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Insect science course numbers double

Posted 16 September 2015

Postgraduate research student, Fran Sconce.

The number of students enrolling at Harper Adams to pursue a career dedicated to insect science has doubled in just four years.

While there is a shortage of expertise within entomology, the science of insects, postgraduate qualifications related to the subject have seen continual growth since they were established in 2012.

Compared to just 12 students enrolling for 2012 intake, staff are now preparing to welcome 23 students later this month for the fourth intake, with places still available for those interested.

Professor of Entomology, Professor Simon Leather, said: “Harper Adams is the only UK institution where students can learn about general and applied entomology at postgraduate level, but we also understand that there is a current shortage of expertise in the subject.

“To counteract this shortage, since our launch here in 2012, we have been working extremely hard to engage with the next generation through outreach activities such as supporting a charity garden’s insect day and hosting events on campus.

“As well as taught postgraduate courses, we also have a strong team of postgraduate research students and they have been busy sharing the news of their latest research at events across the country and on social media.

“We are delighted that our profile-raising activities have been successful and that we are able to contribute to the skills gap through training more students - our soon-to-be qualified entomologists!”

Entomology is the scientific study of insects, and investigates the important role that they play in all ecosystems. As well as beneficial insects, many are also important pests of agriculture, horticulture and forestry, and some may cause human health problems.

Reflecting this growth in student intake, Harper Adams now offers six different postgraduate courses within the field of applied ecology, including the original entomology and integrated pest management qualifications.

Students specifically enrolling to study MSc Entomology are also able to apply for one of five £4,000 scholarships offered by the Royal Entomological Society. The Society increased the amount of bursaries it offers last year, following the success of the course.

Professor Leather added: “Harper Adams really is a fantastic place to study entomology-related subjects. Not only are we the only place in the UK to offer them at postgraduate level, but we also have a state-of-the-art dedicated building for our students, opened earlier this year.

“We hope that that, combined with the potential bursary and fantastic career prospects, will continue to encourage students to pursue a career in entomology, to help us to protect the future of plant science.”

Watch a video about entomology at Harper Adams here.

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