FDSc Agriculture and Countryside Management (FD)

The information on this page relates to September 2016 entry. For 2017 information, including grade requirements, please check our prospectus.

A group of FdSc Agriculture and Countryside Management students on a field trip

Agriculture is a vocation that calls you to the countryside and the interaction between farming and wider countryside issues really matters. Whether you are interested in animals or crops, upland or lowland, intensive or extensive farming systems, the breadth and depth of teaching on this course will cater for your needs. You get the best of both worlds.

The course is taught at the highly prestigious Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) in an area renowned for its agricultural innovation, productivity, diversity and beauty.

Here is why we think that Aberystwyth is a great place for you.

  • State-of-the-art teaching that provides you with the practical skills and scientific knowledge base to underpin your future career
  • Visits to farms and businesses that lead the industry in innovation and technical know-how
  • Work experience as a component of the course
  • Progression route to honours degree level
  • Study through the medium of Welsh or English.

Click the tabs below to find out more . . .

Top 5 in the UK for student satisfaction in the subject area of Agriculture (NSS 2016)
95% student satisfaction in the subject area of Agriculture (NSS 2016)

 Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS): 91% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

92% of undergraduates from IBERS who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)


The Foundation Degree in Agriculture and Countryside Management is a two-year vocational qualification suitable for anyone wishing to develop their farming knowledge and understand wider countryside issues.
Aberystwyth is surrounded by a great diversity of beautiful environments, including marine, moorland, mountain, grassland and coast that provide a fabulous opportunity for course fieldwork and recreation.

What will you be taught?
As you progress through the course you will study:

  • Animal production systems
  • The development and management of British habitats
  • Soil and crop management
  • Plant science
  • Agronomy and crop improvement
  • Business, economics and land use
  • Making the countryside
  • People in the countryside
  • Agricultural technology
  • Agricultural systems
  • Food farming and the environment

There is also the opportunity to gain certification through recognised national vocational organisations such as LANTRA.

Will I gain work experience that makes me more employable?
The 2 year Foundation Degree requires students to complete a 6 week work placement between the 1st and 2nd year. This can be on a farm or allied business or organisation. It allows students to

  • Experience the agricultural or countryside workplace
  • Apply academic and vocational knowledge
  • Gain experience and skills that make them much more employable.

A world renowned teaching and research institute 

  • Our students have won the “Biology Student of the Year” award at the European Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) Awards, and the Welsh Ornithologists’ Union Student Prize!
  • Our Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) received the ''Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology'' award at the 2013 Times Higher Education Awards. 
  • Our Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) in conjunction with Bangor University had the 5th strongest submission in the UK for the Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014).

Student achievements

  • RABDF Dairy Crest Dairy Student of the Year 2013
  • National Trust and YFC choose Caryl Hughes 2013/14 and Tudur Parry in 2014/15 to run £1m Snowdonia farm
  • Successive winners ‘Fferm Ffactor’
  • Welsh Young Shepherd of the year and European Young Shepherd 2013

Passionate teaching staff who are experts in their field
Many have won awards for their teaching and they come from a diverse range of backgrounds, with a wide range of expertise and extensive links with the agricultural industry. Make no mistake, you will be learning from the best

Can I progress onto the BSc degree programme?
Students who successfully complete the Foundation Degree are automatically offered entry into the 2nd year of a suitable degree programme.
Students who demonstrate consistently good performance will be offered entry into the final year of a suitable degree programme.

Want to study in Welsh?
Some of our modules are taught in Welsh as well as English. If you study through the medium of Welsh you may be eligible for a generous bursary.

Our Staff

The majority of teaching staff at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry.  The Institute has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (60 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

Business, Economics And Land Use RD11400

Crop And Grassland Management RD11500

Soil And Plant Science RD12200

Semester 2

Business, Economics And Land Use RD11420

Crop And Grassland Management RD11520

Soil And Plant Science RD12220

Year 1 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Introduction To Livestock Production Systems RD10800

Cyflwyniad I Systemau Cynhyrchu Da Byw RG10800

Semester 2

Introduction To Livestock Production Systems RD10810

Cyflwyniad I Systemau Cynhyrchu Da Byw RG10810

Year 1 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 2

The Development And Management Of British Habitats RD11610

Datblygu A Rheoli Cynefinoedd Ym Mhrydain RG11610

Year 1 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 2

The Agricultural Industry - Scheme Specific Skills RD10510

Y Diwydiant Amaethyddol - Sgiliau Cynllun-benodol RG10510

Year 1 Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Study And Communication Skills RD12610

Sgiliau Astudio A Chyfathrebu (fdsc) RG12610

Year 1 Options Choose 20 credits

Semester 1

Making The British Countryside RD10120

Practical Estate Skills RD12300

Semester 2

People And The Countryside RD10720

Practical Estate Skills RD12320

Final Year Core (50 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

Wildlife Management RD23100

Semester 2

Agronomy And Crop Improvement RD22220

Human Impact On The Environment RD22810

Wildlife Management RD23120

Final Year Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Food, Farming And The Environment RD20420

Bwyd, Ffermio A'r Amgylchedd RG20420

Final Year Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Livestock Production Systems RD23400

Systemau Cynhyrchu Da Byw RG23400

Semester 2

Livestock Production Systems RD23420

Systemau Cynhyrchu Da Byw RG23420

Final Year Options This CORE MODULE is offered bilingually: choose your preferred language

Semester 1

Professional Skills RD23310

Sgiliau Proffesiynol RG23310

Final Year Options Choose 20 credits. Where modules are offered bilingually: choose your preferred language if applicable.

Semester 1

Advanced Practical Skills RD22100

Research Methods RD23500

Project RD25500

Dulliau Ymchwil RG23500

Prosiect RG25500

Semester 2

Advanced Practical Skills RD22120

Research Methods RD23520

Project RD25520

Dulliau Ymchwil RG23520

Prosiect RG25520


Career Prospects

Your FdSc in Agriculture and Countryside Management opens up a range of exciting opportunities for employment and further training. You will be a strong candidate for work as an agricultural consultant, farm manager, rural practice surveyor, soil scientist and animal nutritionist. Because of the strong Countryside Management elements of the course, you will be suitable for work in estate or park management, planning, rural surveying, forestry and conservation.

Throughout your training you will develop a wealth of skills that can be easily transferred into almost any graduate or professional employment situation. Because this degree has a strong vocational and practical element, you will be well-placed for work in the demanding but rewarding agricultural industry.

You will also receive every encouragement to progress onto one of our honours level degree courses, and you will be advised of your options as the course progresses.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Agriculture & Countryside Management will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include:

• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
• effective problem-solving
• analytical and creative thinking skills
• decision-making
• the ability to work independently
• time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines
• self-motivation and self-reliance
• team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement

GO Wales

GO Wales is administered by the University’s Career Service, working with local businesses to create paid work placements of a few weeks’ duration for students. It gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What will I learn?

In the first year you will learn about farming systems and the natural, economic and social factors which shape contemporary agriculture and rural businesses. You will consider the management requirements of agricultural grassland and cereal crops as well as the factors that underpin a range of cropping strategies. You will also explore the scientific principles governing plant and crop growth processes in the field, and investigate modern plant breeding strategies. You will look at livestock production systems and their importance for world food production, and will consider the role of biotechnology in improved animal physiology and nutrition science. You will also have the opportunity to gain hands-on practical estate skills, and will spend a day a week developing your technical proficiency in such fields as drystone walling, fencing, tree planting, hedge laying, green woodworking, woodturning and footpath construction or bridge building.

In the second year you will further explore livestock production systems, and will consider arable, grass and forage crops and the likely impact of advances in biotechnology on future crop production and management. You will investigate wildlife management and habitat conservation, and the impact of human population on the environment. You will become acquainted with the ecological impacts of modern food production methodologies, such as the environmental impact of agricultural and aquacultural intensification, and issues in the globalization of food markets. Alongside your academic studies you will have the opportunity to gain certificated practical skills and experience in such areas as brush cutting, using a chainsaw, trailer towing, driving ATVs, pest control and livestock handling. You may also choose to undertake a case study or feasibility study, which will help you to gain skills in analysis and writing technical reports.

Upon successful completion of the foundation degree, you may choose to progress onto the third year of one of our agriculture or countryside-related honours degree schemes, provided you meet the required entry qualification.

How will I be taught?

This course will be delivered through a balanced programme of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, practicals, study tours, and demonstrations.

Assessment methods take various forms including essays, practical reports and exercises, oral presentations, exams, plans, worksheets, field notebooks, and case studies.

The university's vibrant culture of academic and vocational learning will support you in your agricultural and countryside training and encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities within the department and the university to develop your theoretical and practical expertise so that, upon graduation, you are perfectly positioned for the next stage of your career.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Student Views

My course is Agriculture with Countryside Management: I love the fact that it's challenging and brings out the best in you. You get to do things related to both agriculture and the countryside, and best of all you get to travel a lot visiting breath-taking landscapes, sites of special scientific interest and lastly other agricultural farms all around United Kingdom. It's just awesome, believe me you would love it. Wenenda Garshon

What do I love about Agriculture at Aberystwyth University? The people - students from a wide range of backgrounds all getting together, sharing experiences and learning together. Lecturers with a passion for their subject, who are down-to-earth and approachable. The place - the green hills, quiet woods, impressive views, and the sea. The course - learning about a topic which is foundational to society; stretching my mind with new knowledge, and shivering out in freezing farmyards (yes, even that has a kind of pleasure to it!). That's what I love about agriculture here. Benjamin David Latham

The Agriculture course has a great mix of modules which has opened my eyes to many other aspects of agriculture. The information given in lectures on important subjects is usually simple but thorough which makes work both easy to understand and remember. Farm visits are also enjoyable as it gives you a chance to observe and understand different systems. It's also interesting to hear the views of the farmers and the different ways they implement systems to suit their business. Aled Rhys Lewis

Key Information Set

Places available in Clearing

0800 121 40 80 (Freephone)

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Key Facts

UCAS Code: D400

Please note that the tariff below may not apply during Clearing. Contact us on 0800 121 40 80 or fill in the form above for more information.

Tariff Required: 120 - 160

Entry Requirements: Minimum one A level required in any subject. GCSE: Grade C in English or Welsh and Mathematics and a Science subject.

Course Length: 2 Years

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