15,130 students were studying this subject in 2014/15.
69.3% of graduates went directly into employment.
Top five graduate destinations:
- Professional, scientific, and technical
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing
- Wholesale and retail trade
- Arts, entertainment, and recreation
A levels – To get on to a related degree, you will usually need a minimum of two A levels, with three A levels and A/B grades required for the most popular courses. Entry requirements range from BBB to BCC, with the universities and colleges most commonly asking for CCC. Most degrees in this field ask for at least one science A level (biology is often required for degrees in animal science and veterinary nursing), with two preferred by many. It is important to check precise requirements with universities, as some are more flexible around which subjects they regard as a science.
Scottish Highers – Entry requirements for Highers (the most common qualification) range from BBBC to ABBBB, with universities or colleges most frequently requiring BBBB. Occasionally, universities ask for Advanced Highers to supplement Highers. If Advanced Highers are requested, universities or colleges typically ask for AB.
Vocational courses – Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Animal Management Science, SVQ Animal Care (SCQF Level 6)) may be accepted as an alternative to A levels/Highers by some providers. It’s essential that you check alternative entry requirements with universities or colleges
What courses are available?
Universities and colleges in the UK are offering courses in the following subject areas:
- Animal science
- Forestry and arboriculture
- Food and beverage studies
- Food science and nutrition
- Agricultural sciences
- Plant science
- Environmental science and biology
A number of courses are accredited by their respective awarding bodies to show they provide the knowledge and skills required by employers in that field, e.g. ecology, nutrition, and arboriculture. There are also a number of veterinary nursing courses on offer that lead to professional accreditation in this career.
Subject combinations and available course options include:
- single, joint, and multiple subject combinations
- full-time, part-time, and flexible study options, as well as courses with a placement (sandwich courses)
- qualifications ranging from BSc (Hons) degrees, through to HND, HNC, and Foundation Certificates
Competition for places can be high so personal statements form an essential part of the selection process. Admissions tutors want to see you have aptitude, interest, and motivation in your chosen subject. Many of these degrees are practical and vocational, which means some previous experience can be important.
Universities will be looking for evidence that you have a real enthusiasm for the subject and related careers, which could be demonstrated by:
- additional reading and research
- membership of related societies/clubs – e.g. local conservation group
If you want to combine work and study while earning a salary, you could consider an apprenticeship. Which apprenticeships are available, and how you apply, depends on where you live.
Find out more about apprenticeships across the UK.
There are over 20 apprenticeships in the agriculture, environmental and animal care sector available in England, with more in development.
Each apprenticeship sets out occupational standards for specific job roles, designed by employers. The standards outline the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to demonstrate that an apprentice is fully competent in the job role.
Higher apprenticeship (Level 4)
Degree apprenticeships (Levels 5 – 7)
Discover more about apprenticeships in agriculture, animals, horticulture and the environment, or natural sciences
Our guides have all the info you need to know about doing an apprenticeship in this industry. Find out what it's really like from current apprentices and decide which is the right route for you.
Agriculture, animals, horticulture and the environment industry guide
Key areas of employment
This subject area has a strong vocational link, with the key areas of employment being management, consultancy, development, and research in the following sectors:
- agriculture, forestry, and horticulture
- engineering and manufacturing
- environment and conservation
- local and central government services
- sales and marketing
- technical media and journalism
- voluntary and charitable organisations
Examples of related careers include the following:
- animal nutritionist
- arboricultural officer
- agricultural consultant
- countryside officer
- environmental consultant
- field trials officer
- farm manager
- fish farm manager
- food scientist
- forest manager
- horticultural consultant
- plant breeder/geneticist
- research scientist
- veterinary nurse
Where can I find out more?
Visit the websites of the following professional bodies to find out more about courses and careers in agriculture and related sciences.