Plant Sciences (BPW) / BSc


The BSc programme Plant Sciences focuses on the production of healthy food and sustainable bioresources, global food security, and the development of smart solutions to reduce the influence of climate change on crop production. The objective of the programme is to educate academic professionals who are able to employ biotechnological technology and explore sustainable development opportunities for complex issues in society that relate to the domain of plant sciences. Plant breeding plays an important role in the development of varieties that meet current demands regarding yield, disease resistance, quality characteristics and suitability for organic farming or low-input sustainable plant production systems world-wide. Sound knowledge of crop physiology and ecology is essential for the development of appropriate crop production systems to assure reliable supplies of safe, nutritious, high quality food, while taking aspects of biodiversity and nature conservation into account. In crop production, greenhouse horticulture is an innovative agrosystem and an important economic sector in the Netherlands. This is realised by a steady flow of technological innovations in this sector. The investments made in crop production need to be protected from losses due to biotic stress. Integrated pest management ensures this through the integration of genetic plant resistance, crop cultivation and biological control. Rapid technological development in the field of plant biology, genomics and molecular genetics enables the application of molecular marker technology to accelerate the selection of novel varieties with a wide variety of favourable traits. In addition, genomics, proteomics and metabolomics enable to study and understand fundamental processes in plants. Many products of these processes, such as proteins and (secondary) metabolites, are important for human and animal health, either as food components or as medicinal compounds. All of these aspects are covered by two majors within the BSc-programme Plant Sciences.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this BSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- explain the biology of plants in their environment, both at a fundamental level and in terms of the various functions of plants for people and animals, based on knowledge of plant physiology, morphology and taxonomy, biochemistry, organic and physical chemistry, molecular and cell biology, mathematics, statistics, genetics and ecology;
- apply the knowledge of fundamental processes in plants at the molecular and cellular level in order to analyse the development of novel varieties, the interactions between plants and their pests and pathogens, and the use of plants and plant products for food and health purposes (Major A - Plant Genomics and Health);
- apply the knowledge of the role of natural resources and environmental factors on plant and (agro-) system development in order to analyse open and protected plant production systems, and the interactions between agriculture and its environment in a wide range of agro-ecological systems (Major B - Plant Production and Ecology);
- apply laboratory techniques, analytical measurements, mathematical and statistical methods for the collection, processing and analysis of experimental data in plant science, and to judge their suitability in solving specific research questions;
- translate a scientific problem in plant sciences into research questions and develop a scientifically relevant research plan in which problem definition, hypothesis, experimental set-up and data analysis are described in relation to the existing literature (under supervision);
- perform (under supervision) simple scientific experiments and analyse and interpret experimental data, in order to develop or design a novel solution, system, model or product;
- establish a scientific approach by:
* retrieving and critically selecting relevant literature from bibliographic databases;
* combining new knowledge with previously obtained knowledge;
* demonstrating an understanding of the process of testing hypotheses, theories and models through experiments.
- communicate verbally and in writing about the results of learning, experiments and project work with specialists and non-specialists, both in Dutch and in English;
- co-operate in an international team of students and staff to perform a research project;
- understand the international, socio-economic, ethical, (inter-) cultural and temporal context of new developments in plant sciences;
- reflect (under supervision) on personal knowledge, skills, attitudes and functioning, both individually and in discussions with others, and design and plan a personal learning path.


- Plant Genomics and Health;
- Plant Production and Ecology.

Programme Director

Dr. G.J. Kuipers
Phone: 0317-(4)84767/ 82839

Study Adviser(s)

- Dr. M.T.W. Vervoort, MSc
Phone: 0317-(4) 84017/ 82197
- Dr. ir. A. Schots
Phone: 0317-(4)85261/ 82197

Programme Committee

Chair: prof. N.P.R. Anten
Secretary: dr. G.J. Kuipers


Study Association

Semper Florens

Unconditional Admission to the MSc

MDR Development and Rural Innovation
MOA Organic Agriculture
MPB Plant Biotechnology
MPS Plant Sciences