Plant Science (MSc, PhD)

The Plant Science Program offers degrees in fundamental and applied topics related to plant production, plant protection, biotechnology, plant physiology and biochemistry, and plant-environment interactions.

Specific areas of specialization include:

  • Plant-microbe interaction, bacterial and fungal diseases, plant virology, biological control of pests and diseases, insect physiology, natural insecticides, insect ecology and behaviour, and weed biology, ecology and control;
  • Seed physiology, plant nutrition, plant growth analysis, plant-plant interaction, biotic and abiotic stressor resistance, and environmental plant physiology;
  • Vegetable culture, ornamental horticulture, plant breeding, and post-harvest physiology;
  • Plant biochemistry, tissue culture, genetic engineering, and plant, fungal, and viral molecular genetics;
  • Rangeland ecology, and wildlife habitat studies.

Applicants to UBC Graduate programs should have academic backgrounds within the minimum academic requirements listed by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.


The M.Sc. program requirements are as follows:

  • completion of the M.Sc. program requires a thesis (12 or 18 credits) plus coursework, for a total of 30 credits
  • with a 12-credit thesis, students can include a maximum of 6 credits of senior undergraduate courses
  • with an 18-credit thesis, students can include a maximum of 3 credits of senior undergraduate courses and a maximum of 3 credits of directed study

The Ph.D. program requirements are as follows:

  • Appropriate coursework will be selected in consultation with the candidate's committee.
  • All candidates are required to take a comprehensive examination.
  • The major requirement for the Ph.D. is completion of a research thesis demonstrating ability to conduct significant and original scientific research.

Photo Name Title Research Interests
simone castellarin Simone Castellarin Assistant Professor Physiological and molecular aspects that underlay fruit ripening and the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, and how they are modulated by the environment and viticultural practices.

Brian Ellis

NOT accepting students

Professor Plant biotechnology, plant signal transduction, enzymology and metabolism
Dean Murray Isman | UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems Murray Isman Professor Botanical pesticides, pesticide toxicology, Insect antifeedants, insect behaviour and memory
Eduardo Jovel Associate Professor Ethnobotany, mycology, natural product chemistry and Aboriginal health
James Kronstad Professor Fungal pathogenesis, signal transduction, cereal diseases, sporulation, morphogenesis, molecular genetics
Andrew Riseman Associate Professor Ornamental plant breeding, plant tissue culture technologies, biotic and abiotic stress resistance

Mahesh Upadhyaya

NOT accepting students

Professor Weed ecophysiology, effects of environmental stresses, seed dormancy and germination
Juli Carrillo Assistant Professor Plant-Insect Ecology & Evolution Lab

The Program is enriched through collaboration with colleagues in UBC Graduate Programs such as Food Science, Soil Science, Botany, Zoology; facilities such as the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research, and in agencies such as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Land.

Graduates of our program have pursued academic positions at universities or colleges, consulting, or careers in the rapidly expanding biotechnology and greenhouse industries. Others have obtained research or management positions with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Land.