Plant Sciences (MPS) / MSc

Profile

Plant Sciences can be defined as an application area of biology (including molecular and cell biology, genetics, physiology and ecology of plants). The domain of Plant Sciences is linked with a professional sector that is of great importance to the world economy. It deals with 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 full domain as described above forms the basis of the MSc programme Plant Sciences. The MSc-programme focuses on the basic principles and disciplines of plant sciences as well as the integration of these disciplines to provide healthy plants in a safe environment for food purposes and the production of bioresources. The programme not only covers the technological aspects of crop production, greenhouse horticulture, plant breeding and the interactions between plants, biotic and a-biotic factors, but in addition deals with the essential environmental, quality, health and socio-economic aspects. Students specialize in one of the specific areas within Plant Sciences to deepen their insight, develop skills and understanding and apply their knowledge in an integrated approach of scientific questions.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this MSc programme graduates are expected to be able to:
- explain and exemplify theories, methods and techniques that are relevant to the selected specialization, and stay informed about recent developments in their field of specialization as well as related fields;
- apply knowledge of the physical, chemical and physiological aspects of crop growth and production, and of modelling and simulation to analyse yield constraints and develop appropriate crop management practices to sustain, and, where possible, improve food production (Specialization A - Crop Science);
- apply the knowledge of (environmental) plant physiology, crop ecology and post-harvest physiology in order to analyse plant growth in a protected environment, and develop technological approaches to optimize yield, control abiotic and biotic factors and improve post-harvest quality (Specialization B - Greenhouse Horticulture);
- apply the knowledge of soil quality, crop growth, nutrient dynamics, ecology and bio-interactions to analyse interactions between agriculture and the biotic and a-biotic environment, for conservation of (agro-) biodiversity and to improve the sustainability of agricultural land use (production of food and bioresources) (Specialization C - Natural Resources Management);
- apply the knowledge of classical, molecular, population and quantitative genetics, plant physiology, statistics, genomics and bioinformatics to design, develop and select varieties with improved yield, disease resistance, quality characteristics and suitability for sustainable plant production systems (Specialization D - Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources; Specialization F - Plant Breeding (Distance Learning));
- apply the knowledge of plant-insect, plant-pathogen and crop-weed relationships, both at ecological and molecular level to analyse and design strategies for integrated pest management by integrating genetic plant resistance, cultural practices and biological control (Specialization E - Plant Pathology and Entomology);
- apply the knowledge of plant physiology and development, breeding and biotechnology for biomass production to design novel biobased concepts, products or processes in an international context (Specialization G - Biomass Production and Carbon Capture);
- independently select and apply suitable laboratory techniques, analytical measurements, surveys, mathematical and statistical methods for the collection, processing and analysis of experimental data in plant science;
- independently resolve 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 relevant literature;
- independently perform scientific experiments and analyse and interpret experimental data, in order to develop or design a novel solution, system, model or product;
- translate research data and scientific knowledge in the field of specialization into relevant solutions to complex problems;
- select relevant scientific literature to critically analyse current concepts, theories, techniques and debates as a basis for defining research questions and testing hypotheses in order to draw conclusions and develop recommendations;
- communicate in professional English with specialists and non-specialists about research and solutions to problems related to the field of specialization, both verbally (in presentations and debates) and in writing;
- experience the institutional, entrepreneurial and professional reality of a potential junior academic working environment and determine a personal professional perspective;
- co-operate in a multi-disciplinary intercultural team in different team roles, including the role of team leader to plan, perform and manage project-based work;
- analyse and evaluate the socio-economic, ethical and environmental aspects of research in the field of specialization and integrate these in academic work in an intercultural context;
- reflect on personal knowledge, skills, attitudes and performance, both individually and by giving and receiving feedback, and design and plan a personal learning path.

Specializations

- Crop Science
- Greenhouse Horticulture 
- Natural Resource Management 
- Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources 
- Plant Pathology and Entomology 
- Plant Breeding 

Programme Director

Dr. G.J. Kuipers
Phone: 0317-(4)84767/ 82839
Email: anja.kuipers@wur.nl

Study Adviser(s)

- Dr. M.J.W. Jeuken
Phone: 0317-(4)84157
Email: marieke.jeuken@wur.nl
- Dr. ir. J.C. Goud
Phone: 0317-(4)85047
Email: jan-kees.goud@wur.nl
- Dr. J.W. van 't Klooster
Phone: 0317-(4)85551
Email: john.vantklooster@wur.nl

Programme Committee

Chair: Dr. ir. A. Schots
Secretary: Dr. G.J. Kuipers

Internet

www.wur.eu/mps

Study Association

Semper Florens
Email: semper.florens@wur.nl
Internet: www.semper-florens.nl