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Masters Degrees (Plant Genetics)

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This MSc takes advantage of our unique expertise in Plant Genetics to provide expert, cutting-edge training in a highly prized discipline. Read more
This MSc takes advantage of our unique expertise in Plant Genetics to provide expert, cutting-edge training in a highly prized discipline. The degree provides an ideal grounding for PhD research or a career in plant breeding and crop improvement with modules including Genetics, Plant Genomics, Plant Molecular Genetics and Statistics for Plant Science.

Your taught modules will be complemented by a six-month laboratory-based research project, giving you the opportunity to work closely with world-leading scientists from the John Innes Centre and our School of Biological Sciences.

The John Innes Centre – based on Norwich Research Park alongside UEA – is one of the world’s leading research institutes in plant genetics and crop improvement, so there are few places in the world where you’ll find a better opportunity to work with such leading authorities and world-class facilities.

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The Bordeaux Biology Agrosciences (B2AS) program offers an integrated multidisciplinary approach that is adapted to the realities of research (background research) as well as to the socio-economic sector (professional courses). The program objectives are to train and equip researchers and professionals to face the issues posed by agriculture in the 21st century. Read more

The Bordeaux Biology Agrosciences (B2AS) program offers an integrated multidisciplinary approach that is adapted to the realities of research (background research) as well as to the socio-economic sector (professional courses). The program objectives are to train and equip researchers and professionals to face the issues posed by agriculture in the 21st century. This is achived by integrating plant biotechnology and agrofood technology within course content in order to deal with the challenges of innovation in agriculture.

With such an integrated approach, the Master B2AS represents a meeting point between academia and professionals. During the program, students may specialize either in the field of plant biology, biotechnology, plant breeding, genetics, plant and human health benefits, food production and innovation. The wide partner network provides students with a range of complementary expertise. This means that specific competencies are developed within the chosen field of biotechnology and plant breeding for agriculture improvements.

Program structure

Semester 1:

Scientific English (3 ECTS)

  • Students will reinforce and develop the reading, writing, listening and speaking skills relevant to a biological science research context.
  • Students will acquire knowledge of the linguistic and discursive features of both written and spoken scientific English.
  • Structure and rhetoric of the research article, writing up an abstract. Oral scientific presentation – students prepare a mini-symposium on the topic related to their future work placement (and thus complete relevant bibliographical and reading research in preparation).
  • Students are evaluated on their communication skills in English and also on their ability to manage complex scientific concepts in English.

Plant development and reproduction (3 ECTS)

  • Genetic regulation of root and stem apical meristem functioning, epigenetic regulations of plant development and reproduction, parental imprinting, plant hormones, fruit and seed development, sex determination in plants, cellular mechanisms involved in plant organ growth and development.

Metabolism and cellular compartmentation (3 ECTS)

  • Metabolism and cell compartmentation: morphodynamic organization of the plant secretory pathway, lipid and protein machineries; membrane transporters in plants and the related methods of study; lipid signaling in plant cells; formation and dynamics of membrane domains; regulation of metabolism and gene expression by sugars in plants. Nature and importance of futile cycles in plants.

Biotechonology (3 ECTS)

  • In vitro culture and applications, plant transformation and applications to crop plants, GMO legislation and traceability, metabolic engineering, GMO and production of antibodies and of molecules of high health value, GMO in the food industry, fungi biotechnology.

Plant pathogen interactions (3 ECTS)

  • Plant-Mollicutes interactions, plant-virus interactions: analysis of plant and virus factors necessary for virus cycle, viroids; RNA interference, plant defence mechanisms against pathogens (fungi, bacteria and virus), breeding of plants resistant to pathogens, biodiversity of plant pathogens, epidemiology of plant pathogen interactions and impact on crop production.

Plant breeding (3 ECTS)

  • Principles of selection and genetic gain, response to selection, germplasm resources, collecting, analysing, classifying, international rules on germplasm resources. Population improvement and cultivar development (breeding for lines, hybrids, clones, populations), high throughput phenotyping, breeding strategies and methods including molecular breeding (MAS, genomic selection) and biotechnologies, multiple traits selection, genotype by environment interaction, protecting varieties and intellectual property, plant breeding international network and organization.

Quantitative and population genetics and evolution (3 ECTS)

  • Population genetics and genetic diversity, haplotype structure, domestication and genetic consequences, linkage disequilibrium, genetic variance, estimating variance components, heritability, genetic correlations, association genetics, genomic selection, induced diversity TILLinG, natural diversity ecoTILLinG, linking genetics, genomics and bioinformatics : from fine- mapping to gene cloning; genotyping by sequencing.

Semester 2:

Laboratory Practice (6 months/30 ECTS) 

  • In a public laboratory and/or a private company laboratory.

Strengths of this Master program

During their studies, students will:

  • Acquire scientific knowledge in various fields of plant biology, green biotechnology, food supplements, food production, etc.
  • Receive a modern research-based training.
  • Develop an understanding of the challenges of modern agricultural practices in a context of environmental constraints and increasing demand.
  • Develop an understanding of the benefits and limits of modern biotechnology.
  • Acquire the skills to develop action planning processes for bioscience.
  • Acquire skills and practice within an English-speaking environment as well as other languages practised within the consortium.
  • Develop the necessary skills to collaborate with international teams and networks.
  • Acquire competencies for knowledge transfer to students and collaborators.
  • Develop competencies to create, finance and manage a new start-up.
  • Acquire an understanding of today’s industrial and economic environment within the Biotech sector.

After this Master program?

The objectives of the B2AS program are to prepare students for further study via PhD programs and/or careers in the food and agronomy industry throughout the world. This is achieved by providing high-level training in plant sciences but also by preparing students with relevant knowledge and skills in management and business. 

Graduates may apply for positions in the following industrial sectors in a R&D laboratory as well as in production activities:

  • Plant research laboratories
  • Plant breeding companies
  • Agro-chemical companies
  • Green and white biotechnology companies
  • Food, diet and nutrition companies
  • Plant medicinal production companies
  • Food supplement or nutraceutical companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Business trade companies


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Be in demand. There is a shortage of applied plant breeders in New Zealand and overseas - you will be in demand in the industry. Many graduates have employment before they graduate. Read more

Be in demand

There is a shortage of applied plant breeders in New Zealand and overseas - you will be in demand in the industry. Many graduates have employment before they graduate.

Find out more about the Master of Science parent structure.

When you study the Master of Science (Plant Breeding) at Massey University you will become a member of a significant international scientific community responsible for global food security.

This plant breeding major is a unique qualification in New Zealand. This course will provide you with training in quantitative genetics & applied plant breeding methods, multisite experimental design, data analysis & interpretation, application of molecular tools in plant breeding and visits to field programs & interaction with applied plant breeders.

Take advantage of our globally-renowned expertise

This course will be taught by highly-skilled internationally-recognised and active researchers with expertise in; plant genetic resources, quantitative genetics, applied plant breeding, plant molecular biology, evolutionary biology, systematics and taxonomy and plant physiology. During the course of your studies you will visit applied field programs and learn from practicing scientists and experienced field breeders.

A multi-disciplinary approach

The modern plant breeder is one who has not only to have a good understanding of genetics and plant breeding methods, but also know how to apply new tools such as molecular marker technologies and also interact with other significant disciplines such as agronomy, plant protection, plant physiology. This is why our course takes a multi-disciplinary approach. The students are taught the importance of a team approach to plant breeding. They are also given a global prospective of the significance of the international plant breeding community responsible for food security of the human population.

World-class equipment and facilities

As a plant breeding student you will have access to Massey’s world-leading equipment and facilities such as our extensive glasshouses and farms, moleculAar labs, the Dame Ella Campbell Herbarium, the Palynology Laboratory, Plant Growth Unit, Seed Testing Services, Massey Genome Service and the Manawatu Microscopy and Imaging Centre.

Relevant and topical

We work to ensure that our teaching fits with the changing environment, which means that you will emerge with a relevant qualification valued by potential employers. 

During the course of your study you will get the opportunity to visit and work with organisations working on plant breeding, like the AgResearch Grasslands Research Centre, Plant & Food and SCION. Some of our students are able to conduct their projects at these organisations whilst undertaking their postgraduate study, benefiting their career and gaining real-word experience in the process. Masters and PhD students from Massey are often co-supervised by experienced scientists from these organisations, most of which are physically located very close to Massey’s Manawatu campus.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The Master of Science will push you to produce your best creative, strategic and theoretical ideas. The workload replicates the high-pressure environment of senior workplace roles. Completing this course will also provide you with the opportunity of undertaking a PhD.

Not just more of the same

Postgraduate study is not just ‘more of the same’ undergraduate study. Our experts are there to guide but if you have come from undergraduate study, you will find that postgraduate study demands more in-depth and independent study. It takes you to a new level in knowledge and expertise especially in planning, undertaking research, improving scientific skills and also presenting scientific information to an audience.

Complete in 2 years

Massey University’s Master of Science is primarily a 240 credit master qualification. This is made up of 120 credits of taught courses and a 120 credit research project.

Or if you have already completed the BSc (Hons) or PGDipSc you can conduct a 120 credit thesis to achieve your masters qualification.



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The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences have turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology. Read more

The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences have turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology.

Based in the internationally renowned Institute of Evolutionary Biology, this MSc draws from the wealth of expertise available there, as well as the teaching, research expertise and facilities of Scotland’s Rural College, the University’s Centre for Molecular Medicine, the Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit and the Roslin Institute (birthplace of Dolly the sheep).

Each year the syllabus is fine-tuned to suit current issues in evolutionary, plant, human and animal genetics.

This programme forms part of the quantitative genetics and genome analysis suite of programmes offering specialist routes, which also include Animal Breeding & Genetics and Human Complex Trait Genetics.

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project, leading to a dissertation.

Courses are taught via lectures, tutorials, seminars and computer practicals. Assessment is by written examinations, in-course assignments and project work.

Compulsory courses:

  • Population and Quantitative Genetics
  • Genetic Interpretation
  • Linkage and Association in Genome Analysis
  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Research Proposal
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

  • Molecular Phylogenetics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Molecular Evolution
  • Genetics of Human Complex Traits
  • Quantitative Genetic Models
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Animal Genetic Improvement
  • Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics

Learning outcomes

You will gain the knowledge and skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to undertake research in evolutionary and quantitative genetics, population genetics and evolutionary genomics.

  • A thorough understanding of general concepts in population and quantitative genetics and genomics
  • In-depth knowledge of evolutionary genetics
  • A solid grounding in the statistical methods required for quantitative biology
  • Development of independent research skills through individual mini- and maxi-research projects
  • Development of generic skills (IT skills, experience in writing scientific papers, the ability to work independently)
  • Presentation skills through student seminars, scientific presentation of project work and independent research projects.

Career opportunities

You will develop the in-depth knowledge and specialised skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems, in both the biomedical and animal science industries, and to undertake research in evolutionary genetics, population genetics and genome analysis.



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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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The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences has turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology. Read more

The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences has turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology.

Quantitative Genetics & Genome Analysis is part of a suite of programmes offering specialist routes in Animal Breeding & Genetics, Evolutionary Genetics, or Human Complex Trait Genetics.

Based in the internationally renowned Institute of Evolutionary Biology, this MSc draws from the wealth of expertise available there, as well as the teaching, research expertise and facilities of Scotland’s Rural College, the University’s Centre for Molecular Medicine, the Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit and the Roslin Institute (birthplace of Dolly the sheep).

Each year the syllabus is fine-tuned to suit current issues in evolutionary, plant, human and animal genetics.

Applicants who wish to select their area of specialisation during the programme should apply for this umbrella programme. Applicants with a preferred programme option should apply via the following links:

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project, leading to a dissertation.

Compulsory courses

  • Population and Quantitative Genetics
  • Genetic Interpretation
  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Linkage and Association in Genome Analysis
  • Research Proposal
  • Dissertation

Option courses (selected according to degree specialisation):

  • Quantitative Genetic Models
  • Molecular Evolution
  • Genetics of Human Complex Traits
  • Animal Genetic Improvement
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Molecular Phylogenetics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics

Career opportunities

You will develop the in-depth knowledge and specialised skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems, in both the biomedical and animal science industries, and to undertake research in evolutionary genetics, population genetics and genome analysis.



Read less
The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences have turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology. Read more

The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences have turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology.

Based in the internationally renowned Institute of Evolutionary Biology, this MSc draws from the wealth of expertise available there, as well as the teaching, research expertise and facilities of Scotland’s Rural College, the University’s Centre for Molecular Medicine, the Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit and the Roslin Institute (birthplace of Dolly the sheep).

Each year the syllabus is fine-tuned to suit current issues in evolutionary, plant, human and animal genetics.

This programme forms part of the quantitative genetics and genome analysis suite of programmes offering specialist routes, which include Animal Breeding & Genetics and Evolutionary Genetics.

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project, leading to a dissertation.

Courses are taught via lectures, tutorials, seminars and computer practicals. Assessment is by written examinations, in-course assignments and project work.

Compulsory courses:

  • Population and Quantitative Genetics
  • Genetic Interpretation
  • Linkage and Association in Genome Analysis
  • Genetics of Human Complex Traits
  • Quantitative Genetic Models
  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Research Project Proposal
  • Dissertation.

Option courses:

  • Molecular Phylogenetics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Molecular Evolution
  • Quantitative Genetic Models
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Animal Genetic Improvement
  • Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics

Learning outcomes

You will gain the knowledge and skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems in the biomedical industry, and to undertake research in quantitative and population genetics and genome analysis.

  • A thorough understanding of general concepts in population and quantitative genetics and genomics
  • In-depth knowledge of complex trait genetics in humans
  • A solid grounding in the statistical methods required for quantitative biology
  • Development of independent research skills through individual mini- and maxi-research projects
  • Development of generic skills (IT skills, experience in writing scientific papers, the ability to work independently)
  • Presentation skills through student seminars, scientific presentation of project work and independent research projects.

Career opportunities

You will develop the in-depth knowledge and specialised skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems, in both the biomedical and animal science industries, and to undertake research in evolutionary genetics, population genetics and genome analysis.



Read less
Government and private companies are working to develop new ways to improve existing food and animal feed crops, and to develop novel crops to meet future challenges. Read more
Government and private companies are working to develop new ways to improve existing food and animal feed crops, and to develop novel crops to meet future challenges. The last decade has seen rapid developments in our understanding of plants and their significance to our wellbeing and this has been achieved through advances in a range of disciplines including genetics, genomics, cell biology, physiology, ecology and studies on climate change.

Graduates of this one-year MSc will be equipped with the knowledge and skills in these recent advances to rise to the future challenges in academia, industry and policy development. Innovation and entrepreneurship permeate the course as central themes and, in addition, a specific module on entrepreneurship in plant biology is delivered. This MSc covers a wide diversity of both topics and approaches, and is taught by a high-profile research-oriented group of academics. Students will have full involvement in active research groups and access to, and experience of, a large array of state-of-the-art facilities and technologies.

Key Fact

Researchers from the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science represent the single largest grouping of plant scientists in Ireland, with research interests ranging from genetics and molecular biology of the cell to plant physiology and ecology. They actively work with organisations such as Coillte (Forestry), the Irish Agricultural and Food Development Authority (Teagasc), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and industry partners.

Course Content and Structure

Modules include:
• Entrepreneurship in Plant Biology
• Future Crops and Sustainability
• Current Developments in Plant Biology
• Insect-Plant Interactions
• Biological Invasions
• Plant-Atmosphere Climate Interactions
• Ecological Significance of Different Photosynthetic Pathways
• Plant Development
• Programmed Cell Death in Plants
• Plants and Stress

Career Opportunities

Graduates will have a distinct advantage when applying for PhD studentships or other more advanced graduate training in the area of plant biology and biotechnology. This MSc is ideal for graduates interested in pursuing scientific careers in academia, agriculture and plant science-based or biotechnology industries. Graduates will haveo pportunities to pursue postgraduate education and research and work in areas such as plant biotechnology, scientific journalism/publishing and for government agencies involved in governmental and non-governmental policy.

Facilities and Resources

• UCD Rosemount Environmental Research Station
• Controlled plant growth facility and bioreactors
• Plant Metabolomics Technology Platform
• Plant Cell and Tissue Culture Facility

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Make a difference. From protecting our native biodiversity to identifying key traits to improve crop plants in an ever-changing climate, plant biology research can solve the world’s major global issues. Read more

Make a difference

From protecting our native biodiversity to identifying key traits to improve crop plants in an ever-changing climate, plant biology research can solve the world’s major global issues.

Find out more about the Master of Science parent structure.

Massey’s Master of Science (Plant Biology) will give you the knowledge and skills to understand and help solve some of the world’s most important current issues, such as the effects of climate change on our native species and crop plants, how to preserve native biodiversity, and understanding fundamental physiological aspects of plants.

You will build upon your undergraduate degree and conduct original, independent research under the guidance of a leading plant science academic.

Expertise in an area of your choice

The plant biology team at Massey have expertise in plant molecular biology, evolutionary biology, systematics and taxonomy, and plant physiology. During the course of your studies you can choose to further your knowledge and apply your learning on an exciting research project such as:

  • Evolution of plant genomes
  • Molecular development of plants
  • Population genetics and conservation genetics of native plants

Take advantage of our globally-renowned expertise

Let our experts help you develop your own expertise. You will learn from, and research with, highly-skilled internationally-recognised and active researchers in plant biology and related areas, with a huge depth of knowledge and experience. Postgraduate study and research in plant biology at Massey spans evolutionary biology to physiology. You will have the opportunity to learn about the fundamental aspects of plant growth and function, as well as the molecular evolution and classification (systematics) of plants. You might choose to conduct research focused on the native New Zealand flora or a model organism, like Arabidopsis thaliana, or even a crop species.

You will also be able to take advantage of Massey’s expertise across the sciences. We have a wide and relevant group of expertise within the university, from fundamental sciences like microbiology and biochemistry, to agriculture, engineering, horticulture and environmental management. 

This means no matter what your research interest you will have access to a broad range of experts to assist you develop your own research.

Use world-leading equipment and facilities

As a plant biology student you will have access to our world-leading equipment and facilities such as the Dame Ella Campbell Herbarium, the Palynology Laboratory, Plant Growth Unit, Seed Testing Services, Massey Genome Service and the Manawatu Microscopy and Imaging Centre.

Relevant and topical

We work to ensure that our teaching fits with the changing environment, which means that you will emerge with a relevant qualification valued by potential employers.

Making industry connections for you

Massey has strong connections with the Crown Research Institutes in Palmerston North and across New Zealand, especially AgResearch, Landcare Research, Plant and Food Research, and Scion. Some of our students are able to conduct their projects at these organisations whilst undertaking their postgraduate study, benefiting their career and gaining real-word experience in the process.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The Master of Science will push you to produce your best creative, strategic and theoretical ideas. The workload replicates the high-pressure environment of senior workplace roles.

Not just more of the same

Postgraduate study is not just ‘more of the same’ undergraduate study. Our experts are there to guide but if you have come from undergraduate study, you will find that postgraduate study demands more in-depth and independent study. It takes you to a new level in knowledge and expertise especially in planning and undertaking research.

Complete in 2 years

Massey University’s Master of Science is primarily a 240 credit master qualification. This is made up of 120 credits of taught courses and a 120 credit research project.

Or if you have already completed the BSc (Hons) or PGDipSc you can conduct a 120 credit thesis to achieve your MSc qualification.



Read less
The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences have turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology. Read more

The revolution in genetic mapping technology and the advent of whole genome sequences have turned quantitative genetics into one of the fastest growing areas of biology.

Based in the internationally renowned Institute of Evolutionary Biology, this MSc draws from the wealth of expertise available there, as well as the teaching, research expertise and facilities of Scotland’s Rural College, the University’s Centre for Genomics and Experimental Medicine, the Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit and the Roslin Institute (birthplace of Dolly the sheep).

Each year the syllabus is fine-tuned to suit current issues in evolutionary, plant, human and animal genetics. This programme forms part of the quantitative genetics and genome analysis suite of programmes offering three specialist routes, which also include Human Complex Trait Genetics and Evolutionary Genetics.

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project, leading to a dissertation.

Courses are taught via lectures, tutorials, seminars and computer practicals. Assessment is by written examinations, in-course assignments and project work.

Compulsory courses:

  • Population and Quantitative Genetics
  • Genetic Interpretation
  • Statistics and Data Analysis
  • Linkage and Association in Genome Analysis
  • Animal Genetic Improvement
  • Quantitative Genetic Models
  • Research Proposal
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

  • Molecular Phylogenetics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Molecular Evolution
  • Genetics of Human Complex Traits
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics

Learning outcomes

  • An understanding of general concepts in population and quantitative genetics and genomics
  • A solid grounding in the statistical methods required
  • In-depth knowledge of animal improvement and complex trait analysis
  • Development of independent research skills through individual mini- and maxi-research projects
  • Development of generic skills (IT skills, experience in writing scientific papers, the ability to work independently)
  • Presentation skills through student seminars, scientific presentation of project work and independent research projects.

Career opportunities

You will develop the in-depth knowledge and specialised skills required to apply quantitative genetics theory to practical problems, in both the biomedical and animal science industries, and to undertake research in evolutionary genetics, population genetics and genome analysis.



Read less
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. Read more

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 on 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.

Study programme

This online master's specialisation is designed as a part-time study. The approximate workload is 20 hours per week and gives the student the flexibility to combine work and study. The programme is therefore also suitable for employees who want to continue their education in the sense of life-long-learning.

The general structure is a 2 year part time course-programme followed by a tailor-made internship and master's thesis agreement of 1 or 2 years. Read more about the programme.

Your future career

Graduates from the master's 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. Read more stories of Wageningen University & Research graduates.

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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Goal of the pro­gramme. 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

Goal of the pro­gramme

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 ecosystemsPlants 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.

Further information about the studies on the Master's programme website.

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.



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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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Application period/deadline. November 1, 2017 - January 24, 2018. A unique combination of studies in ecology, population genetics and molecular ecology with emphasis in northern issues. Read more

Application period/deadline: November 1, 2017 - January 24, 2018

• A unique combination of studies in ecology, population genetics and molecular ecology with emphasis in northern issues

• The study programme is a combination of field work in the arctic and subarctic and in old-growth boreal forests and mires as well as molecular lab work

• Prepares the students for future leadership positions in conservation biology and environmental ecology

International master’s degree programme in Ecology and Population Genetics (ECOGEN) is a two-year programme concentrating on conservation issues and population genetics of endangered animals and plants. The programme will give you relevant skills and core knowledge of the latest methods and tools in:

• Molecular ecology

• Microbial ecology

• Metagenomics and microbiomes of organisms

• Conservation genomics of large mammals

• Distribution history of plants and their phylogeography

• Bioinformatics

The two-year programme has two specialisation options:

• Ecology

• Genetics

Optional courses make it possible to widen your expertise into:

• Aquatic ecology

• Microbial ecology

• Conservation ecology

• Restoration ecology

• Plant evolutionary genomics

The master’s programme is based on high quality and productive research in the fields of evolutionary ecology and genetics. Field research stations in natural reserves as well as Biodiversity Unit offer great opportunities for courses and research. Study environment is multicultural. ECOGEN provides positions as a trainee or a master’s thesis student, and an excellent background for PhD studies.

The skills gained in the master’s programme offer you a solid academic training and essential knowledge on wildlife conservation ecology and genetics, as well as their management. After graduation you are capable of evaluating risks, conducting management on small populations of endangered species, and doing research in the field and in lab. You are able to use molecular and bioinformatic tools.

Possible titles include:

• Project manager

• Researcher

• Planning coordinator of conservation issues

• Conservation biologist

Students applying for the programme must have a B.Sc. degree in biology or in closely related fields.

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Lead the revolution. With a postgraduate degree in genetics, you will be at the forefront of the revolution in biology that is rapidly changing our knowledge of ourselves and the world around us. Read more

Lead the revolution

With a postgraduate degree in genetics, you will be at the forefront of the revolution in biology that is rapidly changing our knowledge of ourselves and the world around us.

Find out more about the Master of Science parent structure.

Massey’s Master of Science with a major in genetics will allow you to work alongside internationally-recognised researchers, on projects of national and global significance.

World-class facilities

You will have access to world-class facilities including the Manawatu Microscopy and Imaging Centre and the Massey Genome Service (part of New Zealand Genomics Limited). You will also be able to utilise Massey’s broad range of expertise in the sciences, working with other departments and experts as you need to for your research.

Wide range of specialities

Massey offers a very broad range of research areas in genetics, ranging from classical through molecular, biomedical, genomic and computational projects. These utilise a wide range of biological systems including microbial, plant, animal and human species.

Flexibility and industry links

At Massey you have the flexibility to choose from different locations for your study, including both the Manawatu and the Auckland campuses, as well as other research institutes such as AgResearch, Scion, and Plant & Food Research. This flexibility provides a great deal of project choice, as well as providing important industry linkages that enhance job prospects.

Friendly environment - passionate scientists

A critical part of the genetics postgraduate experience at Massey is being part of the vibrant, well-established community of fundamental scientists and students. We have a large active student group - the Fundamental Science Students Association (FUSSTA) - where we work together to share discoveries and research and provide peer support.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The Master of Science will push you to produce your best creative, strategic and theoretical ideas. The workload replicates the high-pressure environment of senior workplace roles. Our experts are there to guide but if you have come from undergraduate study, you will find that postgraduate study demands more in-depth and independent study.

Not just more of the same

Postgraduate study is not just ‘more of the same’ undergraduate study. It takes you to a new level in knowledge and expertise especially in planning, time management, setting goals and milestones and undertaking research.



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