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Taught postgraduate

PgC / PgD / MSc / MRes Plant Pathology

Key information

Year of entry


1 year full-time
2 to 3 years part-time

Start date: September 2023


Final award: MSc
Intermediate awards: PgC, PgD

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Course description

The course

Harper Adams is the UK’s only provider of a postgraduate course in plant pathology. There is currently a shortage of expertise in this important topic, which is a key element in the effort to ensure global food security and mitigating the effects of climate change. By successfully completing this course you will develop a range of abilities that will prepare for an interesting and fulfilling career in an area with considerable opportunities.

Although food production has tripled in the last 40 years, approximately 1 billion people still go hungry, with an average of 30 per cent of all available food being wasted during production, processing and distribution. Crop losses through plant disease either pre- or post-harvest are an important component of these losses.

The aim of the course is to provide students with specialized training in plant pathology.

The course will:

  • prepare students for a career in plant pathology
  • offer vocational training in the area of applied plant pathology
  • prepare students for PhD studies 

The course is intended to provide a detailed understanding of basic and applied plant pathology and the issues associated with current production systems and control strategies. The course is underpinned by an extensive programme of agri-environment research at Harper Adams and longstanding collaborations with research institutes and other organisations in the UK and overseas.

How will it benefit me?

Having completed the taught part of MSc you will be able to identify pathogens using both traditional methods and molecular techniques.  The course will focus on producing integrated management solutions that meet the requirements of sustainable crop production. Students also learn how to disseminate issues and ideas relating to plant disease control to a range of audiences using various methods of communication.

The research project for the MSc will allow you to test hypotheses relevant to pure and applied plant pathology research by designing, carrying out, analysing and interpreting experiments. You will also learn to evaluate and interpret data and draw relevant conclusions from existing plant pathology studies.

The MSc covers a broad range of topics in plant pathology and all students receive training in fundamental skills which will enable them to enter a plant pathology work environment within either a commercial company, research institute or academia.


The full-time and two year part-time courses are eligible for a postgraduate loan.



The British Society for Plant Pathology are offering five MSc/MRes bursaries of £4000 on a competitive basis for students completing a Plant Pathology course. Find out more here.  There is also a £4000 bursary available to a MSc student to complete a Research Project on cereal seed treatments with Bayer Crop Protection UK Ltd.  Expressions of interest to Prof Simon Edwards ( ).

Block-based study

Modules are delivered in one week (and in a select few modules two week) blocks on campus. You will know in advance which weeks require physical attendance as they’ll be scheduled on the timetable. In addition to this, you will be required to allocate time for self-study to complete the assignments associated with each of the modules. Some modules may also include research and/or exam elements, these are also highlighted on the timetable.

Industry, policy makers and scientists all recognise that plant pathology is essential in addressing the issue of food security and in mitigating the effects of climate change.

British Society of Plant Pathology

Entry requirements for 2023

A UK honours degree (minimum 2:2) or equivalent overseas qualification. A good FdSc/HND pass in a relevant subject area plus at least two years' relevant industrial or professional experience.

Previous experience, referees' reports and interviews will be used to determine the suitability of candidates for particular programmes.

What will I study?

Optional modules are indicative and may be subject to change.


Students holding an MSc in Plant Pathology can find employment in a variety of organisations including agricultural, horticultural and forestry research institutions, universities, commercial organisations within the agrochemical sector, and advisory and consultancy roles in the private sector. Some graduates will go on to do postgraduate research.

98% Employability

Harper Adams University has the best and most consistent long-term graduate employment performance in specialist agri-food higher education

(HESA 2017)


For course related enquiries please contact:

No. 1

In the UK for graduate employment
(Graduate Outcomes 2020)


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