Description: Plant Sciences Keywords: Pathology image

What is plant pathology?

Plant Pathology embraces an understanding of the dynamic processes involved in plant health. It is a cutting-edge science which brings together knowledge from other scientific disciplines such as microbiology, botany, biochemistry, genetics, entomology, bioinformatics, statistics, agronomy, soil science, etc.

What is a plant pathologist?

A plant pathologist studies:

  • the causal agents of plant disease;
  • the effects of diseases on plant growth, yield, and quality;
  • interactions between plant parasites, their host plants, and the environment;
  • the development and integration of measures to prevent or minimise diseases.
What does a plant pathologist do?

The research environment of a plant pathologist varies between the field, greenhouse, laboratory, and office. Research involves the initiation, design, and conducting of experiments, as well as analysis, interpretation, and publication of the results. In Plant Pathology, the research field may vary between traditional or alternative agricultural crops, ornamental plants, indigenous flora, forest trees, or turf grass. In the course of their exciting tasks, there is also ample opportunity for local and international networking and cooperation.

Where do plant pathologists work?

In South Africa, plant pathologists are employed by private or public institutions involved in crop research and development in the agricultural, horticultural, and forestry industries, e.g. ARC, national and provincial government departments, seed companies, agricultural chemical companies, universities, etc.

How can I become a plant pathologist?

By studying specific Plant Pathology curricula offered in the Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS.

To equip students with a broader background, Plant Pathology may be combined as major with Entomology, Plant Breeding, Soil Science, or Agronomy. In addition to a rewarding training programme, the Department of Plant Sciences offers excellent research facilities. Students can also take part in exchange agreements with overseas universities and acquire credit for courses completed at these universities.

What qualifications in plant pathology are available at the UFS?
  • BScAgric (four years)
  • BScAgricHons (one year)
  • MScAgric
  • PhD
More information?

Department of Plant Sciences (Plant Pathology)

Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
University of the Free State
PO Box 339

Dr WHP Boshoff
T: +27 51 401 2466


Elfrieda van den Berg (Marketing Manager)
T: +27 51 401 2531

Dilahlwane Mohono (Faculty Officer)
T: +27 58 718 5284

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