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Overview of the Agrobiology degree

An overview of the Master’s degree programme in Agrobiology. Numbers and letters refer to the individual courses (see list below). Courses with the letters A-D and numbers 1-11 and 15 are each 15 ECTS credits. The courses 12-14 are each 5 ECTS credits and course no. 16 is 10 ECTS credits.



A: Animal health and welfare

A1: Quantitative animal nutrition and physiology

In this course you follow the nutrient chain from the initial content in different animal feeds to the content in the final animal products such as milk, meat, eggs and fur.

The studies will be project-oriented and focus on a number of nutrients in the different feeds, how these nutrients are digested in the gastrointestinal tract and absorbed in different farm animals, and how the nutrients are distributed between, for example, milk production in the udder and growth.

You will subsequently be able to assess whether the nutrient requirements of the animals have been met for various feeding strategies.

A2: Animal production, health and welfare

Livestock production systems have an important part to play in a world where the consumption of animal food products is on the increase. A modern livestock production makes very large demands on the producer, who must combine an efficient production with good animal health and welfare. The course focuses on the principal factors affecting the interaction between production, health and welfare in modern livestock herds.

You will be working with an actual herd and obtain insight into the interaction between livestock management and production and thus be able to contribute to the solution of future challenges in livestock production.

Teachers and student counsellors on the course are scientists active within the respective areas.


B: Plant nutrition and health

B1: Crop nutrition and physiology

This course focuses on the fundamental factors in the soil-plant-atmosphere system that are crucial for crop uptake of nutrients from the environment and for the transformation and function of nutrients in the crop.

During the course you will be working theoretically, experimentally and project-oriented and thus obtain a basic understanding of how the environment and agronomic factors can affect plant nutrient supply, yield and quality.

B2: Crop pests – biology and control

Crop pests (pathogens, plant pests and weeds) can cause considerable loss of yield and affect the quality of crops. For a crop to be profitable it is important to minimise their occurrence and to have an effective control strategy in place when needed. The course will examine the biology and damage caused by the most important weeds, plant pests and diseases. We will also focus on how to minimise their incidence and damaging effect and on how to determine if and when to initiate a control programme. Control strategies can include mechanical, biological, non-chemical and chemical methods and the principles underlying these methods will be presented.

The course will also focus on how to combine knowledge on pest biology, preventive methods and control methods in Integrated Pest Management strategies, which will often offer the most sustainable solutions. Throughout the course, theory will be illustrated with examples from practical farming.


C: Agriculture in a global perspective (from 2009)

C1: Natural resources for global agricultural production

The course is one of two compulsory courses in the package Agriculture in a global perspective and targets those interested in working with the global agricultural production and how it is affected by climate and soil conditions. The course also looks at how food quality is controlled by production, harvest and storage conditions.

Tuition involves various different teaching methods and provides you with the opportunity to work independently on projects.

The course is open to both Danish students and students from other countries.

Lecturers are scientists from the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences as well as external lecturers with experience from the advisory sector, research and development.

C2: Structure of global agricultural production

The course is one of two compulsory courses in the package Agriculture in a global perspective and targets those wishing to work with global agricultural production and its economic, sociological and cultural aspects and also with different aspects of sustainability of production.

Tuition involves various different teaching methods and provides you with the opportunity to work independently on projects. We will be looking at factors that affect the production of the most important foods in both temperate and tropical areas.

The course is open to both Danish students and students from other countries.

Lecturers are scientists from the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences as well as external lecturers with experience from the advisory sector, research and development.


D: Organic agriculture

D1: Organic agriculture – farm management and production

The course focuses on production on typical organic farms. Relationships between organic principles, regulations and management will be a recurring theme throughout the course, as will the production opportunities and barriers that characterise an organic production. This will be based on knowledge about the most significant processes and properties that are associated with soil, crops and farm animals.

The course is characterised by a high level of interdisciplinarity and holistic thinking, which gives a solid foundation for an understanding of the complex relations that widely exist in an agricultural production.

D2: Organic agriculture – quality and environment

The course is characterised by having a critical and analytical approach to the role of organic farming as a producer of food and as a promoter of a healthy environment. The course uses a number of general themes and issues that relate to the quality of food products, to animal welfare and natural values and to aspects dealing with the environment and resources.

In order to be able to compare production systems, tools will be used to analyse sustainability and quality in general. The course will also focus on the future development of organic production.


Optional courses

1. Soil fertility

Soil is the basis for plant growth and is therefore the key component in an agricultural production. Despite its core function, soil as an ecosystem is a relatively unexplored research area.

This course focuses on the further exploration of the importance of soil for plant growth and health, including the identification of key factors affecting soil fertility including the physical, chemical and biological aspects and their interactions.


2. Livestock diseases – mechanisms and prevention

This advanced course will be working with the most common livestock diseases in cattle, pigs, poultry and mink. The common livestock diseases are those relating to digestion, metabolism, infections and reproduction. You will be using tools to monitor the risk of diseases and to analyse possible causes and effects of diseases and disease complexes.

The aim is that you will learn to prepare and formulate strategies particularly for the prevention of diseases, based, amongst others, on nutrition and farm management regimes.


3. Food crops

The course reviews the production of high-value crops such as vegetables, potatoes, fruit and berries. Choice of variety, cultivation techniques, plant nutrition, irrigation and plant protection are important factors in crop management in order to obtain a sustainable production of high-quality products.

The term quality relates to both the external and internal qualities (taste and ingredients), including resource utilisation and environmental aspects. The post-harvest stage that includes the storage or pre-processing stages and marketing is also an important component. Bread wheat and malted barley are also included in this section.


4. Applied ethology - behaviour of domesticated animals

You will receive the required theoretical and practical qualifications to study the behaviour of domesticated animals in relation to specific issues.

The course includes methods of studying normal and abnormal behaviour and for example parental care, social behaviour and behaviour related to sickness, pain and stress.


5. Organic agriculture in a development perspective

With special focus on low-income areas and the principle of sustainability you will be confronted with knowledge, challenges and issues relating to the organic sector on a global level, ranging from production to consumption and markets, including the diversity of productions and production conditions.

The course is open to prospective MSc students with many different backgrounds and comprises both theory and practice, with considerable emphasis on interdisciplinarity.


6. Cropping systems

About 60% of Denmark is cultivated and thus subject to the cropping system adopted by agriculture. An understanding of opportunities and limitations with different cropping systems is an important prerequisite for a holistic understanding of agricultural production and its impact on the environment.

The course is user-oriented and vocational if you are interested in organic or conventional agriculture or in the environmental impact of agriculture. This is a central course if you are aiming for a career within advisory or management work in the agricultural or environmental sector.


7. Plant biotechnology

The course will cover the state of the art within research and knowledge in plant biotechnology, including the genetic basis of several important plant properties and the use of molecular genetics and genetic modified organisms (GMO).

Through the course you will gain a profound understanding of the theory and practical use of the newest techniques within the field of plant biotechnology and you will be able to employ that knowledge to solve problems within this field.

Teaching will include fundamental principles for genetic breeding of crop plants through the use of biotechnology.

Knowledge obtained through this course will be relevant if you wish a theoretical and practical education within plant biotechnology or wish to understand the opportunities of these techniques in future plant production.


8. Quantitative Genetics and Breeding Planning

The course is based on problems from practical modern animal breeding.

Through the course you will acquire experience in genetic evaluation and breeding planning. You will also gain experience in analysing simple but realistic problems in the inheritance of quantitative characters and selection of quantitative characters using tools from quantitative genetics.

You will be able to conduct genetic evaluation and develop breeding plans in simple situations. Recently developed methods are applied to solve the problems, including the use of molecular data.


9. Communication, extension and decision-making

As both research and common practice become more and more specialised, the need for and the challenge of communicating across areas of specialism and issues increases.

The aim of the course is to develop your communication skills via an introduction to general socio-scientific theory on science, communication and decision-making in combination with practical exercises and assignments based on actual problems.


10. Crop production and feed quality

The course is directed at students with an interest in plant production and in how to grow and compose an optimal animal feed.

We analyse the fundamental aspects of the construction and organisation of nutrients in plants (carbohydrates, fibres, proteins, minerals, etc.) and compare this with the impact of growing conditions on crop development, yield and quality – primarily in cereals, grass, clover and maize.

You will learn how to optimise the quality of the feed produced based on the nutritional requirements of the farm animals and methods of measuring animal feed quality, and you will thus achieve a fundamental understanding of the interaction between plant and animal production.


11. From muscles to meat

The course will give you an in-depth knowledge of production economy and the quality of the raw material produced. This is achieved using knowledge on development, growth, metabolism and the resulting quality of the raw material, which is of crucial importance to both the producer and consumer. You will get an insight into alternative rearing strategies to improve the general quality of the meat or specific quality traits, with due regard to animal welfare and the environment.

It is important that you achieve an overall understanding of the issues involved based on the ‘farm-to-fork’ concept.


12. Biostatistics 2B – Linear models with random effects

13. Biostatistics 2C – Experimental design

14. Biostatistics 2D - Geostatistics and spatial modelling

Biostatistics is statistics applied to biological issues. Biostatistics gives guidelines to collect data and helps to structure and interpret them.

All courses emphasise the use of methods and are directed at students who aim for a career as a researcher within industry or administration.


15. Bioenergy

Bioenergy is energy based on renewable resources. As CO2 was used in the construction of the raw material, the combustion or other utilisation of this material do not give rise to enhanced CO2 emissions to the atmosphere - in contrast to fossil fuels - and are therefore CO2 neutral. The bioenergy course deals with aspects of the growing of energy crops, their harvest, storage, transport and conversion to heat and power or biofuels. The impact of bioenergy production on the environment, climate and landscape are examined. The course focuses on mass and energy balances. You will be working with unit operations and will perform operational cost calculations.


16. Systems analysis and modelling

Mathematical models are widely used in agricultural and environmental research, and models are becoming increasingly important for understanding and managing complex biological systems to meet challenges concerning sustainable and profitable agriculture.

The course introduces you to methods for analysing and modelling biological, technical and managerial systems and their interactions. Emphasis is on methodologies commonly applied in agricultural and environmental science. The course will furthermore familiarise you with modelling in practice using well-known software tools.

It is also possible to do either a 5, 10 or 15 ECTS credit project.


Open project – 5, 10, 15 ECTS credits

This advanced course gives you the opportunity to tailor your degree programme to your own preferences by specialising in a specific discipline.

You will have the opportunity to independently utilise part of your acquired knowledge and to collect and assimilate new knowledge.

Last updated: Tuesday 03 June 2008 -