Career Opportunities with an Agriculture Degree

If you’re thinking about studying for a degree in Agriculture then you don’t need to worry about having a dull career after graduation.

Agriculture degrees cover a wide range of topics including biology, chemistry and environmental studies but you’ll also look at business management, economics and food science – leading to an interesting and rewarding career.

During your degree you can expect to gain some level of hands-on experience and depending on which university you choose, the university may even operate its own farm – for example, Aberystwyth University has 2,500 acres of farmland.

Whether you’re looking for a career that’s all about the mud and manure, or you’d rather have less frequent experiences with the great outdoors, there are plenty of career opportunities with an Agriculture degree.

Where can I study an Agriculture degree?

There are a number of universities across the country where you can study for a degree in Agriculture. They include:

  • Aberystwyth University
  • University of Reading
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Aberdeen
  • Scottish Agricultural College

All of these universities offer a different syllabus and different student experience so it’s important to research each university carefully and keep any future career in mind when choosing a course.

What skills will I gain during my Agriculture degree?

As well as many industry specific skills, you’ll also gain a variety of highly transferrable skills during your Agriculture degree that will be useful regardless of the sector you work in after graduation.

These transferrable skills include:

  • Numeracy and IT skills
  • The ability to use your initiative
  • Organisational skills
  • The ability to plan and conduct research
  • Strong communication skills (including being able to lead a group)
  • Teamwork abilities
  • The ability to manage projects (including more than one project at a time)

 If you’re considering a career in agriculture then the industry specific skills you’ll gain during your degree will be highly sought after by employers.

All Agriculture degrees will have their own syllabus, but you can expect to be taught roughly the same thing at each university. When you graduate you’ll have gained skills and knowledge on topics such as land use and how it relates to farming, how Government and EU policies can affect farm management and food production, and an understanding of the scientific, ethical and business principles that underpin the agricultural industry.

Who are the potential employers of Agriculture graduates?

One of the great things about a degree in Agriculture is that it gives you plenty of opportunity to work abroad and in a wide range of fields. If you don’t have a specific career in mind, then consider the types of employers that would be interested in a candidate with your skills.

Potential employers of Agriculture graduates include:

  • Conservation and environmental organisations
  • Farms
  • Food processing companies
  • Land agents
  • Landowners
  • Livestock dealers
  • Logistics companies
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Research agencies (public and private)
  • Supermarkets
  • Watchdog organisations (including those assessing hygiene, animal care and product standards) 

Career opportunities directly related to an Agriculture degree:

A degree in agriculture will provide you with the knowledge and skills to manage agricultural businesses, as well as enter related jobs in commercial research and advisory work.

Here are some career options if you’re looking for a job that directly relates to your degree course:

  • Agricultural consultant
  • Farm manager
  • Fish farm manager
  • Rural practice surveyor
  • Soil scientist

Career opportunities not directly related to an Agriculture degree:

As we said above, there are many highly transferrable skills you’ll gain as an Agriculture student, so this means your career options aren’t limited to jobs directly related to the agricultural field.

Here are some career options if you’re looking for a job that doesn’t directly relate to your degree course:

  • Animal nutritionist
  • Field trials officer
  • Magazine journalist (agriculture or country related magazines)
  • Newspaper journalist (reporting on agricultural issues)
  • Agricultural sales executive

How can I make myself stand out to future employers?

Although you’ll gain hands on experience during your degree, employers will also expect an Agriculture graduate to have done further work experience. 

You might have the opportunity to undertake a placement year as part of your course, but if this isn’t an option, you should look for work during the holidays.

For example, you could work on a local farm or ask to work shadow someone in a farm management role. 

There are also plenty of opportunities to volunteer abroad for agriculture or farming related projects.