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Do you want to study something that can be useful for many people? Plant & Crop Sciences. In this article, we can give you more details
What is Plant & Crop Science?
Plant and Crop Science is a field of agriculture (pun intended!) that studies how to grow plants commercially and at industrial scales and how to do so sustainably. However, it is not just about how to grow plants:
You will learn about plant genetics and how to use the power of nature to ensure the best results.
You will learn about plant pathology and how to fight the pests and diseases that threaten them.
You will also gain business knowledge and learn how to manage land to ensure long-term productivity best. Plant and Crop Science is a course for those who want to make positive changes now that will last far into the future.
Plant and Crop Science plays a significant role in the sustainability and green energy industries. You will learn how to take care of the soil to ensure long-term productivity, protect natural ecosystems, get the best results using the least resources, and create biofuels to move us towards a greener future.
Where can you study Plant & Crop Sciences?
Many European universities offer Education & Teaching degree programmes entirely in English. Depending on whether you plan to work as a teacher later on, you may also be able to choose modules in relevant subjects and receive teacher training.
Universities that offer Bachelors in Plant & Crop Sciences:
University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland
University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Universities that offer Masters in Plant & Crop Sciences:
Stockholm University, Sweden
University of Helsinki, Finland
University of Vienna, Austria
What can I expect to study in a Bachelor’s program?
Not many universities offer Plant and Crop Sciences as a Bachelor’s degree, but you’ll still find plenty of options across Europe. Programmes typically last between three and four years.
In the first year of an undergraduate degree, you generally start broad and then specialise more as you progress. This allows you to explore your subject widely before becoming more focused.
You can expect to study general botany, cell biology, geology, and environmental sciences in the first year of a typical Bachelor's in Plant and Crop Sciences.
Later on, expect modules like…
Plant sciences, plant genetics
Ecology, conservation, habitat management
Crop management, global food security
Pest control, plant/insect interactions
Plant diseases and treatments
What can I expect to study at the Master’s level?
To become an expert, getting a Master’s degree in Plant & Crop Science is the logical next step. Most courses are between one and two years full-time and combine class learning, laboratory work and one or more research projects - usually as part of your thesis.
For admission, most Masters in Plant & Crop Science will require a Bachelor’s degree in a related area like Biology or Environmental Science. Some field and/or work experience may be beneficial but is generally not mandatory.
Many Plant Science Master’s programmes allow you to specialise in a specific area. Some already have a focused curriculum; others allow you to pick modules based on your preferences. If you already know that you want to pursue a PhD later on, it makes sense to concentrate on whichever topics interest you the most.
How to pick the right university
Once you have decided that Plant and Crop Science might be the right choice, the next step is to find the right university. If there is a particular speciality you are interested in, check out the university’s research department. Choosing a leading university in your primary area of interest allows you to learn from the best! Not only will you surround yourself with people who are already established in that field, but you will also benefit from excellent networking opportunities.
Universities that have a robust Plant and Crop Science course will have access to growing facilities. Check the prospectus and see where the university is located, what land and outdoor facilities they have, and what affiliations they have. And if there is a particular habitat you are interested in, then check out universities that are in those regions.
Top reasons for studying Plant & Crop Sciences:
You can make a difference for people. Plant and Crop Scientists are at the forefront of helping prevent famine. This is no exaggeration! With our vast population and the pressure of climate change making specific habitats inhospitable to food production, Plant and Crop Scientists will find new and better ways to produce food while also ensuring the health of our planet.
You can help protect the environment for a better future. Plant and Crop researchers are continuously finding new ways to help keep our soil and plant life healthy and safe, ensuring that we will be able to produce food for generations to come.
You’re going to have exciting career options. Experts on plants and crops are - and will be - in high demand. With a university degree, many exciting opportunities will be available to you.
What kinds of employers hire Plant and Crop Scientists?
With the climate crisis and a growing global population, it’s becoming a massive challenge to feed everyone while ensuring that our planet can sustainably continue producing enough food.
And as a Plant and Crop Scientist, you will be in high demand! This is a career that can take you all over the world and will play a vital role in the future survival of our planet and our population.
Typical employers include, but are not limited to:
Food producers at all levels, from small farms to industry giants
The agriculture industry, including crop production and soil management
Government agencies and environmental protection agencies
Green initiatives, especially in the sustainability industry
Universities and research institutions
Conservation groups, particularly those involved in plant and habitat protection
How is studying Crop Sciences different from Agriculture?
Agriculture can be considered more the “business” side of crops: As a student in an Agriculture programme, you will focus more on crop and soil management and the commerce side of operations and production.
In contrast, for a degree in Plant and Crop Sciences, the curriculum will typically focus more on the biology, physiology, genetics, evolution, and pathology of crops and plants.
Other subjects you might be interested in
Environmental Sciences: Learn about the natural environment and how all its different parts work together. Environmental Science combines the biological sciences with earth science, physics, chemistry, and social sciences.
Agricultural Sciences: Agricultural Sciences is an interdisciplinary field that combines botany, soil sciences, animal husbandry and management, and crop management, amongst many other things.
Forestry: Trees are essential in many ecosystems. Learn how to grow, manage and protect forests for conservation and commercial use.
Horticulture: Learn everything there is to know about growing fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants for the commercial and domestic market. You will also learn how to care for parks, public gardens, and other managed landscapes.
Ecology: Study all aspects of living organisms and how they interact - and are influenced by - the environment around them.
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I'm Natalia Bertelli, an English/Spanish to Italian legal translator. Since 2008 I have been working on contracts, judicial deeds, certificates, corporate translations for foreign clients who want to do business in Italy, get a dual citizenship or simply settle in my beautiful country.