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Part II Plant Sciences

Introduction: Integration of Plant and Microbial Sciences at Part II


 We believe the study of plants to be the fundamental life science. Our existence depends on plants converting solar energy into usable biochemical energy via photosynthesis, and plant processes are the basis to our food requirements. For your generation, and in your lifetime, plants will become the focus of key global issues: how to feed an additional 2-3 billion mouths, drive forward an economy currently trading on past sunlight, and maintain biodiversity in the face of climate change. The Plant Sciences Part II Course helps you to make a balanced judgement of these issues, from the marriage of conventional crop breeding to transgenic methodologies, to the sustainable development of bioenergy crops and their processing and likely direct and indirect effects on carbon emissions and sequestration by plants.

Molecular to Ecological

The course reflects the need for you to understand how plants work across cell and molecular levels, and how physiological responses scale to population and community dynamics. The modular nature of the course means that you can specialise for an entirely molecular Plant Sciences degree, an entirely ecological Plant Sciences degree, or a degree with a significant microbiology component- whatever suits your interests!


We are the integrated evolutionary relics of microbial metabolism, which evolved to cope with some environmental crisis in the archaean, or more recent era. Equally, Microbes are integrated throughout our Part II course, whether used in designing a new molecular motor in Synthetic Biology, as models of cellular development, for tracing the endosymbiotic origins of metabolism and organelles in eukaryotes, or learning how phytoplankton and bacteria can help to generate sources of second and third generation biofuels.

Supporting the Transition

We care, and offer enrichment sessions to help you make the transition to Part II learning. Whether digesting the literature, writing up practical work or improving essay style, we add value to your learning and help you to realise your potential.


There has never been a more exciting time to study Plant Sciences, not least as we are faced with the challenges of conservation and exploitation of plant and microbial life to feed and fuel a burgeoning population. We hope that you will join us.


This site will tell you most of what you'll need to know about the course structure but please do contact the module co-ordinators or any of the teaching staff involved if you'd like more information. Appointments with staff can be made in the Easter Term if you want to discuss in more detail what is best for you.

Online resources are provided through the Moodle Site. You will automatically be subscribed to this site as part of the NST IA subject choice procedures but if you join the course after the start of term, send an email to requesting that you are added to the course. You will need to use your Raven ID and password to log onto Moodle, which you will also be able to access during the vacation.

Course organiser

Julia Davies