Masters degrees in Botany train postgraduates in the purpose of plant classification, including an understanding of their physiology and structure through identification and taxonomy. Consideration is also given to plant ecology, the biosphere, and economic importance.
Programmes in this field are typically taught MSc courses, though research oriented MRes and MPhil courses may also be available at some institutions.
Courses in this area offer a wide range of specialisations, including Ethnobotany, Systematic Botany, Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement. A mixture of practical training, academic study and fieldwork will be offered on most courses.
For example, you will likely study topics such as conservation science, biodiversity management, and consumption, exploring these practically through lab testing, experimental growing, molecular methods and geographic information systems (GIS). You will also explore the commercial and business practices within the field, including environmental law and policy, as well as public health and risk management.
Careers may be highly varied depending on your interests. You may wish to branch into agriculture, conservation and wildlife management, or environmental consultancy and policy making for government agencies and NGOs.
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.
In the last 10-15 years the study of plant sciences has been revolutionised by the development of new tools and technologies which have allowed unprecedented progress in the study of plant biology - knowledge which is being applied to develop sustainable solutions to some of the major challenges of the 21st century.
This programme provides training in modern molecular aspects of plant science. Teaching is delivered by academics from the University’s Centre for Plant Sciences (CPS) and is often related to their areas of expertise and current research projects.
You’ll benefit from the research of international experts in DNA recombination and repair mechanisms and explore the wide range of approaches used in bio-imaging alongside the range of modern techniques and methodologies that underpin contemporary biomolecular sciences. You’ll explore the key topic areas of molecular biology; structural biology; cell imaging and flow cytometry; high throughput techniques; and transgenic organisms.
You’ll study in a stimulating environment which houses cutting-edge facilities. The CPS laboratories feature a state-of-the-art plant growth unit, including tissue culture suites with culture rooms, growth rooms and cabinets alongside glass-houses to meet a range of growth requirements.
You’ll gain an overview of a range of modern techniques and methodologies that underpin contemporary biomolecular sciences through the investigation of five topic areas: molecular biology; structural biology; cell imaging and flow cytometry; high throughput techniques; and transgenic organisms. You’ll also conduct an extended practical investigation in the form of a laboratory-based project, involving practical training in a range of modern molecular biology and protein engineering techniques such as gene cloning, PCR, mutagenesis, protein expression, protein purification and analysis.
A module on plant biotechnology will address topics such as the engineering of plants, development of stress-tolerant crop varieties and techniques for gene expression and gene silencing. You’ll have the opportunity to benefit from the research of international experts in DNA recombination and repair mechanisms and their importance for transgene integration and biotechnological applications; biogenesis of mitochondria, chloroplast and peroxisomes; and the biosynthesis, structure and function of plant cell walls. You’ll also explore the wide range of approaches used in bio-imaging and their relative advantages and disadvantages for analysing protein and cellular function.
In the final part of the course you'll work on an independent laboratory-based research project related to your course options. You’ll receive extensive training in experimental design, the practical use of advanced techniques and technologies, data analysis and interpretation, and will be assigned a research project supervisor who will support and guide you through your project.
We provide the very best learning resources and academic support and our teaching draws on the University’s world-class research base and highly-qualified professionals from industry, non-governmental organisations and charities.
You’ll experience wide range of teaching methods including formal lectures, interactive workshops, problem-solving, practical classes and demonstrations.
Through your research project and specialist plant science and biotechnology modules, you’ll receive substantial subject-specific training. Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop you into a scientist who is able to think independently, solve problems, communicate effectively and demonstrate a high level of practical ability.
We use a variety of assessment methods: multiple-choice testing, practical work, data handling and problem solving exercises, group work, discussion groups (face-to-face and online), computer-based simulation, essays, posters and oral presentations.
The strong research element of the Plant Science and Biotechnology MSc, along with the specialist and generic skills you develop, mean you’re equipped for a wide range of careers.
Our graduates work in diverse posts, ranging from bioscience-related research through to scientific publication, teacher training, health and safety and pharmaceutical market research.
Links with industry
We have a proactive Industrial Advisory Board who advise us on what they look for in graduates and on employability-related skills within our programmes.
We collaborate with a wide range of organisations in the public and commercial sectors. Many of these are represented on our Industrial Advisory Board. They include:
Industrial research placements
Some of our partners offer MSc research projects in their organisations, allowing students to develop their commercial awareness and build their network of contacts.
A substantial proportion of our graduates undertake further study at Leeds or elsewhere. Recent graduates have gone on to:
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
The aim of this programme is to give you a broad-based training in biomedical research, with a focus on cardiovascular science. This includes an introduction to cardiovascular development, the development of cardiovascular disease, organ function and dysfunction, and the cardiovascular system in reproduction and inflammation.
You will gain an integrated view of the physiology and pathology of cardiovascular system from both basic and clinical scientists.
You will attend research seminars and tutorials by senior clinicians and basic scientists, and conduct three research projects in the internationally renowned laboratories of the Centre for Cardiovascular Science.
You will also deliver research-orientated presentations and gain skills in critical reading of scientific literature and in the writing of scientific reports.
Students produce written reports from each of their research projects, which are assessed by two of the Centre’s PIs. The research supervisor also contributes a mark based on performance in the laboratory.
This is the ideal programme for high-calibre students who wish to progress to a PhD in cardiovascular science.