UCC Undergraduate courses

Applied Plant Biology

About This Course

Fact File

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.


Year 1 Modules:

Refer to CK402 and CK404 for more details.

Year 2 Modules:


  • AE2001 – Fundamentals of Ecology
  • AE2007 – Ecological Fieldwork & Analysis
  • BL2001 – Plant and Animal Genetics
  • GS2002- The Evolving Earth
  • MB2905 – Fundamentals of Microbiology
  • MB2906 – Principles of Microbiology
  • PS2001 – Introduction to Plant Biotechnology
  • PS2002 – Ecological Plant Physiology
  • PS2003 – Plant Identification

Year 3 Modules:


  • BL3002 – Evolution and Diversity
  • BL3003 – Conservation Biology
  • MB3005 – The Role and Ecology of Microbes in the Environment
  • PS3003 – Plant Biology Literature Review
  • PS3008 – Plants in Hostile Environments
  • PS3020 – Plant Biology Field Course (residential)
  • PS3021 – Plant Science Practical Skills
  • ST3001 – Biostatistics I
  • BL3004 – Research Skills in Biology or PS3019 Bioactive Natural Products*

*BL3004 and PS3019 offered in alternate years in 3rd & 4th year


  • FE3018 – Agriculture and Natural Resource Use in the Developing World
  • GL3028 - Micropaleontology and Palynology
  • ZY3020 – Animal Behaviour

Year 4 Modules:


  • BL3004 – Research Skills in Biology*
  • BL4001 – Plant Biology Research Project
  • BL4004 – Frontiers in Biology
  • BL4006 – Food Production
  • PS3019 – Bioactive Natural Products*
  • PS4006 – Genetic Manipulation of Plants
  • PS4021 – The Environmentally Protective Management of Plant Pests and Pathogens
  • PS4024 – Crop Physiology and Climate Change
  • ST4001 – Biostatistics II

*BL3004 and PS3019 are offered in alternate years in 3rd and 4th Year. BL3004 or PS3019 cannot be taken in the fourth year if previously taken in third year.


  • AE4012 – Burren Field Course (residential)
  • AE4016 – Advanced Ecology and Biogeography
  • BL4003 – Biological Work Placement
  • EV4012 – Environmental Impact Assessments
  • ZY4021 – Evolutionary Ecology.

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.

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.

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.

Find Out More!

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

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 Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such appicants 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

Course fees include a tuition fee, student contribution fee and capitation fee. 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. In 2022/23 the Student Contribution Fee will be €3,000 and the Capitation Fee will be €138.

Please see Fees Office for more information.

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

For International Fees see our Fees Schedule page.

How Do I Apply

Refer to CK404 / CK402

EU Applicants

The Central Applications Office (CAO) processes applications for undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education Institutions. Refer to the CAO page for further information.

Mature Applicants (age 23 or over)

All interested mature applicants must make an application through the Central Applications Office (CAO). See the CAO Mature Applicants and the Mature Students Admissions Pathway (MSAP) pages. Visit our Mature Student Entry page for more information.


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

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information.

All Applicants

Please note that the modules listed are indicative of the current set of modules for this course and are subject to change from year to year. Check the College Calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

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

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact