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Plant Biology for Sustainable Production MSc with a major in Biology

A unique Master’s programme covering essential knowledge about how plants work, their genetics and interaction with the environment.

PROGRAMME INFORMATION

How can the cultivation of plants be adapted to new climate conditions? How do we best protect plants from disease and how can plant breeding contribute to good quality, high yield and sustainability? Learn how to address these questions (and more) by studying this international Master’s programme! 

Held by internationally renowned experts, the courses included in this programme focus on plant-based solutions for the development of agriculture and forestry. Elective specialisation courses will give you the opportunity to broaden your knowledge in a specific area of plant biology. You will choose to specialise in one of the following fields: 

  • Plant Protection and Breeding (Campus Alnarp) 
     
    In this specialisation, you will focus on plant protection and plant breeding, or in other words “what we grow in our fields and how we do it”. Agriculture contributes to the majority of our food and feed production, and can provide new environmentally-friendly materials and chemicals. The aim with plant protection and breeding is to secure our crop production and increase yield, without increasing inputs and lessening the environmental and climate impacts.

  • Abiotic and Biotic Interactions of Cultivated Plants (Campus Uppsala)

    In this specialisation, you will get an insight into the complex life of plants. Plant constantly interact with the environment. Some of these interactions are positive, such as with beneficial microorganisms, but plants also face different types of stress that they have to handle. It can be abiotic factors, such as heat or drought, or biotic factors, such as herbivory animals or pathogens. The specialisation Abiotic and Biotic Interactions of Cultivated Plants prepares you to develop plant-based solutions to the predicted increase in such stresses in the near-future.

  • Erasmus Mundus emPLANT+ (Campus Uppsala)

    In the European ERASMUS Mundus Plant Breeding Masters programme, emPLANT+, you will take the second year at a partner university. Application to emPLANT+ is done through the consortium homepage, where it is also possible to apply for scholarships: http://emplant-master.eu/scholarship-erasmus-mundus.  

 

With a Master’s degree in biology you will be able to continue your studies towards a PhD and will be prepared for research in all of the specialisations included in the programme. You will also have the skills required for employment in several land-based sectors related to modern crop and tree breeding and plant protection. 

FACTS & REQUIREMENTS

Name: Plant Biology for Sustainable Production - Master's Programme
Level: Master
Language: English
Programme scope: 2 year, 120 credits
Next start: Autumn semester 2023

Tuition Fees: Citizens of countries outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland are required to pay application and tuition fees.

First semester: SEK 75000
Total: SEK 300000

Application deadline for international students: 2023-01-16
Application deadline for Swedish students: 2023-04-17

Please note, there are different application codes for the different specializations.

Specialisation: Plant Biology for Sustainable Production - Master´s programme - Erasmus Mundus Plant Biology
Specialisation code: ERAS
Study location: Uppsala
Programme scope: 2 year, 120 credits
Number of admission places: 10
Pace of study: Full-time
Teaching form: Campus
Application code for Swedish students: 81091

Specialisation: Plant Biology for Sustainable Production - Master´s programme - Abiotic and Biotic Interactions of Cultivated Plants
Specialisation code: ODLA
Study location: Uppsala
Programme scope: 2 year, 120 credits
Number of admission places: 10
Pace of study: Full-time
Teaching form: Campus
Application code for Swedish students: 81089
Application code for international students: 81090

Specialisation: Plant Biology for Sustainable Production - Master´s programme - Plant Protection and Breeding
Specialisation code: VÄXT
Study location: Alnarp
Programme scope: 2 year, 120 credits
Number of admission places: 10
Pace of study: Full-time
Teaching form: Campus
Application code for Swedish students: 81087
Application code for international students: 81088

Requirements: To be admitted to the Master’s programme Plant Biology for Sustainable Production, the following is required:
- general entry requirements: a first-cycle degree of 180 credits
- specific entry requirements: first-cycle specialisation in one of the following:
\- 90 credits in the main field of study, biology, or
\- 60 credits in biology and 30 credits in agricultural sciences, forest science or forestry science.
The specific entry requirements above may also be met by having acquired equivalent knowledge through a foreign degree or some other means.
Admission also requires knowledge equivalent to the upper-secondary course English 6. By local decision of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), this requirement is met by someone with a Degree of Bachelor of 180 credits awarded by a Swedish higher education institution or 120 credits for completed courses at SLU. English 6 may also be obtained in other ways, as specified at antagning.se/universityadmissions.se.
The specific entry requirements for admission to the courses included in the programme are stated in individual course syllabuses.

Degree: Degree awarded upon successful completion of the programme The Master’s programme Plant Biology for Sustainable Production leads to the award of Degree of Master of Science in Biology, which is a general degree. Other degrees may be awarded provided that the qualification requirements are fulfilled. See SLU’s local system of qualifications. Students who fulfil the qualification requirements for a degree will be issued a degree certificate upon request. The degree certificate will specify the qualification as Master of Science in Biology (120 credits). Degree requirements A Degree of Master (120 credits) is awarded to students who have successfully completed the qualification requirements of 180 credits, with the following requirements: a minimum of 30 credits from courses with specialisation within the main field of study, biology (A1N; A1F);<br> a minimum of 30 credits for an independent project in the main field of study, biology (Master’s project/A2E). A maximum of 30 credits from successfully completed first-cycle courses may be included. In addition, the prior award of a Degree of Bachelor, Degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts, professional or vocational qualification of at least 180 credits, or a corresponding qualification from abroad, is required.

 

Admission: There are two admission rounds for this Master's programme. The first admission round is open to all international applicants at www.universityadmissions.se. The last date to apply is 16 January 2023. SLU strongly encourage all international students to apply in this first admission round.

CONTENT

Modern biology enables detailed study of the genetics and physiology of plants. When combined with new technical methods of analysis, the production of crops and trees can be studied from molecular level to farm and forest level. This Master’s programme is designed to educate the next generation of plant biologists, enabling them to develop plant-based solutions to complex problems within agriculture and forestry.

The courses are taught by internationally renowned experts in plant biology and sustainable agriculture and forestry. The programme utilises resources from SLU’s main campuses. During the first year, all lectures are live-streamed so that students can follow the courses from dedicated classrooms on campus in Alnarp or Ultuna. In the second year, students will specialise in one of the following fields:

  • plant breeding and protection
  • abiotic and biotic interactions of cultivated plants

Students who complete the programme are awarded a Master’s degree (120 credits) which enables students to apply for doctoral studies as well as work in the industry or for public authorities, with a focus on sustainable solutions for our future society.

As the programme is aimed at students from various academic backgrounds, it begins with introductory courses in which students obtain basic knowledge of plant biology and molecular genetics as a foundation for other courses. The introduction also covers general skills such as referencing and sustainable development.

In their first year, students will take three courses which will provide them with deepened knowledge of subjects that are of importance to sustainable crop production, providing a progression in the subject.

The elective courses give students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and specialise in an area of plant biology of their choice, e.g., plant protection and plant breeding to handle climate change, plants’ interaction with their surroundings and how they are affected by abiotic and biotic factors, or forestry and how biotechnology and breeding can be used to produce renewable biomaterials from forests.

The programme is taught in English.

Specialisations

The programme has two specialisations.

The specialisations are coordinated during the first academic year, and students take foundation courses that give a solid basis in plant biology for continued studies during year 2, as well as providing training in general areas. The students can take these courses in Alnarp or Uppsala.

In year 2, students choose one of the specialisations:

  • Plant Protection and Breeding (Alnarp)
  • Abiotic and Biotic Interactions of Cultivated Plants (Uppsala)

The specialisations build on the world-leading competence at SLU and complement one another.

The students are expected to acquire knowledge of important research, development and methods with respect to plants used for sustainable crop production and thereby be able to work independently with related questions in agriculture and forestry, horticulture, industry, biotechnology and the environment.

The skills acquired on the programme include demonstrating the ability to independently, critically and creatively identify and formulate issues that concern the life processes of plants. All qualitative targets are covered during the foundation courses during the first year, as well as the independent project.

Read the syllabus.

CAREER

The programme aims to prepare students for research. All of the specialisations included in the programme are connected to strong research environments, which provides a good basis for future study. The degree will also enable the students to work within several land-based sectors related to modern crop and tree breeding and plant protection.

Degree awarded

Degree of Master of Science (120 credits) with a Major in Biology.

SYLLABUS

Plant Biology for Sustainable Production - Master's Programme

Programcode:
LM011

Requirements

To be admitted to the Master’s programme Plant Biology for Sustainable Production, the following is required:

  • general entry requirements: a first-cycle degree of 180 credits
  • specific entry requirements: first-cycle specialisation in one of the following:

- 90 credits in the main field of study, biology, or

- 60 credits in biology and 30 credits in agricultural sciences, forest science or forestry science.

The specific entry requirements above may also be met by having acquired equivalent knowledge through a foreign degree or some other means.

Admission also requires knowledge equivalent to the upper-secondary course English 6. By local decision of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), this requirement is met by someone with a Degree of Bachelor of 180 credits awarded by a Swedish higher education institution or 120 credits for completed courses at SLU. English 6 may also be obtained in other ways, as specified at antagning.se/universityadmissions.se.

The specific entry requirements for admission to the courses included in the programme are stated in individual course syllabuses.

Goals

General outcomes

The general objectives of first- and second-cycle courses and programmes are described in Sections 8 and 9 of Chapter 1 of the Swedish Higher Education Act (SFS 1992:1434).

Objectives for a Degree of Master

In accordance with the annex to the Ordinance for the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, for a Degree of Master, the following requirements apply:

Knowledge and understanding

For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall have:

demonstrated knowledge and understanding in the main field of study, including both broad knowledge of the field and a considerable degree of specialised knowledge in certain areas of the field as well as insight into current research and development work; and
demonstrated specialised methodological knowledge in the main field of study (biology).

Competence and skills

For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall have:

  • demonstrated the ability to critically and systematically integrate knowledge and analyse, assess and deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations even with limited information;
  • demonstrated the ability to identify and formulate issues critically, autonomously and creatively as well as to plan and, using appropriate methods, undertake specialised tasks within predetermined time frames and so contribute to the formation of knowledge as well as the ability to evaluate this work;
  • demonstrated the ability in speech and writing both nationally and internationally to report clearly and discuss his or her conclusions and the knowledge and arguments on which they are based in dialogue with different audiences; and
  • demonstrated the skills required for participation in research and development work or autonomous employment in some other qualified capacity.

Judgement and approach

For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall have:

  • demonstrated the ability to make assessments in the main field of study informed by relevant disciplinary, social and ethical considerations and also to demonstrate awareness of ethical aspects of research and development work;
  • demonstrated insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used; and
  • demonstrated the ability to identify the personal need for further knowledge and take responsibility for his or her ongoing learning.

Exam

Degree awarded upon successful completion of the programme

The Master’s programme Plant Biology for Sustainable Production leads to the award of Degree of Master of Science in Biology, which is a general degree. Other degrees may be awarded provided that the qualification requirements are fulfilled. See SLU’s local system of qualifications.

Students who fulfil the qualification requirements for a degree will be issued a degree certificate upon request. The degree certificate will specify the qualification as Master of Science in Biology (120 credits).

Degree requirements

A Degree of Master (120 credits) is awarded to students who have successfully completed the qualification requirements of 180 credits, with the following requirements:

a minimum of 30 credits from courses with specialisation within the main field of study, biology (A1N; A1F);
a minimum of 30 credits for an independent project in the main field of study, biology (Master’s project/A2E).

A maximum of 30 credits from successfully completed first-cycle courses may be included.

In addition, the prior award of a Degree of Bachelor, Degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts, professional or vocational qualification of at least 180 credits, or a corresponding qualification from abroad, is required.

Content and Structure

Programme description

The purpose of the programme is to provide specialist knowledge of plant biology, especially its application for sustainable production within agriculture, horticulture or forestry. Plant biology is a central area within biology that covers many different aspects of plant life. Plant products are, for example, of great importance as food, animal feed, building materials, fibres and medicines. Knowledge about plants’ functions, genetics and interactions with their surroundings is necessary for sustainable plant production and thus sustainable development.

The successful completion of the programme leads to a Degree of Master that provides the student with a point of entry to third-cycle studies or a career in the private or public sectors with a focus on future sustainable societal solutions. The programme begins with an introductory course that provides basic competence in the field of plant biology and molecular genetics as a foundation for future courses. As the programme is aimed at students from diverse backgrounds, it is vital that everyone has the necessary basic knowledge. The introductory course also provides general competence in areas such as literature management and sustainable development.

The following three courses during the first year provide the student with in-depth knowledge of importance to sustainable plant production and are part of a progressive specialisation in the subject. The elective specialist courses provide the student with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge within specific areas of plant biology, such as plant protection and breeding to meet the challenge of climate change, or the interaction between plants and the surrounding environment and how this is affected by abiotic and biotic factors.

The programme has two specialisations based on different campuses. The study route for each is described below. The specialisation is chosen on admission but there will be an opportunity to change specialisation after the first year. During the first year, the specialisations share the same basic courses, providing general competence and a solid foundation in plant biology for continued studies during the second year of the programme. These courses may be taken at Alnarp or Ultuna.

In year 2, students will pursue one of the following specialisations:

Plant Breeding and Protection, Alnarp
Abiotic and Biotic Interactions of Cultivated Plants, Ultuna

These specialisations complement one another and each is based on cutting-edge expertise within SLU. The student can choose to complete a Master’s project for either 30 or 60 credits. It is also possible to take project-based advanced courses for 15 credits and a Master’s project for either 30 or 60 credits at SLU in Umeå.

Students are expected to acquire knowledge of important research, development and methods concerning plants used in sustainable plant production so that they can work autonomously on related issues within agriculture and forestry, horticulture, industry, biotechnology and the environment. Among the skills taught in the programme is the ability to autonomously, critically and creatively identify and formulate issues related to plant life processes. All qualitative targets are covered during the first year in basic courses and the degree project.

The programme invites applications from Swedish and international students wishing to deepen their knowledge of plant biology. The programme is research-based with links to strong research environments, something that will prepare the student for third-cycle studies and an international academic career. The programme also opens professional doors to various land-based sectors, including companies working with plant breeding and protection.

Courses in the programme

Main field of study:

Horticulture (TD)

Biology (BI)

Chemistry (KE)

Agricultural sciences (LB)

Year 1, Campus Alnarp or Campus Ultuna

Introduction to Plant Biology for Sustainable Production, 15 credits (BI, A1N)
Plant Growth and Development, 15 credits (BI, A1N)
Plant Biology for Breeding and Protection, 15 credits (BI, A1N)
Sustainable Plant Production: From Molecular to Field Scale, 15 credits (BI, A1N)

Elective courses, year 2

Specialisation – Plant Protection and Breeding (Campus Alnarp)

Integrated Pest Management in Sustainable Production Systems, 15 credits (BI/TD, A1N)
Applied Plant Biotechnology, 15 credits (BI/TD, A1N)
Advanced Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources, 15 credits (BI/TD, A1N)
Chemical Ecology for Sustainable Insect Pest Control, 15 credits (BI/KE, A1N)
Project-based Research Training, 15 credits, (BI/TD, A1F)
Degree Project in Biology. 60 credits (BI, A2E)
Degree Project in Biology. 30 credits (BI, A2E)

Specialisation – Abiotic and Biotic Interactions of Cultivated Plants (Campus Ultuna)

Experimental Approaches in Plant Growth Analysis and Phenotyping, 15 credits (BI/LB, A1N)
Plant-Microbe Interactions, 15 credits (BI, A1N)
Research Training, 15 credits (BI, A1F)
Plant Pathology, 15 credits (BI, A1N)
Genetic Diversity and Plant Breeding, 15 credits (BI, A1N)
Degree Project in Biology. 60 credits (BI, A2E)
Degree Project in Biology. 30 credits (BI, A2E)

Both specialisations include a degree project for 30 or 60 credits in the main field of study, biology (A2E) as per the established course syllabus.

The courses offered may change during the course of the programme. This may require the establishment of a new programme syllabus, including transitional provisions. Decisions on the courses offered are taken well in advance of the next academic year.

For each course on the programme, there is a course syllabus which specifies the details of the course. Information on when courses are offered is available on the SLU student web.

Transition regulations and other regulations

Any student admitted before the autumn semester of 2023 has the right to complete their studies for a Degree of Master of Science in Biology, which is a general degree. Up until December 2025, it may be possible to award other degrees, provided the requirements pursuant to earlier regulations are fulfilled.

Other Info

Prior knowledge of cell biology and genetics is recommended.

It is also possible to take project-based advanced courses for 15 credits and a Master’s project for either 30 or 60 credits at SLU in Umeå. This includes the Project-based Advanced Course in Biology at the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology and Master’s Thesis in Biology, A2E: Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology.

General provisions for first- and second-cycle courses and programmes

For more information on semester dates, examination, credit transfer and admission to the latter part of a programme, please refer to the Education Planning and Administration Handbook available on the SLU student web.

Possibilities for further studies

Students who complete the Master’s programme Plant Biology for Sustainable Production and are awarded a degree have the opportunity to continue their studies at the doctoral level.

Students sitting on stone wall, photo.

Campus Alnarp

Campus Alnarp is located in a large park surrounded by agricultural fields close to the sea between Malmö and Lund in southern Sweden. There is so much for students to explore here. Apart from all the activities on campus, you will also have access to the cities of Malmö, Lund and Copenhagen. Campus Alnarp’s study programmes focus on landscaping, horticulture, and agriculture and silviculture in southern Sweden. The campus has computer rooms, a restaurant, café, landscaping and horticultural laboratories, and a library with thousands of digital journals, databases and three kilometres of printed materials. The student unions organise many activities, ranging from weekly coffee-drinking get-togethers to comedy sketches and proms. 

Central Uppsala in summer

Campus Uppsala

Uppsala is Sweden’s fourth largest city, and the hub of SLU’s educational activities. Located just outside of the city centre, SLU’s Uppsala campus is spacious, leafy and picturesque. It is a fitting setting for Sweden’s only agricultural university, and possibly the most research-intensive of all universities. With two universities located in Uppsala, students can enjoy a lively, dynamic and stimulating atmosphere. 


Contact

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