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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Ag science at NUIG ‘taught in the west with a global focus’

For students looking to carve a career from a Bachelor of Science (Agricultural Science) degree, NUIG has partnered with Teagasc to offer a new Level 8 course.

The four-year programme – code: GY321 – builds on close research and educational links between the two institutions and particularly with the state agency’s Mellows Campus.

2021 saw the return of a bachelor’s degree in ag science to NUIG Galway for the first time in over four decades after it pulled a BAgriSc in 1979.

The new-brand BSc offering, which has a “strong” focus on sustainable agriculture, had a minimum entry of 495 points last year, arising from 500 applications from students for 30 places, while the required threshold dropped to 451 CAO points in 2022.

Throughout the programme, which has an average intake of 20-30, students divide their time between Teagasc and NUIG (College of Science and Engineering) and their modules, in brief, encompass agricultural science, agri-food technology, biological and chemical sciences, sustainability and business.

Learning is through a means of lectures, lab-based practical classes, interactive online assessments, tutorials, and seminars.

Some modules that students cover include farm safety and risk assessment, animal health, rural geography, welfare and quality assurance, sustainable farming, agri-bioscience, livestock nutrition, reproduction, and rural business development.

Then, in third year, students complete modules in agri-sciences for global development, soil sciences, organic low-input farming and agri genetics.

As part of this year, students also complete a work placement stint in an agricultural or agri-food enterprise in Ireland, while other opportunities include studying abroad in third and fourth year.

In their final year, students will complete a project thesis and choose between a range of module options, which include, but are not limited to, advanced livestock science, sustainable grassland systems, agri-development, communications, agricultural biotechnology and food innovation systems and value chains.

Entry requirements

  • Minimum entry points – vary each year
  • Leaving Cert: Minimum grade H5 in two subjects and passes in four other subjects at O6/H7 level, including Irish, Maths, English, a lab science subject – Ag Science, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Physics with Chemistry or Computer Science) and any two other subjects for entry purposes.
  • For alternative entry, there are four places available for FET/FETAC qualification holders – contact NUIG’s admissions office for more information.
Opportunities for grads

According to Teagasc, this degree programme aims to provide a “rigorous understanding of the science of agriculture and sustainability, to promote and facilitate the application of research-based, agricultural management practices throughout the agricultural sector, using strong analytical and communication skills”.

It aims to equip graduates with “practical multidisciplinary skills to pursue vibrant careers across all areas of agriculture and agri-food to make a difference in the sector”.

According to NUIG, “a graduate from this programme will be competitive for job options across the agricultural science, breeding or agri-food sectors, and in public, private, governmental and academic sectors”.

Possible career-focused professional options include agricultural advisory and agricultural science and geography teaching.

There are further study opportunities for graduates, which include links to NUIG’s range of master degrees in climate change, agriculture and food security, agri-food technology and sustainability and agri-biosciences.

An NUIG spokesperson said: “The programme is taught in the west [of Ireland] but with a global focus. It focuses on the whole system and underpins the move towards more sustainable, reliable economies and jobs.”

“There is an inter-disciplinary approach that covers sustainability, agri-innovations, people, animals, crops and land use with teaching from leading agri-researchers across NUIG.”

See That’s Farming Career Focus and Student Focus segments.

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