The understanding of plant diversity and resources has never been more important. As we face the unprecedented challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, effective environmental surveillance and conservation depend upon detailed knowledge of plants and their habitats.
This programme is run jointly by the University and the world-renowned Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).
This programme is run jointly by the University and the world-renowned Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). The RBGE is home to one of the world’s best living collections of plants (15,000 species across four sites, amounting to five per cent of known world species), a herbarium of three million preserved specimens and one of the UK’s most comprehensive botanical libraries.
RBGE offers collections-based biodiversity research opportunities across a wide spectrum of organisms and geographical regions. This diversity, coupled with the RBGE’s world-leading research in different continents, provides an unrivalled masters programme in plant biodiversity.
This programme is full time and consists of two semesters of lectures, practicals, workshops and investigations, followed by a four-month research project. The programme includes a two-week field course in a tropical country (recently Belize).
The programme is delivered mainly at RBGE but also at the University’s King’s Buildings campus.
There are no option elements to the programme – all courses are compulsory.
Your research project will be chosen in consultation with your supervisor, and will link directly with active research programmes at RBGE or other research institutions.
The field trip, together with training and a short practical exam, qualifies you for the RBGE Certificate in Practical Field Botany.
The programme is good preparation for roles in taxonomy, while many graduates have also continued to PhD studies. Past students have entered a wide variety of jobs at research institutions, conservation agencies and elsewhere.
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.
Scientific English (3 ECTS)
Plant development and reproduction (3 ECTS)
Metabolism and cellular compartmentation (3 ECTS)
Biotechonology (3 ECTS)
Plant pathogen interactions (3 ECTS)
Plant breeding (3 ECTS)
Quantitative and population genetics and evolution (3 ECTS)
Laboratory Practice (6 months/30 ECTS)
During their studies, students will:
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:
Whether you are a new graduate or already employed and seeking to further your career prospects, this course offers a solid career development path. You can also choose this course if you wish to pursue research in biotechnology at PhD level.
Biotechnology is the application of biological processes and is underpinned by • cell biology • molecular biology • bioinformatics • structural biology. It encompasses a wide range of technologies for modifying living organisms or their products according to human needs.
Applications of biotechnology span medicine, technology and engineering.
Important biotechnological advances including
The course is led by academics who are actively involved in biotechnology research and its application to the manipulation of proteins, DNA, mammalian cells and plants. Staff also have expertise in the use of nanoparticles in drug delivery and the manipulation of microbes in industrial and environmental biotechnology.
You are supported throughout your studies by an academic advisor who will help you develop your study and personal skills.
What is biotechnology
Biotechnology is the basis for the production of current leading biopharmaceuticals and has already provided us with the 'clot-busting' drug, tissue plasminogen activator for the treatment of thrombosis and myocardial infarction. It also holds the promise of new treatments for neurodegeneration and cancer through recombinant antibodies.
Genetically modified plants have improved crop yields and are able to grow in a changing environment. Manipulation of cellular organisms through gene editing methods have also yielded a greater understanding of many disease states and have allowed us to understand how life itself functions.
You begin your studies focusing on the fundamentals of advanced cell biology and molecular biology before specialising in both molecular and plant biotechnology. Practical skills are developed throughout the course and you gain experience in molecular biology techniques such as PCR and sub cloning alongside tissue culture.
Core to the program is the practical module where you gain experience in a range of techniques used in the determination of transcription and translational levels, for example.
All practicals are supported by experienced academic staff, skilled in the latest biotechnological techniques.
Research and statistical skills are developed throughout the program. Towards the end of the program you apply your skills on a two month research project into a current biotechnological application. Employability skills are developed throughout the course in two modules.
The masters (MSc) award is achieved by successfully completing 180 credits.
The postgraduate certificate (PgCert) is achieved by successfully completing 60 credits.
The postgraduate diploma (PgDip) is achieved by successfully completing 120 credits.
Optional modules :
As students progress through the course they are exposed to a wide range of teaching and learning activities. The assessment strategy of the postgraduate course considers diverse assessment methods. Some modules offer dedicated formative feedback to aid skills development with assessments going through several rounds of formative tutor and peer feedback. Summative assessment methods are diverse, with examinations present in theory-based modules to test independent knowledge and data analysis. Several modules are entirely coursework-based, with a portfolio of skills such laboratory practical's and research proposals generated throughout the course forming the summative tasks. In all cases, the assessment criteria for all assessed assignments are made available to student prior to submission.
The course is suitable for people wishing to develop their knowledge of molecular and cell biotechnology and its application to solving health and industrial problems.
You can find career opportunities in areas such as
Students on this course have gone on to roles including experimental officers in contract research, research and development in scientists, diagnostics specialists and applications specialists. Many of our graduates also go on to study for PhDs and continue as academic lecturers.
Please note that all modules are subject to change. Please see our modules disclaimer for more information.
All our master’s programmes emphasise the practical skills that employers need, whether that is the ability to identify plants, carry out environmental assessments or use the latest cutting-edge molecular techniques. As a University of Reading MSc graduate, you will be well equipped to work in the field or the lab, and in the private or public sector. Many of our graduates go on to study for a PhD and pursue a career in research either in industry or in universities.
Typical roles of graduates from our ecology and wildlife-based MSc programmes include conservation officers, project managers, field ecologists and environmental consultants. Graduates from our biomedical MSc programme typically go on to pursue PhD studies or work in the pharmaceutical industry.