Taught course

Sustainable Plant Health

University of Edinburgh · School of Geosciences

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement is a UK 2:1 degree in a relevant background, or its international equivalent (see www.ed.ac.uk/international/country for international entry requirements). Language requirements: IELTS 7.0 (with no score lower than 6.0 in each section); TOEFL-iBT: Total 100 (with no score lower than 20 in each section). A degree from an English speaking university may be accepted in some circumstances. More information about other qualifications we accept is online: http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/international/english

Months of entry


Course content

Programme description

With the global human population set to rise to over nine billion by 2050, and our trees facing new plant threats, we urgently need sustainable solutions that will allow us to increase the global food supply while preserving the integrity of agricultural and non-agricultural ecosystems.

Food production has tripled in the last forty years, but one billion people still go hungry every year. On average 30% of all food produced is wasted in the pathway from 'field to fork'. With the global human population set to rise from seven to over nine billion by 2050, we urgently need sustainable solutions that will allow us to increase the global food supply while preserving the integrity of agricultural and non-agricultural ecosystems.

Our trees and forests face new plant health threats which in turn threaten areas of great natural beauty and diversity, and affect both rural and urban landscapes. Our unique MSc Sustainable Plant Health will give you the opportunity to develop your understanding of the vital role of plant health, applying your skills by conducting laboratory and field studies.

This programme is primarily aimed at graduates wishing to pursue a career in plant protection in agriculture, horticulture, forestry or urban settings, and also careers in policy development and implementation, plant health inspection, academic and industrial research, consultancy and conservation management, and private industry.

Programme structure This programme involves two semesters of compulsory and option taught courses followed by a period of individual dissertation project work.

Compulsory courses typically include*:

  • Fundamentals of Plant Health
  • Forensic Plant Health
  • Plant Health in a Global Context
  • Resear
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of optional courses*. We particularly recommend:

    • Atmospheric Quality and Global Change
    • Ecosystem Services 1:Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
    • Foundations in Ecological Economics
    • Frameworks to Assess Food Security
    • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
    • Principles of Environmental Sustainability
    • Soil Ecology and Taxonomy
    • Soil Protection and Management
    • Applications in Ecological Economics
    • Case Studies in Sustainable Development
    • Ecosystem Services 2: Ecosystem Values and Management
    • Environmental Impact Assessment
    • Forests and Environment
    • Integrated Resource Planning
    • Interrelationships in Food Systems
    • Land Use/Environmental Interactions
    • Soil Science Concepts and Application
    • Sustainability of Food Production
    • Understanding Environment and Development

*Please note: courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and subject to change each year.

Field trip

The programme provisionally will include a field trip where you will have the opportunity to refresh skills learned on the programme and develop new tools and techniques, useful during the dissertation process. The study tour may take place in a location such as Poland.

Information for international students


Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Students may be eligible to apply for funding.
For information about funding opportunities visit our GeoSciences Scholarships webpage
Or visit the University's Scholarships and Student Finance Office.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Programme Secretary Elspeth Martin