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Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...

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Agricultural Economics

Ed Zone

These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.

Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.

Employment Opportunities
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.

Level on the National Framework of Qualifications
2 Years
Duration of course
Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2018:
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 77 students who sat the Higher Level Agricultural Economics exam in 2018.

In brief... header image

Leaving Certificate agricultural economics provides students with a broad knowledge and understanding of farming in Ireland and in other countries.

The learning experiences in agricultural economics develop students’ understanding of the agricultural industry here and abroad, economic principals as they apply to agricultural economics, the application of economics to the individual farm and an overview of the economics of the farming industry as a whole.


Why Study this?header image

Why Study Agricultural Economics

Leaving Certificate Agricultural Economics provides students with a broad knowledge and understanding of farming in Ireland and other countries. The learning experiences in agricultural economics develop students’ understanding of the agricultural industry in Ireland and abroad, the economic principles as they apply to agricultural economics, the application of economics to the individual farm and an overview of the economics of the farming industry as a whole.

The syllabus is for students in the senior cycle of post-primary education and is assessed at Higher and Ordinary levels.

What kind of student would Agricultural Economics suit?

  • Students looking for an additional subject – (Additional points).
  • Good alternative subject to Agricultural Science.
  • Students already studying Agricultural Science, Business, Accounting or Geography.
  • Students planning to work in agriculture or derivative production industries.

Note: Students are not allowed to have a subject combination of Agriculture Economics and Economics for Leaving Certificate.

Recommendations/Tips

Only a handful of schools offer the subject due to subject constraints.

Agricultural ecomomics is often seen as a good prospect for those wishing to do a subject in a single year. Students need to work hard, however, as quiet a high percentage of higher-level students haven’t managed an honour over the past three years.


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Course Overview header image

This subject is part of the general business subject group and teaches the skills, understanding and knowledge needed to understand how the farming business works.

Agricultural Economics is the science of the allocation of scarce resources. Resources are categorised into land, labour, capital and management – often termed enterprise.


Course Contentheader image

Agricultural Economics studies how farms operate as businesses and as part of a modern industry. The course provides a broad overview of farming in Ireland and abroad, international trade, and the history of recent developments in the industry.

Economic growth in the farming industry, the wages of farmers, and farm policy are also analysed.

An introduction to the basic principles of economics and markets, as well as farm focused topics such as profit maximisation and production costs are also studies. A detailed module on finances, budgeting, and managing farm accounts is included in the course.

The Agricultural Economics course includes a project 'of a worthwhile agricultural economic nature' which is examined orally and is worth 20% of the overall marks.


Exam Structure header image

The syllabus is for students in the senior cycle of post-primary education and is assessed at Higher and Ordinary levels.

The Agricultural Economics exam has two components: 

  1. Written terminal examination (80%) – 320 marks. 
  2. School Assessed Project/Practical coursework (20%) - 80 marks

Written Paper

Part I (120 marks)

Candidates are requested to attempt 15 out of 20 short-response type questions. All questions have an equal weighting of 8 marks.

Part II (200 marks) Candidates are requested to attempt 4 of 6 constructed – response type questions.

All questions have an equal weighting of 50 marks.

Practical Coursework (80 marks) 20%

This is undertaken by candidates over the duration of the course of study. The practical coursework involves school based assessment using a common level marking scheme. External monitoring takes place by personnel appointed annually by the State Examinations Commission. A wide variety of projects are presented each year.

The most popular of which are:

  1. Farm Accounts
  2. Organic Farming
  3. Wind Farming
  4. REPS 5
  5. Dairy Industry
  6. Beef Industry
  7. Co-operatives
  8. Bee-Keeping
  9. Holiday Homes
  10. Potato Growing
  11. Vegetable Growing
  12. Forestry
  13. Poultry Industry
  14. Bed & Breakfast Accommodation
  15. Horticulture

Length of Project: 20 – 25 A4 pages


Career Possibilities header image

This subject would be very helpful for anyone who plans go into business either on the land, farming, horticulture, forestry or someone who wants to undertake further study in the area of Agriculture, Tourism, Food, Forestry or Fisheries.



Career Guidance