Agriculture and related sciences

Agriculture and related sciences bring together a wide range disciplines including, for example, animal and land management, food science, economics, horticulture, technology, and environmental conservation.
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Follow one of the University of Derby’s bio sciences undergraduate student, Ibzz Fetin, through his third year research project on black tip reef sharks, what he did, and importantly why. Video provided by the University of Derby.
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Key stats

15,130 students were studying this subject in 2014/15.

  • 93% UK
  • 7% international
  • 78% full-time
  • 22% part-time
69.3% of graduates went directly into employment.

Top five graduate destinations:

  1. Professional, scientific, and technical
  2. Agriculture, forestry and fishing
  3. Wholesale and retail trade
  4. Manufacturing
  5. Arts, entertainment, and recreation

What courses are available?

Universities and colleges in the UK are offering courses in the following subject areas:

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

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are available in the following areas:

Higher apprenticeships:

  • Agriculture – e.g. assistant farm manager

Advanced apprenticeships:

  • Zoo/animal keeper
  • Animal/dog trainer
  • Agriculture machinery operator
  • Assistant farm manager
  • Livestock technician
  • Veterinary nurse – small animals
  • Assistant arboricultural officer
  • Gamekeeper/head keeper
  • Horticultural technician
  • Deputy head greenkeeper

Find out more about apprenticeships


Entry requirements

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. 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 individual universities, as some are more flexible around which subjects they regard as a science.

Vocational courses – Other Level 3 qualifications (e.g. BTEC extended diploma in animal management science) may be accepted as an alternative to A levels by some universities. It is essential that you check alternative entry requirements with individual universities.

Selection

Veterinary nursing – All applicants are interviewed, with admissions tutors looking to explore whether you have:

  • a realistic understanding of the career
  • a passion for the work
  • the appropriate skills and qualities to be a veterinary nurse

Personal statement

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:

  • relevant work experience/shadowing or voluntary work (one to two weeks is essential for veterinary nursing)
  • additional reading and research
  • membership of related societies/clubs – e.g. local conservation group

How to write your personal statement



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.