Agricultural sciences deal with the economic use and care of the soil through crop cultivation and animal husbandry. This also includes viticulture (enology) and the further processing of agricultural products such as dairying.
The field of study at a glance
The agricultural science course leads to advisory, technical and administrative activities, and more rarely, to practical work as a farmer. It is based on scientific, technical, economics and social science subjects, but also deals with the use of electronic control devices for optimal production.
Phytomedicine is of great importance in today's agriculture. This is the study of plant diseases and damage and their prevention. Topics such as organic crop production and species-appropriate animal husbandry as well as the environmentally friendly use of artificial fertilizers (e.g. for water protection) are also very important. In addition to the basics of organic farming, the comprehensive agricultural training provides knowledge in the areas of marketing, business management and product quality (e.g. the “Organic Farming and Marketing” course).
Technical colleges and universities offer bachelor's and master's programs in agricultural sciences. Some (Bachelor's) degree programs prepare students for specific areas, such as marine ecosystem and fisheries sciences, horse management or viticulture and oenology. There are also interdisciplinary courses that focus on economic (agricultural management) or biological (agricultural biology) aspects. Specializations are possible in the master's program, for example in the wine industry, crop sciences or aquaculture.
Contents of the course
The bachelor's program includes modules covering basic skills in the natural sciences and social sciences: botany, zoology, chemistry, physics, agricultural meteorology, mathematics and statistics as well as resource conservation. Subject-specific modules include, for example, agricultural management, plant nutrition and phytopathology, plant cultivation/breeding and grassland farming, animal breeding and animal husbandry, feed science, soil science, agricultural technology, agricultural policy and market theory.
Advanced opportunities in the master's program can be found in the areas of crop and crop sciences, livestock sciences, agricultural technology, agricultural economics and agribusiness, environmental sciences of agricultural landscapes, environmental and resource management, and fisheries science. There are also overarching modules such as agricultural informatics, specialist communication and consulting.
Internships are an integral part of your studies at both technical colleges and universities. A practical semester is usually carried out at universities of applied sciences. In order to enter the preparatory service for the higher advisory and technical school service in the field of agriculture or agricultural economics, including teaching, all federal states require at least twelve months of internship.
Admission criteria & application for study
Preliminary internships are usually required at universities of applied sciences and universities. These are between several weeks and months long and can, if necessary, be replaced or shortened by prior professional training.
Career opportunities after graduation
There are employment opportunities for graduates in agricultural associations and organizations such as farmers' associations, animal breeding associations or producer groups.
In addition, agricultural engineers are employed in the testing and research departments of companies involved in plant protection and fertilizer production, as well as in plant and seed breeding, food production, consulting and sales at agricultural machinery, seed, plant protection and fertilizer manufacturers, in education and training, and in development aid.
Further fields of activity open up in authorities of agricultural administration and agricultural research, e.g. in federal and state ministries, offices for agriculture and land development, chambers of agriculture, agricultural research institutes, state institutes for plant protection.