Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement (MSc)

Our Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement (MSc) offers one MSc, two career paths; a one-year course which provides training for students wishing to undertake a PhD in plant molecular genetics or to enter the plant breeding industry. In recent years our graduates have been successful in securing sought after PhD placements across the Norwich Research Park and beyond, or alternatively, employment within the plant breeding industry (see Figure below).

Click here to apply for Autumn 2024 entry

This one-year Postgraduate Taught programme focuses on plant molecular genetics and potential applications to crop improvement in the 21st century.

In addition to studying core taught modules, you will undertake a six-month laboratory-based research project under the supervision of a Senior Scientist at the John Innes Centre, Earlham Institute or The Sainsbury Laboratory.

The MSc degree is awarded by the University of East Anglia but the course is delivered exclusively by the John Innes Centre with significant input from the UK plant breeding industry. This provides students with the same access to student services and support as other UEA students, but with the advantage of unique real-workplace experience from the start of the degree.

Course Overview:

Open to UK, EU and International applicants. Course intake is in late September each year.

Duration: 1 year, full-time or 2 years part-time.

Entry requirements: Bachelors Degree 2:1 or equivalent in Biological Sciences or Plant Biology.

For more information on references and English language proficiency requirements, click here

Compulsory Modules:

  • Plant Genomics and Biotechnology
  • Target Traits for Crop Improvement
  • Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • Practical Skills in Plant Molecular Genetics
  • Plant Breeding and Statistics
  • Research Project Plan
  • Laboratory Research Project

Find out more about academic structure, content of the programme and how to apply

Tuition fees for the Academic Year 2024/25: 

  • UK Students: £12,250 (full time) (includes £1000 bench fee)
  • International Students: we are pleased to announce that for the academic year 2023-24 self-funded international students will qualify for a John Innes Centre M.Sc Scholarship. These scholarships will be awarded in the form of a tuition fee discount; eligible students will pay a tuition fee of £15,000 instead of the normal international student rate of £23,500.

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for Home students).

We estimate living expenses at £1,023 per month.

Further Information on tuition fees can be found here.


“This is the perfect gateway for people who want to pursue a PhD and stay in academia or find a job in the industry. Back in 2009, this was the slogan I saw at the end of brochure in welcome package that was posted to me to Nepal. And I can confidently tell anyone joining this course that you won’t get disappointed.” –  Sujit Hari Tha Shrestha, Senior Plant Breeder, CN Seeds Ltd.

“I have very good memories of the MSc (…) The John Innes Centre is a vibrant research centre with good collaboration between labs. The content covered in the programme was very relevant to UK breeding and prepared me well for an industry job.” – Gabriella Everett, Assistant Barley Breeder, KWS UK

“The John Innes Centre has been key to my career progression, developing my research skills in a supportive environment and the wider crop genetics perspective. The collaborative projects I worked on allowed me to get to know people within the plant breeding industry.”- Dr. Christopher Burt, Cereal Genotyping Manager, RAGT Seeds