Plant Sciences (MPS) / MSc


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 crop production ranging from plant breeding to the development of sustainable plant production systems for the production of food, high quality (food) products, pharmaceuticals and raw materials. The full domain as described above forms the basis of the MSc programme Plant Sciences. The MSc-programme focuses on the basic principles of plant sciences and molecular biology as well as the integration of these disciplines to provide healthy plants in a safe environment for food and non-food applications. The programme not only covers the technological aspects of plant and crop production, but in addition deals with the essential environmental, quality, health, socio-economic and logistic aspects. Students specialize in one of the specific areas within Plant Sciences to deepen their insight, 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 specialisation, and keep informed about recent developments in the field of specialisation as well as related fields;
- apply the knowledge of the physical, chemical and physiological aspects of crop growth and production, and of modeling and simulation to analyse yield constraints and develop appropriate crop management practices to sustain, and, where possible, improve food production (Specialisation A - Crop Science);
- apply the knowledge of (environmental) plant physiology, crop ecology, post-harvest physiology, in order to analyse plant growth in a protected environment, and develop technological approaches to control abiotic and biotic factors and improve post-harvest quality (Specialisation B - Greenhouse Horticulture);
- apply the knowledge of soil quality, crop growth, nutrient dynamics, ecology and bio-interactions to analyse interactions between agriculture and the environment, for conservation of (agro-) biodiversity and to improve the sustainability of agricultural land use (production of food, feed and fuel) (Specialisation C - Natural Resources Management);
- apply the knowledge of classical, molecular, population and quantitative genetics, plant physiology, statistics and genomics to design, develop and select varieties with improved yield, disease resistance, quality characteristics and suitability for sustainable plant production systems (Specialisation D - Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources);
- 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 (Specialisation E - Plant Pathology and Entomology);
-select and apply independently suitable laboratory techniques, analytical measurements, surveys, mathematical and statistical methods for the collection, processing and analysis of experimental data in plant science;
- resolve independently a scientific problem in plant sciences into research questions and develop a scientifically relevant research plan in which research question, hypothesis, experimental set-up and data analysis are described in relation to relevant literature;
- perform independently 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 specialisation into relevant solutions to complex problems;
- critically select relevant scientific literature to 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 specialisation, both verbally (in presentations and debates) and in writing;
- co-operate in a multi-disciplinary international 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 related to the academic field of specialisation and integrate these in scientific work in an international context;
- self-reflect on personal knowledge, skills, attitudes and functioning, both individually and by giving and receiving feedback, and develop a personal learning path.


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

Programme Director

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

Study Adviser(s)

- Drs C.A. Langeveld (specializations Crop Science; Greenhouse Horticulture; Natural Resource Management)
Phone: 0317-(4)83571/ 82140
- Dr ir A.B. Bonnema (specializations Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources; Plant Pathology and Entomology)
Phone: 0317-(4)84028

Programme Committee

Chair: Dr ir U. van Meeteren
Secretary: Dr G.J. Kuipers



Study Association

Semper Florens