Genetic and Molecular Plant Science - Master's Programme in Biology 2019/2020

Photo for Genetic and Molecular Plant Science - Master's Programme in Biology 2019/2020

The growth of plants, their development and interaction with surrounding environment and other organisms are studied in this specialisation. Applications are found within research, plant breeding, genetic engineering and biotechnology. The specialisation in Genetic and Molecular Plant Science is a collaboration between three universities making us able to offer an explicit orientation towards research where each educational institution contributes with its strong profile.

Why this programme?

This specialisation in Genetic and Molecular Plant Science, within the Master's Programme in Biology, is a first-class education that gives you the freedom to create your own. It is offered jointly by Uppsala University, The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Stockholm University.

Together we offer a broad range of courses (both in class and individual) making it possible for you to improve your personal competitiveness. The required subject depth and complementary knowledge within your education will open up the job market for you.

During the programme you can expect to:

  • create your own profile to improve your personal competitiveness
  • gain knowledge for plant breeding, biotechnology or conservation issues
  • excellent basis for continued research
The goal of this specialisation is to reach an understanding of patterns and processes in living plants; genetics and genomics, growth, development and plant interaction with the environment - knowledge that can be used in plant breeding, biotechnology or conservation issues. Knowledge about plants and their interactions are fundamental in the work towards a sustainable development. The programme also provides an excellent basis for continued research.

All teachers for the Master's Programme in Biology, specialising in Genetic and Molecular Plant Science, are active scientists, ensuring that you get an education that reaches the absolute forefront of the respective field.

Student profile
You have a broad interest in biology or a more narrowly focused interest in a specific sub-area. Either way, you are willing to take a lot of responsibility to form your own educational experience from the very wide range of biology courses offered at Uppsala University.

Ideally, during your Bachelor's degree, you had the opportunity to work in a laboratory and do some field work as well as use statistics to analyse data from your work. Writing lab reports and shorter essays is something you already have experienced doing.

A PhD education is a distinct possibility in your future so you would value coming in close contact with current research and prominent researchers in this international field.

Related programmes
NABiS - Nordic Master in Biodiversity and Systematics


The programme leads to a Master of Science (120 credits) with Biology as the main field of study.

All specialisations of this programme


The first course for the Master's Programme in Biology, specialising in Genetic and Molecular Plant Science, is Plant Growth and Development. It has a focus on the mechanisms at molecular, cell and organismal level controlling different phases of plant development. Plant growth and development are genetically programmed but to a large extent also controlled by external signals - an example is the many plant species that do not flower until they have been exposed to a period of low temperature. In addition to studying hormones and genetic functions, we also study how factors such as light and temperature affect the development of plants.

The next course, Genetic diversity and Plant breeding, is given by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and will cover genetic diversity and selection, traditional and molecular plant breeding methods, comparative genetics, biotechnology issues, and bioinformatics tools within the plant breeding area.

The spring semester will start with the course Plant-Microbe Interactions (Stockholm University), focusing on the interaction among plants and their environment, for example, symbiosis and effects on plants attacked by insects and microorganisms. Within this course there is also a five-week project work.

During the last period of the first year, we recommend the course Functional Genomics. It provides in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge of the large-scale and technology-driven strategies currently applied within the field of molecular biology.
During the second year, you can study one or two regular courses, or combine a research training course with a degree project of 30 or 45 credits. This allows you to prepare well for an academic career as well as a career outside academia.

Courses within the programme

See the outline for courses within the programme.

Learning experience

Biology instruction at Uppsala University is done in close connection to current research. All teachers for the individual courses in the Master's Programme in Biology are active scientists, ensuring that you will get an education that reaches to the absolute forefront of the respective field.

The courses provide factual knowledge and practical training in the form of laboratory work and field trips, as well as the ability to solve problems, think analytically and work scientifically. Communication training is integrated in all courses of the programme.

The Master's Programme in Biology has a strong international character, and all courses are held in English.


This specialisation will give you knowledge and skills for a career as researcher, teacher or a qualified investigator within higher education and research, governmental agencies or private companies with a profile towards plant breeding, biotechnology or pharmacognosy. During the second year studying the courses of your own choice, together with the thesis project, gives you the possibility to develop your competence for a future career within inside or outside academia.

Our graduates work at, for example, University of Pennsylvania, Singapore Botanical Garden and National Institute of Horticulture (Angers, France). Job titles include PhD student, curator and consultant.

Studying this specialisation will prepare you for further PhD studies and research in plant biology and related biological sciences, and for qualified assignments within private companies or governmental agencies and other organisations. You will automatically get a network of contacts within the three universities and through your teachers you can gain contacts within the international research community.

Career support
When you are about to finish your studies and want to start planning for your next step in life, you are welcome to UU Careers for support and guidance. You are also welcome to a variety of career activities and events all through your stay at Uppsala University. Of course, the services are free of charge. Learn more about UU career support.


Genetic and Molecular Plant Science

120 credits

Autumn 2019 - 100 % - Campus

Location: Uppsala

Application Deadline: 2019-01-15

Enrolment Code: UU-M1136 Application

Language of Instruction: English

Academic requirements
A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university.
Also required is:

  • 40 weeks of full-time studies (60 credits) in biology; and
  • 20 weeks of full-time studies (30 credits) in chemistry.
Language requirements
All applicants need to verify English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies.
The minimum test scores are:
  • IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
  • TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
  • Cambridge: CAE, CPE
More information about English language requirements

Selection: Students are selected based on:

  • a total appraisal of quantity and quality of previous university studies; and
  • a statement of purpose (1 page).


If you are not a citizen of a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland, you are required to pay application and tuition fees. Fees cover application and tuition only and do not cover accommodation, academic literature or the general cost of living. Read more about fees.

Application Fee: SEK 900

Tuition fee, first semester: SEK 72500

Tuition fee, total: SEK 290000

Contact and further resources

Biology Education Centre

EBC, Norbyvägen 14 / BMC A8:1

Norbyvägen 14, 752 36 UPPSALA/Box 592, 751 24 UPPSALA

Fax: 018-471 4689 Fax: 018-471 4687


For programme-specific information, please contact: Brita Svensson or Fredrik Sundström

Telephone: +46 18 471 28 79 (Brita) / +46 18 471 48 35 (Fredrik)

For admissions-related or general information, please contact our applicant support team: