University of Sydney Handbooks - 2018 Archive

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Plant Science

Plant Science is an interdisciplinary minor offered by the School of Life and Environmental Sciences in the Faculty of Science. Units of study in this minor are available at standard and advanced level.

About the minor

Plants are essential to the existence of humans and other animals on our planet. They are the source of many of the things we depend on - the oxygen we breathe, food we eat, fibre for clothing and shelter and chemicals for pharmaceuticals and industry. Plants are a fundamental part of all ecosystems, helping to provide clean water, healthy soils and habitat for wildlife. Studying plant sciences helps us understand how plants survive in their environment and provide these benefits for us.

Plant Science includes fundamental biology, plant biochemistry, plant physiology and development, genetics, ecology, mycology, crop production and protection, and environmental and food chemistry. In addition there are related topics such as soil science, postharvest technology, agronomy and cellular biology in associated teaching programs offered by the Faculty of Science, food and natural resources.

Requirements for completion

A minor in Plant Science requires 36 credit points, consisting of:

(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 6 credit points of 3000-level core units
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level selective units

Pathway through the minor

The requirements for a minor in Plant Science are spread out over three years of the degree (possibly four years if students are completing a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degree).

A sample pathway for the Plant Science minor (over three years of a degree) is listed below.

Sample pathway: Plant Science minor (36 credit points)



Units of study


Semester 1

Core: BIOL1XX6 Life and Evolution

Semester 2

Core: BIOL1XX7 From Molecules to Ecosystems


Semester 1

Core: BIOL2X30 Botany

Semester 2

Core: BIOL2X31 Plants and Environment


Semester 1

Core: BIOL3020 Applied Plant Function

Semester 1 or 2

Selective: 3000-level units listed for major


Please Note. This sample progression is meant as an example only. Depending on unit prerequisites, students may be able to complete these units in a different sequence from that displayed in the table above.

For details of the core and selective units of study required for the minor please refer to the Plant Science section of the unit of study table, Table S, in this handbook.

Contact and further information


T +61 02 9351 4262

School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Level 5, Carslaw Building F07
University of Sydney NSW 2006

Associate Professor Brent Kaiser
T +61 2 9351 1831
Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Plant Science will be able to:

  1. Understand and appreciate plant diversity through taxonomy, anatomy and function
  2. Describe, explain and have an integrated understanding of genes, cells, tissues, organisms to systems of plants
  3. Understand the anatomical characteristics and physiological processes which together regulate plant growth, development and reproduction
  4. Describe the energy management processes which drive plant growth and plant biodiversity
  5. Understand how photosynthetic organisms contribute to a healthy planet
  6. Understand the involvement and interaction plants have with soil and soil microbes
  7. Apply genetic and biotechnologies to advance the genetic composition of plants applications
  8. Use current technologies to investigate plant growth and function
  9. Develop a perspectives on plant global issues, resource securities and sustainability,
  10. Understand the impact of climate change on plant growth and productivity
  11. Formulate effective policy to ensure continued plant biodiversity and plant production