Who is the course for?
Potential students can be identified as being in one of two distinct groups.
- Students who have studied at level 3 but are now looking to obtain a higher qualification which will enhance their employment prospects. The foundation degree can be studied as a standalone qualification or it can form the first two years of a standard 3 year Hons degree program. (1 year Plymouth University BSc Hons ‘Top Up’ available at Bridgwater College)
- Students working within agricultural businesses who enrol on the course primarily for the knowledge and the qualification is secondary. The qualification gives students the confidence and the knowledge to take on management roles once graduated.
The two day back to back full time study mode enables both groups to combine work and study with minimal disruption.
Part time (1 day a week) is also available.
What does the course involve?
The course is made up of 12 modules, covering technical and managerial aspects of modern agriculture. Theoretical teaching methods will mainly involve lectures, seminars and demonstrations by industry specialists. Other practical methods will include farm-based investigations, fieldwork and visits.
During the first year areas will include:
- Agricultural budgeting: This module will take students through the main budgets which are needed in the management of a farm business utilising their knowledge of livestock, crops, finance, marketing, labour, and machinery. Final submissions are presented to LLoyds Bank agricultural managers.
- Agricultural technology: This module will encompass the latest technologies in the fields of agricultural machinery and building design. It will develop students’ understanding of the machinery management and building design.
- Animal production systems: This unit will firstly enable students to summarise and compare the diverse range of current livestock production systems within the UK. Secondly, students will be able to select a livestock system for a given situation meeting the demands of evolving markets.
- Agricultural Finance: This module will show the different sources of capital available to an agri-food business. It will also take students through the preparation of cash analysis, accounts, trading accounts and balance sheets.
- Forage crop production systems: Beginning with the recognition of soil types and structures this module will enable students to reflect on the quality standards and the production of grass and alternative forage crops.
- Animal health & food safety: This module will develop students’ understanding of animal health. Students will learn to identify diseases in livestock and formulate farm health plans. This module also allows the student to gain an understanding of the basic principles of food safety.
During the second year, modules include:
- Business analysis This module enables the student to analyse and prepare a plan for a farming business for the next 5 years. This is a practical module using accounts from farms in the county and providing feedback to those farmers
- Crop management and sustainable processes: This module will allow the students to acquire the knowledge to select, grow, harvest and market a range of arable crops, including the selection and use of the machinery required for them. It will also cover aspects of soil management, sustainable cropping and organic food production.
- Meat and livestock management:This module will allow the student to critically assess the factors affecting the efficiency of meat production and profitability of a variety of livestock systems.
- Agriculture, the environment and the law: This module examines the effects of agriculture on the environment, and the legislation with which agriculture must comply. It looks at the major inputs into agriculture and actions which can be taken to minimise their impact on the environment.
- Dairy Herd Management: This module will provide students with an understanding of the applications of dairy cow breeding and nutrition in the commercial environment. It will examine in detail current breeding practices at commercial units.
- Personal and professional development: This module is designed to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop themselves in terms of their personal and employability skills. The module will also develop a student’s skills to research a topic of their choice and analyse the information found.
What makes this course special?
This course is special because it covers in detail and in great depth the management of today’s modern agriculture industry. This Plymouth University qualification will generate graduates who will be sought by leading agri-food industries Students from this course have won many national awards. The course structure allows students to study whilst still in full-time employment (two days a week, full-time). A part-time option (one day a week) is also available.
A minimum of 120 UCAS tariff points from a full Level 3 qualification in a relevant subject area and at least four GCSEs at grades A* – C or 9 - 4 including Maths and English or Level 2 equivalent.
Mature applicants with relevant experience who do not have the stated entry requirements are encouraged to apply.
What are the assessment methods?
Generally each unit is assessed via one practical-based assignment, which make up 60% of the final mark and one written examination taken at the end of the unit which generates the other 40%. Some units are 100% assignments.
How long is the course?
Full-time - Two days per week over two years. Please note there will be additional fees in the second year.
Part-time - over four years. One day per week over four years. Please note there will be additional fees in the second third and fourth years.
Are there any additional costs for the course?
There are no compulsory additional costs.
Fees will be required for non-compulsory elements such as the residential study tour.
What are the progression options?
Successful completion of the Foundation Degree will provide learners with the opportunity to progress and top-up their qualification to a BSc(Hons) in either Agricultural Management or Food Chain Management at the Cannington centre. Alternatively this course will also provide learners with a good foundation to enter employment as a farm manager, rural surveyor, unit manager, farm contractor or senior herdsman.