Department of Plant Pathology

​​What is Plant Pathology?

Plant Pathology is defined as the study of the organisms and environmental conditions that cause diseases in plants, the mechanisms by which this occurs, the interactions between these causal agents and the plant (effects on plant growth, yield and quality), and the methods of managing or controlling plant disease. It also draws on knowledge from other scientific fields such as mycology, microbiology, virology, biochemistry, bio-informatics, etc.

The Department of Plant Pathology​

It is the vision of the Department to be nationally and internationally recognised as an academic department which offers top-quality training and research by creating an environment that supports and encourages the development and productivity of students and staff. It does this by establishing and maintaining alliances with industry through strategically focused research programmes and service delivery, and by fostering national and international collaborations for innovative and cutting-edge research aimed at sustainable food production.

The Department of Plant Pathology has a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to research and training, and makes use of the latest technologies in order to reduce the impact of pathogens on plants, and to increase resistance in plants. Conventional and molecular techniques are used in a sustainable and economical way to control plant pathogens that are a threat to local crops and export markets.

Programme information

BScAgric (Plant and Soil Sciences)

The four-year program in plant and soil sciences offers training in the production of agricultural and vegetable crops, fodder crops, aromatic plants, deciduous fruit, citrus, fynbos and vineyards. For each crop, knowledge of the following is integrated into a meaningful whole: agricultural economics, biochemistry, biometrics, crop production, entomology, genetics, nematology, plant pathology and soil science.

The program is subdivided into 3 fields of study:

  • Crop Productions: In this field of study, you will receive training in the production and quality management including field crops, deciduous fruit, citrus, fynbos, vineyard and greenhouse crops.
  • Crop Protection and Breeding: This field of study trains you as an expert in crop protection (entomological and nematological pests, plant diseases and their control) and genetic crop improvement (cultivation and manipulation).
  • Soil and Water Management:  This field of study equips you with the expertise to understand the nature, importance and management of soil and water as they relate to crop production.

Opting for study in one of these three fields prepares you for a variety of careers in the agriculture industry or agriculture-related industries, including careers such as adviser, consultant, entrepreneur, manager, technician and researcher.