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Subject Choice

Leaving Certificate

Agricultural Science

Career Zone
NFQ Level
2 Years


Agricultural science is the study of the science and technology underlying the principles and practices of agriculture. Plants and animal types associated with agriculture are studied, and investigations are undertaken into such aspects as soil, ecology, plant and animal physiology, farm crops, farming practices, genetics and microbiology.

Why Study Agricultural Science?

Agricultural Science remains a very popular subject among students in Ireland and reflects our agricultural background. This subject proves popular among students who are planning to study Veterinary Science, Science or Medicine in college.

What kind of Student would Agricultural Science suit?

Some experience of farming would be desirable. 

This subject builds skills and knowledge that are particularly useful for careers in the following Career Sectors:

Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2019:

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 6605 students who sat the Higher Level Agricultural Science exam in 2019.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 1140 students who sat the Ordinary Level Agricultural Science exam in 2019.


Explore Marks Distribution for all Subjects:

Course Overview

This subject aims to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes concerning the factors that affect the long-term well-being of agricultural resources, and places emphasis on the managed use of these resources. It is steadily growing in popularity every year. It is recognised as a laboratory science subject for almost all 3rd level courses including nursing.

It can be a good study to subject with Biology and/or Geography due to the overlap in course content. Some experience of farming would be desirable.

Course Content

The course consists of the study of a variety of aspects of agriculture and is divided into four main strands.

 Scientific Practices:

  • Hypothesising
  • Experimenting
  • Evaluating Evidence
  • Communicating
  • Working Safely


  • Classification
  • Properties (Chemical, Physical, Biological)
  • Management   

 Grass and Other Crops:

  • Plant Physiology
  • Classification/Identification
  • Production (Establishment, Management, Harvesting)    


  • Animal Physiology
  • Classification/Identification
  • Production (System/Enterprise, Management, Animal Husbandry and Health)    

Exam Structure

The assessment in Agricultural Science consists of:

(a) a terminal examination paper (75%), at both Higher and Ordinary level, lasting 2 and a half hours, examining the following:

  • knowledge and recall of facts related to the principles and practices of Agricultural Science
  • application of knowledge and understanding from different areas of the specification to familiar and unfamiliar situations
  • scientific inquiry, formulation of hypotheses and design of investigations
  • critical thinking, the ability to analyse and evaluate information and to form reasonable and logical argument, based on evidence
  • problem solving based on integration, analysis and evaluation of qualitative and quantitative information and data
  • understanding of the ehtical, historical, environmental and technological aspects of science, and how it contributes to the social and economic development of society.

(b) (i) portfolio of activities and investigations, including laboratory and field investigations, farm visits and other appropriate activities.

     (ii) a student project, through which a topic of agricultural significance is explored in greater depth. This will be based on a theme, which will be set annually by the State Examinations Commission.

Both the portfolio and student project will amount to a combined total of 25% of the student's final grade.

Career Possibilities

Careers in this area include: Greenkeeping, Horticulture, Food Science, Agricultural Advisers, Agricultural Engineering, Sports Turf Management, Environmental Science, Forestry, Farming, Marine Science, Careers in Renewable Energy and Teaching.

Career Guidance

Subject Group: Science

These subjects demonstrate how to explore nature using carefully planned methods, and teach the basic methods and findings of scientific investigation.

Required for 3rd Level?

This subject is not an essential requirement for any courses in the CAO system.


What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

Bryan Daniels, Farmer - Dairy

Agricultural Science - I really enjoyed it and it gave me a good understanding of the basics in agriculture. Technical Drawing and Construction Studies - I enjoyed the hands on building as well as the planning and design aspect which has assisted me in planning and building my farm yard from the parlour, sheds, workshops and even my new house.

If I could go back in time I think I would of taken Business Studies to give me a better grasp of the financial aspects that are involve in my farming business.

... View Full Interview

Kieran Magee, Farm Manager - Dry Stock
All the subjects I choose had a practical aspect to them,e.g. Woodwork, Metalwork, Technical graphics and of course the usuals.  I suppose looking back on it I was always working with my hands and that's what I enjoyed.

The likes of Woodwork and Metalwork are skills which are used every day when out in the yard or down the back of a field fixing a broken machine. If I went back to pick better subjects I probably would have added Agricultural Science into the bunch, but other than that I'd stick with the same.

... View Full Interview

Denis Reidy, Farmer - Dairy
Generally I chose well & wouldn't change my choices. I started off studying Agricultural Science & Engineering for the Leaving Cert. which were both a help.

I attended Pallaskenry & Kildalton Agricultural colleges on route to completing the A.C.F.M. Course. 

I also completed various stints of work placements.

... View Full Interview

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