BSc (Hons) Agriculture (Foundation Year)

UCAS Code

D701

Location

Royal Agricultural University Campus

Duration

4 years (full-time)

Academic Year

30 September 2024 to 30 May 2025

The BSc (Hons) Agriculture degree is designed to develop the professional agriculturalists and farm managers of the future. This wide-reaching, industry-recognised programme is built on the latest applied research, informed by the RAU’s extensive industry networks and delivered by world-renowned experts in their fields. It will develop your skills so that you will make a difference and stand out in the agriculture sector. This is done through the applied understanding of science, practice, policy and innovation that underpins agricultural production, sustainability and resilient farm management.

Course overview

This degree course with a foundation year incorporates an extra year of study at the start of your course, so that you can progress with confidence. It will develop the skills you need for your later studies. It is particularly suitable if:

  • You don’t have the grades for immediate entry onto a three-year course
  • You have non-traditional qualifications or experience
  • You’re starting university after some time away from education
  • You’re looking for more support during the transition into university study

The aim of this flagship programme is to inform, inspire and enable you to gain a fundamental understanding and critical awareness of the problems facing agriculture, particularly issues pertaining to the challenges of food production and its global impact. We have worked with our industry stakeholders, current and past students, and within our own research teams to ensure our programmes are inspiring, forward-looking, and linked to the needs of the industry and employers.

The design of this degree is centred around four cornerstones:

  1. Technology and Innovation
  2. Environmental Sustainability
  3. Business and Enterprise
  4. Employability and Leadership. 

Within each of these cornerstones, there are modules that will enable you to achieve the technological knowledge and employability skills to help you thrive in workplace. 

You do not need to have an agricultural or farming background; you simply need the passion and drive to make a difference in a rapidly evolving industry. You will learn how to build a sustainable, profitable and resilient agricultural business which contributes to a thriving sector - whether as a farmer, land manager, rural entrepreneur, agronomist, economist, policymaker, researcher, scientist or consultant – career opportunities are diverse and eclectic.

Our programmes provide practical skills and training opportunities, insights into global challenges and perspectives, a focus on innovation, personal development, and the prioritisation and integration of research-informed teaching. Throughout the Agriculture degree programme, you will learn about a wide variety of farm and land-based enterprises, a spectrum of farming approaches, the role of technology and data and how to address the challenges and realities of sustainable commercial farming, whilst prioritising environmental protection, the highest standards of livestock welfare and farm business resilience. The programme focuses on the role of the professional agriculturalist of the future, equipping you with the knowledge and skills you need to understand and then address major challenges in our food systems, from food security, climate change and land use to the imbalances in our food supply chains and environmental degradation from producing food. At the same time, the degree will develop your understanding of the impact of a rapidly changing economic and political landscape on agriculture. This curriculum is a clear response to the global current and future issues within our food system facing everyone.

Our extensive contacts and external visits to livestock and crop enterprises and agribusinesses will provide you with invaluable insights into industry. Farm491 will give you unparalleled access to on-farm/applied product development initiatives and nearby farms will provide research trials. This will help you to understand what it takes to bridge the gap between the laboratory, the field, the commercial market and the farm. Students have gone on to work for organisations including Agrii, NIAB TAG and AGCO. 

Work placement

In your third year, you will apply your learning on a 15-week work placement. Not only could you find yourself working for prestigious companies in the UK or across the world, you will develop confidence and industry contacts for when you graduate.

The Integrated Foundation Year is suitable for applicants who have taken level 3 qualifications (A levels, BTEC etc.) in the UK. Overseas students who have not studied in the UK and completed their secondary education in their country, should look at taking an Integrated Foundation Programme in order to meet the entry criteria for the degree programmes offered by the RAU.

Please note that a foundation year is not the same as a foundation degree (FdSc). A foundation year will usually lead onto a three-year degree course, whereas a foundation degree is a standalone qualification generally studied for two years.

For UK students (as of March 2020) a visa may not be required but this may change. For non UK/EU nationals (current Tier 4 visa students), the student will have to arrange their own visa.

 

Course content

Each module involves opportunities for interactive discussion on key subject topics and incorporates a degree of technology and digital platforms to assist in this. Information technology and computational skills are also developed through project work, presentations and assignments. Students are explicitly trained in digital skills in a number of modules.

Real-world farm management scenarios allow for the development of applied skills, such as collaboration, team work and communication skills, along with problem solving and analytical skills, which are further honed in research activities and the level 6 dissertation module. Your skills will be assessed through assignments, coursework, oral presentation tasks, and written examinations in a number of modules and taught via a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, laboratory/technical work, group work, case studies and project work. 

Guest lectures, conferences and field trips will also be used where appropriate as an important learning method for subject specific skills. The on-site research facilities and the RAU farms are used to enhance subject-specific learning.

The research project is an integral part of the course. Completed in your final year, it provides the opportunity to research a subject of specific interest or of direct relevance to your future employment.

Timetables

Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and societies activities.

Modules

Each module is worth a specified number of credits. Each credit equates to 10 hours of total study time. Total study time includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.

Full-time students normally take modules worth 60 credits per 15 week semester but this can vary depending on your elective choice. Part-time students take proportionally fewer credits per semester. All students take a total of 120 credits per level and 360 credits for the degree as a whole. Your overall grade for your degree is based on marks obtained for modules taken at level 5 and level 6 (weighted 30:70 accordingly).

The modules available for this degree are shown below. They may change for your year of study as we regularly review our module offerings to ensure they’re informed by the latest research and teaching methods.

Foundation year 

The Foundation year will provide a common core of academic and study skills sufficient to prepare you for subsequent study and academic success at undergraduate level. It will give core underpinning knowledge, skills and understanding in key areas of contemporary issues, provide underpinning subject-related skills and knowledge in key areas required for undergraduate study, including Mathematics, Numeracy and IT. It will also provide generic skills and academic knowledge to support your confidence and discipline as appropriate for higher education study and give subject-specific grounding, in terms of research topics and study focus, to support progression into degree level study in your chosen degree.

  • 0IFY1 Managing Landscape: Consider the geographical, human and ecological features of landscapes
  • 0IFY4 Land Related Studies: Evaluate the range of different land uses and considers the factors affecting why areas have been selected for specific uses 
  • 0IFY5 Change in the Countryside: Identify the characteristics that define ‘place’, the ‘outdoors’ and key characteristics of the countryside
  • 0IFY6 Enterprise and Marketing: Analyse the characteristics of a thriving business including e-commerce and personnel management
  • 0IFY7 Environment and Conservation Data Handling: Carry out practical data collection fieldwork in semi-natural and human-made environments
  • 0IFY8 Agriculture and Farming: Develop a basic understanding of the management of different farm enterprises
  • 0IFY9 Developing Your Skills
  • 0IFY10 Individual Project

Year one

  • 1007 Soil and Environmental Science: Carry out practical field and laboratory soil analyses related to soil health
  • 1325 Introduction to the Agri-Food Industry: Develop an understanding of the agrifood supply chain from farm to fork
  • 1440 Academic and Practical Skills: Learn and try out a range of practical skills used in the land and farming sectors
  • 1441 Applied Animal Science: Explore the science underlying animal production
  • 1442 Applied Plant Science: Understand crop physiological and biochemical pathways
  • 1443 Business Finance and Accounts: Learn the fundamentals of accountancy and use software to create and clearly present financial information 
  • 1444 Innovation and Technology: Explore emerging technologies in agricultural machinery and buildings
  • 1446 Ecosystem Services and Human Wellbeing

Year two

  • 2132 Farm Business Planning: Take part in a farm business planning exercise, benchmarking to industry standards
  • 2337 Personal and Professional Development Skills and Employability: Review and critically assess professional communication standards and other competencies needed for successful client and business management
  • 2349 The Resilience of Agro-Ecosystems: Explore key concepts and theories around sustainable agriculture and different methods for promoting it
  • 2372 Animal Health and Welfare: Learn how animal health and welfare can be scientifically assessed using frameworks and assessment tools to compare different UK animal agriculture systems 
  • 2373 Agronomy: Discuss the agronomic factors which are involved in the production of crops in regenerative, integrated, conventional and sustainable farming systems
  • 2378 Research and Evidence: Explore the wide range of research methodologies available, and learn how to select the optimal approach for a given scenario
  • 2317 Industry Placement: Complete 15 weeks of work experience to develop key skills for the world of work

PLUS your choice of ONE elective selected from:

  • 2374 Crop Technology and Mechanisation: Evaluate the suitability of technology and mechanisation for a range of agricultural cropping systems
  • 2375 Livestock Husbandry Systems: Explore approaches to farm animal husbandry and how this impacts farm animal health and welfare
  • 2379 Agricultural Commodities Trading:

Year three

  • 3329 Climate Change and Natural Resource Challenges: Understand the impact that climate change has on natural resources like water, soil and biodiversity internationally
  • 3330 Technology and Agroecology Innovation: Explore the role of technology, innovation and agroecology in addressing sustainability challenges on farms and throughout the supply chain
  • 3331 Food Supply Systems and Policy: Look at the influence of consumers on food systems and the role of policy
  • 3332 Specialist Study Module: Undertake a self-directed study within the chosen specialist area
  • 3300 Research Project / Dissertation: Develop a detailed research proposal that presents a well-developed research aim supported by clear research objectives

PLUS choice of TWO electives selected from:

  • 3238 Advances in Livestock Nutrition: 
  • ​3239 Crop Health and Protection: Understand the contemporary plant health and protection issues within sustainable crop production
  • 3337 Sustainable Farm Management: Create a farm system in accordance with a specific agricultural approach
  • 3338 Agronomy Challenges and Solutions: Discuss opportunities and challenges in the cropping sector through study visits and talks from industry leaders
  • 3339 Livestock System Challenges and Solutions: Review livestock farming systems and their impact on the economy, society and the environment
  • 3340 Farm Business Consultancy: Explore budgeting, financial forecasting, risk management and overall evaluation of the financial health of a farm business

The availability of electives to individual students will be dependent on timetabling considerations and on sufficient students electing to take part.

* Optional additions to the course will incur additional charges

Disclaimer information

The University has established various rules and regulations that you must agree to and follow if you accept an offer to study with us. View our full disclaimer notice.

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Careers and graduate destinations

The applied nature of the programme, research-led teaching methods and close links with industry will provide you with the academic, technical and professional employment skills, which are highly valued by employers.

Our graduates have gone on to pursue careers within companies worldwide and within the following roles:

  • Agronomist
  • Nutritionist
  • Geneticist / breeding specialist
  • Farm manager
  • Health and welfare manager
  • Animal scientist

"A highlight for me was the soil science lessons as the lecturer put a lot of effort in to make sure we did practicals, and  crammed as many into our third year as she could! I now work on my family beef and arable farm in Somerset and have  done work for the Farmers Weekly this summer, and I hope to keep appearing in the magazine in the future when I have time to write."

Bridgette Baker, Graduate

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Entry requirements

Typical offers

Required: GCSE minimum five GCSEs at Grade C/4 including English Language and Mathematics (or Maths Numeracy for Welsh applicants) plus satisfactory level 3 qualifications:

  • A-Level: (example grades  EEE) – minimum of 48 UCAS tariff points across either three A-levels or two A-levels and two AS level subjects or equivalent qualifications
  • C&G Advanced Technical/BTEC - Level 3 Extended Diploma (1080) at Pass-Pass-Pass
  • International Baccalaureate: 24 points
  • Access to Higher Education: Pass course with 45 credits at level 3 (Pass in Functional Skills level 2 are accepted in lieu of GCSE English & Mathematics)

Visit the UCAS website to calculate your UCAS Tariff points from the qualifications and grades achieved.

You may also be eligible for a contextual offer if you’re from one of our link colleges, have been in care, from a non-white ethnic background, live in an area with low progression rates to university or you are a veteran/child of an armed forces family.

Flexible entry

The University welcomes interest from applicants who may not have the standard entry requirements. A wide range of qualifications and experience are accepted in order to join University degree programmes. The University always considers evidence of personal, professional (APL) and educational experience, (APEL), which show an ability to meet the demands of their intended programme of study.

Further information

Alternative entry routes are available for a range of other qualifications. Prior experience is also considered, subject to approval by the programme manager and admissions staff.

Read more general information about our entry requirements.

International students will also need to achieve IELTS Academic or equivalent at the appropriate level for your programme of study. English language requirements for international students.

For any further help, please contact our admissions team:  

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Fees

Tuition fees cover the cost of a student’s academic studies. This usually includes teaching costs, registration and examination fees (not repeat or trailing modules, re-sit fees or coursework resubmission).  Any costs associated with work placements will be the student's responsibility.

2024-25 Applicants

For the academic year 2024-25 the tuition fees for this course are: 

  UK International
Full-time £9,250 per year £15,300 per year

For part-time study, please contact admissions@rau.ac.uk for further information.

Please also refer to the funding your time at university page.

Tuition fees may be subject to an inflationary increase each year as set out in our Access and Participation Plan 2019/20.

If you are an Irish national you can check if you meet the requirements for Home Fees. Please visit the UKCISA website and consult the pdf guide “England HE – who pays Home Fees”. First check category ‘3 years in Republic of Ireland/UK/Islands, settled in UK’ or ‘Brexit temporary offer for courses starting before 2028: Irish citizens with residence in Europe or overseas territories’. You will possibly need to be fee assessed when you submit an application for study to the RAU.

Scholarships

The University offers a wide range of generous fee waivers and bursaries. To find out more about the these, please visit the bursaries, awards and scholarships page.

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Ready to take the plunge? Apply now

Applications to study at the Royal Agricultural University must be made through the UCAS system. This applies to all undergraduate courses.

Applications should be made by the UCAS deadline to ensure we are able to offer you a place on your first choice course. However, if you have missed the deadline please contact Admissions@rau.ac.uk as there are usually places available.

If you would like to apply during UCAS Extra or Clearing, please check that we have places available.

Applicants wishing to study on a course on a part-time basis will need to apply directly to the RAU.

Please contact admissions@rau.ac.uk to discuss your requirements and obtain an application form.