Agri-Environmental Sciences (ESS1)

Interested in a rewarding career focusing on the care and management of the Irish countryside? Check out our exciting degree in Agri-Environmental Sciences.

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This programme in Agri-Environmental Sciences is designed for students who wish to acquire wide-ranging knowledge and understanding of the core sciences that underpin agriculture, the functionality and resilience of agro-ecosystems and the sustainable management of natural resources, all of which are key to a sustainably competitive agriculture sector. The programme fosters an integrated appreciation of the benefits and value of environmental quality in farming systems.  It also provides a professional body of knowledge and the capacity for critical thinking that are necessary in identifying effective management solutions to complex environmental concerns based on scientific evidence. To achieve this end, the programme provides a wide coverage of the biological and environmental sciences that underpin our understanding of natural processes within farming systems and builds on this foundation to develop an increasingly integrated understanding of agro-ecology, the farmed landscape and rural conservation and management. The programme integrates this scientific knowledge base with a broad understanding of agricultural and environmental policy at Irish, European and global levels. The learning environment includes class, laboratory and field-based tuition, with an emphasis on developing key practical competencies. Student learning is assessed using a range of methods, including continuous class evaluation, written and project assignments, and end of semester examinations using written and multiple choice formats. The programme includes 16-20 weeks of Professional Work Experience (PWE) placement in year three, and a final year research project that permits students to focus on their particular interests, and to develop self-directed learning and problem solving capacities. 


1 - Integrate knowledge acquired in applied plant and animal biology, and soil and environmental sciences, with a practical understanding of farm production systems
2 - Apply practical skills in plant and animal identification, soil and water analysis, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in environmental analysis, evaluation and management
3 - Understand the relevance of natural processes that underpin the multifunctional value and productivity of the rural environment
4 - Evaluate and implement solutions for environmental and conservation management problems in agriculture and related forms of land use
5 - Devise and implement effective strategies for the management and protection of natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services in the rural environment
6 - Assess potential environmental impacts, and evaluate and devise acceptable remedies to pressing agri-environmental challenges, including the mitigation of climate change, management and protection of soil and water quality, pest and disease management, and the control of invasive species
7 - Plan, conduct and interpret scientific investigations involving the collection, appropriate analysis and reporting of environmental data
8 - Review scientific literature and other reliable information sources, and effectively communicate the acquired knowledge
9 - Use a wide range of field and laboratory procedures and equipment in an efficient and safe way
10 - Develop and utilize a wide range of generic skills required for further career development through specific class exercises, the final year project and Professional Work Experience placement.
Interested in the environment and a rewarding career focusing on the care and management of the Irish countryside? Check out our degree specialising in Agri-Environmental Sciences.

Agri-Environmental Sciences focuses on the study of how ecosystems function, their diverse components (plants, animals, soils, water, etc.) and how to manage them effectively for sustainable use by current and future generations.

The programme develops your scientific understanding of how land is used (farming, forestry, infrastructural development) and the impact of this use on ecosystem processes and the natural world. In studying this degree option, you will acquire skills in integrated agri-environmental management, landscape, plant and wildlife conservation and environmental planning and assessment.

The objectives of this specialist degree option are to give you:

 - An understanding of environmental science, the major issues and concerns and the knowledge necessary for effective environmental management based on sound scientific principles

 - An understanding of managed ecosystems and how they function, so as to be able to implement sustainable management practices - A detailed understanding of Irish land use systems, particularly agriculture and related forms of land use

- Knowledge and skills so that you can contribute as a scientist and/or policymaker to the development of systems that protect and conserve our natural heritage in an environmentally informed and sensitive manner

- An understanding of rural environmental issues in Ireland and in a European and worldwide context - First-hand experience of applied environmental research

 - A range of IT and communication skills, plus interpersonal and professional development skills that can be used in many areas of professional employment

 
STAGE 1
Stage 1 provides a fundamental framework in the biological, chemical, physical and mathematical sciences necessary to equip you with a strong scientific base for your degree.

STAGE 2
In Stage 2, you will build on this base by studying a wide range of applied environmental science disciplines, including Genetics, Microbiology, Plant Biology, Soil Science and Zoology and the basics of Crop and Animal Production Systems.
You will also take part in a one-week residential field course in the Burren, Co. Clare. During this field course, you will have a practical opportunity to use the scientific skills that you have developed and appreciate at first-hand the critical influence that farmers and other managers of the rural landscape have on environmental quality.

STAGES 3 & 4
In Stages 3 and 4, you will go on to develop an increasing understanding of the environmental impacts and issues associated with modern agriculture and of the natural and cultural heritage of the rural environment.
This will include the learning of practical skills relating to landscape and habitat assessment using computer-based Geographic Information Systems analysis.

To aid your learning and development, there is a major research project in the final stage of your degree, which includes a seminar presentation to your class.

PROFESSIONAL WORK EXPERIENCE
Between April and September in Stage 3, you will undertake a period of Professional Work Experience involving placement in a relevant working environment. This is a central part of the programme and allows you to gain practical skills which make a valuable contribution to your CV and can lead to employment offers following graduation.
There are also opportunities to study abroad in Australia, Europe and the USA for one semester in Stage 3 and potentially to work abroad for your Professional Work Experience.

Many graduates follow career paths as environmental advisors, planners or consultants. Others work in State agencies that require both agricultural and  environmental  management skills, including:




  • Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine

  • Teagasc

  • Environmental Protection Agency

  • National Parks & Wildlife Service 

  • Local Authorities



A high proportion of AES graduates go on to further studies at postgraduate level.


UCD Agriculture and Food Science Programme Office,
Agriculture and Food Science Centre,
Belfield,
Dublin 4
Tel: +353 1 716 7194
Email:agandfoodprogrammes@ucd.ie
Web:www.ucd.ie/agfood

Stage 1

AUTUMN: Students must take 25 credits of core modules and one 5 credit option module from the Autumn list.





SPRING: Students choose 20 credits of core modules and two 5 credit electives from any available modules across UCD or consider the option modules below that are closely related to your programme and may be taken in place of electives.



Stage 2

In addition to the 55 credits of core modules, students must take an elective or an option module (listed) amounting to 5 credits in the Autumn Trimester only.

Stage 3

In addition to the 50 credits of core modules, students must take elective modules amounting to 10 credits. A period of Professional Work Experience is mandatory and must be undertaken in Stage 3.

Stage 4

In addition to the 40 credits of core modules students must:
Take 2 out of the 3 options listed in the Autumn Trimester (10 credits total).
Students need to take 10 credits of electives, the Spring option may be taken in place of 5 credit elective.

Module ID Module Title Trimester Credits
Stage 1 Core Modules
     
AESC10010 Land Use and the Environment Autumn

5

CHEM00020 Introductory Chemistry Autumn

5

MATH10230 Mathematics for Agriculture I Autumn

5

PHYC10180 Physics for Ag. Science Autumn

5

RDEV10020 Information Skills Autumn

5

BIOL10010 Animal Biology and Evolution Spring

5

BIOL10030 Cell and Plant Biology Spring

5

CHEM10010 Introduction to the Chemistry of Biomolecules Spring

5

RDEV10040 Introduction to Food and Agribusiness Management Spring

5

Stage 1 Core Modules
     
Stage 1 Options - A)MIN1OF:
Please choose ONE of the below modules to make up the additional 5 credits required for the Autumn Trimester.
     
FOR10020 Trees and Forests in Ireland Autumn

5

RDEV10030 Introduction to Agricultural Economics and Business Autumn

5

Stage 1 Options - A)MIN1OF:
Please choose ONE of the below modules to make up the additional 5 credits required for the Autumn Trimester.
     
Stage 1 Options - B)MIN0OF:
Choose TWO 5 credit electives from any available modules across UCD or consider the following modules that are closely related to your programme and may be taken in place of electives.
     
CPSC10010 Introduction to Crop Science Spring

5

HORT10020 Plants and People Spring

5

PHYC10190 Aspects of Physics for Ag. Sci Spring

5

Stage 1 Options - B)MIN0OF:
Choose TWO 5 credit electives from any available modules across UCD or consider the following modules that are closely related to your programme and may be taken in place of electives.
     
Stage 2 Core Modules
     
AESC20060 Soil Science Basics Autumn

5

AESC30110 Diversity in the Rural Landscape Autumn

5

FOR20100 Applied Biostatistics Autumn

5

HORT20070 Agricultural Botany Autumn

5

MICR20010 Agricultural Microbiology Autumn

5

AESC20050 Applied Zoology Spring

5

ANSC10010 Introduction to Animal Science Spring

5

ANSC20010 Genetics and Biotechnology Spring

5

CPSC20030 Principles of Crop Science Spring

5

ENVB20050 Principles of Environmental Biology & Ecology Spring

5

RDEV20140 Health, Welfare & Safety in Agriculture Spring

5

Stage 2 Core Modules
     
Stage 2 Options - A)MIN0OF:
Options
     
AERD20030 Business Management Autumn

5

FOR20120 Apiculture - bees, pollination and people Autumn

5

Stage 2 Options - A)MIN0OF:
Options
     
Stage 3 Core Modules
     
AESC30080 Agri-Environmental Issues and Policy Autumn

5

AESC30100 Pests, Parasites and Beneficials Autumn

5

AESC30220 Soil Science Applications Autumn

5

BIOL30010 Plant Diseases: Biology and Control Autumn

5

ENVB30010 Systems Ecology Autumn

5

AESC30010 Scientific Writing and Review Spring

5

AESC30160 Agrichemicals and the Environment Spring

5

AESC30170 Professional Work Experience Spring

10

AESC30230 Climate, Carbon and Soil Spring

5

Stage 3 Core Modules
     
Stage 3 Options - A)MIN0OF:
These modules may expand your knowledge and may be taken in places of electives.
     
AERD20030 Business Management Autumn

5

CPSC30100 Emerging Crop Pathogens Autumn

5

HORT30040 Landscape Management Spring

5

Stage 3 Options - A)MIN0OF:
These modules may expand your knowledge and may be taken in places of electives.
     
Stage 4 Core Modules
     
AESC30250 Environmental Data and Modelling Autumn

5

BIOL40370 Plant Pathology and Biotechnology Autumn

5

CPSC30040 Grass and Forage Production Autumn

5

AESC40140 Agri-Environmental Nutrient Management Spring

5

AESC40160 Research Project (AESC) Spring

15

AESC40340 Environmental Management Spring

5

Stage 4 Core Modules
     
Stage 4 Options - A)2 OF:
Autumn: Please select 2 out of the following three option modules to make up an additional 10 credits required for the Stage 4 Autumn Trimester.
     
AESC40150 Wildlife Conservation Autumn

5

AESC40360 One Health Autumn

5

AESC40660 Plants, Roots and Productivity Autumn

5

Stage 4 Options - A)2 OF:
Autumn: Please select 2 out of the following three option modules to make up an additional 10 credits required for the Stage 4 Autumn Trimester.
     
Stage 4 Options - B)MIN0OF:
Spring: Students can take this option module or any other elective module worth 5 credits to for Stage 4 Spring Trimester
     
ZOOL40280 Biological Invasions Spring

5


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