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:

  • BL1002 Cells, Biomolecules, Genetics & Evolution (5 credits);
  • BL1004 Physiology and Structure of Plants and Animals (5 credits);
  • BL1005 Habitats and Ecosystems (5 credits);
  • CM1003 Introductory Chemistry for Environmental Scientists (10 credits);
  • ER1006 Applied Earth Systems (5 credits);
  • EV1002 The Environment (5 credits);
  • GL1001 Introduction to Geology (5 credits);
  • GL1004 Geological Evolution of Ireland (5 credits);
  • GG1010 Introduction to Physical Geography (5 credits);
  • MA1001 Calculus for Science Part 1 (5 credits);
  • PY1009 Physics for the Environmental Sciences I (5 credits)

Year 2 Modules:

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

Year 3 Modules:


Plant Biology Literature Review;  Plant Biology Field Course (residential);  Conservation Biology;  Plants in Hostile Environments;  Evolution and Diversity;  Bioactive Natural Products; Biostatistics I;


Adaptation to Extreme Environments;  Animal Behaviour;  Introduction to Ecotoxicology;   Environmental Microbial Genomics;  Environmental Systems Microbiology; Micropalaeontology and Palynology

Year 4 Modules:


Plant Biology Research Project;  Frontiers in Biology;  Research Skills in Biology;  Crop Physiology and Climate Change;  Food Production;  Genetic Manipulation of Plants;  The Environmentally Protective Management of Plant Pests and Pathogens;  Biostatistics II


Advanced Ecotoxicology;  Landscape Conservation and Management (Burren residential field course);  Biological Work Placement;  Biology and Management of Alien Species.

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 students who satisfy the Free Fees Criteria. In 2017/18 the Student Contribution Charge was €3,000 and the Capitation Fee was €165. Full-time EU/EEA/Swiss State undergraduate students may be exempt from paying tuition fees.

Non-EU Fees

The 2017/2018 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.