Structured Masters (AgriBiosciences)—full-time and part-time

College of Science,
Natural Sciences | Plant & AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC)

Course overview

View the MScAgriBiosciences brochure for more information.


The PABC MSc by Research (AgriBiosciences) program will provide relevant, hands-on training to graduates who wish to specialise in agri-related research. The purpose of the programme is to provide these graduates with a broad theoretical understanding of the agricultural sector in its broader scientific, economic and environmental context, on which key research skills and practical experiences will be built.


Integral to this 1 year structured MSc programme is a paid 7 month research placement in Teagasc, in NUI Galway or in a cutting edge agri-business. Placements offer students the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to work within a research setting of their choice, deliver a research project and formulate an associated thesis whilst simultaneously availing of excellent employment opportunities in industry and research. The taught component consists of 20 ECTS of discipline-specific modules which have been developed within the PABC and 10 optional Graduate studies modules.   


Integral to this Level 9 MSc is development of the student’s ability to work within a research setting by performing a research project based in one of the research groups or partner organisations in the PABC. The taught component will make use of 20 ECTS of discipline-specific modules have been developed within the PABC.                         


Specific aims of the MSc (AgriBiosciences) programme are:



  • To provide Level 8 students from different backgrounds with a broad and in-depth understanding of agribiosciences innovation relevant to agrifood systems and challenges.

  • To provide multi-disciplinary knowledge in classical and state-of-the-art research technologies and techniques applied in the agri-biosciences areas.

  • To provide multi-disciplinary training in research skills at basic and advanced levels by introducing students to a research environment.

  • To foster technical competencies and critical thinking abilities, and the ability to work towards research outputs.

  • To prepare graduates for more effective implementation of subsequent PhD research programmes leading to completion times less than 4 years.

  • To equip students for entry into the workplace, especially in the growing agribiosciences or agrifood sectors. 


This will be a modular course and is a blend of 30 ECTS taught elements that provides a broad foundation of advanced knowledge of agribiosciences (Semester 1) and a 60 ECTS research project (Semester 2 & 3) to allow time for students to gain in-depth research exposure. It will run from September 2016 on a September-August (12 month) timescales.


Taught component (30 ECTS): The core modules of the MSc (AgriBiosciences) are all weighted at 5 ECTS and consist of:



  • AgriFood Career, Communication & Impact Pathway Skills  

  • AgriFood Sustainability & Agri-Resilience Challenges 

  • Understanding AgriBusiness & AgriFood Market Trends 

  • Understanding Ireland’s Agriculture & AgriFood Sector 


The course material will be delivered using a blended learning format (combination of face-to-face/traditional-format lectures, tutorials, self-directed learning and assignments) that not only delivers the information the students have to master, but also train them to perform independent research which can be placed in the broader context of its scientific, environmental and economic impacts. Site visits will form an important element of the training (see module descriptor forms). The 20 ECTS of PAB-specific modules are supplemented by a further 10 ECTS of GS modules currently available, chosen in consultation with the programme coordinators. 


Research component (60 ECTS): The research project will be performed in a research group/lab of a PABC member or partner institution Teagasc or host commercial enterprise. Each Research Masters thesis will be examined by an internal and external examiner, as per the University Guidelines for Research Degree Programmes. It will provide research skills ranging from state-of-the-art technologies through data interpretation to experimental design and data presentation. Available research project titles in participating laboratories and field-sites of the PABC member groups, Teagasc and other programme-associated Institutes will be provided to students from which they choose their project options. Opportunities for multi-disciplinary projects with co-supervision, including with industry, will be encouraged. An assessment of the progress of each student will be performed by the their respective GRC at the end of Semester 2. Progression to Semester 3 will depend upon satisfactory completion of this assessment although we emphasise that students wishes to exit after partial completion of the course (e.g., as a Diploma) will be facilitated to do so. 


Towards the end of Semester 3 (after concluding their experiments) the students will write their MSc (AgriBiosciences) thesis. In total, across Semesters 2 and 3 students will carry out a full time research project over 2x15 weeks (2x30 ECTS). The thesis will be evaluated by the research project-leading PI and a second PABC academic. An external examiner from a leading international agribiosciences institution will be responsible for oversight and guidance of the MSc (AgriBiosciences).             


Each Research Masters thesis will be examined by an internal and external examiner, as per the University Guidelines for Research Degree Programmes.

Programmes available

Structured Masters by Research 
Full-time: 1 year duration
Part-time: 2 years duration

Areas of interest

The Plant and Agricultural Biosciences Centre comprises a range of inter-linked and synergistic research themes, where research projects and initiatives are currently underway. Students taking the Structured PhD in Plant & AgriBiosciences will be able to conduct their research with research groups of PABC and collaborating institutions. 

Researcher profiles

The course is taught by research specialists from the Plant & AgriBiosciences Research Centre, Teagasc and affiliated research groups. A full list can be found at: http://www.plantagbiosciences.org/content/principal-investigators-research-groups.

Contact Us

Prof. Charles Spillane & Mr. Kevin Kilcline,
Head of Plant & AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC)
Office ADB-2006, 
Áras de Brún,
National University of Ireland Galway,
University Road, 
Galway H91 REW4
Ireland.
www.plantagbiosciences.org 

E: charles.spillane@nuigalway.ie | kevin.kilcline@nuigalway.ie
T: +353 1 494158

PAC code

GYR22 (full-time); GYR23 (part-time)

Current project

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Fees for this course

EU: €6,815 p.a. 2017/18

Non-EU: €13,750 p.a. 2017/18