Plant Science

Module summary

Module code: BOTA1016
Level: 5
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): Marcin Glowacz



The study of plant science provides a fundamental understanding of the processes by which plants grow and develop and how they are challenged both biotically and abiotically. This module will specifically focus on providing knowledge of the workings of these processes and how plants cope with their changing environment and the implications for crops and food production. Relevance will be given to crop plants and processes which facilitate the means by which food production can be increased.

The module aims to:
• Present an understanding of the processes which have enabled plants to adapt to their environment and how evolution and plant breeding have led to the crops we have today.
• Describe the important fundamentals of plant growth and development in relation to plant and crop production.
• Provide knowledge of the fundamental physiological processes which govern plant function, crop growth and development.
• Develop an understanding of the principles of plant and pathogen interactions.
• Provide an understanding of the ways plant processes are influenced by the environment, the importance of environmental stress and the implications for crop productivity.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:
1 Show an ability to recognise the basic botanical events which relate to plant and crop growth, development and reproduction.
2 Identify key elements of the fundamental biological processes which drive plant growth and development.
3 Understand the basis of the interactions between plant growth, crop production and the interactions with plant pathogens and disease management.
4 Recognise and appraise the impacts of the environment on plant growth and crop production.
5 Understand the key elements and complexity of the process which define current crop production challenges, with respect to yield and crop quality.

Indicative content

• Exposure to the basic relationships which exist between plant form and function.
• Explanation of the basic physiological processes of plant growth and development.
• Focus on the impacts that the environment and climate have on plant survival and growth.
• The importance of plant pathogens interactions in crop production.
• Why plant science is critical in finding solutions which increase crop production.

Teaching and learning activity

Material will be delivered through a series of lectures and practical session(s) designed around students acquiring basic quantitative and observational skills working with plants in the laboratory. Students will acquire fundamental skills in the study of plant physiology and pathology. Progress will be informally assessed during and at the end of each session to monitor students’ understanding of the subject. A written report will be required for the practical session in the laboratory. Lectures and practical classes will be supplemented by group tutorial discussions and revision session in the end of the term. During the module, students will be given the opportunity to practice their scientific writing and presentation skills.


Report: 50% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Word Length: 1500 words.
Learning Outcomes: 1 - 5.
Outline Details: Report covering activities from the lab practical session and tutorials. This will assess students’ understanding of the fundamentals of plant science and their scientific writing skills.

Exam: 50% weighting, 40% pass mark.
Duration: 1.5 hours unseen exam.
Learning Outcomes: 1 - 5.

Formative Assessment: Students will have an opportunity to give a short 10 mins presentation covering any aspect of plant science followed by Q&A from their peers and tutor(s). The feedback will be given on the presentation and style (presentation skills are crucial for their career prospects), on their understanding of the content, evidence of reading/researching the literature, and how they deal with the questions being asked.