UCC Undergraduate courses

Applied Plant Biology

About This Course

Fact File

Course Outline

Applied Plant Biology (APB) involves using plants to generate new products, such as foods, pharmaceuticals, or biofuels or processes, to solve environmental problems including food security and dwindling natural resources.


Year 1 Modules:

  • Semesters 1 and 2 CM1003 Introductory Chemistry for Environmental Scientists (exam in Semester 2) (10 credits)

Semester 1:

  • BL1002 Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics and Evolution (5 credits)
  • BL1004 Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals (5 credits)
  • GL1001 Introduction to Geology (5 credits)
  • MA1001 Calculus for Science (part 1) (5 credits)
  • PY1009 Physics for the Environmental Sciences I (5 credits)

Semester 2 BL1006 Habitats and Ecosystems (5 credits)

  • EV1002 The Environment (5 credits)
  • GL1004 Geological evolution of Ireland (5 credits)
  • GG1010 Introduction to Physical Geography (5 credits)
  • ER1006 Applied Earth Systems (5 credits

Year 2 Modules:


Introduction to Biostatistics, Plant and Animal Genetics, Fundamentals of Microbiology, Introduction to Plant Biotechnology, Vertebrate Diversity, Invertebrate Diversity, Fundamentals of Ecology, Practical Ecological Skills, Fossils as Living Organisms, Principles of Microbiology, Ecological Plant Physiology, Plant Identification.

Year 3 Modules:


Conservation Biology, Environmental Microbial Genomics: the role and ecology of microbes in the environment, Plant Science Literature Review, Plants in Hostile Environments, Evolution and Diversity, Bioactive Natural Products, Plant Biology Field Course (residential), Plant Science Practical Skills, Biostatistics I.

Year 4 Modules:


Plant Biology Research Project (submission in semester 2), Frontiers in Biology, Research Skills in Biology, Crop Physiology and Climate Change, Biostatistics II, Sustainable Food Production, Genetic Manipulation of Plants, Sustainable Plant Pest and Disease Management.

See the College Calendar for more detailed information on the programme and the Book of Modules for a more detailed description of programme modules.

Course Practicalities

You will take a combination of laboratory, glasshouse and field practicals. Laboratory APB students carry out fieldwork as part of this course.

In Year 2, you will visit various sites in Co Cork.  In Year 3, there is a residential field course to London.  In Year 4, you can go to the Burren in Co Clare.

You will also carry out an independent research project in Year 4, working alongside research groups.

Why Choose This Course

The degree is invaluable and has opened doors for me in academia and industry

William Organ

BSc Applied Plant Biology

Find Out More

Applied Plant Biology involves using living organisms to deal with pollution or pests attacking crops, or to generate new pharmaceuticals or biofuels. Plants are the ideal living organisms to use in biotechnology. They are already the basis of all our food, as well as being important in medicine and the environment.

APB can contribute to a more sustainable future by developing beneficial fungi to protect plants against crop pests; by producing car fuel from renewable sources such as plant oils; by breeding higher yielding or nutrient-rich crops, or by decontaminating land and wastewater.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Many of our students obtain work experience in plant-based companies and research groups in Ireland and abroad during the summer. A work experience module is also available to Year 4 students. There are also opportunities for APB students to study for a year in universities abroad.

Skills and Careers Information

APB graduates have excellent career prospects and have entered a wide range of careers. This diversity reflects the breadth of the course and the emphasis on transferable skills and practical experience.

In some cases, our graduates work directly with plants, as plant breeders or crop protection scientists. The skills our graduates learn during the APB course mean that they are also employed in broader scientific areas such as the rapidly expanding environmental sector, as well as biotechnology, food, pharmaceutical, agricultural support, and health industries.

Other graduates are also employed in scientific research, science management, education, journalism and computing, while several have set up their own companies.


Refer to CK404 / CK402

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website.

Mature Students Requirements

Please refer to the mature student entry requirements for details. 

Fees and Costs

The State will pay the tuition fees for EU students who satisfy the Free Fees Criteria. A separate mandatory annual charge called the ‘Student contribution fee' is payable for the costs of student services and examinations. In 2019/20 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €170.

Non-EU Fees

The Undergraduate Fees Schedule is available here.

How Do I Apply

Refer to CK404 / CK402

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can apply online.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.


**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments. 

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For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact