Louise Jones began studying BSc Plant Science with Foundation Year after completing a Royal Horticultural Society level 2 diploma in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture. She has since graduated, winning two awards from the British Society of Plant Pathology along the way and starting a Masters by Research. She tells us about her experience.

“In 2017/18 I undertook the Royal Horticultural Society’s level 2 diploma in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture in order to improve my gardening knowledge and skills with a view to possibly setting up my own gardening business. It transpired I was drawn more to the science side of horticulture and nature, and I decided to pursue a degree in plant science.

Luckily for me, Canterbury Christ Church was the closest university to my home in Sussex that offered Plant Science – one of only a handful of universities in the UK offering this degree. Had another university been closer to home, I would still choose Canterbury.

“The teaching staff were always encouraging and happy to help me, they were always happy to meet with me or answer my emails promptly to go over things I needed explaining or help with. Dr Alec Forsyth, my project supervisor, nominated me for both British Society of Plant Pathology (BSPP) awards, and I am very grateful for his support and guidance, as well as that from Dr Tyler Howell-Bray throughout my degree.”

These nominations were successful and were:

  • BSPP prize for the best undergraduate exam performance in plant pathology 2022

This was awarded for Louise’s performance in the ‘Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions’ exam

  • BSPP prize for the best undergraduate research in plant pathology 2022

This was awarded for her honours project entitled; ‘Towards creating an infections clone of nerine yellow stripe virus’ – one of the most prevalent and damaging crop viruses in the world.

Louise Jones with her award certificates.

Community at Christ Church

The community at Canterbury Christ Church University is one of the things Louise puts as a highlight of studying here, and continuing to Masters level.

“Canterbury Christ Church is a very friendly and inclusive environment. As a mature student, this was much welcomed and from the start of my degree I really felt I fitted in. I had the best teachers, a beautiful smile from Wilson in estates every morning I came into the labs and a fabulous bacon roll for breakfast on a Friday prepared by the fabulous Dianne from catering.

“I have started my MRes (Masters by Research) here in collaboration with the RHS. I am being hosted by the RHS plant health and biosecurity team at RHS Wisley in Surrey, in their brand-new research centre Hill Tops. I am researching the diversity and spread of the fungal like pathogens; Phytophthora species a fungal like pathogen in RHS gardens, particularly Phytophthora ramorum, a more recent species found in the UK, most likely to have been introduced unwittingly via the movement of plant material from overseas. This is important for species such as Larch, which is already affected, and Oak, which is yet to be affected in the UK but is suffering from Sudden Oak Death in the USA.

What's next?

“From here, I hope to undertake a PhD in the field of plant health. As for students thinking of studying at Canterbury Christ Church, I would say that from excellent teaching and support staff, to state of the art science facilities in the new Verena Holmes building, the University has everything with a cherry on top to make your undergraduate experience a success as long as you are prepared to work hard and commit to your studies.”

Find out more about our BSc Plant Science with Foundation Year course.

Explore undergraduate

Return to