The study of Earth and Agriculture is arguably the most important area of study in our world today. Global populations are expected to grow by more than 40 percent in the next 30 years, and sustaining that growth with enough food, energy and biological resources is one of the greatest challenges currently facing mankind. Understanding our planet paves the way for supporting life in a sustainable way, as well help us predict climate changes and geological hazards.
Earth scientists use their research and state-of-the-art technologies to support and expand our understanding of the modern world’s processes and resources, helping to improve the quality of life for humans and our environment. Projects undertaken by universities around the globe are some of the most ground-breaking and exciting to be involved with, and results are often capable of really making a difference to our world.
Pursuing Environmental Studies is a stepping stone to an enriching career post-study. Government agencies, global organisations, research institutes and broadcast companies are among the potential suitors for graduates, who can take their degree to every corner of the globe.
Below are 5 universities undertaking leading research into the study of our Earth and its natural resources…
A world-class concentration of scientific research and education, the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide fosters excellence and innovation at every turn.
The School boasts the Southern Hemisphere’s greatest collection of expertise in plant genomics, crop improvement, sustainable agriculture, animal science, dryland farming, and Horticultural Production.
Scientific excellence and relevance is at the heart of study at the school, where an extensive network of academic and commercial experts collaborate in a stimulating and unique environment for student development. The school uses the latest innovations in technology to provide students with a first-class learning experience, helping them develop and explore unique ideas and research projects.
In the 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), the school obtained the highest score of five in three research areas: Plant Biology, Soil Science, and Horticultural Production. Crop and Pasture Production research was rated above world standard, earning a rating of four. These high standards of education enable graduates to enter the world of work with confidence and awareness of the latest developments in research – highlighted by the fact that 95 percent of graduates find employment within 12 months of graduation.
Strategically located in one of the world’s most rich hotspots for agricultural, natural and mining resources, the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment offers a unique learning experience that encompasses the broad disciplines of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Agricultural Science, and Geography and Planning.
Strong industry and governmental partnerships are intrinsically linked with teaching at research, with students encouraged to tackle real-world issues related to agricultural and environmental management, regional development, and urban policy and planning.
The undergraduate majors offered include Agricultural Science, Environmental Sciences, Geographical Sciences, Human Geography and Planning, and Natural Resource Management, all of which contribute to the Marine Science and Agribusiness majors.
At a postgraduate-level, the school leads master’s degrees in Agricultural Science, Agricultural Economics, Biotechnology, Environmental Science, Geographic Information Science, International Development, and Urban and Regional Planning.
The Agricultural Science degree is ranked first in Australia and 14th in the world, and was rated by the Australian Research Council as ‘above world standards’, while Environmental Science was rated ‘well above world standards’ during the last Excellence in Research Australia assessment.
The Institute of Agriculture and Environment at Massey University is committed to finding the perfect balance between agricultural production and long-term environmental sustainability. The school’s wide-range of expertise enables multi-disciplinary research into economic and environmental ecosystems, from the most intensive farming and horticulture to eco-tourism and wildlife conservation.
The Institute’s specialist areas include Agriculture, Ecology, Soil and Earth Sciences, Plant Sciences, and Māori Research. The Agriculture programme is ranked number one in New Zealand according to global rankings, while Massey University offers the only veterinary programme in the country, accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association and ranked 23rd in the world.
The Soil and Earth Sciences Group at the Institute of Agriculture and Environment undertakes ground-breaking research into soil and earth processes in the global environment. The department researches soil formation, classification and mapping; its physical, chemical, biological and fertility properties, as well as its use and management in society today.
Staff at the Institute of Agriculture also work in close collaboration with iwi on relevant Māori Research, including environmental management, volcanic risk assessment and species and ecosystem conservation in New Zealand.
The Department of Earth Sciences offers an extensive range of courses, including geophysics, geochemistry, oceanography, applied geology and atmospheric and planetary sciences. Emphasis here is placed on effective teaching and learning methods, while students are also encouraged to research and develop their own ideas.
In addition to study in classrooms and laboratories, the Department boats an excellent field trip programme, which sees students typically take four field trips locally, overseas or in China to study a range of fascinating geological features. Undergraduate overseas programmes have taken place in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
Faculty at the Department of Earth Sciences are leaders in their fields of research, providing postgraduate students with a wealth of knowledge and expertise to draw from, and enabling them to build a solid foundation of a career in science. The postgraduate programmes here aim to produce well-rounded Earth scientists instilled with a global perspective, encouraging a creative and critical mindset while honing their capabilities in making and developing original ideas.
Established more than 130 years ago, the Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Tokyo is a cornerstone of the subject’s education and research in Japan. The school consists of 12 departments and eight affiliated institutions, all of which collectively cover the fundamentals for developing the agricultural life sciences in the 21st century world.
The school provides three courses integrating a wide range of disciplines across the topic, including: applied life science, environmental and resources sciences, biological production studies, economics and resources studies, and veterinary rural science.
The Agricultural and Environmental Biology Department at this university is committed to increased productivity and quality of crops, genetic improvement of crops, and biological control of the damage by insects and disease. Here, students have access to state-of-the-art technologies and equipment, researching topics that have a lasting impact on our environment and the world today.
Speaking of the department, Dean Takeshi Tange from the Graduate School, said: “At the Faculty of Agriculture, the curriculum of course specialty allows students to specialize as necessary while also developing a broad view by systematically learning agricultural science step by step. With regard to educational reforms, specialized programs help students deeply understand their specialties, while sophisticated multi-disciplinary educational programs allow them to study the essence of agricultural science as an integrated discipline.”
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International