South East Technological University (SETU) has expanded its offering of agricultural programmes with the launch of four new degrees in organic agriculture and agri-systems engineering.
The new courses will be on offer in 2023 in the Wexford and the Carlow campuses of SETU.
Speaking at the launch at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett said that having a BSc in organic agriculture signals the importance of the sector.
“For a very long time, people had to go outside of this country to learn about organic agriculture."
“It’s coming at such a right time for organics, we’ve got a drive on now, we have more support than ever before and farmers are coming and asking about it.”
Prospective students interested in working in the agri food industry can apply for a Level 8 BSc (hons) and Level 7 BSc in organic agriculture and a level 8 BEng (hons) and level 7 BEng in agri-systems engineering when the CAO opens in November.
SETU offers 14 land and food science programmes across its Wexford, Waterford and Carlow campuses.
Speaking at the launch, programme director Dr Stephen Whelan said: “Our new organic agriculture programmes give students a unique opportunity to make a big impact on the organic industry.
"The BSc in organic agriculture is the only such degree being offered on the island of Ireland and we believe the honours version of the course is the only Level 8 degree in organic agriculture offered in either the UK or Ireland.”
The BSc in organic agriculture will complement the existing BSc in sustainable farm management and agribusiness programmes with which it shares the scientific and business modules.
It will be one of four agri/marine programmes that SETU offers on the Wexford campus, complementing the various land, marine and food science related programmes offered across the SETU.
The BEng in agricultural systems engineering was also developed by working closely with industry.
Dr John Carroll, co-director of the programme together with Dr Anthony Nolan, said: “Our vision for this programme is that it will create talented problem solvers for the agricultural industry, which is becoming increasingly mechanised and technical.
“Students on this programme will be able to take advantage of the best offerings in the Wexford and the Carlow campuses of SETU, capitalising on the agricultural expertise in the former and the engineering expertise in the latter."
Similar to the organic agriculture courses, the BEng in agricultural systems engineering programmes will share a number of agri-business and applied agriculture modules with the parent programme, the BSc in sustainable farm management and agribusiness.
Students will take the engineering components of the programme in Carlow, as well as learning from exposure to the many agri-engineering companies in the southeast.
Both the BSc in organic agriculture and the BEng in agricultural systems engineering will be offered at Level 7 and Level 8 and will have their first intake of students in September 2023.