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Department of Plant Sciences


Within the Cambridge Natural Sciences Tripos we contribute across all years, providing traditional lectures, interactive and highly regarded practicals, small group supervisions and a variety of more informal seminars.

  • In the first year (Part IA) we contribute to Biology of Cells, Evolution & Behaviour, Mathematical Biology and Physiology of Organisms.
  • In the second year (Part IB) we teach in Cell and Developmental Biology, Ecology and our dedicated course in Plant & Microbial Sciences.
  • In the third year (Part II) we offer a variety of modules within the Plant Sciences and Zoology courses, focussing on plant processes at a range of levels. We usually have in the order of 25 students taking our final year Plant Sciences course, the largest number of graduating botanists in any UK university.
  • We also teach specialist options in interdisciplinary  courses, such as Synthetic Biology, and Masters in Bioscience Enterprise. Our approach is to provide an underpinning knowledge of plant biology, referencing our core strategic aims in the process.

Undergraduate teachingThe aim is to encourage our students to develop the key skill sets and knowledge base needed to make substantial contributions to the conservation and sustainable exploitation of the planet in decades to come.

A review of Learning and Teaching in the Department acknowledged the excellence, enthusiasm and commitment of staff, and commended the learning support given to students. It also commented positively on the steps we have taken to introduce new teaching initiatives and to develop different approaches to facilitate the student learning experience.

Almost half of our graduating students go on to do postgraduate research, at  Cambridge, or elsewhere. The fact that a significant proportion of these go on  to departments of Biochemistry or to Research Institutes, emphasises the breadth and depth of the training we give. The remainder of our students find posts in agriculture, conservation, teaching, management, publishing, and industry.