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New organic and biological agriculture programmes

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has announced a range of postgraduate programmes in organic and biological agriculture.

Applications for its two level 9 certificate soil health and water management and livestock management in organic and biological agriculture programmes will close on January 21st, 2022.

The programmes – which are “component” parts of an MSc in Organic and Biological Agriculture – will commence in mid-February.

The individually certified modules within the masters programme will each run for 12 weeks.

This will consist of webinars, virtual sessions, laboratory and field assessments and farm visits during each programme period.

Postgraduate agriculture programmes

Professor Peter McLoughlin, Head of the School of Science and Computing, said graduates of these programmes might wish to:

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  • Apply the knowledge and practices learned in primary commercial production;
  • Provide support and technical advice to growers and farmers;
  • Remain in a research, development and innovation environment.

Also, they may wish to utilise their applied knowledge and skills in public service to develop supportive agricultural, climate, and environmental policy.

Upon successful completion of individual Level 9 certificates, the learner can graduate with a:

  • Certificate in Organic and Biological Production (30 credits);
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Organic and Biological Agriculture (60 credits;
  • Or complete the full (90 credits) MSc in Organic and Biological Agriculture.
Registration opens

Sean McGloin, network manager of NOTS, said that, based on feedback from their course trainees, it identified:

  • An increased demand for and interest in specific areas in soil biology and health
  • More integrated approaches to livestock management;
  • Strategic use of agroforestry to enhance on-farm biodiversity.

“In combination, all these areas lead to better climate resilience on Irish farms,” he said.

“We certainly see a need at grower and producer level to enhance their knowledge and skills,” he added.

Mature students

These programmes are based on a needs assessment WIT carried out in conjunction with NOTS, farmers, growers,  producers and other industry stakeholders.

Staff in the Department of Science in WIT developed course content.

Head of the Department of Science, Dr Orla O’Donovan, stated that mature students have different education and learning needs.

“The flexible structure of the programme will enable participants to graduate with either individual certificates, grouped certificates, or complete a two-year programme for a Postgraduate Diploma or an MSc in Organic and Biological Agriculture,” she said.

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