European PBA FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the UC Davis European Plant Breeding Academy? The UC Davis European 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 and throughout Europe for three 6-day weeks per year over two years (six sessions). Readings and exercises will continue between sessions via internet 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 locations throughout Europe for sessions 1-5 and at UC Davis for session 6; each session is 5-6 days in length, 3 sessions per year over two years (six total 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.

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 organize all logistics for the course from the SBC office in Davis, CA. 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. The course will take place in-person at an assigned classroom in each session's geographic location.

When will the EPBA 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 EPBA class schedule on the PBA in Europe webpage. 


How do I apply for EPBA? 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 Europe webpage for specific dates and deadlines.

How much is tuition for EPBA? (All EPBA pricing is in Euros)  The cost of participating is 21,000 Euros (or 20,000 € if you apply before the early registration deadline), which includes all course materials and fees, along with lunches and breaks during the six sessions. Additional tours of seed research and production facilities will also be incorporated into each session. The tours are designed to balance the classroom instruction with seed and agricultural industry experiences in each of the five host countries. 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, and will be applied toward tuition.

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.

(Tuition rates are tentative until EPBA VIII applications open and subject to change by UC Davis at any time)

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. 

Where can I find accommodations for each EPBA session? A discounted rate will be made available to EPBA participants and sent out before each session. EPBA students are not required to stay at these chosen hotels but it is recommended since transport may start or end at that location and for optional social engagements.

Still have questions about the European Plant Breeding Academy? Contact Whitney Lowe at