UCD expands Ag Science degrees to include Big Data
UCD looks to the future following the opening of its €2.3m dairy research facility with a choice of 12 degree courses for its 1,800 agriculture student cohort
Anew 'Big Data' degree in agriculture to meet the expanding graduate requirements of the country's expanding agribusiness sector is the highlight of next year's offering from the UCD School of Agriculture.
The faculty, which this year opened its €2.3m research centre at the Lyons Estate in Celbridge, Co Kildare, will have 12 degree courses for its 1,800 student cohort in 2017.
Student applications to UCD remain buoyant though slightly down on the record interest taken in agricultural studies in the immediate aftermath of the economic collapse eight years ago.
Then doing agricultural studies was the only game in town for young students as careers in banking, the construction industry and the public service seized up.
"North of 470 points from the Leaving Certificate were required in the immediate aftermath of the crash but they are now coming back a little as the economy improves and students consider alternative career paths," UCD registrar Damien Dempsey (inset) told the Farming Independent this week.
Nevertheless, agricultural studies are holding as a preferred student option, particularly for those from a rural background.
And the link-up between UCD and the broad agribusiness sector remains strong, as does student interest in pursuing careers in the sector, he added.
The new four-year 'Big Data' degree is a response to industry needs and covers a diverse range of agri-studies including precision farming, GIS and remote sensing systems, microbiology, applied biostatistics, and quantitative risk assessment. These are all studied alongside the established agriscience disciplines.