Plant Science

BSc single honours Plant Science 2016/17

Where better to study plant sciences than in the ‘Garden of England’? This degree pathway is an exciting innovation, having been put together by a very experienced team in discussion with key stakeholders in the horticultural and agricultural industry. The resulting qualification will not only make students highly employable within this industry, and allied support industries, but will also equip them with a range of transferable skills highly valued by all sectors from farming to finance.

Plants are fundamental to all life on Earth, not only providing atmospheric oxygen, food and materials such as cotton, wood, paper and rope, but also perfumes, beverages and cures for disease. They can be used as filtration plants for industry, pollution indicators and just pure aesthetics.

The Royal Society recently issued a statement warning of an impending worldwide skills shortage in the agricultural sciences that would endanger our ability to deal with rising populations, citing plant breeding, plant pathology, agronomy, crop physiology, agricultural entomology, weed science and post-harvest biology as key areas in which shortages are likely. This degree programme includes strong elements of all of these disciplines.

While not compulsory, students are encouraged to work in the agricultural or horticultural industry either prior to beginning the degree and/or by taking an optional sandwich year.

The first year consists of a set of compulsory modules covering introductory biology (at both whole organism and molecular level), plant taxonomy and environmental science. The physical sciences are also taught to a level needed to underpin sound biological knowledge but the ethos of the programme is to integrate the sciences together rather than treating them as separate subjects. There is also an emphasis on experimental science, so students learn a wide range of practical techniques, including microbiology and cell culture.

In Year 2, dedicated modules probe deeper into plant physiology, plant nutrition, developmental genetics and plant biotechnology. Core modules also include those that adopt a systems approach to biology with the emphasis on key aspects of employability (laboratory, computational biology and communications skills) while other options allow them to specialise in areas that interest them such as evolution and biogeography.

In Year 3, core modules further examine the interactions between plants, their environment and other organisms such as pests, pathogens and symbionts. Optional subject areas include ecology and conservation and biological imaging. Students also carry out a practical research project as part of a final year Individual Study.

In all three years, students may opt to take modules in marketing. This will be particularly relevant for students wishing to work in commercial horticulture and agriculture or the associated support industries such as agrochemical companies or seed merchants.

Students taking this degree pathway will be highly employable in the horticultural and agricultural industry, possessing the key skills and knowledge required to manage crop systems and storage.

They will also be suitably qualified to work in agricultural or horticultural research and many of the auxiliary industries that support agriculture, including retail and wholesale outlets such as supermarkets and marketing companies. Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly looking to plants for new compounds from which to synthesise drugs, and local authorities need people with plant science backgrounds for managing open spaces, parks and street trees.

The level of scientific literacy developed by this course of study is highly valued in other non-scientific areas of industry, commerce and the media. The good communication and presentation skills also developed, coupled to an ability to think critically and analyse complex data sets, make our graduates highly employable. Our graduates also have an excellent record of progressing to study for higher degrees either by research or a taught programme.

Year 1


  • Core Science
  • Variety of Life
  • Introduction to Environmental Systems
  • Microbiology and Cell Culture

Optional modules:

  • The Organism and its Environment
  • Marketing Principles and Practice
  • Starred Module

Year 2


  • Plant Control Systems
  • Either Comm. and Analysis in Science or Marketing Research
  • Molecular Biology
  • Chemistry for the Life Sciences
  • Applied Plant Genetics

Optional modules:

  • Chemistry for the Environmental Sciences
  • Evolution
  • Biogeographical and Landscape Ecology
  • Introduction to Mapping and GIS
  • Starred Module

Year 3


  • Pests, Parasites and Pathogens
  • Plant Responses to the Environment
  • Individual Study
  • Soil Science and Land Management

Optional modules:

  • Introduction to Bioinformatics
  • Bioinformatics 2
  • Practical Ecology
  • Biological Imaging and Photography
  • Ecology and Conversation
  • Applied Biological Chemistry
  • FAST School of Fruit
  • International Marketing: Culture and Communication
  • Starred Module


The 2015/16 and 2016/17 annual tuition fees for this course are:







Tuition fees for all courses are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

UK/EU full-time tuition fees for this course are set in line with the current maximum regulated tuition fee levels permitted by the UK Government.

Overseas full-time tuition fees for this course may be subject to an annual inflationary increase in every year where the course lasts more than one year. 

*Overseas fee scholarships may be available for eligible students. For further information please contact or the International Office:

**Full-time courses which have a Foundation Year 0 will have a 2015/16 and 2016/17 UK/EU tuition fee of £6,000 in Year 0.

Further information

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students on courses are expected to meet. 

Read further information about the general additional costs which apply to courses at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Core knowledge and understanding is acquired through a number of methods and strategies including lecture and discussion; laboratory practical; field course, student-led seminars; tutorials; individual oral presentations; group oral presentations; poster presentations; problem solving exercises, case studies and projects. Intellectual skills are promoted through lectures, practical classes, workshops and seminars.

Learning to apply these thinking skills is achieved by the use of case studies and especially through laboratory and field-based activities. This enables students to apply their classroom learning in more challenging environments and to appreciate general processes and relationships in practical and ‘real-world’ settings. Throughout their degree, students receive academic and personal support from their personal tutor as well as from the Student Support Guidance Service and the Employability and Careers Service.

Knowledge and understanding is assessed via examination and coursework including essay, calculation and problem solving exercises, practical write ups, portfolios, log books, group and/or individual work, group projects, oral presentations, assessed practical, laboratory work, graph drawing exercises, (group) poster presentation, computer based assessment, group presentation, data handling exercises, multiple choice questionnaire, seminar presentation, paper presentation, seminar papers, case study (involving the analysis of biological data) and audio or video presentation.

Intellectual skills are assessed by coursework (including computer based assessment), presentations and examination. Examinations provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to structure a clear, concise and reasoned argument and analyse an issue in a limited time period. The execution of an independent or special study allows them to demonstrate their thinking skills to the highest level.

Fact file

UCAS code

  • C200 Plant Science
  • C240 Plant Science (4 years with Foundation)


  • 3 years (or 4 years with Foundation year) full-time

Entry requirements



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Last edited: 01/08/2016 13:17:00