BSc minor Plant Breeding (WUPBR)

Plant Breeding is one of the most important disciplines in Plant Sciences in The Netherlands and worldwide. Plant Breeding is not only important as an academic and applied research field but also as a practical profession in the development of novel varieties in food, feed, biobased (industrial, e.g. for fibers) and ornamental crops by plant breeding companies.

Continue to an overview of the minor


This minor introduces students to the field of plant breeding with a focus on breeding for resistance and quality in major food, feed and ornamental crops; basic principles of plant breeding, the interaction of plants with pathogens, pests and the abiotic environment, development and application of tools for the plant breeder are studied. The courses provide the students with lectures, e-learning modules, practicals and case studies, which together give a thorough understanding of the field and competences for application of tools used in research and practical breeding. Within this minor, students can choose between a quantitative profile by including Modern Statistics for the Life Sciences, or a more plant biotechnological profile by including Plant Cell and Tissue Culture. 

This BSc minor is a good introduction to continue in this field with the MSc programme Plant Sciences, e.g. for the specialization Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources. This minor is also relevant for a career at a plant breeding company.

NOTE: This minor contains a course with a maximum number of students participants. If you want to follow this minor as a "Bijvak or "exchange" student make sure you also choose an alternative course (and register this course in the form). That way you have an alternative if you cannot participate in this course. The information on if a course has a maximum number of participants can be found via the overview of the courses in the minor.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this minor students are expected to be able to:

  • explain advantages and limitations of plant breeding selection programs for crops with different modes of reproduction;
  • quantify heritable and non-heritable variation in traits of interest;
    explain the life cycles of plant pathogens, pest and weeds with special attention to reproduction mode, growth, development and dispersal in relation to plant growth, the durability of genetic resistance and possible effects of disease/pest control measures;
  • explain how heredity, evolution and genetics are interrelated;
  • explain major characteristics of various resistance and quality traits in plants;
  • explain how important traits can be integrated in breeding programs of different crops;
  • design and execute genetic experiments to answer relevant research questions;
  • apply relevant analytic techniques and data analysis tools for target traits, including plant biotechnology, statistical analyses and cytogenetic and molecular mapping technologies to localise genes, markers and quantitative traits on linkage maps, chromosomes.

Target group

This minor is interesting for WU-students of the BSc programmes:

  • BBI Biology
  • BBT Biotechnology
  • BML Molecular Life Sciences
  • BPW Plant sciences

Also for Biology and/or Life Sciences students from other universities or HBO, who are interested in the specialization Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources of the WU MSc programme Plant Sciences. Contact the minor coordinator for more advice.

Assumed Knowledge

Participants are expected to have first year bachelor level knowledge on plant biology and mathematics. For the RO-course ABG-30806: Advanced Statistics (MAT-20306).




Second semester (period 4, 5 and 6)

Programme or thematic

Programme minor