Plant scientists travel the world and study the fundamental and applied aspects of plants. This degree incorporates extensive practical work underpinned by relevant theory. It provides an opportunity to gain a unique qualification in canopy biology and access.
Plants are vital for life on Earth. They provide us with the oxygen we breathe, the food we eat, and the drugs that may save our lives. On our plant science degree, we’ll teach you about the diversity of plant life, how it is maintained and its uses for humans.
During the degree, you’ll spend around 70 per cent of your time in the lab or in the field. This includes taking trips to overseas destinations to study the plant diversity in these areas. You’ll use industry-standard technology to hone your practical and research skills. There’s also a chance to gain an extra qualification in canopy biology and access – unique in the UK.
Your tutors are published plant science researchers, contributing to some of the best plant science journals in the world. They’ll teach you relevant, contemporary skills and theory.
Trace the evolution of life, examining the diversity of plants and animals. Take part in residential fieldwork, where we’ll show you how to undertake biological research. And broaden your knowledge of the discipline through modules in cell biology and genetics.
Biology in Practice looks at the nature of biological enquiry, the ways that biological knowledge develops, and the contribution biology makes to society. Part of this module will be delivered during a field trip (costs included in fees).
Module code: SCI1107
Genetics and Evolution
Genetics and Evolution introduces the genetic and environmental control of an individual’s characteristics. The module outlines how variation at the DNA and chromosomal level leads to variation in the phenotype and genotype and the potential consequences of this variation including speciation. Taking a largely population genetics approach, you will study mutation, genotypic and phenotypic variation, meiosis, Mendelian inheritance, phylogeny and speciation.
Module code: SCI1116
Introduction to Cell Biology
Introduction to Cell Biology focuses on the cell is the basic biological unit. Using a range of activities, you will examine the molecular components that determine the structure, biochemical nature and physiology of different cells. This will then enable you to appreciate the significance of a range of environmental influences. Practical activities, including a number of core biological exercises, will be used to reinforce these aspects and equip you with skills and confidence in scientific laboratory techniques. The aim is to equip you with an appreciation of scientific method and enhance your understanding of what constitutes a valid scientific investigation.
Anatomy and Physiology focuses on developing your knowledge of the structure and function of the human body. The module will equip you with an understanding of the inter-relationship between the systems of the body in the context of human health and disease. There will be a considerable emphasis on laboratory-based activities, including molecular techniques and practical physiological investigations.
Module code: SCI1118
Biodiversity provides an overview of the diversity of life, the major taxonomical groups and their phylogenetic relationship. Sub-divided into distinctive microbial (including viral, bacterial and archaeal), plant, fungal, and animal sections, the module covers key findings on the definition, the origin, and the evolution of life. You will develop a range of subject-specific and transferable skills to enhance your employability, including microscopy and slide preparation, as well as information retrieval.
Module code: SCI1113
Chemistry for Biologists
Chemistry for Biologists introduces the basics of chemistry, involving clear and lucid explanations of chemical concepts with a coherent problem solving approach. Building your understanding of the periodic table, atomic and molecular structures, pH, solutions, chemical reactions, model buildings and practical skills are the core elements of this module. The aim is to provide you with a toolkit of knowledge and practical skills within chemistry and linking to wider concepts within biological and physical sciences. Appropriate mathematical knowledge will be embedded throughout the module.
Module code: SCI1115
Ecology introduces concepts fundamental to populations and communities using examples from across habitats and ecosystems. You will learn the basic skills required for employment and further ecological study including plant and animal identification, field surveying, microscopy, safe laboratory and field practice, and, data handling. Half and full-day field trips include sampling animals and plants to develop concepts such as energetics, food webs, limiting factors and ecosystem functioning. You will gain an appreciation of the application of the subject to environmental, medical and resource issues in real-world scenarios. By undertaking group work, such as a poster presentation, you will learn how to communicate scientific ideas to a non-specialised audience, while through reporting on field experiments you will learn how to handle and interpret data.
Module code: SCI1112
Language 1 is ideal if you want to learn a new language, or further develop your current language skills, as an integrated part of this degree. You can study French, German, Arabic, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese or Spanish (subject to minimum numbers for your preferred language). Delivered at the Edge Hill Language Centre, the module will be taught in an interactive, communicative manner, using authentic materials in the target language. Emphasis will be placed on all four areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening. You will play an active role in the weekly two-hour classes, engaging in role-plays, short conversations, videos, authentic texts and listening materials. You will also be encouraged to reflect on your own learning needs. On enrolment to the module, you will complete a language induction form and be placed into a language level group appropriate for your prior knowledge of your chosen language. Please note, while we will endeavour to accommodate varying language levels per module, this is not always possible. While you can join the module with some prior experience of your target language, you will not be able to study a language you are already fluent or proficient in.
Module code: TLC1010
In Year 2 of BSc (Hons) Plant Science there’s more residential fieldwork for you to get involved with. This time it’s in Tenerife. The experience will help you understand the richness and diversity of plant life on Earth. You’ll also study plant anatomy and physiology, and hone practical techniques in fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy. You can choose to specialise in biotechnology and canopy biology, amongst other disciplines.
Field Botany is a field-based module, providing you with an opportunity to conduct a detailed study of a particular group of organisms. The module introduces the full range of vascular plant diversity across a range of habitats alongside supporting work using keys and microscopes. The module also incorporates coverage of community classifications.
Module code: SCI2330
Plant Diversity is a field-based module studying vascular plant diversity in the Canary Isles. The module introduces the full variety of plant diversity found in different environmental gradients and is supported by laboratory and theoretical work. You will learn the basics of plant taxonomy and systematics and develop valuable field expedition skills.
Module code: SCI2337
Plant Form and Physiology
Plant Form and Physiology provides you with an understanding of plant structure and physiology. You learn about basic leaf, root and stem structures, biochemical processes (for example, photosynthesis and water relations) and organism signalling. The module will also equip you with laboratory skills including microscopy, scanning electron microscopes (SEM), gas-analysis, porometry and thermal imagery.
Module code: SCI2338
Research Methods in Biology
Research Methods in Biology develops essential biological research methods and data analysis skills, providing a sound base for a future dissertation. The module begins with sessions on experimental design and statistical analysis, working with varied types of data, and culminates with the design and implementation of a one-week research project.
Biochemistry and Metabolism enhance your understanding of several advanced concepts in the field of life sciences. The module provides a global perspective on biomolecules, the different types of anabolic and catabolic pathways, as well as basic concepts in enzymology and eukaryotic and prokaryotic cellular energetics. In addition to the theoretical aspects of the module, you will develop a range of transferable and subject specific skills, such as basic laboratorial techniques, recording and analysis of experimental data, information retrieval and research, synthesis capabilities, and presenting scientific information to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.
Module code: SCI2334
Biogeography examines spatial and temporal patterns of living organisms over the earth’s surface and highlights the fundamental processes and causal factors which determine these patterns. This includes themes such as climate, evolutionary history, continental drift, spatial area, isolation, succession and disturbance. Key themes such as biodiversity and the history and development of ecological communities through time run through the whole module. The module culminates in exploring the impacts of human mediated changes to organism distributions, particularly the effects of habitat fragmentation and invasive non-native species.
Module code: SCI2333
Introduction to Biotechnology
Introduction to Biotechnology provides a basic understanding of the principles of biotechnology and its practical applications. You will be introduced to the advances in biotechnological applications and their importance in a wide range of disciplines including agriculture, industry and medicine. The limitations of biotechnological applications will also be considered.
Module code: SCI2335
Invertebrate Ecology explores the diversity of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, examining their life cycle, basic physiology, importance to ecosystem functioning and the range of services with which they provide society. You will learn quantitative sampling techniques as well as navigation, health and safety assessment and ethical considerations. You will also develop a sound knowledge of taxonomy for a variety of groups such as aquatic insects, spiders and beetles, gaining the identification, preservation and museum-standard presentation skills which are vital for employment in the sector or further ecological study. Concise scientific writing and the ability to understand relevant literature will be developed through a review of invertebrate sampling methodologies.
Module code: SCI2317
Laboratory Masterclass provides extensive experience and underpinning theory in such fundamental tools as microscopy, microbial techniques and DNA technologies to provide a thorough insight into the use and application of such equipment.
Module code: SCI2319
Language 2 is ideal if you want to learn a new language, or further develop your current language skills, as an integrated part of this degree. You can study French, German, Arabic, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese or Spanish (subject to minimum numbers for your preferred language). Delivered at the Edge Hill Language Centre, the module will be taught in an interactive, communicative manner, using authentic materials in the target language. Emphasis will be placed on all four areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening. You will play an active role in the weekly two-hour classes, engaging in role-plays, short conversations, videos, authentic texts and listening materials. You will also be encouraged to reflect on your own learning needs. On enrolment to the module, you will complete a language induction form and be placed into a language level group appropriate for your prior knowledge of your chosen language. Please note, while we will endeavour to accommodate varying language levels per module, this is not always possible. While you can join the module with some prior experience of your target language, you will not be able to study a language you are already fluent or proficient in.
Module code: TLC2000
Molecular Genetics provides an understanding of several aspects of the regulation of gene expression both in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The module is essential preparation for studying more advanced topics in the fields of genetics and biotechnology. You will explore and acquire practical skills in molecular techniques such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), gene expression monitoring and genome editing by cloning. Basic concepts in bioinformatics will be introduced and you will gain hands-on experience of essential web-based tools and software for handling, analysing and interpreting molecular data.
Module code: SCI2332
Study Abroad Placement
Study Abroad Placement enables you to enhance your employability by spending a period of time studying abroad. The module involves undertaking part of your studies at a partner university in another country, experiencing a different culture and a different education system. It provides an opportunity to improve your language skills, stand out in the professional job market, and open up new opportunities in the competitive international marketplace. You will be asked to describe and reflect upon scientific techniques and investigations undertaken at the partner institution, where the curriculum content studied will be highly relevant to your degree.
Module code: SCI2900
Up-Canopy Biology provides you with the essential knowledge and practical skills to study forest canopies. You will learn practical canopy access skills during a five day intensive Basic Canopy Access Proficiency (BCAP) course. The climbing course will have the option of external certification by Canopy Access Ltd who have over 20 years experience of providing rigging and technical rope training solutions for the wildlife film industry. You will learn how to access the canopy safely and the challenges associated with canopy climbing and sampling. The practical module components will be supported by a number of lectures and assessments that will introduce you to the ecology, physiology and diversity of forest canopies. You will also be introduced to the current and future challenges in the conservation and management of these systems.
Module code: SCI2341
You’ll complete your own investigative research project, with support from our expert academic team. This is your chance to peel back the layers of an area of plant science that fascinates you. Other modules let you explore the evolution of plants and ecological relationships in populations. In Field to Fork, you’ll be able to learn about conservation and vertical farming, and how plants are used in food production systems to make products like alcohol and honey.
Plant Science Research Project provides you with the opportunity to conduct your own research, complete a dissertation and apply the concepts, theories and practical skills acquired throughout your Plant Science degree. A dissertation is widely regarded as the pinnacle of undergraduate academic achievement as it enables you to draw heavily on your subject knowledge and understanding while at the same time putting your skills into practice. You will develop an initial idea of your own into a suitable project, undertake the practical work, summarise and analyse the data appropriately and then place your findings in the wider context of the subject.
Module code: SCI3355
Plants and People
Plants and People provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the importance of plants to human wellbeing in economic and broader cultural settings. The module equips you with knowledge of the importance of plants in terms of human utility and less easily quantified areas such as aesthetic, symbolic and general wellbeing. You will learn about the manipulation of plants through traditional and novel methods and develop a deeper appreciation of their importance to conservation. You will also study practical methods of ex-situ plant conservation, breeding and biotechnology including micropropagation, in addition to developing the ability to analyse data relating to ethnobotany and ecosystem services.
Animal Wildlife and Conservation is a field-based module typically delivered during late spring in an area such as the Canary Isles, or another suitable location. It will provide you with the opportunity for the detailed study of a range of animal diversity. This will include approaches to animal surveying, sampling and understanding of associated conservation issues. With many animals threatened by a combination of introduced species, climate change and human development, animal conservation is a key issue with wide employability potential. You will learn how to utilise and critically evaluate the methods used to survey a range of animals, analyse conservation problems and evaluate potential strategies to overcome them, and analyse and interpret results obtained in field surveys.
Module code: SCI3357
Applications of Biotechnology
Applications of Biotechnology provides you with an advanced understanding of the applications of biotechnology within various industries including food, medicine, environmental management and agriculture. The module will focus on the product development process within these different industries, from research and development, through to large scale production. Relevant legal issues will also be considered.
Module code: SCI3328
Applications of Genetics
Applications of Genetics explores the cutting-edge advances in molecular technologies including gene expression quantification, next generation sequencing and genome editing. You will learn about the latest developments and novel applications in this exciting field through exploring the current primary literature. You will also generate and interpret your own molecular data through a series of practical sessions. The module covers a number of important fields including medicine, disease diagnostics and therapy, population genetics, biotechnology and drug discovery.
Module code: SCI3014
Biodiversity and Conservation
Biodiversity and Conservation is a field-based module providing you with an opportunity for a detailed study of habitats and conservation issues at protected sites. A diverse range of management issues across a range of organisms will be explored across varied habitats. This will be placed in the context of ecological theory, conservation legislation and wider pressures on the landscape.
Module code: SCI3309
Ecological Genetics aligns fieldwork and molecular genetic methods in order to understand the factors influencing genetic variation in populations. You will study speciation, gene flow, reduced population size and the impact of historical events such as glaciation.
Module code: SCI3311
Ecological Interactions equips you with an advanced understanding of the interactions that underpin ecological relationships in populations, communities and ecosystems. You will discover the variety of interactions that occur among animal, plant and fungi species and examine the key theories which underpin them. A combination of lectures, case studies and practical work will demonstrate the importance of these mechanisms to how ecosystems function. You will understand the importance of these interactions to applied contexts such as integrated pest management in agriculture and forestry and to wider society and the concept of sustainability. The module will enable you to rapidly assess the literature to derive evidence from it for supporting scientific hypotheses.
Module code: SCI3325
Field to Fork
Field to Fork provides a detailed analysis of alternative approaches to industrialised food production, based upon scientific, economic and other criteria. The major points along the food chain will be examined. Consideration of alternative approaches to intensive agriculture and mass production of highly processed food provides you with a broader context to the subject as a whole. This will be achieved through working closely with local producers alongside analysis of relevant data.
Module code: SCI3338
Genomics and Bioinformatics
Genomics and Bioinformatics centres on how the combination of sequencing and increased computational power has led to a revolution in the way genetic information is utilised and applied. From a human perspective, the sequencing of entire genomes will allow more precise diagnosis and intimations of risk, with attendant tailored treatments. Beyond humans the complex interplay between genome, epigenetic and life history is starting to be unravelled. This module takes you to the leading edge of the discipline and to the forefront of conservation and medicine.
Module code: SCI3015
Invertebrate Ecology explores the diversity of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, examining their life cycle, basic physiology, importance to ecosystem functioning and the range of services with which they provide society. You will learn quantitative sampling techniques as well as navigation, health and safety assessment and ethical considerations. You will also develop a sound knowledge of taxonomy for a variety of groups such as aquatic insects, spiders and beetles, gaining the identification, preservation and museum-standard presentation skills which are vital for employment in the sector or further ecological study. Scientific writing and data analysis will be developed through the write-up of an experiment as a scientific paper.
Module code: SCI3318
Laboratory Masterclass exposes you to the skills required for working in a research laboratory which includes developing working knowledge of the safe use of laboratory equipment. The module also encompasses health and safety, including legal requirements, and good laboratory practice. It will develop your ability to identify research questions in a field of biology in which you have developed an interest and make a preliminary assessment of that research question.
Module code: SCI3322
Language 3 enables you to build on and develop your previous language knowledge in French, German, Arabic, Italian, Mandarin or Spanish. You must have either studied the prior language module in the previous year or be able to demonstrate equivalent knowledge of your target language (though you will not be able to study a language you are already fluent or proficient in). The language levels available will be determined by the continuation of corresponding groups from the previous language module. You will gain the language skills necessary to become a more proficient user of the language. Classes will be taught in an interactive and communicative manner using authentic materials to promote meaningful communication. They will be conducted in the target language as much as possible. Emphasis will be on speaking and listening, with appropriate attention also being paid to other communication skills. Other work will include a variety of tasks which may be completed in the Language Centre.
Module code: TLC3000
Pharmacology details the development, application and action of drugs on the human system through a combination of practical and theoretical work.
Module code: SCI3321
Visualising Science is a field, laboratory and studio-based module that includes a series of workshops where you will learn to communicate and simplify complex scientific concepts using both traditional and modern techniques. Communication of complex concepts and evidence by scientists to non-specialist audiences is a fundamental need for society. Science communication is a fast-growing industry whose role is to take difficult scientific concepts and present them in a form that can be easily interpreted by non-experts. Jobs in this sector are commonly made up from those with scientific or media training. This module develops skills in the art and science of communicating science through visualisation. Covering three core areas of illustrations, microscope image modification, and film, you will gain skills in image manipulation such as colour tinting, image stacking and 3d modelling. You will also learn drawing techniques, how to use a camera, and gain experience of film editing and presentation. The module will culminate in eight practical sessions in documentary making techniques.
Module code: SCI3356
Wetlands explores the largest terrestrial carbon store, wetlands. The module studies the flora and fauna that have adapted to and formed these environments. You will examine the sensitivity of these environments to climate change and analyse the historic, current and future management strategies required to preserve these ecosystems.
Module code: GEO3077
Where your course includes optional modules, these are to provide an element of choice within the course curriculum. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by timetabling requirements. Some restrictions on optional module choice or combinations of optional modules may apply.
How you'll study
You will study via a combination of lectures, field trips, practical work and tutorials. The programme has a strong practical base and, in addition to the taught sessions, you will be expected to hone your practical skills using the departmental facilities in your own time. The degree involves two periods of residential fieldwork. You will also have the option to participate in a range of other UK-based fieldwork opportunities. Field trips will include visits to relevant sites which may include industry facilities.
Timetables for your first week are normally available at the end of August prior to enrolment in September. You can expect to receive your timetable for the rest of the academic year during your first week. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities.
How you'll be assessed
Assessment is through a mixture of coursework and examinations tailored to suit the knowledge and skills required for each module. A wide range of coursework is employed which may include practical portfolios, voucher specimens, project reports, individual and group presentations.
Who will be teaching you
Edge Hill University has over 30 years’ experience in delivering biology degrees and has a wealth of experienced tutors, technical staff and field and laboratory equipment to support the study of biology. The Biology department is friendly and approachable and of a size that enables us to know our students personally.
You will be taught by research-active experts in plant sciences who take pride in the quality of their teaching and academic studies. The programme team are up-to-date with current developments in their areas of interest and frequently share this knowledge by directly engaging students in their research.
An extensive network of relationships has been established with relevant businesses and other universities in the UK and overseas, ensuring a rich, diverse and rewarding student experience. Visiting speakers assist in the delivery of the programme, often presenting unique or novel aspects of particular subjects.
Typical offer 112-120 UCAS Tariff points, preferably to include Biology or a related subject, such as Chemistry, Environmental Science or Geography, plus GCSE Mathematics at Grade C or Grade 4 or above (or equivalent).
Other subjects will be considered if you have demonstrable interest or experience in plant science.
BTEC Extended Diploma (or combination of BTEC QCF qualifications)
Distinction, Merit, Merit (DMM).
Overall grade of Merit.
International Baccalaureate (IB)
We are happy to accept IB qualifications which achieve the required number of UCAS Tariff points. Subject-specific requirements at Higher Level (HL) Grade 5 may apply.
Access to Higher Education Diploma
45 credits at Level 3, for example 15 credits at Distinction and 30 credits at Merit or 24 credits at Distinction and 21 credits at Merit. The required total can be attained from various credit combinations.
Please note, the above examples may differ from actual offers made. A combination of A Level and BTEC awards may also be accepted.
If you have a minimum of two A Levels (or equivalent), there is no maximum number of qualifications that we will accept UCAS points from. This includes additional qualifications such as Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), AS Levels that haven't been continued to A Level, and General Studies AS or A Level awards.
English language requirements
International students require IELTS 6.0, with a score no lower than 5.5 in each individual component, or an equivalent English language qualification.
If your current level of English is half a band, one band, or one-and-a-half bands lower, either overall or in one or two elements, you may want to consider our Pre-Sessional English course.
Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at www.edgehill.ac.uk/studentterms.
Did you know?
If you join a full time undergraduate degree at Edge Hill University, we will guarantee you the
offer of a room in our halls of residence for the first year of your course.
Our BioSciences building incorporates impressive, modern laboratories, offering exciting and highly relevant practical experience in some of the best equipped facilities in the country. Resources include fluorescence and scanning electron microscopes, DNA extraction and analysis equipment, and climate controlled insectaries.
A number of the best nature reserves in the country are in close proximity to the campus. You will be taught within a short travelling distance of impressive field sites such as one of the finest saltmarsh and dune systems in Europe, restored mires of international importance, hay meadows and limestone woodlands. The University also has extensive grounds including meadows which serve as a useful area for demonstrating sampling techniques.
The University may administer a small inflationary rise in tuition fees, in line with Government policy, in subsequent academic years as you progress through the course.
EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK tuition fee rate.
Subject to eligibility, UK students joining this course can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the Government to cover the full cost of tuition fees. UK students enrolling on the course may also be eligible to apply for additional funding to help with living costs.
Please view the relevant Money Matters guide for comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students.
EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals can ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI).
If you are an EU student who does not have settled or pre-settled status, or are an international student from a non-EU country, please see our international student finance pages.
Your future career
Our students have gone into a variety of careers including plant pathology, vertical farming, research, taxonomy and greenhouse gas production.
Every year, graduates also decide to continue their studies through our award-winning MSc Conservation Management programme, or our Masters in Research degrees. Several of our students now work for the UK Government, research institutes, and private businesses.
Studying plant sciences is particularly topical now due to the increasing global focus on sustainability and environmental conservation. The growing awareness of the importance of plant-based agriculture for feeding a growing world population and addressing food security challenges demonstrates the relevance of plant sciences in finding innovative solutions to enhance crop yields and nutritional value.
Plant scientists are at the forefront of developing genetically modified crops, disease-resistant varieties, and sustainable farming practices, making it a timely and crucial field to address pressing issues in agriculture and ecology.
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, however our courses are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.
Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of professional bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.
Track changes to this course
Additional optional modules - 18 April 2023
SCI2319 (Laboratory Masterclass) 20 credit optional module added to second year, SCI3322 (Laboratory Masterclass) 20 credit optional module added to third year, SCI3321 (Pharmacology) 20 credit optional module added to third year
Number of third year optional modules - 18 April 2023
The number of optional modules required to study in third year has changed from two to three.
Module changed from compulsory to optional - 13 April 2023
SCI3325 (Ecological Interactions) changed from compulsory to optional module.
New Modules Added - 19 May 2022
SCI3356 Visualising Science (20 credits) and SCI3357 Animal Wildlife and Conservation (20 credits) added as optional modules in Year 3.
Withdrawal of Module - 17 January 2022
SCI2342 Introduction to Food Science (20 credits) removed as an optional module in Year 2.