Institution code: H12
4 years (full-time) including a one-year work placement
Harper Adams University campus (and location of work placement)
The temperate climate of the UK is ideally suited to pastoral farming and animal production is essential to the rural economy, with around 60 per cent of UK agricultural output derived from the livestock sector. In addition to the science and technology associated with modern animal production, livestock specialists need to understand the animal welfare, food quality and environmental issues facing the industry. They must also be able to evaluate and apply advances in biotechnology to ensure a sustainable future for livestock farmers and a competitive market for animal products. Harper Adams has a long history in applied livestock research, close links with industry, and highly qualified and experienced staff.
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The year-long placement period, in your third year, may be undertaken on either a progressive livestock farm in the UK or abroad or within the animal health, breeding or feed industries in the UK. Examples of employers include Dalehead Foods, Advanced Ruminant Nutrition, For Farmers, Holstein UK and Daylesford Organics.
Several commercial scholarship opportunities linked to placement are available to apply for with sponsoring companies paying a significant amount towards the course fees of successful applicants.
All agriculture students share a common first year, studying the same modules, before focusing on their specialism; this allows students to change course during the first year.
The first year of the course provides a general introduction to agriculture in terms of animal and crop production, underpinning biological and environmental science, an introduction to farm business management and marketing, and agricultural mechanisation. In the second year of the course you start to specialise in the area of animal science, studying areas such as animal production science, farm animal nutrition, farm animal health and welfare, and biotechnology, whilst continuing to study more general aspects of agriculture such as grass and forage production, waste management and farm business management and economics. In the final part of the course your specialisation becomes complete and the focus is on animal science, studying areas such as sustainable animal production systems, advances in animal science, animal breeding and bioethics, animal product processing and a research project focused on animal science.
The Agriculture courses at Harper Adams involve a combination of lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions, together with practical classes on the University farm designed to demonstrate principles in practice and the application of scientific, technological and business principles to commercial agricultural and food production. In addition, the University has extensive links with other agricultural and food related businesses, and external visits and outside speakers are integrated into the programme. Throughout the course students are expected to apply the skills acquired to solve real-life problems, such that on completion they are able to demonstrate both academic ability and commercial application, which is a combination highly valued by employers. The proportion of independent study increases as the course progresses, particularly in the final year where students have the opportunity to undertake a dissertation in a subject area of their choice.
Assessment is via a balance of course work and examination. Weighting varies depending on course and year of study, but weighting is typically around 65 per cent on course work and 35 per cent on examination; this allows individuals to play to their strengths if they are better at course work than examinations or vice versa. Types of assignment include appraising production systems on the University farm, whole farm case studies, laboratory based analyses and literature based reviews. Format of assignments varies and includes written reports, essays, technical notes, presentations and oral examinations. Students receive written feedback on all course work to help them improve. In addition, first year students undertake examinations in two subjects at the end of the first term to enable them to gauge how they are progressing and feedback is provided on these exams. Staff are able to provide advice and guidance on revision, and many modules include revision sessions.
The applied nature of this course helps you to develop skills that are in demand within the livestock sector and ancillary industries. Career opportunities are excellent, with students finding employment both on home farms and as livestock enterprise and farm managers. Commercial and technical opportunities are also available, or you could go on to postgraduate study.