UCR - University Centre Reaseheath
University Centre Reaseheath

FdSc Sustainable Agriculture with Dairy Herd Management

In your first year, you will focus on gaining a sound theoretical and practical understanding of sustainable agricultural production through developing your knowledge and skills in the foundations of agricultural science and production, before specialising in Dairy Herd Management in your second year.

On the Dairy Herd Management pathway, you will explore different management strategies in key areas such as genetics, nutrition and health which will enable you to effectively combine science and production to combat key global issues such as food security and climate change. In particular, you will explore the role of autonomous and biological technologies, such as our robotic milking facility, and concepts such as OneHealth to improve livestock health, efficiency and sustainability.

student with cow

Course Overview

Rural business management is integrated throughout your foundation degree, covering areas such as diversification, marketing and accounting, which are hugely important for the performance monitoring and management of successful agricultural businesses and are often looked for by employers in the food industry.

Upon graduation you will be armed with the toolkit required to progress the dairy industry forward in a career in dairy herd management, as well as progress to the BSc (Hons) in Sustainable Agriculture Top-up degree.

Course Features

  • Training on our commercial farm — a regional centre for agricultural education 
  • Developing research skills using new state-of-the-art  technologies,  including our Lely Astronaut A5 automated robotic milking systems and Data Hub
  • Projects run by the Institute of Sustainability & Food Innovation (IoSFI) and the  Reaseheath Sustainability Committee    
  • Industry work placement and visits from guest speakers
  • Field trips and study for additional industry-recognised qualifications

Career Options

  • Herd Management
  • Farm and Environment Consultancy
  • Animal Health Advisory & Sales
  • Animal Genetics Advisory & Sales
  • Farm Business Analyst
  • Vet Technician
  • Research and Development

BSc Sustainable Agriculture (Top-up)

This course can be followed by a one year Top-up course to gain a full honours degree.

Why study Sustainable Agriculture with Dairy Herd Management at UCR?

Hear current FdSc Sustainable Agriculture with Dairy Herd Management student Pyper tell you more about the course, what she loves about studying at UCR and her plans for the future in this video. 

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Course Information

You will gain a wide range of management skills and academic knowledge which will help you to understand the scientific principles of dairy farming and efficient milk production, and enable you to make informed decisions to benefit your business.

The course is broken down into 12 Modules (all at 20 credits), which are completed over 2 years.

  • A minimum of 64 tariff points from A and AS level to include Biology A-level
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (first teaching from September 2016) – a minimum of grade MPP in an Agriculture or Science related subject
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (first teaching from September 2016) – a minimum of grade MM in and Agriculture or Science related subject
  • Access to HE Diploma – a minimum of 64 tariff points
  • Scottish Higher – a minimum of CCC in an Agriculture or Science related subject
  • T Level – Pass (D or E)
  • Mature students (aged 21+) will be considered on an individual basis on their prior knowledge and experience. This may be assessed by interview, completion of coursework/essay or other methods. There may be a requirement for a formal qualification to be completed first e.g. Access to Higher Education course.

At Level 4 all Sustainable Agriculture students will study a suite of core modules which will provide the foundations in agricultural science and production to aid specialisation at level 5. Modules will include:

  • Animal, Plant and Soil Science
  • Sustainable Livestock Production Systems
  • Farm Animal Welfare and Nutrition
  • Farm Business Diversification and Marketing
  • Sustainable Crop and Forage Production Systems
  • Agricultural Machinery & Technology

At level 5 students studying the Sustainable Agriculture with Dairy Herd Management pathway will study:

  • Environmental Land Management
  • Business Management and Finance
  • Work Based Learning for Land-Based Industries
  • Farm Animal Health and Behaviour
  • Sustainable Dairy Herd Management
  • Applied Dairy Investigation

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning and assessment activity, plus field trips. Your actual contact hours may depend on which optional modules you select, but the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each year of the course:

Year 1: 30% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

Teaching, Learning and Assessment: 360 hours

Independent Study: 840 hours

Year 2: 25% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

Teaching, Learning and Assessment: 260 hours

Placement: 150 hours

Independent Study: 790 hours

Class sizes are usually up to 20 students.

Assessment Methods

Module assessments are designed to encourage both academic and workplace skill development. They include a wide range of coursework-based assessments in both independent and collaborative formats including reports, data processing, presentations, academic posters, lab-reports, seminar discussions, literature reviews and portfolios. Assessments will range in size and will be spread throughout the year to give you the greatest level of support and feedback whilst maintaining an even, manageable workload.

Examples include a short report in Sustainable Dairy Herd Management, in which you will develop analytical skills to report on progression of dairy herd enterprise case-studies, whilst your digital communication skills will be challenged in a series of blog posts on farm animal behaviour as part of the Farm Animal Health and Behaviour module. To investigate the dairy industry further, you will conduct an Applied Dairy Investigation, in which you will examine the latest research in an area of dairy herd management, develop a research methodology, conduct statistical analysis and later produce a scientific poster to share the results of your group investigation.


Feedback is supplied via Turnitin or directly from the module tutor. The majority of submissions are made via Turnitin and feedback for coursework is provided within twenty working days after the submission date.

Written feedback will be supported verbally should the student require clarification. Formative assessment feedback will be provided at the time of completion where possible, with more detailed summative feedback for reports.

Students will be able to access course timetables for the academic year in September.

Timetables are subject to change, but most students can expect to spend 3-3.5 days per week on campus.

During the level 5 module, Work Based Learning for the Land-Based Industries, students are expected to complete at least 150 hours of industry placements. This is completed alongside lectures and students are expected to attend all timetabled sessions.

This is a compulsory module; students are expected to secure the work experience opportunity with guidance and support from agriculture staff.

Financial arrangements will be left to the discretion of the employer, to be agreed with the student, where significant learning takes place and training is provided. The value of this experience must be taken into consideration.

Tuition Fees

As a student at UCR, you will have two main costs to meet; your tuition fees and living costs.

Our full-time tuition fees for UK and EU students, entering University, can be found on our student finance page. These fees are charged for each academic year of a course and are set by the college annually.

Tuition fees for international students can also be found on our student finance page.

Additional Costs

All resources will be available through the college library or VLE as E-Books, therefore there is no formal requirement to purchase textbooks. Although a list of recommended texts can be provided. We promote the use of online journals, webinars and podcasts.

Some shows and field trips may have small admission fees (usually £10-20). There may also be opportunity to attend industry events and conferences, the costs of which vary depending on event, but of course are optional.

Students may also get the opportunity to join a UK or international study tour, which usually cost £150-£1,500 depending on location and duration.

Equipment Costs

Students are responsible for everyday stationary, access to a laptop and PPE (steel-toe wellies, overalls and warm clothes) for external visits. For biosecurity purposes, all PPE for the campus farm will be provided.

  • Steel-toe capped Wellingtons or boots – £30+
  • Waterproof trousers – £15+
  • Waterproof coat – £20+


Warm clothing and waterproofs are important for an external visit.

Prices of equipment are subject to change dependent on retailer.

Apply directly through UCAS


A minimum of 64 UCAS points

September 2024  September 2025

Full-time: 2 years

Useful Information

Here you will find useful information about the services and support available at University Centre Reaseheath. Click to expand each item:

University Centre Reaseheath is committed to providing additional financial support to those who need it. To find out about the bursary schemes available visit the additional financial support pages.

For students to get the best out of their time at University Centre Reaseheath, we must both recognise that we owe obligations to each other. These obligations are set out in our UCR Student Contract. Before you accept an offer of a place at University Centre Reaseheath, it is important that you read these contract conditions. If you are going to be living in Halls of Residence, you will also need to read the Student Accommodation Licence Conditions. Both of these contracts can be found here.

Click here to view the University Centre Reaseheath Student Protection Plan.

All UCR students are given the opportunity to apply for residential accommodation. First year students are guaranteed accommodation and this offer is made to all applicants who live more than a reasonable daily travelling distance from Reaseheath (providing you have applied before the UCAS equal considerations deadline. For full details on our halls of residence visit our accommodation page.

We have a team of dedicated professionals on hand to offer you support. These include our Student Services Team, Inclusive Learning Team, Library and Learning Resources Team and the Reaseheath Careers Service. You can find more information on the support provided at Reaseheath on our support page.

University Centre Reaseheath is proud to welcome international students. For more information, please visit our international students page.