Plant Science


In the plant science major, you will study the fundamental biochemistry and physiology of plants, a resource that is essential to the existence of humans and other animals on our planet.

Plants are a fundamental part of all ecosystems, and the source of many things we depend on - the oxygen we breathe, food we eat, fibre for clothing and shelter, and chemicals for pharmaceuticals and industry. They help to provide clean water, healthy soils and habitat for wildlife.

Studying plant sciences will help you understand how plants survive in their environment and provide these benefits for us. You will learn about fundamental biology, plant biochemistry, plant physiology and development, genetics, ecology, mycology, crop production and protection, and environmental and food chemistry.

For more information on the program structure and content, view the Science Undergraduate Handbook.

Major outline

Essential: 6 credit points of Junior BIOL or MBLG1001/1901 and 6 credit points of Junior Chemistry.

Please read the Intermediate Study Guide.

For a major in Plant Science, the minimum requirement is 24 credit points from senior units of study listed in this subject area, which must include BIOL3043/3943, two additional senior BIOL units, and one of PPAT3003, PPAT4004 or HORT3005.

Cell Biology Advanced Botany Ecology and Conservation Production Horticulture Genetics and Genomics Biology Experimental Design & Analysis

Graduate opportunities

The careers available to students with a plant sciences major are plentiful. Much of the Australian economy and the economies of our regional neighbours depends on agricultural and plant breeding industries. Plant scientists may find themselves working with farmers as consultants, managing properties or working in laboratories to develop more robust crops. They also work on crop modelling and climate change.

You might find yourself as a plant physiologist investigating the mechanisms of plant growth, or as a plant geneticist, studying the action of plant genes and breeding new varieties of crop and ornamental plants. You might become an ecologist examining the dynamics of diverse populations of plants, or a taxonomist, tracing the evolution of plants. In a career as an agricultural or horticultural scientist, you could work to develop better and sustainable ways to manage plants for production of food, pastures and ornamental purposes.

Further study for major

If you are interested in furthering your specialisation in plant sciences, you may wish to undertake an honours year, or a postgraduate coursework or research program, subject to admission requirements.

Opportunities for honours and postgraduate research are available for eligible students in a variety of plant science fields including plant molecular biology, plant and ecosystem function, plant developmental genetics, plant breeding, plant pathology and more.

If you are interested in a more structured program of study, there are coursework programs available to you through the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, in plant related areas such as the Master of Agriculture, the Master of Science in Environmental Science and the Master of Sustainability.

Related subject areas

Agricultural chemistry
Soil science

Our courses that offer this major