Everybody needs to eat, the world’s population is growing, and feeding the planet’s billions in a safe and sustainable way is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity. Agricultural science has been vital for the continued existence of humanity since the first wild plants and animals were domesticated in the ‘Fertile Crescent’ countries that dot the Middle East about 12,000 years ago and people abandoned the nomadic lifestyle.
Agricultural science students study both natural sciences, including chemistry and biology, and social sciences such as economics, business and management. They may focus on animals or crops, or a mixture of both. Or they may explore a career in food science, with agri-food continuing to be one of the biggest areas of economic growth for Northern Ireland.
Horticulture is an excellent choice for anyone interested in plants and gardening, providing training for careers in landscape design, garden centres and nurseries, fruit and vegetable growing, and parks and garden management. Students with an interest in nature may also be interested in a forestry course, where they will learn about the science and management of commercial and natural forests.
Veterinary science students, meanwhile, work with animals in farm and domestic settings. This isn’t about cute kittens but is a career not just for people who care about animals but those who have an interest in biology and health and are willing to get their hands dirty – or bitten.
Northern Ireland Institute of Agricultural Science