An understanding of the environment we live in is fundamental to the survival of any community and is one of the oldest industries in the world, having been in existence since 10,000 BC (approx). In recent years, the study of Agriculture has become even more relevant as an industry, covering key contemporary concerns such as sustainable sourcing, genetically modified crops, technological developments alongside environmental issues (such as climate change), and organic farming methods.
The importance of agriculture within today’s world is often underestimated, but it is still an imperative part of the world’s survival. With the earth’s population continuing to grow at such rapid rates, and the earth’s finite resources in steady decline, the agricultural industry is continuously looking for new and innovative ways to produce and distribute food supplies.
Of course before deciding what to study, it’s important to understand whether or not you’re the sort of individual who would enjoy an Agriculture degree. Inevitably, you will spend a lot of time outdoors conducting research and performing vocational placements – are you an “outdoor person”. Keep in mind also that you will spend a lot of time studying agricultural theories, such as environmental science and production systems.
In order to do well on an Agriculture course, you will not only need to be passionate about the outdoors, but also be willing to work hard regardless of conditions. If this sounds like you, then a degree in Agriculture is incredibly rewarding, with a diverse range of career prospects for new graduates.
Agriculture is not only pivotal to the production and distribution of food, but also plays a key role in the preservation of the world’s green areas. As a result of technological and social development, agricultural pioneers are needed to make key decisions concerning the preservation of the environment and natural resources.
With the agricultural industry becoming increasingly globalised, studying a degree in Agriculture will provide students with a wide range of jobs to choose from upon graduation. Whether you’re interested in farming, environmental conservation or environment-based scientific research, then a degree in Agriculture or a related field is definitely worth considering. Although many Agriculture graduates opt for research work or farming work, the understanding that you will gain with your degree can be applied to other fields of work, such as Business and Law.
There are many exciting opportunities for those wishing to study Agriculture. A number of degrees specialise in specific areas, such as countryside management, farm management and sustainable soil management to name just a few.
Different universities will have different entry requirements depending on your previous qualifications. If English is not your first language, then you will be required to sit an English language test to ensure that you will be able to cope with your study. Most universities will require a minimum score of 6.5 or above on an IELTS test before sitting any course, though you will be able to take language support sessions if you ever find the language barrier is affecting your studies.
Most universities will require that you have qualifications in a similar field such as Chemistry, Biology, Maths, Physics or Geography, although this will depend upon the institution.
There are so many courses available, that it is often difficult to decide where you want to study, but there are some key factors that should play a role in your decision; the first of which should be the course itself. Given that Agriculture is such a wide field of study, you need to choose a university that offers a number of modules that specifically appeal to your interests. Once you've examined these in further detail, it is also important to consider your own academic abilities. Universities often vary on their entry level requirements, so it is important to check when applying that you are likely to achieve the required grades.
You also need to consider the reputation of your chosen university, and how this help you get a job in the field upon graduation. Indications of how highly regarded the university is can be found on their website, which will tell you not only of previous alumni, but of companies with which the institution is connected.
It is also important to check out the local area as well as the university campus, when deciding where to study. Ask yourself, if you could be happy there. Everybody wants something different from their university experience; and while some students thrive as part of a larger university in the heart of a city, others may prefer to study as part of a smaller, rural community.
If you need financial aid, there are a number of bursaries and scholarships available to subsidise your studies.