Plant Pathology
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Undergraduate Studies


A Typical Plant Pathology student!​​

Loves nature, especially plants

Enjoy laboratory and field work

Eye for detail


Accurate, tidy

Patient, persistent

Hard working (seasonal work)

Good communication and writing skills

Admission requirements as from 2016

  • A National Senior Certificate (NSC) as certified by Umalusi, with admission to bachelor's degree studies
  • A level of at least 4 in each of four subjects designated for university admission (one of them has to be Afrikaans or English)
  • For the NSC an aggregate of at least 60% (excluding Life orientation)
  • Write the National Benchmark Tests (NBTs) according to your chosen programme. All candidates write the Academic and Quantitative literacy test (AQL). Students studying towards a programme requiring Mathematics also write the Mathematics (MAT) test
  • Requirements for AgriScience programme:
    - Afrikaans or English (Home Language or First Additional Language) 4 (50%)
    - Mathematics 5 (60%)
    - Physical Sciences (Physics and Chemistry) 4 (50%)

For more information regarding admission requirements, contact:
Monika Basson
Tel: +27 (0)21 808 2978

Fax: +27 (0)21 808 2001



First year: Follows the Biological Sciences programme (Faculty of Science)

Second Year: Follows the Plant and Soil Sciences Programme
(Study fields: Crop Production / Crop Protection and Breeding / Soil and Water Management) (Faculty of AgriSciences)

Third and Fourth Year: Choose Plant Pathology as major subject:


Crop Protection 152 - Introduction to plant protection and improvement

Introduction to the disciplines of plant breeding, plant pathology, entomology, nematology and weed science. Case studies of plant pests, diseases and weeds that have shaped the history of the world and influenced food security. The basic principles of plant improvement for pest and disease management.

Crop Protection 244 - Introductory Plant Pathology and Entomology
The nature and causes of plant diseases, the impact of pathogens and pests on agriculture, the biology of important pathogens and pests, factors influencing disease development, diagnosis of plant diseases and principles of plant disease control.
Flexible assessment

Plant Pathology 314 - Plant disease management
The underlying principles and methods used for plant disease control from pre-planting to post-harvest. This includes the role of plant quarantine, disease certification and cultivation practices on disease development, and on the epidemiological considerations for plant disease forecasting and disease assessment. Emphasis is placed on plant disease resistance, and chemical and biological control, either as primary control strategies or as components of an integrated disease control programme, to ensure efficient and sustainable protection against a diverse range of pathogens.

Plant Pathology 344 - Plant disease dynamics

Components of plant diseases, such as the plant pathogens that cause them, the host factors that influence their development, and the environmental conditions that favour them. Diseases of national and international importance and the damage they have caused to food production in the world. The dynamics of pathogens associated with seed and nursery plants, as well as those causing soil-borne, foliar and fruit diseases before harvest, and decay and damage after harvest.

Plant Pathology 414 - Taxonomy and biology of plant pathogens
Morphology, taxonomy and biology of plant pathogenic fungi, oomycetes, bacteria, mollicutes (spiroplasmas and phytopasmas) and viruses. Practicals include microscopic cultural morphology, and physiological and biochemical methods used to identify the major groups of plant pathogenic fungi, oomycetes and bacteria.
PP Plant Pathology 314, 344

Plant Pathology 444 - Plant-microbe interactions
The dynamic interaction between plants and microorganisms, both detrimental and beneficial. Aspects related to fungal diversity, genetics and genomics; and the role of microbial pathogenicity factors and secondary metabolites in plant disease development. The plant’s defence mechanisms and ability to recognise and respond to pathogen attack. Enhancement of disease resistance in plants against pathogens, and the development of novel disease control strategies. Methods used for gene discovery and functional gene analyses in plants and pathogens, and concepts such as transformation and gene manipulation.
PP Plant Pathology 314, 344

Plant Pathology 478 - Advanced plant pathology
Field trips to study diseases, assess field situations and collect plant pathogens that will be identified during laboratory sessions. Formulation of disease management strategies. Relevant and current experimental approaches and methods of analysis used in plant pathology. Topical issues in plant pathology related to food security and environmental challenges. Exercises in project planning and execution conducted under supervision.
Flexible assessment
PP Plant Pathology 314, 344

Career opportunities in Plant Pathology!

Researcher (e.g. ARC, Department of Agriculture, CRI, Experico)
Academic (Universities)
Consultant (e.g. Hygrotech, Merck, Kapa Biosystems, private)
Technician (e.g. Hygrotech, Merck, Kapa Biosystems, private)
Agri-businesses (e.g. Hygrotech)
Agri-chemical companies (e.g. Bayer, Du Pont, Philagro, BASF)

Diagnostic Clinics (e.g. US Disease Clinic, Nemlab, private)
Skills to work in related fields (Botany, Microbiology, Horticulture)

High Flyers from our department!

Prof PW Crous (Director of the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures at Utrecht, Netherlands)
BSc Forestry (1985), Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
MScAgric (cum laude) (1988), Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
PhD(Agric) (1992), University of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Prof MJ Wingfield (Director of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI), Faculty of Biological and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa)

BSc (1976), University of Natal, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
BScHons (1977), University of Natal, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
MSc (cum laude) (1979), Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
PhD (Plant Pathology and Entomology) (1983), University of Minnesota, USA