Agriculture (inc work placement year)

Key Facts

Code D403
  • Typical A-level offer


  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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Agriculture is a vocation and way of life. Whether you are interested in animals or crops, upland or lowland, intensive or extensive farming systems, the breadth and depth of teaching in the highly popular Agriculture Foundation Degree at Aberystwyth University, will cater for your needs.

This three year course is taught within the highly prestigious Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences 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

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)

  • Overview
  • Modules
  • Employability
  • Teaching & Learning


This Foundation Degree in Agriculture is a three-year vocational qualification suitable for anyone wishing to develop their farming knowledge or retrain for a career in agriculture. It includes one year working in the agricultural industry.

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

  • Animal production systems
  • Animal science
  • Animal nutrition
  • Soil and crop management
  • Plant science
  • Agronomy and crop improvement
  • Business, economics and land use
  • Farm business budgeting and appraisal
  • Agricultural technology
  • Agricultural systems
  • Food farming and the environment

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

Will I gain work experience that makes me more employable?
The 3 year Foundation Degree requires students to complete a 9 month work placement between the 1st and final year. This allows students to experience a whole year on a farm or allied business or organisation. It is popular with students who want to travel abroad and gain farming experience in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and beyond!

It allows students to . . . .

  • Experience the agricultural 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 and runner up in 2016
  • 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.



Career Prospects

Your foundation degree in Agriculture 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, agronomist and animal nutritionist, and a wide range of roles in the ancillary industries and with government and local authorities.

Throughout your training you will develop a wealth of skills that can be easily transferred into almost any graduate or professional employment situation. Because your degree includes work experience, you will also have a proven track record in employment and a wealth of hands-on experience. You will also receive every encouragement to progress onto one of our honours level degree courses in agriculture.  

You will have first-rate technical, biological and business knowledge, with which you will be able to manage a farm or agricultural business efficiently, productively and safely. You will be confident in handling data and be a strong communicator in both written and oral forms. You will also have valuable skills in the management of people, animals and resources, and you will possess the latest expertise in agricultural best practice.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a foundation degree in Agriculture 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 and creative thinking skills

• data analysis and computational skills

• 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

• research skills

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn?

In the first year you will be introduced to the technologies that are increasingly being developed for and adopted by the agricultural industry. You will investigate the factors that influence land use and explore the primary resources required to operate a rural business. You will identify the management requirements of agricultural grassland and cereal crops as well as the factors that underpin a range of cropping strategies, and will look at the scientific principles governing plant and crop growth processes in the field. You will look at livestock production systems and their importance for world food production, and consider the role of biotechnology in improved physiology and nutrition science.

Your second year will be spent in industry on a farm or in an agri-related business, gaining valuable work experience and putting your academic knowledge to practical use. Prospective employers will look very favourably upon the skills and experience you will gain during this sandwich year.

In the third year you will examine British livestock industries, crop production systems and strategies, and will learn how to analyse, budget and appraise a farm business. 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. You will also 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.

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 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.

Entry Requirements

A Levels CC-DDD

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh, Mathematics or a Science subject

BTEC National Diploma:

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
24 points overall

European Baccalaureate:
60% overall

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