FDSc Agriculture (inc work placement year)

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 students outside monitoring and learning about sheep

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.

The two 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

Click the tabs below to find out more . . .


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.

93% of our 2014 IBERS graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating, up 6 percentage points from the previous year (DLHE 2014). This increase reflects our investment in innovative and strategic student-focused employability initiatives which encompass all our academic Institutes and which we firmly believe are likely to improve our employability ratings still further.

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction survey results also show a significant improvement with 92% of students satisfied with the quality of the teaching on their course (5 percentage points higher than the UK average).

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

  • 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 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 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
  • 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 (80 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

Agricultural Technology RD11110

Business, Economics And Land Use RD11400

Crop And Grassland Management RD11500

Soil And Plant Science RD12200

Semester 2

Animal Science RD11210

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 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 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 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 1

Study And Communication Skills RD12610

Sgiliau Astudio A Chyfathrebu (fdsc) RG12610

Year 2 Core (120 Credits) You must take the following modules

Semester 1

Sandwich Year RDW0000

Sandwich Year RDW0100

Semester 2

Sandwich Year RDW0060

Sandwich Year RDW0160

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

Semester 1

Business Budgeting And Appraisal RD22500

Semester 2

Agronomy And Crop Improvement RD22220

Business Budgeting And Appraisal RD22520

Animal Nutrition RD25410

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

Professional Skills RD23310

Sgiliau Proffesiynol RG23310

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 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 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 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 and Assessment

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.

Key Information Set

Key Facts

UCAS Code: D403

Tariff Required: 120 - 160

Entry Requirements: GCSE: Grade C in English or Welsh and Mathematics and a Science subject.

Course Length: 3 Years

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