September 2022 will see the first intake of students for a brand-new full-time four-year level 8 honours degree in ag science and sustainability.
As part of the partnership between Gurteen Agricultural College and Technological University of the Shannon (TUS), students can alternatively opt to complete a level 7 three-year degree in this field.
The entrance requirement for first-year students is by direct application for September 2022.
Applications for September 2023 will be through the CAO.
Ag science degree
The two bodies claim that the course is “the first of its kind” in the mid-west region.
It aims to give graduates the knowledge and skills to work in the agriculture and agri-food sector while also being equipped to manage the relationship between agriculture and the environment.
Students will explore issues such as climate change, biodiversity, and water quality in the context of food production.
Students will be based between the TUS Thurles campus and Gurteen Agricultural College, where they will gain hands-on experience.
Gurteen Agricultural College’s farm:
- 400 Borris-type ewes;
- 250 pedigree Holstein Friesians;
- 70 suckler cows;
- 40 ha of tillage crops.
They will complete two full semesters at Gurteen Agricultural College and will spend one semester on work placement.
Students will spend the remaining five semesters at the Thurles campus.
Advanced entry route
The partners will consider applicants presenting the full Level 6 QQI/FET (FETAC) award in Advanced Certificate in Agriculture, which includes three distinctions, for advanced entry to second year this September.
At the end of the programme, after obtaining an honours degree, students will also receive a Green Cert.
According to Jon Parry, principal of Gurteen College, employers in the agricultural sector are seeking highly trained professionals who can demonstrate a “sound” understanding of complex agricultural and environmental phenomena, combined with “solid” practical skills.
“As part of this degree course, students will spend an entire year at Gurteen College.”
“This will allow them to fully use the sector-leading facilities we offer.”
“This includes our commercial, mixed-enterprise farm and wider biodiversity areas such as the bogland, forestry and lough.”
Brigid Doyle, course coordinator at TUS, outlined that the new degree aims to equip graduates with desirable knowledge and skills.
This is to meet the needs of the evolving agricultural industry, from climate change to biodiversity management, while maintaining sustainable food systems.
“Our partnerships with Gurteen College and industry ensure a focus on the practical application of knowledge and skills for the agri-environmental, agri-food and on-farm settings.”
“This is a huge reality for the agriculture sector. It is important that we are providing a course that the needs of students and industry.”
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