PLANT SCIENCE (MSc, PhD)
If you’re committed to furthering the development of sustainable managed agroecosystems, UBC’s graduate programs in Plant Science are where you want to be. This is where you can go deep in the area of plant biology, advancing your studies and conducting applied research in plant production, protection, biotechnology, physiology and biochemistry, as well as in plant-environment interaction. We place high value on an interdisciplinary approach, so you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty in other graduate programs as you examine solutions to some of today’s most challenging problems.
PhD: Plant Science – Doctor of Philosophy – Postgraduate / Graduate Degree Program – UBC Grad School
MSc: Plant Science – Master of Science – Postgraduate / Graduate Degree Program – UBC Grad School
What you need to know
Our Plant Science graduate program places your scholarly advancement squarely in your own hands: in consultation with your research supervisor, you will tailor your studies to your particular professional goals and research interests. The collaboration doesn’t end there, though. You have the opportunity — and are encouraged — to develop your research program through an interdisciplinary approach involving other departments and faculty on campus, broadening your knowledge in a way that’s reflected in real-world systems. Another plus? You’re studying in British Columbia, where the diversity of plant agriculture gives you an enormous range of cropping systems to choose from that are most suitable for your thesis research.
UBC offers excellent facilities for your thesis research right here on the UBC campus, in the MacMillan Building, the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm, Totem Field Laboratory, the UBC Wine Research Centre, the Michael Smith Laboratories and the Horticulture Glasshouse. Some Plant Science graduate students also work with our adjunct professors, many of whom are spread throughout the province of British Columbia.
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 and Postdoctoral Studies.
The MSc program requirements are as follows:
- Completion of the MSc 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 PhD 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 PhD is completion of a research thesis demonstrating the ability to conduct significant and original scientific research.
Dr. Rishi R. Burlakoti
Adjunct Professor, Research Scientist-Plant Pathology
Pathogen characterization, understanding pathogen biology, disease epidemiology, and host-pathogen interaction.
Dr. Thomas Forge
Research Scientist, Applied Soil Ecology
Examine how soil and water management practices affect the proliferation of soil-borne pests, especially plant-parasitic nematodes, in relation to root growth and other indicators of soil health.
Dr. Paul Abram
Research Scientist, Biological Control of Insect Pests
Biology, behaviour, and ecology of beneficial insects (particularly insect parasitoids) that help manage insect crop pests.
Dr. David A. Theilmann
Research Scientist and Adjunct Professor, Summerland Research and Development Centre
Insect virology with a primary interest in baculoviruses, investigations into the molecular basis of baculovirus pathogenesis, host range and virulence.
Dr. Thorsten Knipfer
Assistant Professor, Plant Physiology, Applied Biology
My research involves investigating how plants can thrive in water-stressed environments. I explore plant physiology, evaluate how plants react in response to water stress by drought and waterlogging, and identify crop genotype-specific thresholds for improved water management in agriculture.
Dr. Risa Sargent
Associate Professor, Applied Biology
Changes to plant communities, through processes such as land use (including agriculture), climate change and species invasions impact plant fitness and crop production.
Dr. Gurcharn Singh Brar
Assistant Professor, Plant Science
Crop Pathology & Genetics (particularly wheat and barley). Pre-breeding, Genetics of Disease Resistance, Genetics of other Economical Traits in Crop Plants.
Dr. Andrew Riseman
Associate Professor, Applied Biology and Plant Breeding
Ornamental plant breeding, plant tissue culture technologies, biotic and abiotic stress resistance.
Dr. Eduardo Jovel
Ethnobotany, mycology, natural product chemistry and Aboriginal health.
Dr. Simone Castellarin
Associate Director, Wine Research Centre
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.
Dr. Juli Carrillo
Plant-Insect Ecology & Evolution Lab
CollaborationsThe program is enriched through collaboration with colleagues in other UBC graduate programs such as Food Science, Soil Science, Botany and Zoology; in facilities such as the UBC Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research; and with agencies such as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Land.
Where Can a Graduate Degree in Plant Science Take You?Graduates of the Plant Science MSc and PhD programs have developed the following careers:
- at universities or colleges;
- in consulting; and
- in the rapidly expanding biotechnology and greenhouse industries.
- Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; and
- the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Land.