetables, cut flowers and potted plants.

Natural Resource Management
The development of sustainable agro-ecosystems requires understanding of the complex relationships between soil health, cultivation practices and nutrient kinetics. Other important aspects include the interactions between agriculture and nature, and competing claims on productive land worldwide. Natural Resource Management provides knowledge and tools to understand the interactions between the biotic and abiotic factors in agro-systems to facilitate diverse agricultural demands: bulk vs. pharmaceutical products, food vs. biofuel, conservation of biodiversity, climate change, and eco-tourism.

Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources
Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources ranges from the molecular to the population level and requires knowledge of the physiology and genetics of cultivated plants. Plant breeding is crucial in the development of varieties that meet current demands regarding yield, disease resistance, quality and sustainable production. The use of molecular techniques adds to the rapid identification of genes for natural resistance and is essential for accelerating selection by marker assisted breeding.

Complete Online Master
In September 2015, Wageningen University started the specialisation "Plant Breeding" as the first complete online Master of Science. For more information go to http://www.wageningenuniversity.eu/onlinemaster.


Plant Pathology and Entomology
The investments made in crop production need to be protected from losses caused by biotic stress. Integrated pest management provides protection by integrating genetic resistance, cultivation practices and biological control. This specialisation focuses on the ecology of insects, nematodes and weeds, and the epidemiology of fungi and viruses, including transmission mechanisms. Knowledge of plantinsect, plant-pathogen, and crop-weed relations establishes the basis for studies in integrated pest management and resistance breeding.

Your future career

Graduates in Plant Sciences have excellent career prospects and most of them receive job offers before graduation. They are university-trained professionals who are able to contribute to the sustainable development of plant production at various integration levels based on their knowledge of fundamental and applied plant sciences and their interdisciplinary approach. Graduates with a research focus are employed at universities, research institutes and plant breeding or agribusiness companies. Other job opportunities are in management, policy, consultancy and communication in agribusiness and (non-) governmental organisations.

Alumnus Maarten Rouwet.
“I was born in Germany and raised in the East of the Netherlands. After high school I applied for the Bèta-gamma bachelor at the University of Amsterdam where I majored in biology. After visiting the master open day at Wageningen University I knew that the master Plant Sciences had something unique to offer. In my master, I specialised in plant breeding, an ever so interesting field of research. I just started my first job as junior biotech breeder of leavy vegetables at Enza Zaden, a breeding company in Enkhuizen. One of my responsibilities is to identify resistances in wild species of lettuce and to implement these in breeding programmes of cultivated lettuce.”

Related programmes:
MSc Biosystems Engineering
MSc Biotechnology
MSc Biology
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation
MSc Organic Agriculture
MSc Plant Biotechnology.

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With the global human population set to rise to over nine billion by 2050, and our trees facing new plant threats, 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. Read more

Programme description

With the global human population set to rise to over nine billion by 2050, and our trees facing new plant threats, 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.

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.
.

Programme structure

The full time 12 month programme involves two semesters of classes followed by an individual research project. The curriculum consists of two core and four elective taught courses, followed by a period of individual dissertation project work. Field trips will also form a crucial part of this course.

Core courses typically include*:
•Forensic Plant Health: lectures, lab classes and field visits providing a foundation in plant health investigation
•Plant Health in a Global Context: lectures and visits providing a global context for exploring plant health issues
•Dissertation
•Students with little background in plant health biology will take the elective course on the Fundamentals of Plant Health

Option courses allow students to tailor the degree programme according to their interests. Option courses may include*:
•Applications in Ecological Economics
•Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
•Case Studies in Sustainable Development
•Climate Change and Corporate Strategy
•Ecosystem Services 1: Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
•Ecosystem Services 2: Ecosystem Values and Management
•Environmental Impact Assessment
•Foundations in Ecological Economics
•Frameworks to Assess Food Security
•Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
•Integrated Resource Management
•Integrated Resource Planning
•Interrelationships in Food Systems
•Land Use/Environmental Interactions
•Principles of Environmental Sustainability
•Soil Protection and Management
•Soil Science Concepts and Application
•Sustainability of Food Production
•Understanding Environment and Development

*Please note: courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change each year.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course our graduates will have gained:
•Specialist knowledge and understanding of plant health, and its evaluation, impact and management
•Skills to detect and identify agents detrimental to plant health
•An understanding of the nature and diversity of plant health interactions
•The ability to develop strategies for plant health management taking into account their impact on agricultural and non-agricultural ecosystems
•Knowledge of the relevance of plant health to sustainability and food security
•Improved analytical skills and critical thinking

Career opportunities

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.

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Are you interested in developing new technologies that will help to feed our growing population?. If so, see how our research and training is helping to shape our future. Read more
• Are you interested in developing new technologies that will help to feed our growing population?
• If so, see how our research and training is helping to shape our future...
• Industrial Internships are available on a competitive basis.
• Scholarships for Full or Part contribution towards fees and bursary are available for students who wish to consider either full or part-time option of the course.

The world leading Department of Chemistry (http://www.imperial.ac.uk/chemistry) and Institute of Chemical Biology (http://www.chemicalbiology.ac.uk) at Imperial College London is offering a 1-year multidisciplinary Masters in Research (MRes) in Plant Chemical Biology.
This course will equip you with the skills to tackle problems that lie at the plant/physical science interface on a molecular level. Chemical Biology through physical science innovation will lead to the development of novel technologies, vital to overcome future global challenges such as addressing the food, fuel and fibre needs of our growing population.
Advances in understanding biomolecular processes have often depended on the collaborative efforts of biochemists, chemists and physicists. Students will get training from both academic and industrial leaders in the plant and chemical biology fields. The course will enable students to bridge the gap that can exist between the physical and plant science disciplines because of differences in ‘language’, perspective and methodology. The course consists of an 8-month interdisciplinary research project, specialist lectures, transferable skills courses, interactive workshops, tutorials, journal clubs, and seminars.

Syngenta are the key industrial partner on this course. Joint Syngenta/Imperial research projects (internships) are available on a competitive basis. Students will either be based at Syngenta or at Imperial.

Successful graduates from this course will be ideally placed to undertake PhD studies or apply directly to the agri-science industrial sector.

For more information (including a copy of the course flyer and booklet) on the MRes in Plant Chemical Biology; Multidisciplinary Research for next Generation Agri-Sciences and details on how to apply, please see (http://www.imperial.ac.uk/chemicalbiology/mrescrop).

Visit the MRes in Plant Chemical Biology; Multidisciplinary Research for next Generation Agri-Sciences (Full or Part-time course) page on the Imperial College London web site for more details!

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The Plant Science Program offers degrees in fundamental and applied topics related to plant production, plant protection, biotechnology, plant physiology and biochemistry, and plant-environment interactions. Read more
The Plant Science Program offers degrees in fundamental and applied topics related to plant production, plant protection, biotechnology, plant physiology and biochemistry, and plant-environment interactions.

Specific areas of specialization include:
- Plant-microbe interaction, bacterial and fungal diseases, plant virology, biological control of pests and diseases, insect physiology, natural insecticides, insect ecology and behaviour, and weed biology, ecology and control;
- Seed physiology, plant nutrition, plant growth analysis, plant-plant interaction, biotic and abiotic stressor resistance, and environmental plant physiology;
- Vegetable culture, ornamental horticulture, plant breeding, and post-harvest physiology;
- Plant biochemistry, tissue culture, genetic engineering, and plant, fungal, and viral molecular genetics;
- Rangeland ecology, and wildlife habitat studies.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Science
- Specialization: Plant Science
- Subject: Agriculture and Forestry
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Land and Food Systems

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MPhil students must submit a dissertation for examination within the maximum period of their study. All graduate students attend induction and safety training courses in the department. Read more
MPhil students must submit a dissertation for examination within the maximum period of their study. All graduate students attend induction and safety training courses in the department. As well as undertaking your research, you will attend courses and lectures on some of the following: instrumentation, sequencing and database use, statistics, experimental design, analysing data, writing reports and a dissertation, introduction to MIMAS (a national data centre run by the University of Manchester), and how to give effective scientific presentations. Termly reports are provided on your work.

The course enables students to initiate careers in a wide range of disciplines including plant genetic engineering, plant development, plant molecular biology, plant biophysics, plant biochemistry, plant-microbe interactions, algal microbiology, plant ecology, crop biology, plant virology, plant epigenetics, epidemiology, plant taxonomy, plant physiology, eco physiology and bioinformatics.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/blpsmpbsc

Course detail

For students wishing to continue on to the PhD the MPhil provides suitable foundations. For students not wishing to continue the MPhil provides specialist training in scientific methodology relevant to the project subject area and based on the expertise of the supervisor and research group. This training also enables students from other scientific areas to proceed in a career in Plant Sciences and other allied areas. General training is also available and includes courses and lectures in instrumentation, sequencing and database use, statistics, experimental design, analysing data, writing reports and a dissertation, introduction to MIMAS (a national data centre run by the University of Manchester), and how to give effective scientific presentations.

Format

The Department has the overriding aim to provide all its Graduate Students with every opportunity for a broad education and a compatible environment in which they may complete a PhD or MPhil successfully. The Department will aim to provide guidance and, where appropriate, the facilities to allow Graduate Students to develop a number of different skills including:

- Research methodologies and the process of research including quantitative and qualitative methods and data analysis; project planning and management
- The effective use of learning resources including library and information technology
- Personal skills including oral and written communication, time management and team work skills, professional development and the preparation of curriculum vitae and employment applications
- A broad knowledge of the discipline in which the Student is working
- Technical training to enable the Student to undertake their research work effectively and efficiently
- Professional presentations

After the end of each term, the Graduate Education Committee will ask for a brief report on your progress from your Supervisor. This information will be made available to you and you will be invited to respond to comments made in a termly self-assessment. This will allow you to review your own progress and to highlight any difficulties you feel you are facing.

Assessment

A submission of a Masters dissertation, with a word limit of 20,000 words, is required within 12 months from a student's registration date.

A viva voce examination of the dissertation will normally then take place.

Continuing

On successfully passing their MPhil, students are welcome to apply to continue to a PhD. Continuation is dependent on the approval of the receiving Department and Degree Committee.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

Individual supervisors may hold grant linked or CASE studentships. It is best to contact supervisors directly to inquiry into availability.

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

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This is an online Master specialisation within the MSc Plant Sciences. Read more

MSc Plant Breeding

This is an online Master specialisation within the MSc Plant Sciences

ONLINE OPEN DAY: 17 MARCH 2016

Would you like to know more about the Master programmes of Wageningen University, join us for the Master online open day on 17 March 2016! During the online open day you can meet the staff and students of the Master programmes, experience Wageningen University and check out the innovative campus. You can also ask your questions about application and admission, scholarships, the education system and much more, all online!

sign up now

http://www.wageningenuniversity.eu/masteronlineopenday

Online Master

The online master specialisation is designed for part-time study (approx. 20 hrs/week) to combine work and study or in the context of Life-Long-Learning. A course-programme of 2 years will be followed by a tailor-made internship and Master thesis. During the courses, you will closely collaborate with lecturers, tutors and fellow distance learning students on a virtual learning platform. The course programme includes two short stays of two weeks, each in Wageningen, for essential practicals that relate to the theory. There may be options to organise the academic internship and Master thesis in your own professional context, either parttime or full-time.

Programme summary

Plant Breeding plays an important role in the development of plant varieties for food, feed and industrial uses. New varieties have to meet current demands regarding yield, disease resistance, quality characteristics, salt or drought tolerance and suitability for sustainable plant production systems. Plant Breeding involves a variety of aspects, ranging from the molecular level to the population level and requires knowledge of the physiology, ecology and genetics of cultivated plants. The use of various molecular techniques contributes enormously to the rapid identification of genes for natural resistance and is essential for accelerating the selection process by marker-assisted breeding.

Your future career

Graduates of the Master Plant Sciences have excellent career prospects and most of them receive job offers before graduation. They are university-trained professionals who are able to contribute to the sustainable development of plant production at various integration levels based on their knowledge of fundamental and applied plant sciences and their interdisciplinary approach. Graduates with a research focus are employed at universities, research institutes and plant breeding or agribusiness companies. Other job opportunities are in management, policy, consultancy and communication in agribusiness and (non-) governmental organisations.

Student Timo Petter.
After 10 years of practical experience in Allium breeding, Timo subscribed to follow courses of the master Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources. His job at Bejo Zaden brought him to many countries where the breeding company has her trial fields, breeding stations and sales representatives. But as a crop research manager he started to feel the need to improve his knowledge of the theoretical side of his profession: “Although I have not finished my masters yet, I use the knowledge that I have gained from the various courses every day! For a plant breeder, I believe that this master is the best educational programme available in the Netherlands.”

Related on-campus programmes:
MSc Biosystems Engineering
MSc Biotechnology
MSc Biology
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation
MSc Organic Agriculture
MSc Plant Biotechnology

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Life and plant science undergraduates, and professionals in commercial horticulture and agriculture looking to develop their career, from the UK and overseas, will benefit from a broad, research-led syllabus. Read more
Life and plant science undergraduates, and professionals in commercial horticulture and agriculture looking to develop their career, from the UK and overseas, will benefit from a broad, research-led syllabus. Taught content will equip the graduate with the expertise needed to work independently in a range of areas of current commercial plant science, at supervisory or management level, or in applied research. As well as ensuring a thorough grounding in basic science and horticultural technology, the modern molecular biology content is particularly relevant, since new technologies are rapidly entering the commercial arena. The independent research project will be set in a research institution or appropriate local industry, and will be designed around the student's interests and expertise.

The MSc focuses on methods used in the evaluation and improvement of conventional crops that feed the growing world population, but also alternative protected crops and ornamentals along with postharvest management, business and environmental concerns, and plant stress and disease in a changing climate.

Experts in this increasingly important area are needed in businesses nationally and internationally, in research and innovation, and at government and agency level where the ability to understand and follow current developments is required to guide and direct global sustainable solutions to population change.

The aims of the programme are:
• To provide knowledge of the science of plant biology and its application in the commercial and research arena
• To introduce the practicalities of horticulture and agriculture technologies including consideration of sustainability
• To examine the commercial aspects of this business area, including the planning, execution and evaluation of trials to exploit and develop novel approaches, practices, and crops
• To allow the student to synthesise, evaluate and critically judge which technologies and research findings are of value and appropriate to their current or future employment environment in a UK or international setting.

Visit the website http://www.gre.ac.uk/pg/engsci/aps

Food and Agricultural Sciences

The Natural Resources Institute (NRI) has an internationally-recognised academic reputation and provides taught postgraduate courses in a wonderful environment for students.

NRI provide research, consultancy, training and advisory services to underpin sustainable development, economic growth and poverty reduction. The majority of our activities focus on the harnessing of natural and human capital for the benefit of developing countries, though much of our expertise has proved to be of growing relevance to industrialised nations.

What you'll study

• Molecular and plant biology principles for plant improvement
• Research methods in plant science
• Independent research project
• Plant growth and cropping technology

Options:
• Agroforestry
• Agronomy and crop physiology
• Applications and aspects of commercial crop science
• Food and markets
• Planning for personal and professional development
• Plant disease management

Fees and finance

Your time at university should be enjoyable and rewarding, and it is important that it is not spoilt by unnecessary financial worries. We recommend that you spend time planning your finances, both before coming to university and while you are here. We can offer advice on living costs and budgeting, as well as on awards, allowances and loans.

Find out more about our fees and the support available to you at our:
- Postgraduate finance pages (http://www.gre.ac.uk/finance/pg)
- International students' finance pages (http://www.gre.ac.uk/finance/international)

Assessment

Examinations, coursework, research project dissertation.

Specialist equipment/facilities

Molecular biology laboratories, horticultural and agricultural facilities

Career options

Production managers - management of plant/crop production (protected and non-protected crops) and postharvest facilities.

Development specialists - selection, development and evaluation of existing and novel plants and crops.

Retailing produce - food and crop technologists, retailing food and non-food derived crops and products, including fresh produce and postharvest technologists.

Institutes, NGOs and governmental bodies - governance and policy linked to application of horticultural/agricultural technologies.

Applied research scientist - application of plant science into practice.

Find out how to apply here - http://www2.gre.ac.uk/study/apply

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Our MSc by Research in Life Sciences is a dedicated programme which is designed to enable students to further develop their research skills by focusing on a specialist project. Read more
Our MSc by Research in Life Sciences is a dedicated programme which is designed to enable students to further develop their research skills by focusing on a specialist project.

This course provides an opportunity for students from biological subjects to begin research in life sciences. Research may be conducted in a broad range of topics in biology and life sciences and as a researcher in the School, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with academics working on studies and projects.

The School undertakes research at molecular, cellular, organism and population levels in order to answer fundamental questions in molecular biology and biomedical science, forensic science and microbiology, animal and plant biology, and evolution and ecology.

Research Areas, Projects & Topics

Research is conducted within six substantial research groups. Scientists in Animal Behaviour, Cognition and Welfare explore the causes, functions and evolution of animal behaviour and the impact this has on animal welfare.

Those in Evolution and Ecology examine population dynamics and evolutionary processes at all levels of biological organisation. Researchers in Drug Design and Delivery focus on the application and efficacy of novel therapeutics, while academics working in Molecular Basis of Disease aim to understand disease at a molecular level in order to improve diagnosis and treatment.

Example Research Areas:
-Management of Native River Fish
-Forensic Analysis of Burnt Bones
-Public Perception of Dog Breed Types.

Example Research Projects:
-Peptide-guided drug delivery
-Cognitive phylogenetics in parrots
-Sexual selection dynamics in humans
-Protein Biochemistry with the development of cardiovascular disease
-Reconstruction of patterns of habitat colonisation using genetic methods.

How You Study

Due to the nature of postgraduate research programmes, the vast majority of your time will be spent in independent study and research. You will have meetings with your academic supervisor, however the regularity of these will vary depending on your own individual requirements, subject area, staff availability and the stage of your programme.

Facilities

Students have the chance to develop their professional and technical skills in specialist laboratories equipped for research in biomedical, forensic and pharmaceutical science, chemistry, microbiology, molecular biology and animal and plant biology.

Minster House, adjacent to the laboratories, provides specialist facilities for the study of animal behaviour. Our links with local, national and international partners may provide postgraduate students with opportunities for further collaboration with scientists in industry, government and academia.

Career and Personal Development

Postgraduate-level research provides you with the opportunity to advance your knowledge and develop your practical and intellectual skills. Graduates may pursue careers in research and science-related roles, while others may choose to move on to research at doctoral level.

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The two year MSc Biology concerns understanding the complexity of biological systems, at scales ranging from single molecules to whole ecosystems, provides a unique intellectual challenge. Read more

MSc Biology

The two year MSc Biology concerns understanding the complexity of biological systems, at scales ranging from single molecules to whole ecosystems, provides a unique intellectual challenge. The biosciences aim to understand living systems and to help preserve biodiversity and our environment and simultaneously produce sufficient healthy and safe food.

Programme summary

Biological issues are at the forefront of the technological progress of modern society. They are central to global concerns about how we effect and are affected by our environment. Understanding the complexity of biological systems, at scales ranging from single molecules to whole ecosystems, provides a unique intellectual challenge. The MSc Biology allows students to get a broad overview of the latest developments in biology, ranging from genes to ecosystems. They learn to critically discuss the newest scientific developments in the biological sciences. Within their area of specialisation, students deepen their knowledge and skills in a certain subject. To prepare for a successful international career, we strongly encourage our students to complete part of their programme requirements abroad.

Specialisations

The MSc Biology offers nine specialisations:

Animal Adaptation and Behavioural Biology
This specialisation focuses mainly on subjects as adaptation, mechanisms involved in these adaptations and behaviour of animals.

Bio-interactions
In this specialisation, you obtain knowledge about interactions between organisms. You learn to understand and interpret interactions on different levels, from molecular to ecosystem level.

Molecular Ecology
In this specialisation, you learn to use molecular techniques to solve ecological questions. You will use, for example, molecular techniques to study the interaction between a virus and a plant.

Conservation and Systems Ecology
This specialisation focuses initially on fundamental processes that play a key role in ecology. You learn to interpret different relations, for example, the relation between chemical (or physical processes) and bioprocesses. Furthermore, you learn to analyse different ecosystems. You can use this knowledge to manage and conserve these ecological systems.

Evolution and Biodiversity
The systematics of biodiversity in an evolutionary perspective is the central focus of this specialisation. Subjects that will be addressed in this specialisation are: evolution, genetics, biosystematic research and taxonomic analysis.

Health and Disease
This specialisation focuses on regulatory mechanisms that have a central role in human and animal health.

Marine Biology
Choosing this specialisation means studying the complexity of the marine ecosystem. Moreover, you learn about the impacts of, for instance, fishery and recreation on this ecosystem or the interaction between different species in this system.

Molecular Development and Gene Regulation
This specialisation focuses on gene regulations and the different developmental mechanisms of organisms.

Plant Adaptation
This specialisation focuses on the adaptations that different plants gained in order to adjust to various conditions. You learn to understand the regulation processes in plants that underlie these adaptations.

Your future career

Many graduates from the MSc Biology study programme enter careers in fundamental and applied research or go on to become PhD students. Some find a position as communication officer, manager or policymaker. Compared with other Dutch universities, many biology graduates from Wageningen University find a position abroad.

Alumna Iris de Winter.
"I work as a PhD student at Wageningen University. In my research, I aim to understand the effect of human disturbance on the parasites prevalence in lemurs. I also look at the potential risks of the transmission of diseases and parasites from lemurs to humans, but also vice versa, from humans (and their livestock and pets) to wild lemur population. I alternate my fieldwork in Madagascar with parasite identification, analyses and writing manuscripts in the Netherlands. With this research, I hope to gain more insight in the factors that increase parasite prevalence in natural systems and hereby to improve the protection of both lemurs and their natural habitat."

Related programmes:
MSc Molecular Life Sciences
MSc Animal Sciences
MSc Plant Sciences
MSc Forest and Nature Conservation
MSc Biotechnology
MSc Plant Biotechnology
MSc Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management
MSc Organic Agriculture.

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Our MRes in Plant and Microbial Biology provides a unique opportunity to learn from research leaders investigating topics such as global food security, the impact on plants of climate change and plant-microbe interactions. Read more

About the course

Our MRes in Plant and Microbial Biology provides a unique opportunity to learn from research leaders investigating topics such as global food security, the impact on plants of climate change and plant-microbe interactions. Research ranges from molecules to whole organisms, ecosystems and global systems.

Our MRes degrees are excellent preparation for a career in research or industry. These courses enable you to develop your own research skills and contribute new knowledge to your chosen field.

Where your masters can take you

Our MRes programme will provide you with an excellent foundation for a career in research or industry. It is ideal preparation for a PhD degree, whilst also providing advanced level skills in research methods, data analysis, and clear communication of research findings, all of which are in high demand from employers.

Tailor your masters to your own research interests

Our MRes programme is uniquely research-focused. You will be assigned to a research supervisor on the basis of your particular research interests. You’ll be embedded within a research group, working alongside PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and academic staff who are at the forefront of their research field.

You will conduct an extended research project over several months, with the aim of producing original work of publishable quality.

Course structure

Each programme has a common element where you will learn about the most recent developments in your research area and discuss them with research leaders from the UK and around the world.

You will gain advanced skills in experimental design, data analysis and presentation, as you learn how to become a research leader yourself.

Core modules

Advanced Trends in Biology; Advanced Biological Analysis; Research and Study Skills in Biology; Tutorials; Literature Review; and Research Project. The latter accounts for half of your final grade.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is via working in a research laboratory or on a field-based research project, tutorials, discussion groups, attendance at seminars, and statistics and other workshops.

Assessment includes, but is not limited to, project report, literature review, critiques, short reports and essays, oral presentations including a viva.

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Researchers in the School of Biological Sciences conduct cutting-edge research across a broad range of biological disciplines. genomics, biotechnology, cell biology, sensory biology, animal behaviour and evolution, population biology, host-disease interactions and ecosystem services, to name but a few. Read more
Researchers in the School of Biological Sciences conduct cutting-edge research across a broad range of biological disciplines: genomics, biotechnology, cell biology, sensory biology, animal behaviour and evolution, population biology, host-disease interactions and ecosystem services, to name but a few.

In 2014 the school relocated to a new £54 million, state-of-the-art Life Sciences building. Our new laboratory facilities are among the best in the world, with critical '-omics' technologies and associated computing capacity (bioinformatics) a core component. The new building is designed to foster our already strong collaborative and convivial environment, and includes a world-leading centre for evolutionary biology research in collaboration with key researchers from earth sciences, biochemistry, social medicine, chemistry and computer sciences. The school has strong links with local industry, including BBC Bristol, Bristol Zoo and the Botanic Gardens. We have a lively, international postgraduate community of about 150 research students. Our stimulating environment and excellent graduate school training and support provide excellent opportunities to develop future careers.

Research groups

The underlying theme of our research is the search for an understanding of the function, evolution, development and regulation of complex systems, pursued using the latest technologies, from '-omics' to nanoscience, and mathematical modelling tools. Our research is organised around four main themes that reflect our strengths and interests: evolutionary biology; animal behaviour and sensory biology; plant and agricultural sciences; and ecology and environmental change.

Evolutionary Biology
The theme of evolutionary biology runs through all our research in the School of Biological Sciences. Research in this theme seeks to understand organismal evolution and biodiversity using a range of approaches and study systems. We have particular strengths in evolutionary genomics, phylogenetics and phylogenomics, population genetics, and evolutionary theory and computer modelling.

Animal Behaviour and Sensory Biology
Research is aimed at understanding the adaptive significance of behaviour, from underlying neural mechanisms ('how', or proximate, questions) to evolutionary explanations of function ('why', or ultimate, questions). The approach is strongly interdisciplinary, using diverse physiological and biomechanical techniques, behavioural experiments, computer modelling and molecular biology to link from the genetic foundations through to the evolution of behaviour and sensory systems.

Plant and Agricultural Sciences
The global issue of food security unifies research in this theme, which ranges from molecular-based analysis of plant development, signal transduction and disease, to ecological studies of agricultural and livestock production systems. We have particular strengths in functional genomics, bioinformatics, plant developmental biology, plant pathology and parasite biology, livestock parasitology and agricultural systems biology. Our research is helped by the LESARS endowment, which funds research of agricultural relevance.

Ecology and Environmental Change
Research seeks to understand ecological relations between organisms (plant, animal or microbe) at individual, population and community levels, as well as between organisms and their environments. Assessing the effect of climate change on these ecological processes is also fundamental to our research. Key research areas within this theme include community ecology, restoration ecology, conservation, evolutionary responses to climate change and freshwater ecology. Our research has many applied angles, such as ecosystem management, wildlife conservation, environmental and biological control, agricultural practice and informing policy.

Careers

Many postgraduate students choose a higher degree because they enjoy their subject and subsequently go on to work in a related area. An Office of Science and Technology survey found that around three-quarters of BBSRC- and NERC-funded postgraduates went on to a job related to their study subject.

Postgraduate study is often a requirement for becoming a researcher, scientist, academic journal editor and for work in some public bodies or private companies. Around 60 per cent of biological sciences doctoral graduates continue in research. Academic research tends to be contract-based with few permanent posts, but the school has a strong track record in supporting the careers of young researchers by helping them to find postdoctoral positions or develop fellowship applications.

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The MRes in Animal and Plant Science is a full-time programme running over 12 months from the date of first registration for the programme. Read more
The MRes in Animal and Plant Science is a full-time programme running over 12 months from the date of first registration for the programme. Applications will be accepted for a start date in October or January. The programme consists of (a) a major research thesis and (b) taught modules on generic and transferable skills, with an emphasis on scientific writing, oral presentations, and general research skills. Part-time study for this programme is not available.

Prospective students must talk to their proposed supervisor about possible project areas (see below) and have a project approved by interview with the supervisor and Head of Discipline prior to application via http://www.pac.ie (PAC code: CKS81).

Visit the website: https://www.ucc.ie/en/bees/courses/postgrad/

Course detail

Students undertake a total workload equivalent to 90 credits over the 12 month programme, the principal element of which is the completion of a major research thesis of approximately 25,000 words. In parallel, students must take and pass taught modules to the value of 20 credits.

Modules

Students take 20 credits from the following available modules:

BL6010 Characteristics of the Marine Environment (5 credits)
BL6012 Marine Megafauna (10 credits)
BL6016 Marine Ecology and Conservation (10 credits)
BL6019 Ecological Applications of Geographical Information Systems (5 credits)
BL6020 Genetics and the Marine Environment (5 credits)
BL4004 Frontiers in Biology (5 credits)
BL4005 Research Skills in Biology (5 credits)
BL4006 Food Production (5 credits)
PS6001 Plant Genetic Engineering (5 credits)
PS4024 Crop Physiology and Climate Change (5 credits)
PS4021 Environmentally Protective Management of Plant Pests and Pathogens (5 credits)
ZY4021 Evolutionary Ecology (5 credits)

Students may elect to take other, relevant modules (subject to availability) that are offered by the University that are not listed above to fulfil the elective requirement with approval from the MRes coordinator, research supervisor and Head of School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science.

Students will also undertake independent research towards completion of a research thesis to a student workload equivalent of 70 credits on a selected topic in Animal or Plant Science.

Current projects:

- The effect of lactation housing on the behaviour and welfare of pigs
- Understanding viral pathways in marine environments
- Distribution and diet of otters in a rural/urban streamscape
- Novel approaches in the use of freshwater macroinvertebrates for biomonitoring
- The ecology of Sika/Red/Fallow deer in Ireland
- Catching prey; the role of Ultraviolet radiation in attracting insects by carnivorous plants
- Birds as dispersers of plant propagules
- Does the phytotoxicity of nanoparticles depend on environmental parameters?
- The role of biochar as a sustainable soil amendment
- Effects of Eutrophication in shallow subtidal marine systems
- Use of Brachypodium sylvaticum as a model for growth regulation in perennial forage grasses
- Effect of temperature on spring growth of perennial ryegrass cultivars

Programme Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

- Carry out an independent and original research project to address an emerging question in Animal or Plant Science.
- Prepare and write a dissertation of their research project in a critical, logical and systematic manner, in keeping with the standards of postgraduate research.
- Display advanced theoretical knowledge and practical understanding within a research area of Animal or Plant Science.
- Understand the basis and application of field and laboratory methods used in Animal and Plant Science and a knowledge of their limitations
- Avail of relevant workshops or modules to increase scientific technical skills (e. g. biostatistics).
- Source, review, critically assess and evaluate relevant primary literature and summarize material for presentation to peers and for inclusion within the research dissertation.
- Design, write and defend a scientific research proposal based on their current research topic or a proposed topic.
- Evaluate their skill set and identify skills that should be acquired.
- Develop professional practice skills including team-work, negotiation, time-management, scientific writing and oral communication

How to apply

Students should consult the MRes Animal and Plant Science Brochure: https://www.ucc.ie/en/media/academic/schoolofbees/documents/MResinAnimalandPlantScience.pdf

Prospective students should also consult the following guide to procedures realting to applying for the MRes Animal and Plant Science: https://www.ucc.ie/en/media/academic/schoolofbees/documents/MResinANimalandplantscience-Studentguidetoproceduresbeforeandafterentrytotheprogramme24March2016.pdf

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This masters programme is designed to prepare you for a career in research in molecular and cellular biology and its applications. Read more
This masters programme is designed to prepare you for a career in research in molecular and cellular biology and its applications.

It comprises a year of intensive training and research experience leading to the award of an MRes degree which will give you a ‘flying start’ to a subsequent PhD programme, if this is your chosen career path.

This programme is designed to prepare you for a career in research in molecular and cellular biology and its applications. It comprises a year of intensive training and research experience leading to the award of an MRes degree which will give you a ‘flying start’ to a subsequent PhD programme, if this is your chosen career path.

The programme aims to provide training in the practical aspects that underlie research science in this field. To achieve this aim the course contains a very high level of hands-on research, as it is our view there is no better training than lab experience.

Programme content

Two-thirds of the programme is taken up by two approximately 18-week research projects, which are undertaken in different laboratories and with different supervisors. A very wide range of research topics falling within the scope of molecular and cellular biology is available within the School; this range extends from structural biology at one extreme to multicellular systems at the other.

In addition to this direct research experience, there are two compulsory taught modules which provide training in:

- Science Funding and Enterprise Skills in Biosciences
- Techniques in Molecular and Cellular Biology
These modules cover the basic principles underlying scientific research methods and the design of biological/biochemical experiments, and discussion of modern techniques in molecular and cellular biology. In addition, the science funding and enterprise module provides the skills required to obtain funding for sciences. This includes grant and business case writing and scientific presentation skills. You can also take courses to develop general research skills arranged through the Biosciences Graduate Research School.

The taught modules consist of a combination of seminars and lectures. The lab work that is carried out during the course is student-led. You will be able to choose areas of molecular and cellular biology that fit with your career aspirations.

Assessment

The two taught modules are assessed via examination, essays and oral presentations. The two research projects are assessed via written thesis and an oral examination.

Skills gained

This programme offers the following advantages:

Broad training in the skills and techniques of contemporary research in molecular and cellular biology
The opportunity to experience research in at least two different areas
Increased breadth and experience, which will enhance subsequent employability
The course will also enable you to:

Conduct and fund independent research
Present research results in an appropriate manner both written and orally
Have an appreciation and knowledge of the use of modern techniques in molecular and cellular biology
Build and develop scientific research projects in the public and private sector
Careers

Those who perform effectively in the MRes often continue at Birmingham to a PhD; however, the MRes also provides a very good qualification to move into research and a wide range of professions.

About the School of Biosciences

As one of the top biosciences departments in the UK, our research covers the entire spectrum of cutting-edge biosciences. We are home to the Institute of Microbiology and Infection and part of the University’s Systems Science for Health initiative.
Our research focuses on a number of important themes that run through modern biological and biochemical research: Biosystems and Environmental Change; Microbiology and Infection; Molecules, Cells, Signalling and Health; and Plant Science.
Our postgraduate students join a diverse international community of staff and students. For students on research degrees, the annual Biosciences Graduate Research Symposium, organised by PhD students, is an example of an event where the whole School comes together to talk about science.
We have extensive high-technology facilities in areas such as functional genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, including a world-class Advanced Mass Spectrometry Facility. Our cutting-edge facilities extend to protein structure determination and analysis, confocal microscopy, drug discovery, horticulture, structural biology and optical imaging. The £8 million Phenome Centre Birmingham is a large metabolic phenotyping facility led by internationally recognised metabolomics and clinical experts at the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with Birmingham Health Partners.

Funding and Scholarships

There are many ways to finance your postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. To see what funding and scholarships are available, please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/pgfunding

Open Days

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open days.
Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/pgopendays

Virtual Open Days

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk

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