Agriculture degree courses explore the science underpinning how we farm, look after land and care for livestock. You will cover everything from foundations of crop management through to efforts in global sustainability.
What is Agriculture?
Agriculture is the process of humans farming land and animals, largely for food. Agricultural science looks at the scientific processes behind effective farming, researching how to do so in the most sustainable and efficient way.
Many post 16 courses teach skills and knowledge relevant to the study of agriculture.
As our world changes, agricultural practices have to adapt and develop to keep up with demand. Agriculture sustains the human population - so it naturally connects with other areas of world management, like politics, technology, machinery, economics, the media, forestry and more. You have the opportunity to specialise in particular areas of interest during your degree.
What are the modules for this course?
Modules for agricultural degrees will vary depending on which university you study at. Generally your modules in the first year of study will teach you foundational principles for agriculture subjects, and get you up to speed with university level assessments and expectations. Common first year modules include:
- Agriculture Sciences.
- Crop Production.
- Global Production.
- Introduction to Environmental Science.
- Introduction to Soil Science.
- Livestock Production.
- Supply Chain Management.
As you progress through your agriculture degree, you will have the chance to specialise in areas you are interested in.
In your second and third years, modules that could be offered at your university include:
- Advanced Food Production.
- Agricultural Policies and Politics.
- Business Skills.
- Countryside Management.
- Farming Economics.
- Farming Machinery.
- Farm Mechanics and Automation.
- Farm Quality Assurance.
- Food Supply Chains.
- Livestock Specific Modules - such as cattle.
- Management Systems for Large Scale Businesses.
- Science specific modules, such as Advance Environmental Science.
Some universities also offer opportunities for assessed work placements with agreed providers. This could take up a large proportion of your studies in second or third year, or you may be able to take a full year spent in a work environment.
What are the entry requirements?
Entry requirements depend on which university you go to. The UCAS points required for an Agriculture degree can vary from 80-160 UCAS points coming from level 3 qualifications. The number of qualifications required varies from university to university.
Examples of qualifications that would meet 80-160 UCAS points include:
- A Levels at AAA-CCC.
- BTECs at DDD-MPP.
- Scottish Highers at AAAAB-BBBB.
- International Baccalaureate at 36-28 points.
You may also need to have studied a science based subject at A level. Usually universities will also ask for a pass grade in English and Maths GCSE (this is grade 4 above, but 5 for some universities).
How do I write my personal statement for this subject?
Your personal statement should explore why agricultural study is the right fit for you. This should cover your previous (or current) studies, and how these apply towards agriculture. You will also want to cover your interests, hobbies and skills that connect well with the course, and show universities who you are as a person. Sharing relevant work experience is a good idea, too.
On starting your university course, you will be given a reading list. You may receive this in advance to help you get ahead.
Many post 16 courses teach skills and knowledge relevant to the study of agriculture. Science based subjects align themselves naturally, particularly biology, where your knowledge of plant and animal life can transfer well to agriculture.
A general knowledge of scientific processes from other subjects will benefit you well, too. Beyond science based subjects, topics that cover politics and policy, the environment and business also align well with aspects of agriculture. Always link back to why your current subjects are relevant to agriculture subjects, and what you are keen to learn more about.
Beyond your studies, your interests and hobbies outside of school are also well worth talking about. Perhaps you have volunteered with animals at a local sanctuary, or you are a keen gardener? Are you interested in economic policy, regularly reading newspapers and keeping up to date with research online? Perhaps you have spent time working in a shop or a small business, learning about how companies manage their products and resources. Transferable skills are everywhere - just keep making those connections! Alongside aspects of your life that relate to agriculture, share other elements that make you you - perhaps you are into reading, drama or sports. What makes you a well rounded person? Show that in your statement.
If you have direct work experience in agriculture, this is a key to mention. Perhaps you grew up on a farm or live near one, or have spent time working in food production. Talking about how this inspired you to learn about our food chain at a deeper level will work brilliantly in a personal statement.
Finally, it’s a good idea to share what particularly fascinates you about agriculture. Is there a particular area, like breeding or crop management, that interests you? Share that in your personal statement to show your commitment to the subject.
What books or equipment do I need?
On starting your university course, you will be given a reading list. You may receive this in advance to help you get ahead. This could include key textbooks that you will return to throughout your course, shorter pieces or online articles. You might be given particular agricultural policies to read, or documentaries to watch. You will be given access to these resources via your university library, or online portal.
You may need specialist agricultural equipment for your studies, especially for field research. Typically these items will be available from your university - but it is a good idea to find this out beforehand, in case you need to make any financial investments for your own equipment.
How will I be assessed?
Assessments for agriculture studies vary from university to university. You will usually be assessed via a combination of exams, coursework, and assessed placements. As each university assesses differently, it is a good idea to do your research and find out which assessment methods best suit your needs and interests. You will usually have to complete a final year research project focusing on a particular area of your interest. This often takes up a good portion of your final degree grade.
There are two routes for postgraduate studies in agriculture.
As you progress through your degree in agriculture, you will choose more specialised modules. Often different modules are assessed in different ways - so if you have a preference for a particular type of assessment, you could choose modules that focus on this method.
If you have an additional need, you should receive reasonable adjustments to assessment methods. This is to ensure a fair assessment of your abilities. It’s a good idea to contact the universities you are considering to ask what adjustments they make for students, if this is something you are keen to know more about before applying.
What are the career prospects?
Career prospects for agricultural graduates are varied. If you have a particular career path in mind, it’s a good idea to select second and third year modules which align most with your goals.
A common career path graduates go down is farm management or animal management. Agriculture teaches many transferable skills, though - so you could move into other areas like policy making or animal science. If you are particularly interested in the investigative side of agriculture you could go down the route of farm journalism, working within a media company and utilising your specialist knowledge in the field.
What jobs can I get with this degree?
Common jobs that align well with agricultural degrees include:
- Agriculture and Forestry manager.
- Agricultural business ownership - such as setting up your own farming enterprise.
- Agricultural manager.
- Animal focused scientist.
- Animal genetics - such as breeding testing Animal husbandry.
- Farm management.
- Farm and sustainability journalism.
- Policy making.
How does Agriculture change at a postgraduate level?
There are two routes for postgraduate studies in agriculture. For students who haven’t taken agriculture related courses but have a degree in a similar field, agricultural studies at masters level might be a route towards specialising. They may, for example, have taken animal science degrees or worked in ecology, but want to pursue more practical agricultural knowledge for their career.
Agriculture is the process of humans farming land and animals, largely for food.
Students who have already studied courses related to agriculture tend to deepen their knowledge at masters level. You may for example be a keen botanist or want to learn more about animal science, so pursue a masters degree focusing on this level. You may be particularly interested in scientific research around agriculture, so a postgraduate degree could offer you more refined and specific research skills for the job market later on.
What is the average grad salary in this area?
As the career routes for agricultural courses vary, so do entry salaries. If you go down the agricultural manager route, the average graduate salary sits at around £22,000, increasing to £40,000 with the right skills and experience. This will also vary depending on your location. Agricultural Manager roles in large agricultural firms tend to fetch higher salaries.
-  Average Farm Manager Salary in United Kingdom — Payscale.com Retrieved 26 August 2022.