Frequently Asked Questions


What is the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy? The UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy is a professional development course teaching the principles of plant breeding to address the reduced numbers of plant breeders being trained in academic programs. It is targeted toward people who are currently involved in plant breeding or wish to become plant breeders, but who lack sufficient knowledge of genetics, statistics and breeding methodology to direct a breeding program. The format is designed to allow participants to maintain their current positions while learning the theory and practice of plant breeding. Participants will meet at UC Davis for three 6-day weeks per year over two years (six sessions). Readings and exercises will continue between sessions via email to allow participants to maintain their current positions while being involved in the Academy. At the end of the two-year course, participants are expected to have the skills and knowledge to manage an independent plant breeding program.

What are the goals of the Academy? The Academy will develop the participants' skills and abilities in genetics, statistics and plant breeding to enable them to become independent breeders or more valuable contributors to larger breeding programs.

Who is the target audience? The course is targeted primarily toward personnel currently involved in breeding programs who lack the academic background in genetics theory and practice to advance as independent breeders. Current breeders who desire a refresher course or would like to broaden their expertise are also potential participants. Persons who have a background in biological or plant sciences who wish to become plant breeders would also benefit from this course.

What is the format of the course? Participants will meet at the University of California, Davis for three 6-day weeks per year over two years (six sessions). This will allow participants to continue in their current employment while being involved in the course. The format will be a combination of lectures, discussions, practical experience and lab/computer sessions. Homework and exercises will be conducted via the internet between sessions with the course coordinator and instructors serving as mentors for participants over the two-year period.

What are the prerequisites for the Academy? Knowledge and/or experience equivalent to a Bachelor of Science degree in biology or related field and some experience in plant breeding is expected. A working knowledge of basic genetics and statistics, such as completion of introductory courses in these subjects, is also expected; a brief review of the principles of these subjects will be included in the course. The course will be taught in English.

At what level will the course be taught? The Academy will provide training in plant breeding equivalent to that obtained in a Master of Science program. It will provide greater depth in the specific subject matter of plant breeding but possibly less breadth that some MS programs require. As participants will not be enrolled in a formal degree program, they would not be eligible for a graduate degree. However, the Academy program may be recognized by graduate institutions, at their discretion, as equivalent to formal university courses for transfer credit. For topical course content, see Curriculum.

What is the expected time investment for PBA students between sessions? PBA students should plan for approximately 20 hours per trimester. Investing less than that amount (<15 hours) could diminish a return on student investment into PBA. Homework and assignments may include reading, problem solving and analyses. A case study analysis of a breeding program (referred to in class as the "final project") will be a required assignment prior to week 6 - graduation. 

What is required to successfully complete the course? Participants will be expected to attend all six sessions in person, complete all assigned homework and pass periodic evaluations indicating academic mastery. Please note that in-person attendance is required and Zoom/hybrid options will not be available.

Is there a degree or certificate awarded at completion of the course? As participants will not be enrolled in a formal degree program, they will not be eligible for a graduate degree. Participants successfully completing the Academy will receive a certificate of completion from the Plant Breeding Academy. 

How will the Academy be administered? The UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center will provide the administrative home for the Academy, located at the University of California, Davis in Davis, California. An academic coordinator dedicated to the Academy will administer the logistics of the program, coordinate curriculum development, maintain the internet materials, and serve as a primary contact for participants between in-residence sessions.

When will the PBA sessions be held? All six sessions of the PBA course will take place in Davis, California, mostly on the UC Davis campus. In-person attendance at all six sessions is required to graduate.

    You can view the current PBA class schedule on the PBA in Davis webpage. 


How do I apply for PBA? To provide a personalized learning environment, the program is limited to 20 participants. Applicants should complete the online application and upload their resume in order to be considered for enrollment. Applicants' background and experience will be reviewed to ensure they meet the minimal requirements before acceptance. Applicants must have a Bachelor of Science degree (or demonstrate equivalent professional experience) and have taken introductory courses in statistics and genetics. Practical experience, academic standing (GPA or equivalent) and rationale for participation in the Academy will be evaluated. Among applicants meeting the program requirements, acceptance will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Acceptance is not secured until paperwork is signed and the deposit is received.

The early registration discount ($1,000 off) is available for applications received prior to the designated deadline. Check the PBA in Davis webpage for specific dates and deadlines.

How much is tuition for PBA IX? (All pricing is in United States Dollar) Tuition is $26,000 per participant for the two-year program (or $25,000 if you apply before the early registration deadline). Tuition includes all course materials and fees.  Lunches and breaks during residence in Davis are provided.  Travel, accommodations and other meals during in-residence sessions are not included.  A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 will be due within 30 days of acceptance into the Academy.

An invoice requesting the balance of the first year's tuition (half of the total tuition, after the deposit is paid) will be sent minimum three months prior to the start of the course. The second tuition payment will be due prior to the start of the second year. Exact due dates will be listed on your invoice document. No refunds will be issued after a payment is made. Payment procedures will be provided to applicants following acceptance into the Academy.

How do I pay the tuition? Payment procedures will be provided to applicants following acceptance into the Academy. Payment methods currently accepted are wire transfer payments or mailed check payments.

How do I get to Davis? Davis is 80 miles east of San Francisco and 12 miles west of Sacramento on Interstate 80. By air, the Sacramento airport is 20 minutes from Davis. San Francisco and Oakland airports are less than two hours away by car. Shuttle service is available from the Davis Airporter (www.davisairporter.com). For more information on travel options, see http://www.davisvisitor.com/.

Where can I find accommodations in Davis? A discounted rate will be made available to PBA participants and sent out before each session. For a list of additional places to stay, plus local restaurants and more in Davis, go to: http://www.yolocvb.net/davis/

Still have questions about the Plant Breeding Academy? Contact Whitney Lowe at wlowe@ucdavis.edu