Agricultural Science is the study of the science and technology behind the principles and practices of agriculture. It is a 2 year course with a maximum of 24 students per class. The published syllabus has remained unchanged for many years. It is examined at two levels – ordinary and higher level. There is little difference in the content between the levels.
The course investigates a variety of areas of agriculture including:
- Soil science
- Structure and function of plants
- Farm crops production – cereals, root and grassland
- Animal production and husbandry – beef, dairy, sheep and pigs
- Structure and function of the animal body
- Farm buildings and farm-house environment
- Fertilisers and the environment
- Trees and shelter
The examination consists of a terminal written paper worth 75% and a practical coursework component worth 25%.
The practical component 25%
The practical component consists of:
- Identification of plants and animals (food producing breeds and pests) associated with agriculture
- A written report on practical experience gained with 2 crops, 1 livestock enterprise and field and farmyard layout maps. Practical experience must be gained on a farm over the 2 year period so access to a farm (home or adopted) is essential.
- Laboratory investigations carried out and written up relating to ecology, soil science, animal physiology, plant physiology, genetics and microbiology.
Terminal Written Paper 75%
The exam paper consists of 9 long questions of which 6 must be answered.
Requirements to study Agricultural Science at Leaving Certificate
- Students should have a genuine interest in Science.
- It is preferable for students to have studied Science at higher level for their Junior Certificate.
- Students must be willingly to visit a farm(s) on a number of occasions to complete the practical component of their assessment so, access to a farm on a regular basis is essential.
- Students must be willing to commence the practical component in 5th
- Students must have an inquisitive mind and a desire to know why things work as they do.
- Animal, plant and food sciences
- Agri-business, e.g. sales and marketing departments, banking
- Environmental management
- Horticulture and forestry areas
- Farming and farm management
- Senior technical positions in quality control and food processing industries
- Technical personnel in organisations offering environmental services to farmers
- Start-up agriculturally based businesses.
Should I take up agricultural science for the leaving certificate?
- You are good at junior certificate science.
- You have an interest in farming or a career in the agricultural sector.
- You are also doing Biology or Geography as there is some overlap in content.
- You have access to a farm or live on a farm, upon which you can complete the practical component.
- You require a science subject for entry to a course (Agricultural Science is an acceptable science subject for most university courses)
- You enjoy practical work and are good at writing projects and reports.