The masters degree subjects of Agriculture, Horticulture and Veterinary Medicine are inextricably linked for no other reason than because farms deal with plants and animals which both need looking after – the horticulturalist, being the expert in plant science and the veterinarian being the expert in animal welfare. However, it’s not as simple as that. With every new piece of scientific progress what were once considered new specialisms become more mainstream, becoming vital to continue successful agricultural, horticultural and veterinary practice. These disciplines are therefore ever-evolving and new ground-breaking masters degree programs are continuously becoming available.
Agriculture is the oldest profession in the world. It can be summed up as the science of cultivating land, raising crops, and feeding, breeding, and raising livestock; farming. With sustainability becoming vital to growing crops effectively and responsibly, there are many opportunities for study in this area. Finding new ways to grow crops without chemicals and the growth of genetically engineered 'super crops' mean that the agricultural community is divided on which is the right way to go, GM crops or organic and bio-diverse.
Here is just a small selection of postgraduate courses that would enable you to become part of this vital debate or just simply take part in managing a farm effectively:
University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Sustainable Development in Agriculture MSc (AGRIS MUNDUS), 2 years, August start
This masters degree is ideal for those who want to use science to improve agricultural practice in a sustainable way. It involves looking at how to develop better crop production and is part of the renowned AGRIS MUNDUS program which aims to produce graduates who can critically evaluate agricultural practice with regard to soil science, crops and natural resources.
Aarhus University, Denmark
Organic Agriculture and Food Systems MSc (EUR-Organic), 2 years, September start.
Four leading European universities in agriculture and life science studies have developed this MSc program in Organic Agriculture and Food Systems which helps graduates understand how to commercialise organic farming. This is a growth area (pardon the pun), and will lead into agricultural management roles or marketing of organic agriculture. So if you are good at sales and love organic farming then you could excel here. EUR-Organic is a distinct line under the MSc in Agrobiology, where students can focus on either animal health and welfare or plant nutrition and health.
University of Kent, Canterbury Campus, United Kingdom
Agricultural Economics MSc, 1 year, September start
This masters degree prepares students as professional economists dealing with national and international issues in the area of food, agriculture and development of rural areas. If you have a head for finance and want to work in agriculture this seems to be a no brainer!Find postgraduate programs in HORTICULTURE
Horticulture can involve the cultivation of gardens, orchards and vegetables. Unlike Ecology it is not the study of ecosystems, but rather the study of human cultivation of plants. It has a long tradition going back to the very beginning of plant cultivation much like agriculture. Because of the hundreds of thousands of plant species cultivated by humans it is a wide area of study with many specialisms. Here are some interesting postgraduate programs in horticulture that are currently available across the UK and the rest of Europe:
University of Bologna, Italy
International Horticulture Science (IMaHS), 2 years, September start
This masters degree program aims to produce highly qualified scientific professionals in the field of the design, management and assessment of tree production systems to work internationally. So if you love walking in forests and love science and wish to combine these interests this could be for you. Making our forests more productive while managing them sustainably is a major challenge, and one that this postgraduate program is tackling head on. Scholarships are available through the Erasmus Mundus program.
Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
Plant Science UMB, 2 years, August start
This postgraduate course enables students to specialise in agriculture, horticulture, plant biology or plant pathology. This means you can tailor your masters degree according to your horticultural science interests. So if you want to help reduce plant disease and save crops from environmental disaster thereby helping feed the world then this could be a great course for you.
University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
Plant Genetic Manipulation MSc, 1 year, September start
This is a biological science program focussing on genetic engineering of plants using biotechnology and DNA manipulation. This is a growth area in horticulture if a little controversial. So if you were great at chemistry or biology at school and want to work in a lab this will suit you down to the ground, so to speak!Find postgraduate programs in VETERINARY SCIENCE
Veterinary medicine is a vital study area. Not only do farmers need their cattle to be healthy, the police also need healthy horses and sniffer dogs, and of course pet owners want their animals to be healthy. It is such a diverse area of study because it deals with many different animals unlike human medicine which deals with just humans. It is competitive so you need to be highly motivated and practical as well as good at science to succeed in this area. With enough determination though, if you have a keen interest in the subject matter you should be able to succeed in this area. Here is just a small selection of some of the more interesting and groundbreaking courses in Europe that deal with veterinary medicine:
University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Small Animal Veterinary Medicine (EMSAVM), 2 years, September start
This internationally recognised course provides graduates with a practical and scientific focus and enables them to work as a domestic veterinary practitioner. The qualification is called the 'European Master of Small Animal Veterinary Medicine' (EMSAVM), so is valid throughout Europe.
University of Antwerp, Belgium
Comparative Vertebrate Morphology MSc, 2 years, September start
This masters program deals with the detailed science studying the structure and development of organs and systems in animals by comparing animals of different taxonomic groups. It is ideal for students who studied Life Sciences (e.g. chemistry, biology, biomedical sciences, bioengineering, biochemistry, veterinary medicine, medicine, dentistry, zoology, pharmacy,) and is a really diverse topic to study at masters level.
University of London, United Kingdom
Livestock Health and Production, 5 years, February start
This postgraduate program is for veterinarians, animal health specialists and livestock farmers. It addresses current issues such as livestock production using innovative and interactive teaching methods. Related programs in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health are also available. The program was developed by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), the oldest and largest veterinary school in the UK. It’s also one of the leading research centres in Europe for veterinary studies. If you want to work with farmers to promote healthy productive animals then this could suit you. At 5 years long it requires commitment but with such a qualification you will be in high demand throughout Europe.Find postgraduate programs in FORESTRY
A postgraduate program in Forestry will provide its students with expertise relevant to multiple-use forestry. Units of study will usually include ecology, ecosystems, forest planning, forestry management, silviculture, conservation, forest pathology, urban forestry and environmental issues. The students will thereby gain the necessary skills to become a professional forester – an important role when you consider that forests cover approximately 30% of Earth’s land surface providing a multitude of benefits to ecosystems and humans, including, timber, flood prevention and biodiversity conservation.
There are several postgraduate courses in Forestry in the UK including an MSc in Forestry Ecosystem Management at the University of Cumbria’s National School of Forestry that can be studied full time, part time or by online distance learning.
There are literally thousands of career options available in Agriculture, Horticulture and Veterinary Medicine. These are just a couple. For every budding scientist, environmentalist, or plant lover there is a course for you. Explore the many other courses in these subjects. They are becoming more and more sought after in an age of environmental obligations and sustainability and animal rights initiatives. Be part of it with a degree in Agriculture, Horticulture or Veterinary science.
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