Modern biology provides tools so that we can conduct detailed studies of the genetics and physiology of plants. Combined with new technical methods of analysis, production of crops and trees can be studied from molecular level to farm and forest level. This new MSc 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 on three campuses of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), located in Alnarp, Ultuna and Umeå. During the first year, all lectures are streamed live so that you can follow the courses from any of the three locations. During the second year you will choose to specialise in one of the following fields:
- Plant breeding and protection
- Abiotic and biotic interactions of cultivated plants
- Forest biotechnology
Students who complete the programme are awarded a Master’s (120 credits) degree which can be used for third-cycle studies as well as for work in the industry or in public authorities, with a focus on sustainable solutions for our future society. The programme starts with introductory courses where students obtain basic knowledge of plant biology and molecular genetics as a foundation for other courses. As the programme targets students with different backgrounds, it is important that everyone acquires the basic knowledge that is needed. The introduction also covers general skills such as referencing and sustainable development.
In three courses during the first year, the students gain deepened knowledge of subjects that are of importance to sustainable crop production, providing a progression in the subject. The elective specialisation courses give students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge 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.
The programme has four specialisation tracks, described below.
The specialisations 1-3 are coordinated during the first academic year, and students take basic courses that give a solid foundation in plant biology for continued studies during year 2, as well as providing training in general competences. The students can take these courses in Alnarp, Umeå or Uppsala.
In year 2, students choose one of the specialisations:
- - Forest Biotechnology (in Umeå)
- - Plant Protection and Breeding for Mitigating Climate Change (in Alnarp)
- - Abiotic and Biotic Interactions of Cultivated Plants (in Uppsala)
The specialisations build on the world-leading competence at SLU and supplement one another.
The fourth specialisation, Genetic and Molecular Plant Biology, is a cooperation between SLU, Uppsala University and Stockholm University. The specialisation starts with three basic courses, where each of the three universities is responsible for one course. This means that students take these courses in Uppsala (campuses of SLU and Uppsala University) and Stockholm. The specialisation Genetic and Molecular Plant Biology cannot be combined with the other specialisations.
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 year 1 basic courses as well as the independent project.