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Studium Biologie Masterstudium

Plant Sciences

  • arabidopsis_copyright

    Arabidopsis thaliana (copyright lehic)

  • rice plant copyright

    Cultivated rice (copyright K. Ilya)

MSc Coordinator of the Master in Plant Sciences

Prof. Dr. Sylvain Bischof (sylvain.bischof *

For administrative questions, please contact Mattias von der Crone.

Study Coordinator

Dr. Karin Isler (studienkoordination *



Plants are essential for the functioning of our planet’s ecosystem. They use sunlight energy to fix atmospheric carbon and produce oxygen. Plants not only provide these two essential products to mankind but also are at the basis of the global food chain. Finally, plants constitute a treasure box of complex metabolic compounds and a renewable source of raw material for society. 

Plants are incredibly diverse and populate large areas of the Earth. Being sessile, they have adapted to extremely different environmental conditions in a wide variety of ecological systems and, have acquired elaborated mechanisms to protect themselves from biotic and abiotic stresses.



The aim of the Master in Plant Sciences is to enable student to understand the function and evolution of plants from a molecular to a system-wide perspective. The program encompasses developmental biology of plants, the relationship between plants and pathogens, the way plants react to changing environmental conditions, ago-ecology and, the control and evolution of plant genomes and epigenomes. 

The Master's program is based on block courses and special lectures that cover the structure, function, genetics and development of plants. Students can supplement their studies with the other courses at the University, ETH Zurich and the University of Basel, within the framework of the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center.


Compulsory courses:

BIO 338 00 ECTS Introduction to Scientific Writing (one day in September or February) 
BIO 505 60 ECTS Master's thesis in Plant Sciences
BIO 520 10 ECTS Integrated Knowledge in Biology (oral and written exam)

Compulsory block courses:

Students are entitled to select their optional core modules from the full range of biology modules offered by the University of Zurich, ETHZ (551-0140-00L Epigenetics, 551-1120-00L Genes, Genomes and Genetic Systems etc.) and the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center ( Two block courses must, however, be taken from the following list:  

BIO 282 06 ECTS Methods in Molecular Plant Biology
BIO 285 06 ECTS Genetic and Epigenetic Control of Plant Development
BIO 286 06 ECTS Plant Sensing
BIO 287 06 ECTS Plant Cell Wall Development
BIO 288 06 ECTS Mechanisms of plant disease resistance against fungal pathogens (until 23FS)
BIO 289 06 ECTS Mechanisms of Plant-Microbe-Interactions
BIO 294 06 ECTS Bioinformatics for Comparative and Evolutionary Genomics
BIO 314 06 ECTS Plant Epigenetics

Students who have already completed four or more of these courses during their Bachelor’s degree can select other modules upon approval by the supervisor of their Master’s thesis. Students who have taken four or fewer block courses in plant science during their entire Bachelor’s and Master’s degree studies are strongly recommended to take additional plant science modules.



Research in Plant Sciences at the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology spans from the understanding of fundamental molecular mechanisms to improving crop breeding technologies and agro-ecosystems.

Prof. Dr. Bischof Sylvain
Prof. Dr. Grossniklaus Ueli
Prof. Dr. Keller Beat
Prof. Dr. Roulin Anne
Prof. Dr. Shimizu Kentaro
Prof. Dr. Simonini Sara
Prof. Dr. van der Heijden
Prof. Dr. Zipfel Cyril
Prof. Dr. Züst Tobias


Weiterführende Informationen

UZH Course Catalogue


The module BIO338 Introduction to Scientific Writing (0 ECTS, one day in September or February) is mandatory for all Biology Master’s students. The module should be taken before writing the Master’s Thesis.