Agriculture BSc

   
   
  

Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:D400
Qualification:BSc Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:Agriculture
UCAS code
UCAS code
D400
Qualification
Agriculture | BSc Hons
Duration
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
ABB-BBB
Required subjects
at least two science-based subjects at A level (business studies, economics, geography, maths and psychology also accepted), and an additional A level or equivalent. We may also consider ABC depending on predicted grades in specific subjects.  
IB score
32-30 (including specified grades in science subjects and English language) 
Course location
Sutton Bonington Campus 
Course places
35 across agricultural sciences 
School/department
 

Overview

This course offers a unique opportunity to develop your understanding of agriculture, from the science and production of crops and animals to the management skills needed to work in agricultural businesses and related industries.
Read full overview

The degree has a core programme of crop production, animal production and business management and marketing, but with considerable flexibility in the range of optional modules available. We take an applied approach, building up your science, business and practical knowledge over the three years of the course.

From the second year of the degree, through your research project, you have the chance to get involved in the agricultural science or business
management research work of the School of  Biosciences. Your project can be undertaken on the University Farm, where we have 450
hectares of arable, dairy, sheep, woodland and environmental stewardship enterprises.

As part of our applied approach, teaching and field trips involve staff from the University Farm, as well as the wide range of research and business organisations with whom we have strong links.

The course is based at Sutton Bonington Campus, also home to the University Farm and Dairy Centre.

 

University Farm and Dairy Centre

Sutton Bonington Campus is home to the University Farm and Dairy Centre - we have a 450 hectare mixed farm, with arable crops, 200 dairy cows (robotically milked), a sheep flock, environmental stewardship land and new and established woodland.

The farm is commercially run, with facilities for research and teaching, including a Farm Demonstration Centre; farm staff contribute to the teaching on our degree programmes. 

 

See our other agricultural sciences degree options: Agricultural and Livestock Science; Agricultural and Crop Science; Integrated Agricultural Business Management (with industry placement);International Agricultural Science 

Year one

The first year provides an essential base of knowledge in agricultural sciences, from the biological processes that make up plant and
animal life, through cells, whole plants and animals, to the application of agricultural science to food production and global food security.

Applied modules covering agricultural systems,grassland management, the ecology of natural and managed ecosystems, research skills and
employability put your science into context with the current situation on the University Farm. You can choose to follow the Agricultural Production pathway or the Business Management pathway.

Years two and three

In the second and third years, your study is based around a core of applied modules in animal production, crop production, business management and marketing, and related subjects such as soil science. You can also choose from a wide range of optional modules:

Animal production: teaching covers ruminant and non-ruminant production, animal health and disease management, reproduction and fertility in livestock, animal nutrition and bioethics.

Business management: you will study economics and policy, the management of people and technology, marketing, rural business management and consultancy, and manage your own business enterprise on the University Farm.

Crop production: you will cover soil science, cereal and non-cereal  crops, plant growth and physiology, pest and disease management, with other specialised modules available.

The research project is an important part of your degree, with the opportunity to get involved in the agricultural science or business management research work in the School of Biosciences, one of the country’s top agricultural research centres. Your project can be undertaken on the University Farm.

Recent research project topics are varied, but a small selection includes: seasonal effects of oestrous activity in dairy cattle, effects of field margins on the biological control of pests, production of biogas at the University Farm, benefits of precision agriculture, factors influencing potato yield, and diet formulation for the poultry industry.

Industry Placement year

This optional year in industry as a paid employee takes place between years two and three of your degree. It gives you the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills in a real-world environment, which will significantly improve your employment prospects. Read more

Year in Computer Science

You can combine this degree with a fourth extra year (year three) spent in the University's School of Computer Science. This additional year will provide you with training in software development and computing skills relevant to your final year research project and to your future career.

You will be able to transfer into this programme from your BSc course (subject to progression criteria).

Study Abroad options

Combining Agriculture with a Certificate in European Studies offers the opportunity to study abroad at one of our Erasmus+ partner universities in France, Germany or Spain for an extra year. You can transfer to this four year route in your first semester of study, subject to language competency. Read more 

Students can also apply to the University-wide exchange programme and spend a semester studying abroad at one of our world-leading partner universities in a variety of overseas locations including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and China.

 

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB-BBB, including two science-based subjects at A level  (business studies, economics, geography, maths and psychology also accepted), and an additional A level or equivalent. Citizenship studies, critical thinking, general studies and leisure studies not accepted. 
We may also consider ABC depending on predicted grades in specific subjects.

English language requirements 

IELTS 6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element)

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies. Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS. Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Alternative qualifications 

For details please see alternative qualifications page

Foundation year - a foundation year is available for this course

Flexible admissions policy

We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances.

Notes for applicants 

Our modular courses are flexible and offer the opportunity to combine your main studies with modules in other subject areas (please note that all modules are subject to change).

 
 

Modules

Typical year one modules

Compulsory

Contemporary Agricultural Systems

Modern agriculture is a dynamic, fast-paced and high-tech industry. In this module, you’ll explore practical agricultural systems used by commercial UK farms. Designed for students with a farm or non-farming background, you’ll get to understand the fundamental concepts of agricultural systems within the context of contemporary markets, policy and research. Exact topics covered in the module will vary according to the issues affecting the agricultural industry in any one year, but examples include: dairy production, arable production, soils, agri-environmental interactions, labour and machinery management and farm business systems. You’ll have lectures from academics currently researching these fields and will visit the University Farm and external farms to see what you’ve learnt in practice.

 
The Biosciences and Global Food Security 

How can you use science to help improve global food security? This module introduces you to the issues of global food security and the complexity existing in different parts of our food generation system. Looking across the food supply chain, you’ll cover the evolution of crops, crop and animal production, and the food industry. Importantly, you’ll also look at sustainable nutrition because food security isn’t just about supply – it’s important that people are getting the right kind of food. You’ll learn about these issues through a mix of lectures and practical laboratory sessions. You’ll also develop professional skills to work safely in laboratory situations.

 

Animal Biology

Animals – both pets and livestock – play a big part in our lives. In this module, you’ll be introduced to animal ecology and evolution and examine the basis of animal interactions with humans. You’ll then look at domestication and how animal production systems have been developed. Using practical laboratory sessions and lectures, you’ll learn more about animal biology and explore the way in which animal product quality can be manipulated. 

 
Grassland Management
There’s more to grass than meets the eye. Grasslands are used for forage in agricultural systems but are also important as habitat for wild animals, birds and beneficial insects. In this module you’ll learn about the latest developments in grassland management, both UK and globally, and the policy issues associated with these developments. You’ll examine the morphology and physiology of forage grass species to understand the mechanisms of grass growth, production and utilisation and how these are influenced by management practices. In addition to lectures, you’ll have farm visits and computer-based tutorials so you can develop your understanding of grassland management, identify grass plants and use the latest subject-specific software to calculate a pasture budget. 
 
 
The Ecology of Natural and Managed Ecosystems

Pollinator species are hugely important for natural systems and for managed systems like agriculture, but there is concern that numbers are declining. What physical, chemical or biotic factors are limiting these species’ distribution? What other species are they in competition with? How diverse or stable is the ecological community overall? This module introduces you to the principles of ecology and looks at how organisms have evolved to interact with their environment. You’ll also cover population (such as competition and predation) and community ecology (such as the diversity and stability of communities, patterns of species richness). You’ll explore the various definitions of biodiversity and look at the loss of species and habitats, particularly in semi-natural and managed habitats such as woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and agricultural land. You’ll have lectures from current researchers in the field and the opportunity to apply your learning in the laboratory and through field visits.

 
Biosciences Tutorials and Foundation Science 

The tutorials component of this module is intended to enhance your transition into university and guide you through the academic expectations of your degrees. This part of the module is spread throughout the year and includes three generic sessions on ‘study skills and plagiarism’, ‘study opportunities’ and ‘career and personal development’, and a series of small group tutorials with your academic tutor to develop generic skills such as finding crucial information, oral presentation, data handling and presentation of results, preparation for examinations, and essay writing skills relevant to biosciences.

The Foundation Science content has three elements: chemistry, maths and statistics and physics. The chemistry element will include: elements and periodic table; atomic structure and bonding; intermolecular attractions, chemical equilibrium; acids and bases, oxidation and reduction; rates of reaction; basic organic chemistry, isomerism, and rings.  The Maths and Stats element will include: calculations, algebra, functions and relationships, powers, logarithms, descriptive statistics, significance, regression and presenting data. The Physics element will include: units and dimensions; power, energy and heat; light and the electromagnetic spectrum; attenuation/absorption; and radioactivity.

There is also an IT element, which interfaces with generic IT training for undergraduates provided within the University.

 

 

Core modules Agriculture Production pathway

Biochemistry -The Building Blocks of Life 
Have you ever wondered how some crops can resist diseases? This module provides you with the fundamentals for understanding biochemical processes in living organisms. You’ll be introduced to the basic structure, properties and functions of the four key biological macromolecules: nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. You’ll also look at the metabolic pathways occurring in cells, such as respiration, photosynthesis and the biosynthetic pathways for the key macromolecules. In addition to lectures, you’ll have practical laboratory sessions to learn how to use key biochemical techniques for the separation and analysis of macromolecules and measurement of the metabolic process.
 
Plant Science

How can mutant plants be used to improve crop yield? In this module you’ll be introduced to plant evolution and the cellular structure of plants, in particular seeds, leaves, flowers and roots, and how these multicellular tissues are constructed. You’ll become familiar with the techniques used to study plant science, including genetics and the use of mutants. Using model plants, such as Arabidopsis, you’ll look at the development of modern plant biology and genetics and then explore the applications of biotechnology in plant science. You’ll also examine the importance of plant nutrition and how the interaction with pathogens is crucial to plant growth and production. You’ll have a mix of lectures and practical laboratory sessions to apply your learning.

 
Genes and Cells 1 

The basic functional units of life are cells. In this module you’ll learn about the growth and development of cells, focusing on mitosis, meiosis, cell division and differentiation. You’ll get to explore the ultrastructure – the structure of a cell too small to be seen with an ordinary microscope – of animal, plant and bacterial cells and even viruses. Once you have this foundation understanding, the second part of the module covers fundamental genetic principles and you’ll be able to answer the questions: What are the Mendelian laws of inheritance? How are genes expressed? You’ll have lectures from current researchers in the field and the opportunity to apply your learning in the laboratory and in workshops.

 

 

Core modules Business pathway

Agricultural Business in the Global Economy 

Today’s agricultural businesses operate in the global economy. In this module, you’ll explore both the influence of the global economy on agricultural businesses and the impact of agriculture on the global economy. You’ll look at the key issues affecting agricultural businesses today, including national and global economic drivers, supply and demand trends, the impact of financial drivers (exchange rates, interest rates and monetary flows) and the importance of trade agreements in agriculture. Importantly, you’ll also explore how consumer concerns have affected agricultural businesses globally (think free trade and traceability) and how agricultural businesses can affect the environment (think pollution and deforestation, but also amenity). You’ll have a mix of lectures, computer-aided learning sessions, field trips to local agricultural businesses and lectures from invited guest speakers.

 
Integrated Agri-Food Markets and Marketing

Why should farmers or other food producers think about marketing? In this module, you’ll learn about the importance of applying market information and marketing management approaches to agricultural and food businesses. You’ll look at the key trends in food and non-food markets, including biofuels. Fundamental concepts of these markets and marketing techniques will also be introduced to help you develop an understanding of the agri-food supply chain, food retailing and sourcing, and regulations impacting on agri-food markets. You’ll have a mix of lectures, computer-aided learning sessions, field trips to local businesses and lectures from invited guest speakers.

 

 

Optional - there are no optional modules in year one

 

Typical year two modules

Compulsory

Applied Animal Science
A highly applied module, you’ll learn about animal physiology, nutrition and management and use your knowledge to think critically about production systems. Focusing on the nutrition, growth and welfare of farmed animals, you’ll cover a wide range of subjects, including investigating the energy and protein evaluation systems for ruminants and non-ruminants and the differential maturity of individual carcass components. You’ll compare systems of production for all major species of livestock and explore how these different systems integrate with each other and other enterprises on farms. Visits to local livestock farms give you the opportunity to further develop your understanding within a ‘real-life’ context and are a core component of the module.
 
Economic Analysis for Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Economic analysis can help you answer important management questions: how much fertiliser should I apply to my wheat? If demand for beer is going up, how will that affect the price I receive for my barley? Through this module you’ll gain an understanding of economic ideas and principles and be able to apply them to a range of problems of interest to agricultural and environmental scientists and managers. You’ll also examine the arguments for government intervention to correct ‘market failures’ with reference to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and look at CAP support mechanisms and their impact on arable and animal production. In addition to lectures and farm visits, you’ll have computer-aided learning sessions to teach you planning techniques that will enable you to use your economic skills to analyse the impact of the market and policy environment on business performance and stability. 
 
Soil Science
An understanding of soil is critical for agricultural scientists and managers. Through this introductory module, you’ll learn about the biological, physical and chemicals properties of soils and how to use this information for agricultural and environmental land management. You’ll examine how soil can affect plant growth – including through soil biota, nutrients, trace elements and compaction. You’ll look at how water moves through the soil, how soil can be eroded and ways of using soil bioremediation and reclamation.
 
Applied Plant Physiology: from Cell to Crop 
Crops use solar energy, water and nutrients to grow, but how do scientists and managers overcome the limits to this growth? In this module you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of plant physiology with an applied context – right the way from the molecular level to the field. You’ll cover major crop species in the UK and worldwide and examine the physiological basis of resource capture and utilisation in crop growth and development. You’ll explore limitations to resource capture by crops and how growers overcome these, in relation to integrated crop management. You’ll also learn about the physical aspects of the plant environment incorporating the key processes of photosynthesis, respiration, uptake and transpiration of water, and the uptake of mineral nutrients. You’ll have a mix of lectures and practical laboratory sessions to apply your learning.
 
Professional Skills for Bioscientists 

In this module you will develop and consolidate your professional competencies and abilities as a bioscientist. You’ll improve your core professional skills in the scientific method, experimentation, data analysis and measurement techniques that enable you carry out scientifically-sound research in animal, crop or management science. You’ll also cover discipline-specific topics. There will be a mix of lectures, workshops and group activity sessions for you to work on your skills. 

 
Agricultural and Food Marketing 

Marketing is a lot bigger than just advertising. In this module, you’ll learn about the importance of a marketing-orientated approach to successful rural and food businesses. A hands-on module, you’ll use an agricultural or food company of your choice as a case study and, in small teams, analyse its market and create your own marketing plan. Guest lectures will be invited so you can learn more about how marketing theory is applied in practice and there will be a field visit to a local farm to see their marketing strategy in action. 

 

 

Optional

Enterprise Management Challenge

This module aims to introduce you to agricultural management decision making in practice through team-based activity integrating science, business and economics. Working in small teams, and supported by teaching staff and industry consultants, you will be responsible for making management (science and business) decisions relating to the production of a crop enterprise or a livestock enterprise, based on University Farm, as for commercial purposes. Your team’s decisions – in the roles of both professional consultant and farm manager will be implemented by technical staff.

For this module you will have lectures plus significant ‘field time’, including formal field site visits and informal field observation visits.  

 
Principles of Animal Health and Disease 
This module will introduce the major effects of diseases on the body’s physiological and immunological systems. The main types of disease will then be systematically discussed using a range of companion, farm and exotic animal species as examples. You’ll have a two hour lecture and three hour practical each week.
 
Computer Modelling in Science: Introduction

Modern biological and environmental science is often the study of complex systems and large data sets, and relies on computer models and analyses to understand these systems and data. This module introduces you to the computer programming and modelling techniques that are used in the biological and environmental sciences. Using relevant examples and applications, you’ll become familiar with computer programming and algorithms using the Python programming language, and explore how to analyse image data. You’ll also learn how to construct mathematical models for biological and environmental systems using difference and differential equations, with a particular emphasis on population dynamics, and how to simulate, analyse these models and fit these models to data. In computer laboratory sessions, you’ll apply your learning to specific problems, such as environmental pollution, growth of microbial populations, disease epidemics, or computer manipulation of images of plants, animals or the natural environment. 

 
Plant Pests and Diseases
Sugarbeet root aphids feed on the sap in the roots, causing damage and production losses. But how does this pest work and what can be done? In this module, you’ll explore how microbes and insects cause disease in plants and the effect of interactions between plants, microbes and insects. Looking globally, you’ll be able to explain the importance and the nature of the organisms that are pests and diseases of plants, including population dynamics and epidemiology. You’ll also assess the main approaches for control and management of pests and diseases, including chemical interventions, resistance breeding in plants and biological control. You’ll have lectures complemented by practical laboratory sessions, videos and demonstrations.
 
Practical Policy Making
In this module you’ll develop your understanding of how and why policies relating to agriculture, the environment and food are developed, and you will gain a valuable insight into how to influence policy. The module will be delivered via a series of lectures and guest speakers, which may include Defra, the National Farmers Union (NFU), agri-businesses within the input supply chain and food retailers.
 
Human and Technological Resource Management
Both human and technological resources are at the heart of many successful agri-businesses. Drawing upon both academic and industrial agri-business expertise, in this module you will examine theories and practices to inspire people, manage change and implement different leadership approaches to achieve business success. You will analyse the role of current and potential technological developments within agri-business contexts and explore the trade-offs and challenges from drawing upon people and/or technology in agri-businesses.
 

Other modules by approval of the course manager.

 

Typical year three modules

Compulsory

Research Project

The project gives you an opportunity to use your initiative and knowledge to undertake original research under the supervision of an individual member of academic staff. You will design the study, gain familiarity with relevant analysis techniques, undertake data collection, and where appropriate safety procedures relevant to the topic. You’ll undertake appropriate quantitative analysis and prepare a report of approximately 5000 words.

This important part of your degree, gives you the opportunity to participate in the work of one of the country's top agricultural research centres. Our research at Nottingham is funded by the UK and international organisations, including the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Home-Grown Cereals Authority, DairyCo, the UK research councils and agricultural businesses and governments from around the world. This funding enables us to teach the most modern and exciting aspects of agriculture.

If you are interested in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from dairy cows, managing farms under the new agricultural policy environment (how would you ensure that University Farm meets the ‘greening’ requirements?); if you want to be involved in research into the influence of diet on reproductive performance in pigs or cows; if you want to know how seed rate and fertiliser application influences winter wheat production or how climate change will affect crop production in Africa and Asia, Nottingham is the place to be.

Recent Research Projects have included:

  • The effects of canopy architecture on the photosynthetic activities of wheat
  • Energy and protein retention in growing and finishing pigs
  • Methods for achieving differential advantage for the small scale mushroom producer
  • Why do farmers farm?
  • Farmers’ markets and supermarkets: food prices vs. the consumer benefits of ‘local’ food
  • A life cycle assessment of milk production at The University of Nottingham Farm
  • The effects of winter supplementary feeding on the relative abundance of farmland birds
  • Are plant density recommendations for sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) suitable for modern varieties?
  • How does future climate change affect crop yield and yield variability of maize (Zea mays) in Nigeria?
  • An investigation into English and Welsh sheep farmer opinions on Schmallenberg virus
  • A comparison of literature to farming practice of zero tillage on case study farms in the UK
  • The relationship between milk yields, variable costs and the overall profitability of dairy farms

Rural Business Research Unit (RBRU) and University Farm

Based at Sutton Bonington campus, the RBRU is the lead centre for the government-funded Farm Business Survey, collecting financial and environmental data from over 2000 farms; University Farm is a 450 hectare arable, dairy and sheep farm, also based at Sutton Bonington, with land and people dedicated to student teaching and research work. Both are available for your research project.

Read BURN the Biosciences Undergraduate Research at Nottingham web pages to find out more about undergraduate research projects. BURN is a freely accessible e-journal which showcases final-year research projects undertaken by biosciences students.

 


Optional

Field Crops Cereals

A highly applied module, you’ll learn how to optimise the management of different cereal crops to meet the requirements of specific environments and end-uses. To do this, you’ll learn about the production strategies for the major grain cereals, with particular emphasis on factors controlling yield and quality. You’ll also examine the structure and function of the Gramineae and the influence of the environment and management practices on crop growth and development. You’ll have a mix of lectures, seminars, in-class exercises and field work to develop and apply your understanding.

 
Rural Business Management
How do you apply management principles to modern rural businesses? This module will develop your knowledge of business management principles and provide you with an opportunity to apply these principles to the type of problems facing rural businesses at the present time. You’ll construct and interpret business accounts, use investment appraisal techniques, learn about labour and machinery management, explore the different forms of business organisation, and consider taxation. Using a ‘real-life’ case study, you’ll also learn and practice teamwork, time management and data analysis skills, which are vital when working in business. You’ll have a mix of lectures and practical classes, as well as guest lectures from invited speakers to give you insights into the management and finance of rural businesses.
 
Applied Bioethics 1: Animals, Biotechnology and Society
Animal-human interactions raise some prominent ethical issues. In this module, you’ll examine the ethical dimensions concerning animal agriculture, modern biotechnologies and research in the biosciences, in relation to both humans and non-human species. You’ll learn about the ethical frameworks used to analyse specific dilemmas raised by the human use of animals. Using specific animal and biotechnology case studies, you’ll interpret the main ethical theories and principles and apply them to the case studies to inform professional decision-making. You’ll have a mix of lectures and seminars to explore these concepts.
 
Companion Animal Science
Want to know more about the nutrition your dog or horse needs, or maybe what an elephant needs? In this module, you’ll study the scientific principles governing the nutrition, health and welfare of major companion species, including dogs, cats, horses, rabbits and zoo animals/exotic species. You’ll learn about the cross-disciplinary principles and the interactions between nutrition, health and longevity within the broad area of ‘clinical nutrition’. Bringing in current research, you’ll look at the problems arising from keeping animals in captivity, and in particular the policies governing zoo animals/ exotics in terms of intervention strategies. You’ll have lectures from current researchers and have a field trip to see what you’ve learnt in practice.
 
Livestock Production Science
How can production systems be adapted to meet demands for animal products in contrasting global markets? In this module, you’ll use your knowledge of physiology, nutrition, genetics, health, welfare and management to study the production of meat, milk and eggs, and the wellbeing of the animals in these production systems. You’ll undertake a detailed study of the integration of the production, nutrition, product quality, management and health of beef and dairy cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry at UK and global scales. You’ll be able to critically analyse key performance indicators and provide solutions to problems encountered in livestock production enterprises. You’ll have a mix of lectures, group work and farm visits to develop and apply your knowledge.
 
Coordinated Physiological Functions
How does the brain control behaviour? In this module you’ll examine the physiological basis of integrated behaviours. You’ll cover hypothalamic control of the endocrine system, body temperature, emotion, appetite and their associated behaviours. You’ll have lectures and laboratory sessions, including a significant practical component looking at the integrative aspects of exercise physiology.
 
Animal Nutrition
This module will further develop your specialised knowledge of animal nutrition. At an advanced level, you’ll learn about the role of micronutrient and trace minerals and organic micronutrients (including vitamins B, choline and essential fatty acids) in the nutritional requirements for animal health and growth in both ruminant and non-ruminant species. You’ll also examine the various factors involved in the regulation of animal growth and product quality and look at selected examples of metabolic disorders. Using the most up-to-date scientific research, you’ll explore specialist aspects of ruminant nutrition and produce scientific work of your own.
 
Plants and the Light Environment
How does light cause variation in crop yields? In this module, you’ll study the influence of the light environment on the physiology of native and crop species, extending from the cellular to community level. You’ll learn how to differentiate between different light signalling pathways in plants and demonstrate how these pathways function in plants. You’ll be able to explain how light is absorbed by plants to initiate energy transfer systems and to stimulate developmental pathways of photomorphogenesis. You’ll then be able to apply your knowledge in understanding the causes of variations in crop yields and how these may be used to assist in the search for improved varieties and increased productivity in agricultural systems. You’ll have a mix of lectures, demonstrations and field trips to see what you’ve learnt in practice.
 
Plant Cell Signalling
How does a plant know when it is being attacked? In this module you’ll learn about plant signalling molecules and the ways in which these signals are integrated to ensure appropriate responses to environmental conditions or plant pathogen attack. You’ll gain a detailed knowledge of how plants use intercellular and intracellular signalling strategies to provide information about their environment, with particular emphasis on the use of molecular genetics in enabling us to determine the nature of the signals and the cross-talk that takes place between them. You’ll have lectures and demonstrations, as well as laboratory sessions to gain practical experience of the techniques for studying plant hormone signalling.
 
Molecular Plant Pathology 
Crops can defend themselves from disease, but how do they do it? In this module, you’ll learn about the molecular biology of plant pathogens, how these cause disease, and the mechanisms used by plants to defend themselves against such pathogens. You’ll examine the specific molecular techniques being used to develop an understanding of these plant/pathogen interactions. Bringing in current research, you’ll be able to evaluate and critically assess recent research in plant pathogen interactions.
 
Current Issues in Crop Science

In this integrative module you’ll consider the future options and possible strategies for maintaining or increasing crop production in the UK and world agriculture. You’ll learn about the latest trends and developments within crop science, and the philosophical, ethical and policy issues associated with them. The topics covered will vary to reflect the most recent issues, but have included: the future of genetically modified crops, impact of crop production on biodiversity and prospects for organic crop production. Using your subject knowledge and research skills, you’ll be in a position to critically analyse the advantages and disadvantages of developments in crop science, both for the module and in your future career.

 
Management Consultancy
Consultancy is a strong growth area for jobs in agriculture. In this module you’ll be introduced to the practicalities of management consultancy and have the opportunity to integrate your knowledge of management principles to a real-life case study of your choice and based on the University Farm. You’ll learn how to appraise individual enterprises and whole firms with a view to improving the respective financial and technical performance of the business. With a strong focus on working productively as an individual, you’ll assess problems and opportunities, analyse information and data, and identify and meet objectives in order to aid managerial decision-making. To find out more about how consultancy works in practice, you’ll have guest lectures from invited speakers from industry in addition to your lectures and workshops.
 
Field Crops
In this popular module, you’ll attend a five day field course to study selected field-grown crop species that have been chosen as models to illustrate major systems of production. You’ll examine the scientific principles that govern the management of field-grown crops through production to final end use, with particular emphasis being given to their physiology and ecology. Through field visits, you’ll observe and critically appraise the efficiency of current commercial production strategies and assess the scope to exploit plant responses to the environment at specific growth stages for optimal control of quality and yield. You’ll learn about the optimisation of quality and yield of crops through the manipulation of leaf, stem and root development, and the impact of post-harvest physiology on handling and storage. The field course is typically primarily based at the Sutton Bonington Campus with day-long trips to industry, farms and research organisations, and one overnight stay in an arable region.
 
Genetic Improvement of Crop Plants
The genetic improvement of crop plants is critical to address issues of food security for a growing world population and in the face of a changing climate. It is also the key to tackling environmental degradation and to meeting the increasing strict regulations on agricultural pollution which are coming into force in many Western countries. While these issues are not identical, they are linked and efficient plant breeding can be part of the solution to both. In this module, you’ll develop an understanding of crop genetic improvement through lectures, case and literature studies, research plan presentations, external expert seminars and practical exposure to crop breeding and molecular techniques. You’ll examine how modern and technological approaches can enhance crop breeding programmes and be able to assess the limitations of these approaches. The emphasis is on the application of biotechnology to conventional breeding, but you’ll also learn about genetic modification in the genetic improvement of crops. You’ll cover temperate and tropical, annual and perennial, and in-breeding and out-breeding crops.
 
Reproduction and Fertility

Drawing on your knowledge from earlier modules, the Reproduction and Fertility module is advanced study into fertility regulation and manipulation in mammals. You’ll learn about the artificial control of reproductive cycles in the female and mechanisms involved in pregnancy recognition and maintenance. You’ll explore recent developments in reproductive technology and embryology as it applies to farm species, humans and endangered species. You’ll have lectures and laboratory practical sessions to apply your learning.

 
Systems Neurophysiology
How does the central nervous system sense the environment and react to it? In this module, you’ll learn about central nervous control of sensory and motor pathways and how these systems interact. In particular, you’ll examine the anatomy, physiology and pharmacology of sensory and motor systems and their integration in posture, coordinated movement and protective reflex responses. A strong emphasis will be on the physiology and pharmacology of acute and chronic pain and you’ll study the use of analgesics to treat these conditions. You’ll also gain understanding of the methodology behind a number of neuroscientific techniques and their application in novel research. You’ll have a mix of lectures, computer-based learning and practical laboratory sessions to reinforce and apply your knowledge.
 
Applied Bioethics 2: Sustainable Food Production, Biotechnology and the Environment

Building on Applied Bioethics 1, you’ll investigate widely accepted ethical principles and apply your insights to contemporary ethical issues in agricultural, food and environmental sciences. You’ll explore the ethical dimensions of prominent issues raised by the agricultural practices (including the use of biotechnology and GM crops) designed to meet the nutritional needs of the global population. You’ll also learn about how ethical theory can inform professional choices and public policies related to food production and environmental management. You’ll have a mix of lectures, tutorials and team-based exercises to develop a sound understanding of ethical principles.

 
Plants and the Soil Environment
What happens below the ground that affects the water and nutrient uptake by plants? In this module, you’ll examine the acquisition of water and nutrients by plants in both agricultural and natural systems, and how plants interact with the soil environment. You’ll learn about the evolution of root adaptations which enable plants to thrive in environments with limited or excess water and nutrients. In an agricultural setting, you’ll explore how water and nutrient uptake by plants can be used to improve crop productivity and resource management, and use the practical study component to investigate new methods and technologies for below-ground phenotyping of roots. You’ll have a mix of lectures and computer-based practicals to gain a fundamental understanding of how water and nutrients are acquired by plants from the soil environment, and their influence on plant growth and development.
 
Plant Disease Control
As an agricultural or crop scientist, you need to know not only how to deal with a disease in a crop but also potential methods to prevent it in the first place. In this module, you’ll gain an understanding of the applied aspects of plant disease control, in particular transmission, epidemiology, detection and diagnosis and control strategies. You’ll analyse the problems of plant diseases and be able to describe the options available to control losses due to disease and the strengths and weaknesses of these options. You’ll examine control strategies based on a range of approaches – including application of fungicides, biological control, deployment of disease resistant varieties and biotechnological approaches. Importantly, you’ll learn about the strategies used by plant pathogens to spread between plants and cause disease epidemics. You’ll have lectures and a field visit, as well as practical laboratory sessions to develop laboratory skills associated with disease diagnosis.
 
Sex, Flowers and Biotechnology

The processes of floral development and reproduction are some of the most critical stages occurring during plant growth and development. They are fundamental for plant breeding, crop productivity and horticulture. The significance of plant reproduction is particularly pertinent to issues of food security and the future development of high yielding crops. In this module, you’ll focus on recent developments that have been made in the understanding of floral development, reproduction and seed production, including the current goals, methods and achievements in the genetic engineering of crop and horticultural plants. With an emphasis on reproductive biology or fruit production, you’ll learn how such processes can be manipulated for commercial exploitation and to facilitate crop improvement. Through a mix of lectures and seminars, you’ll gain a detailed knowledge on the developmental and molecular processes associated with flowering, seed production and fruit development.

 
 

 

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.

 
 

Industry Placement year

The optional year in industry takes place between years two and three of your degree, extending your degree to a four year programme. Students apply for a placement during year 2 of the degree programme.

A growing number of students across the School of Biosciences are choosing to undertake the year in industry. The majority of placements are paid positions. 

A year in industry gives you the opportunity to put your learning into practice, giving you a better understanding of your studies and the chance to solidify your knowledge in an industry setting. Past students have found the experience transformative, as they were able to use science and innovation to solve problems which are current and relevant.

A year in industry gives you the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills in a real-world environment, which will significantly improve your employment prospects. A year of work experience will help you stand out from the crowd as a graduate: many students secure a graduate job as a direct result of their placement year. It’s a unique opportunity for you to learn about what you enjoy doing, and your strengths and weaknesses, putting you in a strong position when considering your future career.

The School has excellent links with a wide range of businesses and research institutes. The dedicated School Placement Team work with you in partnership to help you search for, apply for and secure a placement, as well as supporting you prior to, during and after the placement.

Further information and profiles of student experiences  

 

Careers

You will graduate with a thorough understanding of the scientific principles of crop and animal production which, together with your business management knowledge, will place you in a strong position for a wide range of careers, ranging from farm management to specialist
consultancy positions and senior roles within the agricultural and food-related industries. 

Recent destinations of graduates include:

  • Arable and livestock consultants
  • Agricultural business management consultants
  • PhDs and research positions in further education or private institutions
  • Agronomists
  • Animal feed industry
  • Land agency
  • Farming/rural business management
  • Management trainees for major companies

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 91% of first-degree graduates in the School of Biosciences who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,257 with the highest being £28,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU first-degree graduates, 2013/14.

Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  

 
 

Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.

The Felix Thornley Cobbold Scholarship

A grant of £3,000 per annum is available to a selected Home student (in Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire or Norfolk) on this course. Details here  

AgriFood Charities Partnership

The AgriFood Charities Partnership supports study for UK students on agricultural undergraduate degree programmes. Details here

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help.

 
 
 

Key Information Sets (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.

 

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Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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