You will develop your knowledge of the biological sciences that underpin crop production and set this knowledge within the wider agricultural environment, including modules in ecology and contemporary agriculture.
Plant Science Research Tutorials
In this 10 credit module you'll learn about our latest plant and crop research. Each week different academics will explain and demonstrate the research being carried out by their group.
You’ll be able to:
- find out how research is contributing to our understanding of plant function and society’s needs
- discover what area of plant science you find most interesting
The Biosciences and Global Food Security
How can you use science to help improve global food security? This module introduces you to the issues of global food security and the complexity existing in different parts of our food generation system. Looking across the food supply chain, you’ll cover the evolution of crops, crop and animal production, and the food industry. Importantly, you’ll also look at sustainable nutrition because food security isn’t just about supply – it’s important that people are getting the right kind of food. You’ll learn about these issues through a mix of lectures and practical laboratory sessions. You’ll also develop professional skills to work safely in laboratory situations.
Biochemistry -The Building Blocks of Life
Have you ever wondered how some crops can resist diseases? This module provides you with the fundamentals for understanding biochemical processes in living organisms. You’ll be introduced to the basic structure, properties and functions of the four key biological macromolecules: nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. You’ll also look at the metabolic pathways occurring in cells, such as respiration, photosynthesis and the biosynthetic pathways for the key macromolecules. In addition to lectures, you’ll have practical laboratory sessions to learn how to use key biochemical techniques for the separation and analysis of macromolecules and measurement of the metabolic process.
Genes and Cells
Cells are the basic functional units of life, but how do they grow and develop? In this module, you’ll follow the lifecycle of cells. You'll focus on mitosis, meiosis, cell division and differentiation. We’ll put cells not just under the microscope, but use advanced laboratory technologies to explore the ultrastructure of cells. These are the parts of cells too small to be seen through ordinary laboratory equipment. You’ll then put this science to the test, to apply cellular biology to applied genetics.
- structures and ultrastructures of animal and plant cells
- microscopic features of bacteria and viruses
- gene replication, expression and inheritance
- laboratory methods used to discover how cells work
The Ecology of Natural and Managed Ecosystems
Pollinator species are hugely important for natural systems and for managed systems like agriculture, but there is concern that numbers are declining. This module introduces you to the principles of ecology and looks at how organisms have evolved to interact with their environment.
- population and community ecology
- the various definitions of biodiversity
- the loss of species and habitats
You’ll have lectures from current researchers in the field and the opportunity to apply your learning in the laboratory and through field visits. This is a 20 credit module.
Grasslands are used for forage in agricultural systems but are also important as habitat for wild animals, birds and beneficial insects.
- You’ll learn about the latest developments and policy issues around the world
- You’ll examine the morphology and physiology of forage grass species
- You'll understand the mechanisms of grass growth, production and utilisation. Looking at how these are influenced by management practices.
Alongside lectures, you’ll visit farms and use the latest software to identify grass plants and calculate a pasture budget. This is a 10 credit module.
Sustainable Agricultural Systems
Modern agriculture is a dynamic, fast-paced and high-tech industry. In this module, you’ll explore practical agricultural systems used by commercial UK farms. Designed for students with a farm or non-farming background, you’ll get to understand the fundamental concepts of agricultural systems within the context of contemporary markets, policy and research. Exact topics covered in the module will vary according to the issues affecting the agricultural industry in any one year, but examples include: dairy production, arable production, soils, agri-environmental interactions, labour and machinery management and farm business systems. You’ll have lectures from academics currently researching these fields and will visit the University Farm and external farms to see what you’ve learnt in practice.
Introduction to Plant Science
How can mutant plants be used to improve crop yield? In this module you’ll be introduced to plant evolution and the cellular structure of plants, in particular seeds, leaves, flowers and roots, and how these multicellular tissues are constructed. You’ll become familiar with the techniques used to study plant science, including genetics and the use of mutants. Using model plants, such as Arabidopsis, you’ll look at the development of modern plant biology and genetics and then explore the applications of biotechnology in plant science. You’ll also examine the importance of plant nutrition and how the interaction with pathogens is crucial to plant growth and production. You’ll have a mix of lectures and practical laboratory sessions to apply your learning.
Biosciences Tutorials and Foundation Science
The tutorials component of this module is intended to enhance your transition into university and guide you through the academic expectations of your degrees. This part of the module is spread throughout the year and includes three generic sessions on ‘study skills and plagiarism’, ‘study opportunities’ and ‘career and personal development’, and a series of small group tutorials with your academic tutor to develop generic skills such as finding crucial information, oral presentation, data handling and presentation of results, preparation for examinations, and essay writing skills relevant to biosciences.
The Foundation Science content has three elements: chemistry, maths and statistics and physics. The chemistry element will include: elements and periodic table; atomic structure and bonding; intermolecular attractions, chemical equilibrium; acids and bases, oxidation and reduction; rates of reaction; basic organic chemistry, isomerism, and rings. The Maths and Stats element will include: calculations, algebra, functions and relationships, powers, logarithms, descriptive statistics, significance, regression and presenting data. The Physics element will include: units and dimensions; power, energy and heat; light and the electromagnetic spectrum; attenuation/absorption; and radioactivity.
There is also an IT element, which interfaces with generic IT training for undergraduates provided within the University.