Undergraduate student using equipment to inspect plants in a greenhouse

Plant Biology BSc

University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK

Course overview

All the food we eat stems from plants and crops. As the human population grows and our climate changes, we need to improve crop productivity. Plant and crop scientists have a vital role in the future of food.

Our plant biology degree teaches you how to experiment with and investigate plant growth. You'll understand how plants develop, reproduce and how they evolve to respond to their environment.

 

Indicative modules

Mandatory

Year 1

Academic Skills

Mandatory

Year 1

Environmental Science and Society

Mandatory

Year 1

Genes, Molecules and Cells

Mandatory

Year 1

Introduction to Plant Science

Mandatory

Year 1

Plant Science Research Tutorials

Mandatory

Year 1

Principles of Ecology

Mandatory

Year 2

Environmental plant physiology

Mandatory

Year 2

Research and Professional Skills

Optional

Year 2

Applied crop science

Optional

Year 2

Biological Photography and Imaging I

Optional

Year 2

Computer Modelling in Science: Introduction

Optional

Year 2

Ecological Surveying

Optional

Year 2

Economic Analysis for Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Optional

Year 2

Ecosystem Processes

Optional

Year 2

Enterprise Management Challenge

Optional

Year 2

Forest Ecology and Management

Optional

Year 2

Insect Biology

Optional

Year 2

Molecular Biology of the Cell

Optional

Year 2

Molecular Pharming and Biotechnology

Optional

Year 2

Plant pests and pathogens

Optional

Year 2

Soils

Optional

Year 2

The Green Planet

Mandatory

Year 3

Undergraduate Research Project

Optional

Year 3

Omics: At the Forefront of Biotechnology

Optional

Year 3

Current Issues in Crop Science

Optional

Year 3

Field Crops Cereals

Optional

Year 3

Genetic Improvement of Crop Plants

Optional

Year 3

Palaeobiology

Optional

Year 3

Plant biotic interactions: from conflict to cooperation

Optional

Year 3

Plant Cell Signalling

Optional

Year 3

Plant Pathology

Optional

Year 3

Plants and the Light Environment

Optional

Year 3

Plant Ecophysiology

Optional

Year 3

Sex, Flowers and Biotechnology

Optional

Year 3

Tropical Ecology and Conservation

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About modules

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer, but is not intended to be construed or relied on as a definitive list of what might be available in any given year. This content was last updated on Thursday 13 June 2024.

Teaching methods

  • Computer labs
  • Lab sessions
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Problem-based learning

We use a range of assessment methods, including exams, essays, verbal presentations and practicals.

You will receive a copy of our marking criteria which provides guidance on how we will assess your work. Your work will be marked on time and you will receive regular feedback. You must pass each year to progress. This typically means that you will need to achieve marks of at least 40% in each module. 

Full details on our marking criteria and structure will be provided at your induction. To study abroad as part of your degree, you must meet minimum academic requirements in year one.

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Group project
  • Lab reports
  • Oral exam
  • Poster presentation
  • Research project
  • Written exam

In your first year, you will take 120 credits in core modules. As a guide, one credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. You will spend around half of your time in lectures, seminars and practicals. The remaining time will be independent study. PhD students help supervise or demonstrate in some practical classes.

Plant biologists can work in crop production, plant biotechnology, food industries, environmental management. Other routes include publishing, commerce and teaching.

You can also continue study to PhD level, or work in government research institutes such as Rothamsted Research and John Innes Centre.

 

Recent graduates roles include:

  • plant propagators and tissue culturists
  • horticulturists at Kew Gardens, other botanic gardens and in industry
  • research scientists in the plant science industry and institutes
  • plant quarantine/quality inspectors
  • plant breeders
  • journalists

Average starting salary and career progression

86.40% of undergraduates from the Faculty of Science secured employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £27,834.

HESA Graduate Outcomes (2017-2021 cohorts). The Graduate Outcomes % is calculated using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

I chose Nottingham as this is the largest community of plant and crop researchers in the UK with access to amazing resources such as the Hounsfield facility where the ‘hidden half’ of plants is revealed by CT-Scanners. I’ve covered everything from molecular biology and how plants sense their environment to plant pathology, all of which I’ve loved.

Charlotte Kirk

BA Plant Biology

Course data

Open Day June 2022