MSc in Global Plant Health

The Sainsbury Laboratory runs a one-year taught MSc in Global Plant Health.

Applications for entry on 25 September 2023 are now welcome. Interviews will commence in late 2022. We encourage applications throughout the year. The closing dates are 14 June 2023 for international applicants and 30 August 2023 for UK applicants.

You will learn about integrated solutions to emerging plant pathogens, which are rooted in the science of molecular plant-microbe interactions, plant immunity, microbial pathogenesis and data science. You will also learn the leadership and management skills required to make a difference on the ground. We adopt innovative teaching methods that encourage active and independent learning with less emphasis on traditional didactic lectures. You will deepen your learning in the last module of the course by working on a scenario-based research project.

Photograph showing the MSc study space at TSL

Dedicated MSc study space at TSL

You will be taught by TSL’s world-leading researchers including Professor Nick Talbot FRS, Professor Sophien Kamoun FRS, Professor Jonathan Jones FRS, Professor Wenbo Ma, Professor Cyril Zipfel, Professor Dan MacLean, Dr Frank Menke and international guest speakers involved in global plant health. Three of these researchers are in the 2020 Highly Cited Researchers list of the top 1% scientists on the globe. You will also learn from our staff scientists, research students and post-doctoral workers.

David Sainsbury International MSc Scholarships in Global Plant Health

We encourage you to secure your own scholarships. If you are unable to cover the full cost of your studies and you come from one of the least-developed, other low-income or lower-middle-income countries, TSL offers the prestigious David Sainsbury International Full MSc Scholarship in Global Plant Health to a limited number of applicants on a competitive basis. The Full Scholarship can fund up to the full cost of the course and living expenses. All applicants from other countries will be considered for a 10% Fee Scholarship on a competitive basis. See our Scholarships page for more details.

“The David Sainsbury Scholarship has granted me a rare opportunity to pursue postgraduate studies at a world-leading research institute. My stay at TSL is so rewarding and keeps me fascinated in the science.” - Mark-Jave Bautista

“The David Sainsbury Scholarship has enabled me to continue exploring my curiosity in the world of plant science. I have learned so much more than anticipated, covering plant-microbe interactions to the management of plant disease on a global scale.” - Tantawat Nardwattanawong

“The Global Plant Health MSc course was a life-changing experience for me that strengthened my confidence to pursue a career in science with greater resilience. I am extremely thankful for the David Sainsbury Scholarship that enabled this accomplishment which would not have been possible for me otherwise.” – Vidyashree Shivakumaraswamy

Other sources of funding

Chevening Scholarships make up the UK government’s global scholarship programme. They are open to students from 160 countries, including China, Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia. The scholarships offer full financial support for students looking to study for a master’s degree at a UK university. See the Chevening website for more details and Scholarship application deadlines (typically November).

The British Society of Plant Pathology MSc/MRes Bursary Scheme awards bursaries to support students undertaking courses with a significant plant pathology content, such as our MSc in Global Plant Health. Please see the BSPP Bursary Scheme webpage for more details and Bursary application deadlines (typically June).

If you are a UK national and normally live in England, you may be eligible for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan, which can help with course fees and living costs. See the UK Government website for more details about eligibility.

Photograph showing the MSc study space at TSL

Seminar/lecture area in the dedicated MSc study space at TSL

Integration with a diverse community of scientists

You will be integrated in the diverse TSL research community with a base in our newly refurbished MSc study area within the TSL building. The study area includes seminar space as well as desk space with a laptop and IT infrastructure for each MSc student. You will get support before and throughout the course from the TSL Student Committee. You will attend the weekly TSL research seminars and are encouraged to attend other seminars hosted by us and our partner institutions across the Norwich Research Park. TSL is relatively small institution that is focussed on scientific excellence with a strong emphasis on collaboration and mutual support. This creates a dynamic environment in which to enjoy the things we love to do.


You will be equipped with the skills and attributes to allow you to pursue a career in research, including via PhDs locally or elsewhere, agribiotechnology, or policy making in diverse national and international organisations involved in managing and responding to plant disease.

Student Visa-holders may be eligible for a Graduate Visa after successfully completing a degree course.

See also the UEA Visa Advice webpages.

What our students say about the course

“If you're applying for this program, the first thing that you should have is your passion about plant and microbial science. The best thing about the course is that we are exposed to different researchers in science that are top tier in the world.” - Mark-Jave Bautista

“Being at TSL has given me a greater launch pad. Apply for this if you're really interested in studying all about plant-microbe interactions. It's an exciting place to be.” - Vidya Shivakumaraswamy

“I applied for this course because it's a unique opportunity. It's a good environment to be here. People are very supportive, and I do learn a lot. It's the best place to learn about plant health, isn't it?” - Tantawat Fame Nardwattanawong

Degree Programme Accreditation by the Royal Society of Biology

This programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology following an independent and rigorous assessment. Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of employers. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills.

Apply through the University of East Anglia

You will register for your degree at the University of East Anglia (UEA) through the School of Biological Sciences. UEA offers accommodation on their campus, which is part of the wider Norwich Research Park in which TSL is also situated. Overseas postgraduate students new to UEA who apply early enough are usually given priority for a place to stay on campus.

Whatever your funding source, you must satisfy the entry requirements for this course, including demonstrating a high internationally competitive academic standard, and a commitment to active learning and independent study.

Please see the UEA course page on the MSc in Global Plant Health for all details of the course, eligibility and how to apply.

For academic enquiries to the Course Director, Professor Stephen Bornemann FRSB FRSC, or general enquiries to the Course Administrator, Margaret Bush, please email

(See our YouTube Playlist for more videos about our MSc.)