Skip to main content

UCC Undergraduate courses

Applied Plant Biology

Course Fact File
Duration4 Years
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsBSc (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8
FeesSee Fees and Costs for full details.

Course Outline

Applied Plant Biology (APB) addresses important environmental issues including climate change, biodiversity decline, dwindling natural resources and food insecurity. It also involves using plants to generate new products, such as foods, pharmaceuticals, or biofuels.

You enter Applied Plant Biology from the Biological and Chemical Sciences (CK402) or Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (CK404).


Year 1 

Refer to Biological and Chemical Sciences (CK402) and Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (CK404) for more details on Year 1 module options.

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue (Applied Plant Biology) for the complete and up-to-date content including current core and elective module options for Years 23 and 4.  Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year to year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

You will take a combination of laboratory, glasshouse, and field practicals.

In Year 2, you will visit various sites in Co Cork. In Year 3, there is a residential field course in 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 in the laboratory or the field.


Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May.  Not all modules will have formal examinations.  Many modules use other types of assessment including continuous assessment which involves essays, assessed practical exercises, field reports, multiple-choice questionnaires, assessed presentations and project work. In Year 4, you will undertake a six-month research project. The range of assessments provides a broad skills base of relevance to future employment.

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 (APB) involves using living organisms to deal with environmental problems and food security, or to generate new products such as pharmaceuticals or biofuels. Plants form the basis of all food systems and are the ideal living organisms to use in biotechnology.

APB can contribute to a more sustainable future, e.g. by developing more sustainable agriculture and forestry systems that capture carbon from the atmosphere, 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, for example as part of the work experience module available to Year 4 students. In Year 3 of the APB degree, Study Abroad opportunities through Erasmus, allow students to spend a semester or full academic year at universities in other EU countries or beyond.

Skills and Careers Information

Our 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 or CK402.

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such applicants 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 visit our qualification comparison page and refer to our International Office page for more information.

Fees and Costs

  • Whether you are an EU or Non-EU student will affect the course fees applicable to you. See more information on EU Fees, Non-EU Fees, or Free Fees Status.
  • The State will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student contribution and capitation fees are payable by the student.
  • See the Fee Schedule to find out the course fee.
  • Check out scholarships that may be available to you.
  • Explore our Nurturing Bright Futures free online course (Module 5) to learn about managing your money as a student and budgeting for university life.

Students will be expected to pay for some small laboratory items such as lab coats and contribute towards the cost of field trips.

How To Apply

Refer to CK404 or CK402.

Irish and European (EU/EFTA/UK) Applicants

Apply via the CAO. See the CAO Handbook for useful information on applying through the CAO. 

Mature Applicants 

Apply via the CAO by 1 February. To apply for a place as a mature student, you must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the year of entry.

QQI/FET Applicants 

Apply via the CAOSee our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Further Education and Training (FET) application process. 

Non-EU Applicants 

If you are from outside the EU/EFTA/UK, apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact