Science is the drawcard for agricultural students
Monday, 1 March 2010
Students enrolled in the new agriculture degree offered by the University of Adelaide have endorsed the revised curriculum, which has a greater focus on science and industry experience.
A total of 39 students start their Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences degree this week, with classes scheduled for both the Waite and Roseworthy campuses.
Students will benefit from a substantial investment in facilities at both campuses to keep them at the forefront of teaching and research, according to the Head of the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, Professor Roger Leigh.
"The University is investing $1 million per annum in new agricultural research activities at the Waite Campus over the next five years. It is also undertaking a major expansion and refurbishment of the Roseworthy Campus to cater for a substantial increase in student numbers there. The students in the Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences degree will benefit from these changes," Professor Leigh says.
The Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences degree combines science with practical and industry experience, and includes a number of interstate field trips as well as 12-week industry internships.
Enrolments for the combined agricultural degree are as strong as those for the two former degrees - the Bachelor of Agriculture, based mainly at Roseworthy, and the Bachelor of Sciences (Agricultural Sciences) taught at Waite.
"It shows that students have endorsed a new direction in agriculture education," Professor Leigh says.
A third of the first-year students in the new degree gained TER scores above 80, with one student scoring 96.8 in his Year 12 assessment. Up to 30% also come from metropolitan environments.
"This underlines the fact that agriculture is appealing to a broad range of students, from different backgrounds and academic ability," Professor Leigh says. "All will graduate with very bright job prospects because Australia desperately needs skilled people in this area. A degree in agriculture also offers a diversity of career options, which is appealing."
First-year student John Swincer has grown up in the city but has always been interested in a career which involves both animals and the land. He says the degree fulfils these requirements.
Hahndorf resident James Walter lives on a farm in the Adelaide Hills and was prompted to apply for the degree to satisfy his interest in science, plants and genetics.
Romy Bennett of Mundulla in the State's south-east comes from a sheep, cattle and cropping property and says the emphasis on science in the new curriculum proved a drawcard for her. "It is a more appealing degree now and I think the focus on science will broaden our knowledge and improve our job prospects."
Laura Hammond from the Victorian rural town of Lindenow has just finished a gap year and chose the Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences because it combines both her passions: agriculture and science.
This year's cohort comprises 25 males and 14 females, including one international student.
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