Institution code: H12
4 years (full-time) including a one-year work placement
Harper Adams University campus (and location of work placement)
As farms become larger and agricultural production systems more efficient they become increasingly mechanised. The industry needs highly skilled graduates who understand how agricultural machines and mechanised systems operate, and how machinery should be effectively managed on farms and within contracting businesses. These courses provide students with a thorough grounding in agriculture and mechanisation.
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BSc students undertake placement in their third year. You will enjoy a year of paid employment in a business related to your career aspirations and experience. Recent placement employers have included machinery dealerships or manufacturers such as Kuhn, John Deere (both in the UK and their European HQ in Mannheim, Germany), Claas, CNH and Agco, in roles as machinery demonstrators, dealer technicians, machinery testing or sales. Several commercial scholarship opportunities, linked to placement, are available to apply for with sponsoring companies paying a significant amount towards the tuition fees of successful applicants.
All agriculture students share a common first year, studying the same modules; this allows students to change course during the first year.
The first part 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 part of the course you start to specialise in the area of mechanisation studying areas such as farm machinery technology, hydraulics and electrics, and mechanisation aspects of soils and farm infrastructure. The mechanisation aspects are studied alongside more general aspects of agriculture such as waste management, crop production and science, and farm business management. In the final year the specialisation is developed further, studying areas such as machinery technology and information systems, measurement and control systems, applied mechanisation projects in association with industry, and a research project with a mechanisation focus. In the final year students study mechanisation modules alongside crop production and crop protection modules.
The principles of mechanisation are developed in an applied way without the use of complex mathematics.
The course involves 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 skills you will develop will be useful throughout the industry, whether managing large, highly mechanised farms, running a successful contracting business or working in the agricultural machinery sector. Harper Adams graduates have a long history of successfully finding employment within all of these areas of work.