Plant Science BSc

   
   
  

Fact file - 2019 entry

Qualification
BSc Hons Plant Science
UCAS code
C200
Duration
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
AAB-ABB
Required subjects
at least two science-based subjects at A level (biology is required; other subjects usually include chemistry, physics or maths but can include geography, geology, environmental studies and psychology), and an additional A level or equivalent. 
IB score
34-32 (including 5 in two science subjects at Higher Level) 
Course location
Sutton Bonington Campus
Course places
10-12 
School/department
 

Overview

All the food we eat is ultimately derived from plants. As the human population grows and our climate becomes less predictable, we need to improve crop productivity. Scientists with a detailed knowledge of plant science are in high demand.
Read full overview

Our plant science degree explores, through investigation and experimentation, how plants grow, develop, reproduce, evolve, fight off pests and diseases, and interact with and respond to their environment.

  • Benefit from our international reputation for research in plant science by accessing teaching from experts across different aspects of plant science. 
  • Explore many exciting aspects of modern plant science, including cell and molecular biology, genetic engineering, plant-pathogen interactions, environmental physiology, and ecology.
  • Understand the application of plant science across the agricultural, horticultural, biotechnology and food industries, enabling you to pursue a career in your area of interest.
 

plant wide

Yearly overviews

Year one 

You will take core modules to provide a thorough scientific base on which to build for year two. You’ll be introduced to the conventional uses of plants and describe some of the problems associated with plant production including biotic and abiotic stresses. You’ll then discuss the techniques used to study plant science, including genetics and the use of mutants before being familiarised to the applications of biotechnology in plant science. Other modules will cover biochemistry, ecology, genetics and cell biology.

Year two 

As you progress through the second year, you will develop and consolidate your professional competencies and abilities as a bioscientist. In Applied Plant Physiology you'll cover major crop species in the UK and worldwide and examine the physiological basis of resource capture and utilisation in crop growth and development. You can choose between pathways in Soil Science or Molecular Biology. 

Year three

You will undertake a research project in plant science which may be either laboratory, field-based or data driven. The research project encourages critical thinking and involves independent study and teamwork, a literature survey, and data handling, analysis and interpretation. Examples of recent projects include:

  • use of PCR to monitor transposons in petunia
  • enzymes involved in taxol biosynthesis in transgenic plants
  • photosynthesis acclimation in Arabidopsis ecotypes
  • agrobacterium-mediated transformation of chicory
  • use of a fern for the phytoremediation of soil contaminated with arsenic
  • use of UV-C radiation to inhibit post-harvest fungal pathogens of fruit
  • LAMP PCR diagnostics for fungal pathogens
  • algal phosphorescence and its use in street lighting

You will also be able to choose from a range of optional modules.

 

Student stories

james p
James Pickering
BSc Plant Science
"On my course, I have the chance to travel and study in Malaysia, immersing myself in the rich culture of the University’s Malaysia Campus, tapping into the unique knowledge base of cutting-edge crop research. As an aspiring plant scientist, the idea of studying among world-renowned scientists, while living surrounded by tropical rainforest, has long been my dream. I now have the chance to make it reality."
 

Study abroad and industry placements

You have the opportunity of taking a year in industry between years two and three of your degree, extending your degree to a four year programme. 

This optional year in industry, as a paid employee in most cases, gives you experience in a real-world environment to develop your skills further, which will significantly improve your employment prospects.

In addition, there are a variety of study abroad opportunities from a semester to a whole year, you can;

  • apply to spend part of your second year at the University’s Malaysia Campus, All teaching is in English and the modules and exams are very similar to those in Nottingham.
  • apply to spend a semester of your second year at one of our highly ranked international partner universities including Australia, Canada or South Korea via the University-wide exchange programme.
  • study abroad for an additional year at one of our highly ranked Erasmus+ partner universities in France, Austria or Spain. If you choose to transfer to this option you would take language modules in the relevant language during year two, and would have the option of studying abroad in your chosen language or in English, subject to availability.
  • take part in a summer school: we have a range of options in subjects such as business, entrepreneurship and languages available.

Find out more

You can decide to apply for a year in industry or apply to study abroad when you start your degree.
 

Additional year in Computer Science

Boost your degree even further by studying computer science for a year between years two and three of your degree, extending your degree to a four year programme.

A year spent in the University's School of Computer Science will give you training in software development and computing skills relevant to your final year research project and benefit you in your future career.

You can decide to transfer into this programme from your BSc course when you start your degree (subject to progression criteria).

 
 

Entry requirements

A levels: AAB-ABB, including at least two science-based subjects at A level (biology is required; other subjects usually include chemistry, physics or maths but can include geography, geology, environmental studies and, exceptionally, psychology), and an additional A level or equivalent. General studies, critical thinking, citizenship studies and leisure studies are not accepted.

We may also consider ABC depending on predicted grades in specific subjects.

English language requirements 

IELTS 6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element)

For details of other English language tests and qualifications we accept, please see our entry requirements page.

 

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications 

For details please see the alternative qualifications page

Foundation year - a foundation year is available for this course.

Science Foundation Certificate

International students only

International students (non-EU) who do not have the required qualifications or grades to go directly onto an undergraduate degree course, may be interested in the Science Foundation Certificate delivered through The University of Nottingham International College. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met. 

Science with Foundation Year

Home, EU and international students

If you have achieved high grades in your A levels (or equivalent qualifications) but do not meet the current subject entry requirements for direct entry to your chosen undergraduate course, you may be interested in our one year science foundation programme. Applicants must also demonstrate good grades in previous relevant science subjects to apply. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met.  

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.


Notes for applicants 

Our modular courses are flexible and offer the opportunity to combine your main studies with modules in other subject areas (please note that all modules are subject to change).

 
 

Modules

The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules

Core modules

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 1
The basic functional units of life are cells. In this module you’ll learn about the growth and development of cells, focusing on mitosis, meiosis, cell division and differentiation. You’ll get to explore the ultrastructure – the structure of a cell too small to be seen with an ordinary microscope – of animal, plant and bacterial cells and even viruses. Once you have this foundation understanding, the second part of the module covers fundamental genetic principles and you’ll be able to answer the questions: What are the Mendelian laws of inheritance? How are genes expressed? You’ll have lectures from current researchers in the field and the opportunity to apply your learning in the laboratory and in workshops.
 
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. What physical, chemical or biotic factors are limiting these species’ distribution? What other species are they in competition with? How diverse or stable is the ecological community overall? This module introduces you to the principles of ecology and looks at how organisms have evolved to interact with their environment. You’ll also cover population (such as competition and predation) and community ecology (such as the diversity and stability of communities, patterns of species richness). You’ll explore the various definitions of biodiversity and look at the loss of species and habitats, particularly in semi-natural and managed habitats such as woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and agricultural land. You’ll have lectures from current researchers in the field and the opportunity to apply your learning in the laboratory and through field visits.
 
Plant Science
Through a weekly three hour lecture, you’ll be introduced to the conventional uses of plants and describe some of the problems associated with plant production including biotic and abiotic stresses. You’ll then discuss the techniques used to study plant science, including genetics and the use of mutants before being familiarised to the applications of biotechnology in plant science.
 
Genes and Cells 2

In a series of lectures, workshops and practicals you’ll further develop your understanding of gene structure, function and regulation and investigate how this knowledge can be applied in recombinant DNA technology through DNA sequencing and genetic engineering.

 
Grassland Management
There’s more to grass than meets the eye. Grasslands are used for forage in agricultural systems but are also important as habitat for wild animals, birds and beneficial insects. In this module you’ll learn about the latest developments in grassland management, both UK and globally, and the policy issues associated with these developments. You’ll examine the morphology and physiology of forage grass species to understand the mechanisms of grass growth, production and utilisation and how these are influenced by management practices. In addition to lectures, you’ll have farm visits and computer-based tutorials so you can develop your understanding of grassland management, identify grass plants and use the latest subject-specific software to calculate a pasture budget.
 
Plant Science Research Tutorials
Each week a different member of academic staff from Plant and Crop Sciences will explain and demonstrate the research being carried out by their particular group. You’ll gain an understanding of how each group’s research is contributing to the understanding of plant function and society’s needs and become familiar with how a research group is structured. This will help you when choosing your future modules. You will write a short report about a specific area of plant science research.
 
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.

 
 

Typical year two modules

Core modules

Applied Plant Physiology: from Cell to Crop
Crops use solar energy, water and nutrients to grow, but how do we overcome the limits to this growth? In this module you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of plant physiology with an applied context, from the molecular level to the field. You’ll cover major crop species in the UK and worldwide and examine the physiological basis of resource capture and utilisation in crop growth and development. You’ll explore limitations to resource capture by crops and how growers overcome these, in relation to integrated crop management. You’ll also learn about the physical aspects of the plant environment incorporating the key processes of photosynthesis, respiration, uptake and transpiration of water, and the uptake of mineral nutrients. You’ll have a mix of lectures and practical laboratory sessions to apply your learning.
 
Professional Skills for Bioscientists 
In this module you will develop and consolidate your professional competencies and abilities as a bioscientist. You’ll improve your core professional skills in the scientific method, experimentation, data analysis and measurement techniques that enable you carry out scientifically-sound research in animal, crop or management science. You’ll also cover discipline-specific topics. There will be a mix of lectures, workshops and group activity sessions for you to work on your skills. 
 

Pathway one

Soil Science 

Through this introductory module, you’ll learn about the biological, physical and chemicals properties of soils and how to use this information for agricultural and environmental land management. You’ll examine how soil can affect plant growth – including through soil biota, nutrients, trace elements and compaction. You’ll look at how water moves through the soil, how soil can be eroded and ways of using soil bioremediation and reclamation.

 
Enterprise Management Challenge 

The module aims to introduce you to agricultural management decision making in practice through team-based activity integrating science, business and economics) will be a key aim of this module.

Working in small teams, and supported by teaching staff and industry consultants, you will be responsible for making management (science and business) decisions relating to the production of a crop enterprise or a livestock enterprise, based on University Farm, as for commercial purposes. Your team’s decisions – in the roles of both professional consultant and farm manager will be implemented by technical staff.

You will have lectures plus significant ‘field time’, including formal field site visits and informal field observation visits.

 
Plant Pests and Disease 
Sugarbeet root aphids feed on the sap in the roots, causing damage and production losses. But how does this pest work and what can be done? In this module, you’ll explore how microbes and insects cause disease in plants and the effect of interactions between plants, microbes and insects. Looking globally, you’ll be able to explain the importance and the nature of the organisms that are pests and diseases of plants, including population dynamics and epidemiology. You’ll also assess the main approaches for control and management of pests and diseases, including chemical interventions, resistance breeding in plants and biological control. You’ll have lectures complemented by practical laboratory sessions, videos and demonstrations. 
 

Optional modules

Economic Analysis for Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

Economic analysis can help you answer important management questions: how much fertiliser should I apply to my wheat? If demand for beer is going up, how will that affect the price I receive for my barley? Through this module you’ll gain an understanding of economic ideas and principles and be able to apply them to a range of problems of interest to agricultural and environmental scientists and managers. You’ll also examine the arguments for government intervention to correct ‘market failures’ with reference to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and look at CAP support mechanisms and their impact on arable and animal production. In addition to lectures and farm visits, you’ll have computer-aided learning sessions to teach you planning techniques that will enable you to use your economic skills to analyse the impact of the market and policy environment on business performance and stability.

 
Ecosystem Processes
The course will focus on the processes that govern terrestrial ecosystem function. We will identify key ecosystem drivers and processes and explore how these have shaped the biosphere. Students will gain an understanding of the mechanisms that control changes in the physiochemical environment and their impact upon communities. Particular topics will include primary productivity, decomposition, herbivory, biodiversity and human impact on ecosystems. Classes comprise a mix of lectures, laboratory practicals, a computer practical, a seminar and fieldwork.
 
Biological Photography and Imaging 1 
Through practical sessions, you will learn the techniques of biological image production and manipulation, including the ability to generate biological images of the highest technical quality and scientific value. You'll spend around 6 hours per week in lectures studying this module.
 
Computer Modelling in Science: Introduction
Modern biological and environmental science is often the study of complex systems and large data sets, and relies on computer models and analyses to understand these systems and data. This module introduces you to the computer programming and modelling techniques that are used in the biological and environmental sciences. Using relevant examples and applications, you’ll become familiar with computer programming and algorithms using the Python programming language, and explore how to analyse image data. You’ll also learn how to construct mathematical models for biological and environmental systems using difference and differential equations, with a particular emphasis on population dynamics, and how to simulate, analyse these models and fit these models to data. In computer laboratory sessions, you’ll apply your learning to specific problems, such as environmental pollution, growth of microbial populations, disease epidemics, or computer manipulation of images of plants, animals or the natural environment.
 

Pathway two

Molecular Biology and the Dynamic Cell 
This module offers a detailed study of the core molecular processes that enable cells to function such as DNA biochemistry, gene expression, protein synthesis and degradation. You will learn about the basic molecular processes that underpin the function of eukaryotic cells and to describe how different organelles within the cell function, with an emphasis on the dynamic nature of cell biology. You will have lectures, practical classes a poster presentation and tutorials.  
 
Molecular Pharming and Biotechnology 
The creation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is having a major impact on modern agriculture. Transgenic research and “synthetic biology” approaches have the potential to enable plants to be used as “green factories” for the production of novel products. Through this module, you’ll gain both theoretical and practical knowledge as to how transgenic organisms are engineered. You’ll also learn about the production of traditional plant products and their uses in biotechnological industries, and the use of marker assisted breeding techniques. You’ll have lectures and practical laboratory sessions to really get into the analysis of the applications of these technologies, but you’ll also get to look out into industry and broader. There will be industrial field trips to see what you’ve learnt in practice and experts in the field will be invited to lecture and give some thought-provoking debate about the ethical, commercial and environmental concerns around GMO technology. 
 

Optional modules

Soil Science
Through this introductory module, you’ll learn about the biological, physical and chemicals properties of soils and how to use this information for agricultural and environmental land management. You’ll examine how soil can affect plant growth – including through soil biota, nutrients, trace elements and compaction. You’ll look at how water moves through the soil, how soil can be eroded and ways of using soil bioremediation and reclamation.
 
Computer Modelling in Science: Introduction
Modern biological and environmental science is often the study of complex systems and large data sets, and relies on computer models and analyses to understand these systems and data. This module introduces you to the computer programming and modelling techniques that are used in the biological and environmental sciences. Using relevant examples and applications, you’ll become familiar with computer programming and algorithms using the Python programming language, and explore how to analyse image data. You’ll also learn how to construct mathematical models for biological and environmental systems using difference and differential equations, with a particular emphasis on population dynamics, and how to simulate, analyse these models and fit these models to data. In computer laboratory sessions, you’ll apply your learning to specific problems, such as environmental pollution, growth of microbial populations, disease epidemics, or computer manipulation of images of plants, animals or the natural environment.
 
Plant Pests and Diseases 
Sugar beet root aphids feed on the sap in the roots, causing damage and production losses. But how does this pest work and what can be done? In this module, you’ll explore how microbes and insects cause disease in plants and the effect of interactions between plants, microbes and insects. Looking globally, you’ll be able to explain the importance and the nature of the organisms that are pests and diseases of plants, including population dynamics and epidemiology. You’ll also assess the main approaches for control and management of pests and diseases, including chemical interventions, resistance breeding in plants and biological control. You’ll have lectures complemented by practical laboratory sessions, videos and demonstrations.
 
 

Typical year three modules

Core module

Research Project

Your research project will run throughout the final year. It may be laboratory or field-based and provides you with an opportunity to undertake an original research project under the supervision of an individual member of academic staff.

This project encourages critical thinking and involves independent research in a supportive environment, a literature survey, and data handling, analysis and interpretation. Examples of recent projects include: 

  • use of PCR to monitor transposons in petunia
  • enzymes involved in taxol biosynthesis in transgenic plants
  • photosynthesis acclimation in Arabidopsis ecotypes
  • agrobacterium-mediated transformation of chicory
  • use of a fern for the phytoremediation of soil contaminated with arsenic
  • use of UV-C radiation to inhibit post-harvest fungal pathogens of fruit
  • LAMP PCR diagnostics for fungal pathogens
  • algal phosphorescence and its use in street lighting
 

Optional modules

Field Crops Cereals
A highly applied module, you’ll learn how to optimise the management of different cereal crops to meet the requirements of specific environments and end-uses. To do this, you’ll learn about the production strategies for the major grain cereals, with particular emphasis on factors controlling yield and quality. You’ll also examine the structure and function of the Gramineae and the influence of the environment and management practices on crop growth and development. You’ll have a mix of lectures, seminars, in-class exercises and field work to develop and apply your understanding. 
 
Plants and the Light Environment
In this module, you’ll study the influence of the light environment on the physiology of native and crop species, extending from the cellular to community level. You’ll learn how to differentiate between different light signalling pathways in plants and demonstrate how these pathways function in plants. You’ll be able to explain how light is absorbed by plants to initiate energy transfer systems and to stimulate developmental pathways of photomorphogenesis. You’ll then be able to apply your knowledge in understanding the causes of variations in crop yields and how these may be used to assist in the search for improved varieties and increased productivity in agricultural systems. You’ll have a mix of lectures, demonstrations and field trips to see what you’ve learnt in practice. 
 
Plant Cell Signalling
How does a plant know when it is being attacked? In this module you’ll learn about plant signalling molecules and the ways in which these signals are integrated to ensure appropriate responses to environmental conditions or plant pathogen attack. You’ll gain a detailed knowledge of how plants use intercellular and intracellular signalling strategies to provide information about their environment, with particular emphasis on the use of molecular genetics in enabling us to determine the nature of the signals and the cross-talk that takes place between them. You’ll have lectures and demonstrations, as well as laboratory sessions to gain practical experience of the techniques for studying plant hormone signalling. 
 
Molecular Plant Pathology
Crops can defend themselves from disease, but how do they do it? In this module, you’ll learn about the molecular biology of plant pathogens, how these cause disease, and the mechanisms used by plants to defend themselves against such pathogens. You’ll examine the specific molecular techniques being used to develop an understanding of these plant/pathogen interactions. Bringing in current research, you’ll be able to evaluate and critically assess recent research in plant pathogen interactions. 
 
Basic Introduction to Omic Technologies
Over the past few years major developments have been made regarding the study of genomes. Sequencing programmes now mean that the complete DNA sequence is now known for many species. Such information is revealing the high degree of similarity and conservation between different species and organisms, revolutionising the way in which gene function analysis is carried out. This module will provide a basic overview of recent research in the field of post-genomic technologies known as “omics” with emphasis on genomics, proteomics and metabolomics. Case studies will show how different approaches have been used to study genomes and how such developments are influencing the way genetic analysis and biotechnological improvement can be made. You will study by hands-on experience with problem-based lab and computer training sessions.
 
Current Issues in Crop Science
In this integrative module you’ll consider the future options and possible strategies for maintaining or increasing crop production in the UK and world agriculture. You’ll learn about the latest trends and developments within crop science, and the philosophical, ethical and policy issues associated with them. The topics covered will vary to reflect the most recent issues, but have included: the future of genetically modified crops, impact of crop production on biodiversity and prospects for organic crop production. Using your subject knowledge and research skills, you’ll be in a position to critically analyse the advantages and disadvantages of developments in crop science, both for the module and in your future career.
 
Plants and the Soil Environment
What happens below the ground that affects the water and nutrient uptake by plants? In this module, you’ll examine the acquisition of water and nutrients by plants in both agricultural and natural systems, and how plants interact with the soil environment. You’ll learn about the evolution of root adaptations which enable plants to thrive in environments with limited or excess water and nutrients. In an agricultural setting, you’ll explore how water and nutrient uptake by plants can be used to improve crop productivity and resource management, and use the practical study component to investigate new methods and technologies for below-ground phenotyping of roots. You’ll have a mix of lectures and computer-based practicals to gain a fundamental understanding of how water and nutrients are acquired by plants from the soil environment, and their influence on plant growth and development.
 
Plant Disease Control
As an agricultural or crop scientist, you need to know not only how to deal with a disease in a crop but also potential methods to prevent it in the first place. In this module, you’ll gain an understanding of the applied aspects of plant disease control, in particular transmission, epidemiology, detection and diagnosis and control strategies. You’ll analyse the problems of plant diseases and be able to describe the options available to control losses due to disease and the strengths and weaknesses of these options. You’ll examine control strategies based on a range of approaches – including application of fungicides, biological control, deployment of disease resistant varieties and biotechnological approaches. Importantly, you’ll learn about the strategies used by plant pathogens to spread between plants and cause disease epidemics. You’ll have lectures and a field visit, as well as practical laboratory sessions to develop laboratory skills associated with disease diagnosis.
 
Sex, Flowers and Biotechnology
The processes of floral development and reproduction are some of the most critical stages occurring during plant growth and development. They are fundamental for plant breeding, crop productivity and horticulture. The significance of plant reproduction is particularly pertinent to issues of food security and the future development of high yielding crops. In this module, you’ll focus on recent developments that have been made in the understanding of floral development, reproduction and seed production, including the current goals, methods and achievements in the genetic engineering of crop and horticultural plants. With an emphasis on reproductive biology or fruit production, you’ll learn how such processes can be manipulated for commercial exploitation and to facilitate crop improvement. Through a mix of lectures and seminars, you’ll gain a detailed knowledge on the developmental and molecular processes associated with flowering, seed production and fruit development.
 
Genetic Improvement of Crop Plants
The genetic improvement of crop plants is critical to address issues of food security for a growing world population and in the face of a changing climate. It is also the key to tackling environmental degradation and to meeting the increasing strict regulations on agricultural pollution which are coming into force in many Western countries. While these issues are not identical, they are linked and efficient plant breeding can be part of the solution to both. In this module, you’ll develop an understanding of crop genetic improvement through lectures, case and literature studies, research plan presentations, external expert seminars and practical exposure to crop breeding and molecular techniques. You’ll examine how modern and technological approaches can enhance crop breeding programmes and be able to assess the limitations of these approaches. The emphasis is on the application of biotechnology to conventional breeding, but you’ll also learn about genetic modification in the genetic improvement of crops. You’ll cover temperate and tropical, annual and perennial, and in-breeding and out-breeding crops.  
 
 
 
 

Industry placement year

The optional year in industry takes place between years two and three of your degree, extending your degree to a four year programme. Students apply for a placement during year two of the degree programme.

A year in industry can help you:

  • Gain the opportunity to put your learning into practice, giving you a better understanding of your studies and the chance to solidify your knowledge in an industry setting. 
  • Stand out from the crowd as a graduate: many students secure a graduate job as a direct result of their placement year.
  • Learn about what you enjoy doing, and your strengths and weaknesses, putting you in a strong position when considering your future career.

The school has excellent links with a wide range of businesses and research institutes, examples of relevant companies include GlaxoSmithKline, Kew Gardens, Pfizer, Medimmune and Johnson & Johnson.

The dedicated School Placement Team work with you to help you search for, apply and secure a placement, as well as supporting you prior to, during and after the placement.

Student placement stories

 

Careers

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 2013-2017, High Fliers Research).

You will have a broad scientific background in many aspects of plant science and will be well placed to find rewarding jobs in the crop production, plant biotechnology and food industries, environmental management, publishing, commerce and teaching.

Careers pursued by recent graduates 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
  • higher degrees (PhD) at UK universities and government research institutes (for example, Rothamsted Research and John Innes Centre)

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 93.1% of first-degree graduates in the School of Biosciences, who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,597, with the highest being £30,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates who were available for work, 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK. 

Careers support and advice

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.

Explore careers options

 
 

Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.

 
 
 

Key Information Sets (KIS)


KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.

How to use the data

Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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